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Zhiwa Ling, Pemako Punakha, &Beyond Punakha River Lodge Add to Bhutan’s Growing Portfolio of Luxury Properties

by Ron Bernthal

Jan 16, 2024

© Courtesy of &Beyond


Many travelers are expanding their geographical horizons by flying long haul to exotic destinations once just pipe dreams on a bucket list.

One of these far-flung destinations is Kingdom of Bhutan, a landlocked South Asian country in the Eastern Himalayas between China in the north and India in the south. Three new luxury hotels in Bhutan give intrepid travelers more options when visiting this unique destination.


© Courtesy of Zhiwa Ling Heritage

Located in the scenic valley of Paro, just a 15-minute drive from Paro International Airport (the only international airport in the Kingdom), Zhiwa Ling Heritage Hotel is built in the traditional Bhutanese architectural style, with elegant stone walls, and beautifully hand-carved and painted wood.

The 45-suite property includes an indoor swimming pool, spa and a view of the rocky cliffs leading to the iconic Tigers’ Nest Temple.  An outdoor hot stone bath and a meditation house with a view of Tiger’s Nest adds to the ambiance. The property is comfortable while indoors or out, with large gardens, a fireplace in the bar and several excellent restaurants. Within the hotel, a Buddhist shrine built of restored timber from a 450-year-old monastery adds a sense of calm and spirituality.


© Courtesy of Pemako Punakha

Located near the gentle Mo Chhu River in Punakha, and under the watchful gaze of the revered Punakha Dzong (Palace of Happiness), a guest can discover the absolute calm of the property  Pemako Punakha. Spread across 30 acres, Pemako Punakha offers 21 plush, tented pool villas, each serving as a bridge between Bhutan’s deep-rooted traditions and modern living. The resort offers experiences symbolizing Bhutan’s warm hospitality. The spa is part of Sowa Rigpa, the ancient Bhutanese art of healing, and every guest is paired with a dedicated guide/butler who offers guests a transformative journey during their stay. Pemako’s cuisine is available at four premier on-site venues as well as at outdoor picnic spaces. The Chef’s Table mixes seasonal Himalayan flavors with the freshest selections from local farmers.

chef table

© Courtesy of Pumako Punakha

The third new property, &Beyond Punakha River Lodge, is part of the &Beyond group of 29 luxury lodges and camps on four continents. In Bhutan, the lodge is situated on the shores of the Mo Chho River, its architecture combining traditional Bhutanese influences with the experience and graciousness of the &Beyond brand. It has opened with six intimate luxury tents, a one-bedroom suite and a two-bedroom family suite, all surrounded by lush, green paddy fields and clusters of forested hills. The spa’s location in an orange orchard is ideal for yoga, massage and a dip into a Bhutanese hot stone bath. The cuisine is locally inspired and offers a farm-to-fork concept, combining Bhutanese, Indian and European flavors. Drinks can be savored at sundown on a suspension bridge arrayed with prayer flags.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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