Bumthang, Bhutan

Six Senses Bumthang

Style

Calmer and karma

Setting

Enchanted forest

Get your chakras in order with a stay at serene forest lodge Six Senses Bumthang – set at the heart of Bhutan’s most spiritual region. This extremely eco-conscious hideaway is at one with its picturesque environment, so much so that a tree grows through each suite, pines penetrate other parts of the building and regional dishes are made using kitchen-garden crops and foraged finds. Whether you’re meditating, taking a hot-stone bath or exploring the monasteries, palaces and pastures of Bumthang’s four regal valleys, this Zen den offers authenticity and calm to the core. 

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

Your choice of a 30-minute foot massage for two or body scrub for two

Facilities

Photos Six Senses Bumthang facilities

Need to know

Rooms

Nine, including one two-bed villa.

Check–Out

12 noon. Check-in, 12 noon. Both are flexible, subject to availability.

Also

Travel in Bhutan is a little different from elsewhere. The government requires tourists to spend a Daily Sustainable Tourism Royalty fee (ask your Smith specialist for details). It’s used to keep tourism in check and goes towards protecting the environment, funding free education and healthcare, and alleviating poverty – so, it’s for a good cause. If you stay at Six Senses’ Bhutanese lodges for five consecutive nights you’ll get a free English-speaking driver, guide and vehicle; stay for six consecutive nights and you’ll get a free 60-minute spa treatment for each guest; and if you stay for nine nights or more, you’ll get a free one-way business-class flight from Paro to Bumthang (or vice-versa) for each guest.

At the hotel

Spa and wellness centre, living room and lounge, bikes to borrow, kitchen garden, laundry, free WiFi. In rooms: view-blessed balconies, TV, minibar, plug adaptor, and locally sourced bath products.

Our favourite rooms

Each of the eight suites are created equal and are party to glorious green views, so we’re rather taken with them all. If you’re arriving with a posse, or the children/grandparents in tow, the two-bedroom villa gives guests large living and dining areas, plus a private spa room.

Spa

The spa is petite, with just two rooms for treatments, but still shows off Six Senses’ wellness clout. Each treatment starts with a singing bowls ritual, before the traditional dotsho (hot-stone bath) is filled with fire-warmed river stones that crackle and steam, releasing soothing minerals into fresh spring water. Or, you can take this tonic as part of the signature Hingsangsa Zoni bathing ritual, which includes an additional scrub with Himalayan salts and a restorative full-body massage.

Packing tips

An array of activewear will come in handy: adequate hiking and biking gear, yoga kit, a swimsuit for spa bathing. The Bhutanese tend to dress in quite modest style, so some elegant threads and svelte layering will help with both local custom and changeable temperatures.

Also

Bhutan hasn’t quite embraced contactless – or cards, for that matter. Stocking up on local ngultrum currency and a few US dollars will see you through your trip.

Pet‐friendly

Four-legged friends are welcome and can stay for free; however, keep a tight hold on their leash when they’re outdoors – wild animals roam these parts. See more pet-friendly hotels in Bumthang.

Children

Young ‘uns are very welcome. Spa treatments and meals can be tailored to their tastes and staff will create a bespoke activity plan if needed. There’s four hours of babysitting free, each day; additional hours are charged at US$20 each.

Sustainability efforts

The Six Senses group prides itself on its sustainable initiatives and this lodge is no exception. The structure was built around the trees to make as little impact as possible, and food is sourced from the kitchen garden or foraged from the forest. And staff have partnered with HEROES (Himalayan Environmental Rhythms Observation and Evaluation System), an organisation that works with schools across the country to collect climate-change data; guests can visit one of these schools to learn more.

Food and Drink

Photos Six Senses Bumthang food and drink

Top Table

When the weather’s fine, take your place among the tree trunks on one of the deck’s 12 seats. When there’s a chill, cosy up by the bukhari (log-burning stove).

Dress Code

No need for kasayas (monk’s robes) or kiras (traditional dress for women); luxe loungewear will do.

Hotel restaurant

Buckwheat, barley, freshwater algae, hazelnuts and mushrooms are among the local and kitchen-garden-grown ingredients the chef uses in crafting Tongtshang (pine forest) restaurant’s authentic Bhutanese dishes, that are by turns hearty, warming and tweaked to match regional tastes. Expect yak cheese with pomegranate, pumpkin curry and ema datshi (a spicy Bhutanese stew). There are some international choices for the less adventurous, too. And, at sunset light refreshments are served on the deck. Breakfasts are worth rising for too, with ema datshi toasties, noodles with Szechuan broth, turmeric lattes and more on the menu.

Hotel bar

There’s a small bar in the living room where guests can try locally produced wine and beer or kick back with a dramatically flavoured cocktail: perhaps the Blazing Baab Chu with pine syrup and Bhutanese whisky, or the Domza Martini with marmalade vodka, sesame and hibiscus jam.

Last orders

Breakfast is usually served from 7am to 11am, lunch from 11am to 5pm and dinner from 5pm to 10pm, but staff are very accommodating.

Room service

If you’d like your yak cheese with forest mushrooms to-go, the restaurant menu can be delivered to your door.

Location

Photos Six Senses Bumthang location
Address
Six Senses Bumthang
Rareengbee, Choekhor
Bumthang
32001
Bhutan

Six Senses Bumthang is set on the bank of the Bumthang Chhu River, hidden away in a pine forest in Jakar, a small town in Bhutan’s breathtaking hinterland.

Planes

Small, domestic airport Bathpalathang in Jakar is the closest, a mere five-minute drive away (or 15-minute walk). You’ll fly into Bhutan’s international hub at Paro first; Bathpalathang is just a 30-minute flight from there. Travel to Bhutan requires some forward-planning; be sure to get a visa before you arrive (unless you have an Indian, Bangladeshi or Maldivian passport); it’s advised to apply for one at least 90 days in advance.

Automobiles

It’s likely that you’ll be staying here as part of Six Senses’ khamsa (a five-lodge journey through five Bhutanese valleys); if so, you can be transferred direct from Six Senses Gangtey, a four-and-a-half-hour drive away. Mind you, those hours will fly by as you zip along a highway carved into the mountains, past terraced farmland and houses teetering at the top of deep river-valleys, keeping your eyes peeled for yak herds, wild boar, pheasant and other free-range fauna along the way.

Other

Get the best vantage of everything happening down below by arriving from Paro in a helicopter.

Worth getting out of bed for

The lodge is incredibly peaceful and pleasant to lounge around in, but aside from yoga sessions, guided meditation and long soaks in the spa, you’ll want to get out and see Bumthang, the gateway to the east, and home to some of the kingdom’s earliest settlements. Buddhism is a living, breathing philosophy here, deeply ingrained in Bhutanese culture, and you’ll likely see monks in scarlet and saffron robes going about their day. You can get a sense of its deep roots here with visits to 8th-century Könchogsum Lhakhang monastery, reached on horseback, Jambey Lhakhang temple, and 16th-century Tamzhing Lhundrup Lhakhang. Or pay homage to ‘second Buddha’ Terton Pema Lingpa at the Burning Lake. Legend has it, to reveal a holy treasure he submerged himself in the water with a lit lamp and surfaced with it still aflame – it’s a popular pilgrimage site to this day. Then hike to hilltop fortress Padseling Goemba, see the mighty Jakar Dzong and tour the Wangduechhoeling Palace, now a museum honoring the region’s crafts and culture. While hiking and biking through the terraced fields and yak-grazed pastures, keep your eyes peeled for the five-coloured prayer flags, each hue representing a different trait: peace, compassion, strength, good fortune and wisdom. Archery lessons and mushroom-foraging tours can be arranged by your guest experience manager, as well as visits to fairy-tale villages and the Red Panda brewery for a barley-beer tasting.

Reviews

Photos Six Senses Bumthang reviews

Anonymous review

Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this secreted-away stay in Bhutan’s spiritual heartland and reflected on their newfound sense of tranquility and clear-headedness, a full account of their relaxing break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Six Senses Bumthang in Bhutan…

Very soon after arriving at Six Senses Bumthang, a boutique lodge hidden within a blue-pine forest in Bhutan’s most transcendental region, you’ll realise that the ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’ is more ‘Land of Sleepy Dragon’. Beyond the trees there’s a babbling trout-filled river, lush pastures stretch lazily out, and farmers sow and till in timeless fashion. The view from each of the lodge’s eight suites (and a villa suited to multigenerational stays) is the embodiment of the meditative Bhuddist chant ‘om mani padme hung’ you’ll hear as you travel the country. In fact, you’re so immersed in nature that a sapling grows in the centre of each room, walls are wood-clad and the dining terrace is threaded through with vegetation. 

It’s easy to scoff at those who claim to have ‘found themselves’ after a couple weeks in Asia, but the activities on offer here try their damnedest to help you do so. After guided meditation, a soak in a traditional hot-stone bath, hiking through prayer-flag-studded fields and trips to holiest of holy monasteries – plus a few locally brewed Red Panda beers (yes, Bhutan has quite the craft-beer scene, dontcha know?) – enlightenment might well be on the cards. If not, at least you can feel a true sense of place: the chefs know what the locals like and it shows in their regionally-influenced feasts (you can even accompany them on a mushroom-foraging mission), design follows Bhutanese farmhouse style, and the surroundings are rich with the kingdom’s treasures.