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Land Of The Thunder Dragon – 12 day Bhutan Photo Tour

£4,250 per person (24th Jun – 5th Jul 2020) – Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, Tiger’s Nest – BOOKING CLOSED

From the moment your flight touches down in Paro airport you know you are somewhere special. This is a country that has kept itself isolated through the ages. As a result, ancient rituals, culture, and even the dress code have been preserved. From picture-perfect fortresses and temples to colourful masks and costumes, adventure awaits. Our 12 day Bhutan Photo Tour of The Land of the Thunder Dragon will not disappoint.

Paro festival dancers on a Bhutan photo tour

This epic 12 day tour starts in the capital city of Thimphu. We will drive over mountain passes that offer some of the most stunning views in the world. In the shadow of the imposing mountains, we tick off the ancient cities of Punakha and Trongsa. Along the way, we will photograph the beautiful Phobjikha Valley, and learn about the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan in Bumthang. By the time our journey ends you will know why The Kingdom of Bhutan is a photographer’s paradise.


Why you should come on our Bhutan photo tour

Our Bhutan photo tour is designed to guide you to the most photogenic locations at the perfect time of day. We will teach you how best to utilise the light available and to aid you in visualising and preparing a scene. Bhutan is still relatively off the usual tourist trail. This makes it an ideal photography location.

On this photo tour, we will help you train yourself to see and harness your creativity. You will learn how to survey the landscape, and utilise your environment. We will teach you how to approach and photograph people. Not only will you take home an amazing set of images, but continue to put your new skills to use. Our time together will include individual and group discussions, inspiring ideas, and even a few local brews.

novice monks at prayer in Bhutan

Bhutan Photography Tour Itinerary

 

Day 1 – Bangkok => Paro => Thimphu (L, D)

You’ll meet your photo tour leader at Bangkok airport and catch an early morning flight to Paro international airport. On a clear day you will be captivated by the amazing scenery of mighty mountains all around. We will be met at Paro airport by our local guide and will begin the short drive to the capital city of Thimphu. This afternoon our photoshoots get going by exploring Paro. It’s then on to a temple where we will capture some wonderful photos of the locals as they spin the prayer wheels that you’ll see all over Bhutan. Our day ends with a sumptuous welcome dinner.


Day 2 – Thimphu => Punakha (B, L, D)

We start our day with an early morning drive up to a lookout point that gives an amazing view of the city, and the mountains in the background. Then it’s a short drive to the Big Buddha that overlooks the city which is the biggest sitting statue of Buddha in the world. After our early morning shoot we drive to the riverside town of Punakha via Duchula Pass. We’ll stop for lunch and some photos at the pass. At over 3,000 meters high, the view is simply breathtaking. Once we arrive in Punakha we will head to the majestic Punakha Dzong. Our shoot for the day ends with a blue hour shoot of the Dzong.


Day 3 – Punakha (B, L, D)

Today we will spend the day exploring the rest of Punakha including a nunnery, the temple of the Diving Madman, and a short hike to a prayer wheel that overlooks the city.


Day 4 – Punakha => Phobjikha Valley (B, L, D)

After an optional sunrise shoot and breakfast, we’ll begin our drive to the Phobjikha Valley. This is a beautiful valley and home to the critically endangered black neck cranes birds that migrate here during the winter months. The drive to Phobjokha Valley is spectacular and on our way, we will stop at a monastery that overlooks the valley. You’ll be sure to see monks standing around and roaming in its courtyard. This afternoon we’ll head up to a viewpoint to capture some beautiful sunset shots of the valley.


Day 5 – Phobjikha Valley (B, L, D)

It’s an early morning start as we drive to a beautiful spot to hopefully capture the early morning mist that sometimes fills the valley. After a leisurely breakfast we will visit a local school where we will be able to photograph the kids playing during the lunch-time break. Our late afternoon shoot involves some young local monks who will be our models. Our location offers fantastic views of the valley, not to mention prayer flags and even a simple but beautiful stupa. The combination of the landscape and the monks makes for fantastic photo opportunities.


Day 6 – Phobjikha Valley => Trongsa => Bumthang (B, L, D)

We have another opportunity to capture the mist in the valley with an early morning shoot. Then after breakfast we make the long drive to Bumthang. En route, we will stop at the awe-inspiring Trongsa Dzong – arguably the most impressive in Bhutan. After spending a couple of hours exploring the many different courtyards that are often dotted with monks and locals, we continue on to Bumthang.


Day 7 – Bumthang (B, L, D)

Bumthang is an important region in Bhutan. This is where Buddhism started and spread across modern-day Bhutan. Our day involves visiting no fewer than four important temples and a nunnery. Then after a couple of hours to relax in the afternoon we drive up high into the mountain to visit a local temple during evening prayer. As the lights go out and the candles light the prayer hall, we will be allowed to photograph the monks praying. This is an incredibly unique experience as photography is strictly forbidden in temples in Bhutan!


Day 8 – Bumthang Festival (B, L, D)

Today we witness the splendid colour and costumes of a Bhutanese festival. The Bumthang Jakar Tshechu festival lasts for three days. It is the official Bumthang District’s festival of the year. The Festival takes places inside the gigantic Jakar Dzong. There will masked dances by the Buddhist Monks as well as songs and dancing from the local villagers. It is truly a sight to behold. 


Day 9 – Bumthang => Punakha (B, L, D)

We have an optional sunrise shoot planned for this morning where we will drive to our lookout point to photograph the Dzong that overlooks the city. We will be hoping for mist in the valley which will give a wonderful serene look. After our shoot and breakfast, we make the long drive back to Punakha stopping on route for lunch and photos. After our long drive, we will enjoy a barbecue dinner around the fire at our hotel.


Day 10 – Punakha => Paro (B, L, D)

It’s a relaxed start to the day before we drive to Paro. In the afternoon we will have a private photo shoot with a group of male and female masked dancers who will dance and model for us in the local setting of a farmhouse. After our shoot, we will be given a demonstration of traditional Bhutanese cooking and will enjoy dinner in a local farmhouse.


Day 11 – Paro (B, L, D)

It’s our final full day in Bhutan and it’s finally time to tick off that bucket list item. Today is all about the famous Tiger’s Nest monastery that sits high on the mountain face. We will make the tough hike up to capture those postcard shots of the monastery. We will then enjoy a delicious catered meal before walking back down. For those who are not tired, there is an optional stroll around Paro town where you can indulge in some shopping. Later in the evening, we will have a blue hour shoot of Paro Dzong from the riverside. Then it is time for our farewell dinner together.


Day 12 – Paro => Bangkok => End of Tour (B)

After breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport and will fly back to Bangkok. Upon arrival, we will say our goodbyes and go off on our onward journeys.

Tigers nest monastery in Bhutan

Monk in Punhaka Dzong

 

Novice monks

 

Monks in dzong

Monks reading

monks posing for a photo

 

What's included on our Bhutan Photo Tour

Includes

– Professional photographer and English speaking guide

– Accommodation for the duration of the tour

– All tour related ground transport

– Meals during the tour as indicated in the itinerary

– Bottled water daily throughout the tour

– All entrance, zone and camera fees

– Fees for local models, monastery and nunnery donations

– Bhutan Visa fees  

Excludes

– Flights to and from Paro from Bangkok (estimated cost $750)

– Any meals not included in the itinerary

– Alcoholic drinks

– Personal purchases such as souvenirs

– Additional activities such as hot stone bath, spas or massages

– Flight upgrades

– Personal travel or medical insurance

– Medical expenses

– Gratuities for hotel porters, local guides or driver

– International flights to and from Bangkok to home destination

Bhutan Photography Tour – BOOKING CLOSED

Prices Quoted

Prices quoted are for double occupancy. You will be paired with someone of the same sex if you do not have a travel partner and request a roommate – if one is not available you will be charged the single supplement.


Single Supplement

An additional £550 per person will be charged for the duration of the tour for single supplement.


Return Flights To Bhutan Not Included

The cost of your return ticket (around $750) from Bangkok to Paro is not included in the cost. But we can book this on your behalf if you need us to. We do not add any markup to these flight costs so you only pay the actual cost of airfare.


The cost of this photo tour is £4,250 per person. £750 to reserve your spot, with the balance due 120 days prior to the trip.


NOTE: There must be a minimum of 6 people registered for the tour. Do not book your flights until we inform you that we’ve reached the minimum number of people.

Booking is now closed for our 2020 tour to Bhutan. Add your name to our waiting list for photo tours of Bhutan and we will inform you of any future dates.


Tailor-Made Tours

If you prefer not to travel with others we can also arrange private photography tours. These are designed bespoke to your needs. To find out more click here.

Additional Information

Tour Leader: Kav Dadfar

Kav is a professional photographer and co-founder of That Wild Idea. He has a wealth of experience in photographing high-end stock shots as well as shooting assignments and commercial work for various clients over the years. His images have been used by the likes of Condé Nast, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, American Express, multiple National newspapers and many more. As a regular writer for various photography websites, Kav has written over 350 articles on photography.


Group Size

The group size for this photo tour is a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 10 guests.


Experience

This photo tour is ideal for beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers but even non-photographers are welcome on this tour.


Difficulty

There will be some walking involved during this tour. If you are in good health and fitness level, you will be fine. This tour is NOT recommended for people with mobility issues.

Equipment

You don’t need expensive or professional equipment for this photo tour. We would recommend DSLR or mirrorless cameras and a tripod for this tour. Filters will also come in handy but are not essential.


Transport

Whilst in Bhutan we will be travelling via a private coach driven by licensed and insured drivers. 


Visa

Please check if you require a visa for Bhutan. Visa costs are included in the quoted tour price. To find out about visa requirements please click here.

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