The Specialist

Bhutan luxe

Khendum Dorji, first cousin to King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, has been creating bespoke itineraries for travelers to Bhutan since 1987. Dorji's connections are formidable and her clients number 200 a year—a figure sure to climb since her country has come into vogue. We asked her why Bhutan, why now?

What has changed in Bhutan?
The reputation. With the arrival of the hotels Uma Paro and Amankora, people can stay in suites, be driven in SUVs by English-speaking guides, get spa treatments, and drink good Scotch. But the country has always held a peculiar mystique as the world's last surviving Buddhist kingdom. Bhutan is almost without industrialization and the tranquillity here is something most other resorts can only manufacture.

Is it hard to get to?
No. Druk Air has connections from New Delhi, Calcutta, Kathmandu, and Bangkok.

What's the best way to do Bhutan?
Give yourself ten days to visit Thimphu, Paro, and central Bhutan, around Bumthang. And make time for trekking—our outings include horses, porters, and three-course meals. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless. I recently organized a sixtieth birthday party, with thirty-five monks chanting and a thousand butter lamps flickering in the dark. We had a bonfire and everyone arrived in national dress. So chic.

Any tips to take us off the beaten path?
There is no beaten path in Bhutan.

Chhundu Travel & Tours, 975-2/322-592 or 975-2/322-547;