“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving”
Bhutan is a heavenly paradise especially for photographers who love taking pictures of portraits, landscape, varities flora and Fauna, Regional and local festivals and mesmerising snow-capped Himalayan peaks. Bhutan Through Lens Tours and Treks have their own guides who were trained in basic photography using digital cameras. They are very resourceful person with all the knowledge of perfect time and spot to take photographs, with them we ensure that you will have a infinite jaw dropping collections of a photographs from Bhutan at the end of your tour. Our tour package for the photographers are always flexible. We plan the program according to the demand of the clients. The given below is the sample of a photography tour(note:-you can also plan accordingly to this sample).
Day 1 | Arrive in Paro – Thimphu
We will meet you at Paro International Airport upon your arrival. Our driver and photographer guide will escort us to our hotel in Thimphu (1 hr drive).
We will drive through the scenery Paro Valley towards Thimphu.Thimphu is a capital of Bhutan with a population of approximately 800000. It is only capital city without a traffic control light. Upon arriving in thimphu,we will check into the hotel and take rest from jet lag. In the evening your guide will take you for a orientation walk(note:-dont forget to take your camera gears. Expect the unexpected).
Night at hotel in Thimphu
Day 2. Thimphu
After breakfast, we embark on exploring Thimphu (2,320 m/ 7,609 ft), the capital town of 120,000 residents. Today our first stop will be the Memorial Chorten built in the memory of the third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. We will stop by the weekend market which is now housed in a relatively bigger two storied building. All the locals come here to buy their weekly stock of fresh vegetables, cereals, fruits, meat, spices etc.
In the afternoon, we visit Kuensel Phodrang where the world’s largest sitting Buddha statue is located. It is new and 169 feet tall and has a commanding view. It is largely funded by philanthropic money from Buddhists and well-wishers from Singapore and Hong Kong. We then explore the traditional arts and crafts school (commonly known as the painting school) and the traditional medicine hospital. After lunch at a local restaurant, we to a view point in Thimphu called Sangaygang. There we will have the option to take a leisurely/easy hike of 1-1.5 hours. Later, we drive to Drubthop Lhakhang, the nunnery temple for a late afternoon photo walk.
After an hour drive from Thimphu, the road gradually climbs through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula Mountain Pass (3,050 m/10,000ft.). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, as we descend along a series of hairpin bends to the fertile valley of Lobesa and Punakha (1,350 m/ 4,430 ft.). Before proceeding further to Punakha town, we will eat lunch in Lobesa and hike to the Chimi Lhakhang (temple) on a small hilltop. It is a pleasant 30 minutes hike through the rice paddies and the small village. This temple is dedicated to the great Yogi in 14th century known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as the “Divine Madman” in the west. He preached in the way that is unlike the stiffness of clergy and society of the time; he dramatized the teachings using songs and outrageous sexual humor. Bold Phallus symbols and paintings on the houses or temples are as a result of his influence to date. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. A popular pilgrimage spot for the Bhutanese, it is frequented by childless couples and parents who have difficulty raising children from all over the world.
Continue the drive to Punakha and check into our hotel. After settling in we will have informal discussions on what our guests are trying to achieve in their photography, subject matters, styles and techniques.
Day 4 | Punakha
This morning, we explore the most beautiful Punakha Dzong (Fortress) situated between the two rivers Pho Chu and Mochu (Male and Female River). This fortress is now used as the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (the Spiritual head of Bhutan) and the monk body. It also houses several government offices including that of the Governor. This Dzong had served as the capital seat of the Kingdom for more than three hundred years. We will stop by one of the longest suspension bridges in Bhutan, which is 10 minutes walk from the parking lot near the Dzong. In the afternoon we will explore the Nunnery located on a hilltop overlooking the valley of Punakha and Lobesa. In the evening we enjoy a wonderful dinner. In the afternoon we will hike to the Khamsumyullay Namgyel Chorten, walking through the beautiful valley of kabese, surrounded by the rice fields and chilli gardens. We will also see local people doing a farm work in their respective lands.
Day 5 | Phobjikha Valley
After breakfast, we will drive to the broad and beautiful Phobjikha Valley. This valley also serves as the winter home for the rare black-necked cranes that migrate from the plateau of Tibet when it gets extremely cold. The birds migrate sometime in late October and they return to Tibet in March. The villagers celebrate their arrival. The Black-necked Crane is also known as Thrung Thrung Karmo and is deeply revered as a heavenly bird (lhab-bja), which has harmoniously coexisted with the residents largely due to strong Buddhist beliefs. The lhab-bja appears in the Bhutanese folk lore, songs,dances and historical references. If the cranes are around, you will be able to witness them feeding in the marshy meadow. We will have the opportunity to photographic landscapes and small villages along the way. After check-in we will review our images from the first three days.
Day 6 | Phobjikha Valley
This morning, we start at the beautiful Gangtey Monastery, and hike downhill into the Phobjikha Valley. We will continue our hike to the hotel. Gangtey Monastery (generally known as the Gangte Goemba) enjoys the valley’s prime real estate, on a forested hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha Valley. The extensive complex consists of the central goemba, monks’ quarters, a small guesthouse and outlying meditation centers. Much of the interior and exterior woodwork of the 450-year-old goemba was replaced between 2001 and 2008 due to a beetle-larvae infestation. It is an important monastery including the Nyingmapa School of Buddhism, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition. located in the Wangdue Phodrang District in central Bhutan. We will spend the afternoon visiting and photographing the village and Monastery. If birding interests you, you may visit the crane information center. In the evening we enjoy a wonderful dinner.
Day 7 |Phobjikha -Haa Valley
This is the day we have to prepare for our longest drive of approximately 5hrs. But we will never get tired of this journey. This is the time for you to finish the unfinished work while you are traveling from Paro, thimphu and punakha. We will have tea break and lunch on the way in a local restaurant.
we drive westwards to the pristine and remote Haa Valley, which was open to tourists not long ago. The valley is dotted with fields of millet, barley, and potatoes and full of ancient shrines. Haa Valley is the western most state in Bhutan. It borders the Indian state of Sikkim and Tibet. Haa town is at (2,670 m/ 8,811ft.). The drive will give you an insight into a medieval way of life that has changed little over the centuries. Modern development has brought better education, health care and electricity to these remote areas but the local small farm-based economy that has kept the local people self sufficient over the years is largely unchanged.
Day 8|Haa valley
After breakfast we will hike from the hotel to the two famous monasteries, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple)the hike is approximately 3hrs. We will get a chance to interact with a local people and also have a chance to visit their typical Bhutanese style houses. Lhakhang Karpo is also called Chundo Gompa, dedicated to the chief protector-deity of the valley. The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to be almost identical to that of the Jowo temple in Lhasa, Tibet. Legend has it that local deities assisted in the construction of Lhakhang Karpo and as a result, the place came to be locally known as ‘Hay’ (meaning ‘surprise’) which later became ‘Haa’ due to varying interpretations and pronunciations over time.
Day 9 | Paro (via Chele la pass)
Today we drive to Paro via the Chele-la Pass (3,800 m/13,000 ft.) through blue pine and rhododendron forests. On a clear day there are superb views from the pass of two of Bhutan’s highest and best known peaks – Mount Jumolhari and Jitchu Drake. We will stop here briefly to stretch our legs and enjoy the lovely mountain scenery and then continue down to Paro Valley.
The charming town of Paro lies on the banks of the Paro (or Pa) Chhu, just a short distance northwest of the imposing Paro Dzong. The main street, only built in 1985, is lined with colorfully painted wooden shop fronts and restaurants, though these appear under threat as the town grows and multistory concrete buildings continue to propagate. For now Paro remains one of the best Bhutanese towns to explore on foot and is worth an hour or two’s stroll at the end of a day of sightseeing. Afterwards we’ll check into our hotel, enjoy dinner and retire for the evening for a well-deserved rest.
Day 10| Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest)
After breakfast, our driver will drop us off for a view of the spectacular and famous Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s lair). From here we’ll take the trail to the monastery which climbs through a beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Our hike takes us to the imposing Taktsang monastery. Built in the 1600s, this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. It is believed that in the 8th century, Guru Rimpoche, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, landed here on the back of a flying tigress to subdue a demon. Guru Rimpoche is supposed to have meditated here for three months and it is considered a Mecca for Buddhists.
Upon our return to the car, we drive further up the valley to Drukgyel Dzong (the fortress of the victorious Drukpas) built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to celebrate victory over Tibetan invading forces and also to curtail further invasions from the enemy. The route is picturesque, and the site of Dzong magnificent (from here, only two-day hike to the border with Tibet). From here, on a clear day, you can get a magnificent view of the Mount Jumolhari (7,314 meters / 23,990 feet). After returning to town, we prepare for our festive “Farewell Dinner”, discuss the events of the trip, share our favorite photos and enjoy the fun and laughter.
Day 11 | Depart Paro
After an early breakfast in the hotel we drive to the Paro International Airport (a short distance away) for our departure. We urge you to reach at the airport 2hrs ahead of the schedule time. At the airport our guide and the driver will say good bye to you all, the formal way of saying good bye in our National language is”Tashi Delek” means have a safe journey and see you soon.