Photography Tour

Bhutan is a photographer’s paradise. Its natural beauty is unrivalled anywhere as its location in the midst of the Himalayas affords spectacular views of the world’s highest mountains, mind-boggling gorges, waterfalls and other wondrous manifestations of nature. Add on to it the rich and rare Bhutanese culture with its unique sights and sounds, then we have a perfect package to fulfill any photographer’s long-cherished dream.  With all these trappings, Bhutan truly is a land of happiness

Beyond that, Bhutan’s wealth of flora and fauna is truly amazing. Among thousands of flowers which carpet the mountainsides in spring, it has more than 55 different varieties of rhododendron alone and about 500 species of orchids. This tiny country has over 700 species of birds, more than the whole of North America.

So plan your trip, let us know what your choices are. We will get back to you with an itinerary or, even better, we can draw up the tour plan together.

Bhutan photographer Tour

Bhutan is a photographer’s paradise. Its natural beauty is unrivalled anywhere as its location in the midst of the Himalayas affords spectacular views of the world’s highest mountains, mind-boggling gorges, waterfalls and other wondrous manifestations of nature. Add on to it the rich and rare Bhutanese culture with its unique sights and sounds, then we have a perfect package to fulfill any photographer’s long-cherished dream.  With all these trappings, Bhutan truly is a land of happiness.

Beyond that, Bhutan’s wealth of flora and fauna is truly amazing. Among thousands of flowers which carpet the mountainsides in spring, it has more than 55 different varieties of rhododendron alone and about 500 species of orchids. This tiny country has over 700 species of birds, more than the whole of North America.

So plan your trip, let us know what your choices are. We will get back to you with an itinerary or, even better, we can draw up the tour plan together.

Day 01
ARRIVE PARO – THIMPHU

A flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. One can see Everest, Kanchenjunga, Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as the Chomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tsrim Gang. The first glance you will see of Bhutan is the Paro valley and small Airport. Our guide will meet you there and escort you for the sightseeing, visit the National Museum, ParoDzong the head quarters of Paro District, visit the first King of Tibet SongtsenGampo built this KichuLhakhang in the 7th century to introduce Buddhism into our country. Evening drive one hour to Thimhpu.On the way stop at the Tamchoe Monastery view and chuzom. Overnight at the hotel

Day 02
THIMPHU

Begin the day with an optional walk to beautiful Tango Monastery which is about 40 min drive by car to the dead end of a road, and a further 30 min walk uphill to the Monastery. Tango is the only Buddhist University in Bhutan. It is located at the edge of a richly forested hill at Thimphu’s northern end. Its great white walls appear stunning in contrast to the surrounding foliage and dominate the entire hillside.

After lunch visit the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. It was built in 1974 in memory of the third king of Bhutan, His Majesty JigmeDorjiWangchuck, ‘the father of Modern Bhutan’. Afterwards continue on to the National Library housing a collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century, and Tashichhodzong, the “fortress of the glorious religion” initially built in 1641 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 03
THIMPHU – PUNAKHA

After breakfast visit 12th century ChangangkhaLhakhang (Lhakhang means temple), one of the oldest temples in the Thimphu valley. It is an old fortress-like temple perched on a ridge above Thimphu and has a beautiful view of the Thimphu Valley from the courtyard.

Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms. Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit PunakhaDzong, built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan’ as predicted by the great Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava). It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the PunakhaDzong, MachhenLhakhang is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. The inside walls are covered with elaborate murals depicting the teaching of the Buddha. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

Day 04
PUNAKHA (ATTEND WANGDUE TSECHU)

In the morning drive to the impressive 17th century WangduephodrangDzong to witness the festivities of the WangdueTsechu. Enjoy masked religious and cultural dances amongst colourful Bhutanese villagers. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Local people gather in a spirit of festivity, celebration and deep faith. Over the course of the entire tsechu 12 episodes are performed. It is a must for every Bhutanese to see and understand every dance as this gains merit and brings good luck. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

Day 05
PUNAKHA

After breakfast enjoy a short hike through ricefields up to KhamsumYuelleyNamgyalChorten, built by her majesty the queen AshiTsheringYangdonWangchuk. Perched high on a hill on the bank of the river, the Chorten houses paintings belonging to Nyingmapa Traditions.

Take a picnic lunch on a picturesque riverside before an excursion to visit 15th century ChimiLhakhang, temple of DrukpaKuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism of his time. He is considered a symbol of fertility and many childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight at your hotel in Punakha/ Wangduephodrang.

Day 06
PUNAKHA – PHOBJIKA VALLEY

Transfer to Phobjikha Valley (3 hrs) via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests, and over a high pass down into the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. After lunch visit the Phobjikha Sanctuary to view the majestic black necked cranes (Nov-Mar only) and GangteyGompa (Monastery), dating back to the 16th century. Overnight at your hotel in Phobjikha.

Day 07
PHOBJIKA VALLEY – TRONGSA

Depart over the Pele La pass (3,420m) on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. This pass is traditionally considered the boundary between western and central Bhutan. Further down the road stop to visit beautiful ChendebjiChorten. It is built in a style unusual for Bhutan, with painted eyes facing the four directions. The imposing TrongsaDzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road.

Enjoy some lunch before visiting TrongsaDzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Trongsa is the largest Dzong in Bhutan. The foundations of TrongsaDzong were laid in the 16th Century and there are now 22 temples in the complex. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see across the impressive landscape for many miles. In the old days, it was the vigilance point for both the eastern and western trade routes, thus a strategically important Dzong. Overnight at your hotel in Trongsa.

Day 08
TRONGSA – BUMTHANG

Following breakfast visit the Ta Dzong museum located on the hill overlooking the TrongsaDzong. The museums main focus is on the history of the monarchy, and is dedicated to the coronation and centenary celebrations of the Bhutanese monarchy with very rare and precious artefacts on display. These include statues built in the 17th century, to the first King’s Namza (dress), the Raven Crown and Sword of TrongsaPenlopJigmeNamgyal and the 3rd King.

Afterwards, proceed to Bumthang (2.5 hrs), one the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the spiritual and historical heartland of the country. The road winds steeply up to YoYutung La Pass (3,400m) before descending down through dense coniferous forest to Chummey valley. From here it is about an hour to Jakar, Bumthang’s main township.

Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries. The valley’s barley fields, apple groves and meadows lay below huge hills which climb up towards the Himalayan mountain wall separating Bhutan from Tibet. The beautiful architecture unique to Bhutan is evident in the many large farmhouses and temples. Bumthang is associated with Guru Rimpoche (Padmasambhava) and with TertonPemalingpa.

After lunch, visit JakarDzong, also known as ‘Fortress of the White Bird’. It was founded by the great grandfather of Shabdrung. The Dzong was initially built as a Monastery in 1549 but was upgraded after Shabdrung had firmly established his power in 1646. The Dzong is now used as the administration center for Bumthang valley.

Day 09
BUMTHANG

Enjoy a day of sightseeing in Bumthang beginning with JampeyLhakhang, one of 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen in the 7th Century. It was here that Guru Rimpoche conducted his first sermon on Tantric Buddhism for his host King Sendha, the local ruler, his family and subjects. Continue on to KurjeyLhakhang, famous for a rock within one of the temples that features a body imprint of the great master Guru Rimpoche. The big cypress tree in the temple grounds is believed to be the walking stick of Guru Rimpoche. Afterwards visit TamshingLhakhang, the seat of Bumthang’s famous son, saint PemaLingpa. He built it himself in 1501. A skilled tantric master and artist, he sculpted the main statues and painted the frescoes, some of Bhutan’s oldest which can still be seen even today, mostly in their original state. There is also a chain mail made by PemaLingpa that devotees carry and circumambulate the inner sanctum to cleanse sins. Overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 10
BUMTHANG (ATTEND TANGBI MANI)

Transfer to the remote Tangbi Mani village for the day by vehicle and a 45 minute walk. Spend the day viewing the Tangbi Mani Festival in an enchanting rural atmosphere. You will be captivated by the dances and costumed performances accompanied by clapping cymbals, drums, horn and the unforgettable chanting of Buddhist monks. Watch on as the dancers whirl their array of colourful brocades through the air, play local games and stroll handicraft stalls, explore around the village and visit locals at their homes. In the afternoon transfer back to Jakar. Overnight at your hotel in Bumthang.

Day 11
BUMTHANG – PUNAKHA

Today you will drive to Punakha, stopping for lunch en route. Afternoon at leisure to rest in your hotel or explore Punakha.Overnight at your hotel in Punakha.

Day 12
PUNAKHA – PARO 

Today is a leisurely day as you transfer from Punakha to Paro. You will stop en route at Thimphu for lunch and to explore the handicraft stores in the city centre. On arrival in Paro, you can either enjoy walk up to a hillside temple or stroll around downtown Paro. Overnight stay at the hotel in Paro.

Day 13
PARO

After breakfast hike to Taktsang Monastery. The walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you almost a kilometre above the Paro valley floor (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 metres above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The Monastery is also an important pilgrim site for the Buddhists. The great Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch.

In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century DrukgyelDzong, built to commemorate a victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314m) appears as a stunning backdrop. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century KyichuLhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king SongtsenGampo.

Alternatively, day 13 could be spent on a day trip to the Haa Valley, one of the most picturesque districts in Bhutan. Reached via the beautiful Chelila Pass, Haa Valley is characterised by its surrounding rugged and mountainous terrain. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 14
DEPART PARO

Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.

TashiDelek!

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