Photography tour to Bhutan is one of the most enchanting tours to partake once in a lifetime. Owing to the beauty of the valleys and the mountain, coyness of the people, unique culture and tradition- everything adds to one another seamlessly for an unforgettable photography tour in Bhutan. Most tourists in Bhutan opt for a second photography tour in Bhutan particularly choosing different seasons and places.
Landscape, culture, people, flora, fauna, spectacular views of the world’s highest mountains, mind-boggling gorges, waterfalls and other wondrous manifestations of nature. 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.
- Day 1 Paro: The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world. After a brief greet, we will head to Paro. For photography, we will go to visit Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Then we will visit Paro Dzong, Dzong’s are large monasteries and district administrative centers, which were once strategic forts. Afterward, we will drive to the capital city.
- Day 2 Thimphu: We go to Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is religious, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava.
- Day 3 Thimphu: Up for a stunning sightseeing, we start at the 12th century Changangkha Temple, the Zilukha Nunnery and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first commenced by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King. In the afternoon, we again visit the courtyard of the Dzong to witness and photograph the colorful event that still continues.
- Day 4 Thimphu – Punakha: To head to the western districts even deeper, we start early. We traverse into the depths of the Western territories. The destination- Punakha, and Wangduephodrang are in the cocoon of the medieval setting. It takes two-hours from Thimphu to the destination of the day. The western districts stood witness at scores of historical transition of the country, even to the unification of the country. Onto destination bound, the drive is one of the most scenics of the tour. Additionally, the stopover at the mountain pass- Do Chula at 3100 meters offers the panoramic vista of perennial snowcapped mountains to the North. On a clear weather, one can count 10 mountain peaks, the peaks are collectively known as ‘Jigme Singye Wangchuck Mountain Range’ after the name of Fourth King of Bhutan. It is on this journey that touts the fauna of the country. For photographers, down the mountain pass- Do Chula to the floor of the valley, it’s a photographer’s paradise.
- Day 5: Punakha After breakfast, liberate adventurous spirit taking a short hike through rice terraces hiking to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten. By a riverside, we will have our picnic lunch. After a sumptuous meal, we will take a short hike from a glittering village dotted by farmhouses and others to the 15th century Chimi Lhakhang, the temple of Drukpa Kuenly 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.
- Day 6: Punakha – Trongsa: Our journey to the new town – a literal translation of Trongsa- we drive via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a meandering mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests and over the pass- Pelela at 3420 meters on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. We then reach Trongsa Dzong built in a narrow valley below the road. On arriving Trongsa, we reach the imposing, the largest fortress in the country- Trongsa Dzong. There are now 22 temples in the complex. The view from the Dzong is spectacular and one can see across the remarkable landscape to the farthest horizon.
- Day 7: Trongsa – Bumthang: After breakfast, we visit the formerly watchtower, now a museum. The museum displays the history of the monarchy and is dedicated to the coronation and centenary celebrations of the Bhutanese monarchy with very rare and precious artifacts on display. Upon reaching Bumthang for a lunch, we visit Jakar Dzong - the ‘Fortress of the White Bird’. 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 administrative center for Bumthang valley.
- Day 8 & 9 Bumthang: Upon reaching the spiritual heartland of the country, one is greeted by many temples and stupas dotting the sprawling plains of Bumthang. Bumthang gets its name from its own geographical feature; it translates as the- valley of thousand plains. Retracing history, Bumthang was a dwelling of the Great Kings and the evil powers. Considering thousands of myths and legends that embrace the valley about the Kings and evil powers, it is claimed that the advent of Buddhism sprang in Bumthang. It was after the invitation of a sick King that a Great Saint of India, Guru Padmasambhava visited Bhutan dating back to 7th century. The saint also brought Buddhism to Bhutan at a time of lawlessness. Going by history, the real treat of the valley are temples and palaces that were built as early as 7th century conserved religiously intact. One look at these temples, we can draw a conclusion that Bhutanese are an exceedingly pious lot. Some interesting places to visit are sacred sites that were built on caves possessing body imprint on a rock of the Great Indian Saint Guru Padmasambhava and burning lake harboring a legendary tale. On the tour, we also visit the Palace of our Kings now transformed into a religious center.
- Day 10 Bumthang – Phobjikha: One of the most inspiring and winding journeys is between this two beautiful valley over a six-hour drive. On way to the glacial valley, the roosting ground of the migratory black-necked cranes, you will see enticing landscapes. When at Phobjikha, visit Gangtey Goenpa- the seat of Nyingmapa sect of Buddhism.
- Day 11 Phobjikha – Thimphu: Starting on early through Nature’s Trail, we will have an abundance of opportunity to take pictures. The valley is really scenic and it is often regarded as the photographer’s paradise. Onwards, we will move to crane center to see a telescopic view of the cranes. After a short stay, we retrace our journey back to Thimphu.
- Day 12 Thimphu – Paro: Embarking on a religious sojourn, we flex up for an hour’s hike to Tango monastery. Along the way, we find so many occasions to take photographs of the scenario that embrace the locality. We also take a small walk by the riverside. The big boulders overwhelmed by mosses with chilling rivulets passing amid it make it a photographer’s delight. After a picnic lunch, we continue our sightseeing around Thimphu visiting centers of culture such as folk heritage museum, Buddha Dordema site and others taking a photography respite.
- Day 13 Paro: The great Nearby there is a teahouse where you can stop for refreshments before returning to Paro for lunch. Another religious and cultural sojourn awaits and this time, it is to the cultural icon of Bhutan- Tiger’s Nest. Precariously built on a granite cliff a 1000 meter above the floor of the valley, Taktshang monastery is a three-hour hike. It will be a full-day activity. The mythology says, 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. En route, at the floor of the valley and beyond, we shall make many stopovers for photography.
- Day 14 Paro: Bid farewell to the happy country.