Throughout the seasons, Bhutan is a photographer’s paradise. The raw natural texture of the Himalayan landscape combined with its arcane culture, rich traditions, and unique textile and customs make Bhutan a wonderful photographic experience. Add to it the rich colors, scenic landscapes, the greenery, traditional structures, people and places. Bhutan is an idyllic travel destination, much sought after by photographers from around the world. There is so much to see and enjoy, and so much more to capture in still pictures. At Liberty Bhutan Tours, we make your photography dreams come true, for amateurs as well professionals.
This nine-day Bhutan Photography Tour introduces ardent photographers to Bhutan’s unique Himalayan culture. It presents photographers with scintillating subjects, from festivals to rural lifestyle, ancient heritage to architectural brilliance, natural landscape to wildlife and birds. In the company of local professionals we drive you to designated photography sites at the golden hour to get most out of it. You will love every moment of your time in the kingdom with us.
Day 1: Arrival Paro/Thimphu
Your local tour executive will receive you at Paro International Airport and bring you to the hotel. After freshening up, you will be taken for an orientation tour of Paro. You will visit Rinpung Dzong and Ta-Dzong (National Museum). Later in the day, take a short excursion to the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong. It will be followed by visit to the seventh century Kyichu Lhakhang. These Buddhist heritage sites are beautiful subjects of photography and give insights to Bhutan’s rich Buddhist legacy.
Following the sightseeing in Paro, you will be driven to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. The one-hour gentle ride through picturesque landscape and rural villages offers wonderful photo-ops along the way. You can stop by to capture rural villages, farmers by the roadside, and the nature itself. After checking into your hote, you will take a stroll of the city of Thimphu. Later in the evening, a visit the National Memorial Chorten and Kuensel Phodrang to explore night photography is included.
Day 2: Thimphu
Early morning, you will visit Kuensel Phodrang to capture the scenic panorama of Thimphu valley. The site is suitable to do both landscape and portrait photography. The presence of the tallest Bronze statue of Buddha in the world adds to the variety. After breakfast, you will visit the Painting School, Folk Heritage Museum and the National Library of Bhutan and engage in both indoor and outdoor photography. After lunch, you will visit the thirteenth century Changangkha Temple, Motithang Takin Preserve, and Dechenpodrang monastery. All these places present great photography experiences.
In the evening, you will visit kuneray, the inner sanctum of Tashichhodzong, the seat of the Monarchy and the central monastic body. Here, you will get the opportunity to capture the brilliant architectural forms of Tashichhodzong. You will also be able to capture Buddhist monks praying or playing in the courtyard. At dinner conclave, your local photographer companions will join you to brief on following day’s program and to hold discussions on photography.
Day 3: Thimphu/Trongsa
Today we will depart for Trongsa in central Bhutan. The daylong journey to Trongsa is filled with great clicking experience. On the way, you will stop by at Dochula (pass), from where you can capture the scenic panoramic view of the Himalayan mountains ranges and the traditionally painted 108 stupas. At a nearby cafeteria, you will have breakfast and hot coffee, and enjoy the scene of the snow capped mountains faraway on the horizon. As we continue the journey, you will pass by dense mixed forests, verdant valleys, and rural settlements until you reach Wangdue. You may like to photograph the ruins of seventeenth century Wangdue Dzong, which was lost to fire few years back.
You will continue your journey and stop at Pelela, another spot for photography. The journey then descends through picturesque valley, communities and vegetation. During winter, you will come across yaks and herders. You will stop at the majestic Chendebji Chorten, a replica of the Boudhanath temple in Kathmandu, for breakfast. From there, you will reach travel towards Trongsa. Just before you reach Trongsa, from the viewpoint, you will be able to capture the majestic Trongsa Dzong.
Day 4: Trongsa/Bumthang
Following breakfast, you will visit the glorious Trongsa Dzong, built on a ridge overlooking Mangdi Chhu. Inside the dzong, you will be escorted to the main shrine, housing the statue of the Buddha of three eras. On completion, you will engage in photography time in the main courtyard. Following your visit atop the dzong, you will visit the Ta Dzong (watch tower), that houses the museum. After lunch, we will depart for Bumthang. Along the way we will stop for photographic recesses.
Day 5: Bumthang
Early in the morning, we will capture the beautiful Chamkhar valley. A combination of mist and golden sunrays makes morning photography such a delight. After breakfast, you will visit Jakar Dzong, perched on the hill overlooking the valley and continue to Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in the country. Both these heritage sites present a thrilling experience to photographers. Later, we will visit the historical Kurje Lhakhang and explore the inner sanctum of three massive temples.
Enjoy photographing the giant temples against the backdrop of blue sky and white clouds. We will then hike across Chamkhar River to the ancient Tamshing Monastery and Koenchogsum temple. We will have lunch in a local restaurant in Chamkhar town. After lunch, we will visit the iconic Mebar Tsho or the mythical burning lake in Tang valley in north of Bumthang. Evening will be followed by some night photography in Chamkhar town.
Day 6: Bumthang/Punakha
Today we will head back to western Bhutan. The daylong journey will take you through Trongsa, Yotongla, Sephu valley and Pelela Pass. Just after the pass, we will take a detour to the scenic valley of Phobjikha, the winter roosting ground for the globally vulnerable Black necked Cranes. You will visit the Gangtey Gonpa and take an excursion to Phobjikha valley. On your journey towards Punakha, you will visit the ancient Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of fertility. After dinner, we will drive near the Punakha Dzong and explore night photography.
Day 7: Punakha/Paro
We will depart for Khamsum Yuelay Namgyal Chhorten in Kabesa valley early to shoot morning photography. The stunning landscape and natural environment and the unique architecture of the chorten elevates the whole experience. During the early hours, rural life and rituals can also be captured along the way. The ghostly, surreal mist floating over the Mo Chhu also contributes to a thrilling photography.
The 45-minute hike to the Khaamsum Yuelay stupa, across terraced rice fields and rural setting, offers stunning visuals. Once you reach the hilltop, you can enjoy and capture the scenic landscape of beautiful Kabesa valley and the ethereal river snaking down the valley and pristine nature at its best. Here, you will have breakfast and hot coffee. You will visit the inner sanctums of the stupa and then head back to Punakha where we will visit the main shrine, Kuenrey inside the Punakha Dzong. Inside the walls of this majestic fortress, you can take photos of the unmatched architectural brilliance of the dzong and also Buddhist monks praying or scampering around.
We then head back to Paro. We will stop for lunch at the small town of Lobesa. At Dochula, we will engage in some sun set photography. At this hour, we can see the silhouette of the majestic mountains, gradually being devoured by darkness. We will halt in Paro for the night.
Day 8: Tiger’s Nest Hike, Paro
Hike to Taktshang or Tiger’s Nest is one of the main highlights of our photography tour. Taktsang is one of the most sacred heritage sites in Bhutan, perched on a precarious 1000 meters above Paro valley. Guru Rinpoche, the great Buddhist master introduced Buddhism in Bhutan. In the eighth century, he is said to have flown to Taktshang on a Tigress. He meditated here for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. He subdued the evils spirits residing in the place. Taktsang is known for the thirteen caves in which he meditated.
We have saved the best for the last. As you behold the famous Tiger’s Nest glued on the cliff, your photographic intuitions will get the better of you. After the hike to Taktshang and the wonderful photographic experience, you will soothe your sinews with a traditional stone bath, and later enjoy dinner at a local farmhouse.
Day 9: Exit
After breakfast, your tour guide will see you off at the airport for your homeward journey.