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“A special experience”
Review of Amankora Gangtey

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Amankora Gangtey
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Gangtey
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“A special experience”
Reviewed June 28, 2013

My husband and I spent nine days in Bhutan in April 2013 and stayed at four of the five Aman properties (Thimphu, Gangtey, Paro, and Punahka). The Aman standard of service and food is very high, and the beauty and intimacy of the resorts are hard to beat. You do pay handsomely for the privilege of the Aman experience.

A friend had previously stayed at Amankora and highly recommended their guide, Tshering Dorji. Tshering had since left Amankora, where he worked for nine years, to run his own tour company. To the Aman management's credit they hired him to be our guide for our nine-day trip. We had decided to book a short trek out of Punakha, but as soon as we arrived Tshering explained that the time of year it would be quite warm for that trek, and instead recommended the Bumdra trek out of Paro, which turned out to be great advice. Tshering took care of reorganizing our schedule. He and our driver Sonam (who is also the Bhtanese national bicycle road racing champion), also gave us archery lessons at Gangtey. This turned into an ongoing archery competition (Tshering and I versus Sonam and my husband), that provided us and passersby with much amusement.

We felt we could ask Tshering anything and genuinely enjoyed his company and his extensive knowledge of Bhutan. If you would like to contact Tshering regarding guide services his email is tsheringbhutan@gmail.com. My husband and I plan to return to Bhutan for trekking and plan to use Tshering as our guide and trip organizer.

Gangtey was my favorite of the four Aman resorts. The valley is beautiful and the hike through the rhododendron forest was a highlight. We were there in early April, and if we'd been a few weeks later the rhododendrons would've been in full bloom. The walk is still wonderful. We saw a black eagle and wild boar along the way, and ended by passing a group of young monks in robes who were playing volleyball, one of those lovely unexpected moments that Bhutan provides in abundance. Gangtey is famous for its black-necked cranes that migrate into the valley in the fall and are a great source of pride in Bhutan; I would be very tempted to return for the annual Crane Festival.

All of the rooms at the Amans in Bhutan are similar if not identical, which turned out to be a nice touch because you always know where to find things. The rooms are all wood-paneled and the only demerit is that they could use better lighting. My husband and I did the traditional stone bath in the potato shed, which was interesting, but not a "must do."

The five-hour trip from Thimphu to Gangtey is nothing but one hairpin turn after another--if you suffer from motion sickness bring meds!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Traveller32810
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
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Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
32 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed May 19, 2013

I have been to all 5 Aman properties in Bhutan and this certainly feels like the most remote place. It is in a beautiful valley, with amazing views and just 8 rooms. Service is impeccable as always, food is good and there are lots of nice hikes you can do in this valley. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Luc M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level Contributor
60 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
Reviewed March 6, 2013

We did the 5 night Aman journey during the new year and we stayed at four properties during our stay (Thimphu, Gangtey, Punakha and Paro). The first part of my review is about Amankora in general which applies to all the properties and the second section is about the property itself in specific.

We flew in via Bangkok and did an overnight stay in Bangkok airport hotel. We had a letter from Aman representative in our Bangkok airport hotel room giving us the contact number of the Aman representative in Bangkok and the directions for airport check in. When we went to the airlines counter the next day, the Aman representative had already checked us in and got us the best seats in the flight when we flew in. Great service and that goes to say how far and beyond they go to get to that perfect service level even before we got to Bhutan.

We were picked up at the airport by our guide and driver who stayed with us for our entire trip and I thought that was a good touch since they understood what we liked and suggested trips and itineraries along the way in different properties. Both of our guide and driver was great chaps and have nothing but praise for them. They made our trip very enjoyable and made sure we were well looked after.

All Aman lodges are designed in the same format, design and layout which is a nice surprise when you check into different lodges and find yourself already familiar with the layout/design of the rooms. I was bit skeptical in the beginning knowing that we are gonna stay at four different properties in 7 nights, but now I understand why they have done that and I am glad they have since different areas in Bhutan offers very different landscape/culture/people and I am glad they have built different properties in different areas to let us appreciate that. All the properties are set against spectacular backdrop of valleys, rice paddies, or fields and equally stunning.

Service is where Aman really excels (as with other Aman properties we have stayed) and all the properties excelled against one another with service. The service staff was always there when you needed them, anticipated your requests before you ask them and always willing to help. I will go even above and beyond to say that the service level/staff we had in Aman Bhutan is the best we have seen anywhere, even including other Aman proerties. Kudos to Aman staff for maintaining such a level of service standards that other luxury resorts look up to.

The roads in Bhutan are fairly basic and don’t expect that to be an easy ride. Yes they do transport you in comfort in your private SUV, but the road conditions does make it tiring especially when you go travel on occasions 5 hours+ between the lodges. Do start early in the morning and expect a long day on the road. The sceneries along the way makes it up.

Amankora Gangtey:

Gangtey was our second stop in our journey and we drove from Thimphu which is a strenuous 5 hour drive, but by the time we got there all our tiredness went away looking at the scenery that awaited us overlooking the valley. It’s a stunning scenery and the lodge is perched above the valley in what I can only say is one of the best view that I have had staying at a resort. The rooms are on the same size/layout as Thimphu and very minimalistic but has that monastic feel to it. The GM at this resort who is the F&B manager for all the lodges is a great guy, looks after you from the time you get there and even goes to serve your meals. Never seen a GM that’s so down to earth and wanted to make sure the guests were looked after well. I particularly liked the open layout dining area where you do get to mingle with other guests which is a nice touch. We did the monastery visit and did the hike next to the valley, a short 2 hours hike but well worth doing it since you do get to see some amazing scenery from different aspect of the valley. I have to say this was our favorite lodge in our entire stay.

Room Tip: Go for the rooms further from the main building which are more private.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank global_traveller112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calvi, France
Level Contributor
208 reviews
114 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 154 helpful votes
Reviewed February 11, 2013

We stayed in four Amankora hotels in January 2013 and the experience was just amazing. As all hotels have the same rooms, I will write my review in two parts: a first one that apply to all four hotels which I will copy/paste and a second one which applies to the relevant hotel.

First part: All Amankora hotels have the same rooms which are all beautiful. Not huge but very large and well designed. Excellents beds, great bath tub and showers, all amenities which make your stay enjoyable. Internet in Buthan is still at an early stage but they had connection in all four hotels. They obtain in from Mongolia which sometimes trigger some warnings from your google webmaster...The most amazing piece when staying at Amankora hotels is the service. It is absolutely state-of-the-art. People are trained at a level that you will rarely find in other five-star hotels. They anticipate all your needs without being intrusive. They are highly professional. In two instances we were the only guests but they insisted in providing us with a performance from local dancers which they could have dropped without us noticing! The spas are beauftiful and even though massages do not belong to the Buthanese culture their therapists are excellent. They also provided us with a driver and a guide. The car is a Hundai SUV and the driver, Tenzin, was excellent. This is no luxury as there are no straight-line roads in Buthan and people tend to drive in the middle of the narrow roads. Tenzin was safe whilst efficient in his driving. We also had a fantastic guide, Dorji who was extremely kind, knowledgeable and caring. He managed a great combination of cultural visits and treks in the wilderness of Central and West Buthan.
A few words about the food, which is excellent. Great choice for breakfast, good pic-nics for lunches and a large selection on the menu for dinner!
They also have mountain-bikes in each lodge which they will send wherever you want for you to climb or drive-down a path.
Anything negative to mention? One day they forgot a sandwich for lunch....and the bikes are not always in the best conditions. I am relieved: perfection has not yet been reached!

Specific to Gangtey: the hotel is extremely well-located with a great view on the Gangtey monestary. The rooms are quite and are very close to the main building. The management team is very helpful and the GM came along biking to show me the area. If you are to take one Buthanese bath while you are traveling in Buthan, this is the place. It is a 5- minute walk to the shack in which your bath will be prepared with hot stones (preperation time 2-3 hours). After the staff has made sure the temperature is right you will be left alone with a view on the monastery, as long as you want...amazing experience!

Room Tip: Maybe try to avoir the first two rooms in the corridor as they do not have a full view on the monast...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank zelal25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
291 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
Reviewed December 1, 2012

This was the first Amankora Hotel we stayed in. It wowed us with its style and service and the stunning views down the valley and back up the hill to the Dzong. Unfortunately we were only there one night and it rained like nothing on earth so we didn't get out much! Enough to say it had all the hallmarks of the other Amankora hotels, with beautiful food, complimentary WiFi in the communal rooms but not bedrooms, and luxurious suites with shower and a splendid bath with a view down the valley/ The hotel is quite isolated in lovely countryside, but there is a good walk up to the Dzong through the woods. The best time to go is apparently November-January to see the black necked cranes (A very special, endangered and highly auspicious bird) which nest on the marshes below the hotel, so unfortunately we were a bit early. I suspect there would be some good walking & exploring if the weather was better and we had planned longer on our itinerary.

Room Tip: THere are only 8 and they are all the same!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank RichardVUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston
Level Contributor
52 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed November 26, 2012

My wife an I spent 10 dyas in Bhtuan the last week of october. We had a car and driver from Amankora. Our guide was Nobur, He and our driver were supurb. We stayed in 5 different Amakora Lodges. We landed in Paro and drove to the lodge in Thimphu. We got as far west as Bumthang. My frend has been planning this trip for 2 years. He called me 4 months prior to going and ask us to join he and his wife, when he told me the price I thought he was joking. I reluntantly said yes, but was kicking myself for spending this amount of $. It was approx 25k a couple not including air fare for 10 nights in Bhutan and 4 nights in New Delhi/Agra(both well worth seeing). After we got home I said I would do I trip like this every year. The Amakora lodge system was 6 stars(if there is such a thing). The staff, food, and locations are not to be missed. Bhutan is an awesome country, and I would diffently go back. Some of the highlllights are the hot tub and dinner in the potato hut in the Gangtey Lodge. My only suggesstion is bring a "seasick pills' for the road trip. We were all queasy after the first 4 hour car ride, but the next trip we were all fine after taking perscritpion motion sickness pills. One last suggestion, we took way too much cloths, all I needed was a small travel suitcase, the kind you use for a 1 or 2 day business trip. Amankora does all your laundry, in fact we left a shirt in Gangtey, and they sent a car to the airport in Paro to deliver it to us before we left. I was impressed! They run a world class Hotel chain,

Room Tip: the hotel are all small, all the room look to be the same
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank BostonLmp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth
Level Contributor
18 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2012

We stayed in Paro, Punakha and Thimphu Amans...the Aman in Gangtey was the best - beautiful views, service and food. Beautiful walking / riding trails around the hotel, especially through the buckwheat fields and pine forest. Great lawn for watching the sunset creep over the valley.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Frequentflyer556
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Amankora Gangtey

Property: Amankora Gangtey
Address: Gangtey, Bhutan
Location: Bhutan > Wangdue Phodrang District > Gangtey
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 Hotels in Gangtey
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Combining aman, the Sanskrit-derived word for 'peace', and kora or 'circular pilgrimage' in Dzongkha, the Bhutanese language, Amankora, is a series of lodges in the Kingdom of Bhutan's central and western valleys. The sole surviving Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom, Bhutan is one of the most remote and pristine environments on earth. To best experience all that Bhutan has to offer, Amankora can tailor journeys that include a combination of its lodges located in the valleys of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. ... more   less 
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