Top Travel Destinations in 2023


Because It’s Like Bali in the 1960s

Temple, Monastery, Place of worship, Building, Chinese architecture, Hill station, Architecture, Historic site, Sky, Mountain,

The Taktsang Buddhist monastery, a.k.a. Tiger’s Nest, in Paro, Bhutan.TONI NEUBAUER

There are a handful of places with the right combination of intense natural beauty and cultural heritage to make them lodestars for Western seekers of physical and spiritual well-being. If Bali has been loved almost too much, the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has been focused, since it opened to the outside world in 1974, on providing high-end tourism at volume low enough to protect its culture and environment. But there’s change afoot. A new arrival terminal at Paro International Airport makes the journey less daunting, roads are being improved, and by mid-2019 the selection of wellness-focused luxury hotels will approach Bali’s. In addition to Aman and COMO–pioneers here–independent five-star retreats are opening, among them Bhutan Spirit Sanc­tuary, which employs Bhutanese doctors who serve as “well-being guides.” Six Senses will debut a circuit of five lodges in Paro, Thimphu,Punakha, Gangtey, and Bumthang, each with its own spa. By the end of 2019, adventure specialist and ­Beyond will have opened two camps as it expands out of Africa.

TO BOOK: Antonia Neubauer will help you match your interests with local possibilities, such as participating in a Bhutanese archery match or meditating with a Buddhist master. TONI@MYTHSANDMOUNTAINS.COM. (J.M.)

Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary READ REVIEWS

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