COMO

DestinAsian - - DESTINATIONS -

the Paro Tak­t­sang (a.k.a. Tiger’s Nest) monastery and wit­ness­ing the world’s last strong­hold of Va­jrayana Bud­dhism. But limited flights and a US$250 daily tax have kept tourism low-im­pact and high-value, as wit­nessed at the luxe lodge cir­cuits op­er­ated by Aman ( aman.com) and Ho­tels and Re­sorts ( co­mo­ho­tels .com), which has also launched the coun­try’s first he­li­copter ad­ven­ture. This year, look out for the open­ing of Six Senses Bhutan ( sixsenses.com), a col­lec­tion of five in­ti­mate lodges scat­tered among the moun­tain val­leys of western and cen­tral Bhutan. The first three (Thimpu, Pu­nakha, and Paro) will set the tone in Septem­ber, with Bumthang and Gangtey fol­low­ing to­ward the end of the year. im­pos­si­bly clear wa­ter—in fact, more than 99 per­cent of the coun­try’s exclusive eco­nomic zone is ocean. To­day, the 15-isle ar­chi­pel­ago is set­ting global goals when it comes to con­serv­ing its big­gest as­set, as wit­nessed by the re­cent launch of Marae Moana ( marae­moana.gov.ck), a vast ma­rine man­aged area (the name trans­lates as “Sa­cred Ocean”) cov­er­ing al­most two mil­lion square kilo­me­ters, with a chunk that is com­pletely off-lim­its to fishing and seabed min­ing. So grab your snorkel and pre­pare to gaze, un­ob­structed, at more than 130 species of coral, 600 types of fish, nu­mer­ous species of threat­ened tur­tles, en­dan­gered reef sharks, whales, and dol­phins.

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