Photography tour of Bhutan

Bhutan receives fewer visitors in a year than a large western city does in a day, this Bhutan photography tour is an opportunity for photographers to capture this rarely seen part of the world. This tour is primarily in English however other languages can be accommodated by prior arrangement.

Trongsa Street by David Gardiner

Trongsa Street by David Gardiner

During this tour you will be taken to locations where you will see: Himalayan ice peaks, Forest Giants, rich Fauna and Flora, the Dzongs (monastery-castles), Temples, Chorten, Stupas, Prayer Wheels and Prayer Flags, Traditional Farmhouses, Yak and Horse Caravans and most importantly the Bhutanese people in their natural environment and traditional clothes.

Colorful prayer flags hung over mountain passes and incredible textiles worn by the locals with their deep Buddhist traditions make Bhutan a unique destination that few photographers get the chance to visit.

Traveling into the mountains of Bhutan we see and shoot exquisite temples, timeless farming villages and the towering Himalaya. Explore this unique environment whilst learning and sharing photography tips and techniques to improve your skills and widen your experience. Capture scenes ranging from a lively market in a town to a silent monk sitting in whitewashed dzong. Venture into the forests where wild moss and steep almost vertical land creates an otherworldly atmosphere. Then photograph the breathtaking panoramas of snow-clad peaks at dawn and dusk.

Tigers Nest by David Gardiner

Tigers Nest by David Gardiner


Journey Boutique uses professional photographers with experience of shooting in Bhutan and experienced local guides to guide through an itinerary designed to suit the photographer of all levels from the aspiring to the accomplished. We’ll have time to talk about techniques and during evening reviews we can share and advance our skills to practice the next day.

This tour is for photographers, not trekkers although some hiking is needed to access the Bhutanese landscapes.This tour is comfortable, achievable and carefully designed to suit the needs of photographers who want to stop every hour and take pictures, get up early to see the dawn and wait to photograph the failing light.

As a general rule, it is strictly forbidden to photograph the interior of temples and rooms within the monasteries, in many monasteries you are allowed to photograph in the inner courtyards. Nevertheless, in the courtyards within the Thimphu Dzong, where the offices of H.M. the King and of His Holiness the Je Kempo are located, it is, understandably, prohibited to take pictures. The visitor is advised to inquire before photographing in such places.

In general the people of bhutan are very relaxed about photography and although it is rare for them to pose for a shot they are almost always happy to let you take their picture.

Guarding Tradition by David Gardiner

Guarding Tradition by David Gardiner

The Itinerary

Day 1 | Fly to Delhi

Our journey into Bhutan is through Delhi and we will meet on the evening of day 1 in Delhi at the group hotel. We will have a welcome dinner and meet all the group members in the hotel. The airfare from Delhi into Paro-Bhutan is included in the tour. It is possible to meet up with the group in Delhi or Paro and the cost of the tour can be adjusted if this is the case.

Overnight in Delhi.

Day 2 | Delhi

Wake up in Delhi after breakfast proceed for a combined photography tour of Old and New Delhi visiting the Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Qutab Minar. Get accustomed to your equipment and check you have everything you need. (it is possible to get essential photography equipment in Delhi but we recommend you ensure you have what you need before you leave home)

Overnight in Delhi.

Doorways of Meditation by David Gardiner

Doorways of Meditation by David Gardiner



Day 3 | Delhi to Thimphu (2350m)

A chance to explore the area around the hotel in Delhi during the morning we then have an afternoon flight from Delhi to Paro and then a slow drive to Thimpu to get familiar with the landscape and light of Bhutan as the sun goes down. Normally this drive takes about 1 hour, but with a group of photographers we can keep stopping the Minibus to get new shots till it gets dark.

Overnight in Thimpu

Day 4 | Thimphu (2350m)

Explore Thimpu the modern Capital of Bhutan, visit the National Textile Museum, The Traditional School of painting Arts, see Thangka painting, mask making and wood carving, see a performance of traditional local dancing, visit Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodrang the largest Buddha statue in the country, from there you can get a good view of the Thimphu valley. We will also visit the local market and Memorial Chorten, Thimpu is a chance to explore the way the old and new Bhutan co exist.


Day 5 | Thimpu to Dochla Pass (3150m)

Hike to the Tango Monastery near Thimpu (about a 1 hour hike each way) then go by minibus to Dochla Pass and capture the sunset and the sunrise the next day over the snow capped peaks of the Himalayas, clouds permitting. Overnight in Dochla Pass

Buddhist Students by David Gardiner

Buddhist Students by David Gardiner


Day 6 | Dochla Pass to Punakha (1310m)

Drive from Dochla Pass to Punakha which has one of the most beautiful Dzongs in the country. On the way to Punakha we will visit Chhimi Lhakhang a pilgrim site especially for childless couples which is a half an hour walk across a local village and rice field.

Overnight Punakha

Days 7 | Punakha to Phobjikha (2800m)

Go to the village of Chimi for sunrise then drive to Phobjikha this secluded valley can gets cold at night but we’ll be cosy with traditional log fires. The Gangtey Gonpa Monastery has been renovated, the fine workmanship of Bhutan’s best wood carvers, sculptors, and painters here makes a fantastic

Into the Dzong by David Gardiner

Into the Dzong by David Gardiner

subject for photography. Then set off on a half-day hike, stopping to visit with a village family and meet students at a local school along the way.
 There is a chance the rare and endangered Black Cranes will be in Phobjikha during the Autumn and we will take the opportunity to see them if they are there.

Overnight in Phobjikha

Day 7 | Phobjikha to Trongsa (2300m)

A beautiful and dramatic drive with scenic stops on the way. Trongsa is one of the highlights of the trip with a beautiful Dzong where you will probably see monks engaged in their Buddhist traditions. This area often has a lot of monkeys which can make amusing subjects for photographers.


Traditional Dance by David Gardiner

Traditional Dance by David Gardiner

Overnight in Trongsa

Days 8 | Bumthang (2800m)

After breakfast drive to Bumthang via Yutongla pass (3400m) and cloud permitting capture landscapes and mountains. We will stop at Chummy village to visit yathra weaving central. Where Yathra are made into colourful scarves, bags, blankets and sweater. There are many temples around the Jakar valley and we’ll have a chance to visit some of the quieter ones.

Days 9 | Paro (2250m)

Up early for the first flight to Paro a chance to see dawn light and arrive in paro mid morning. We return back to Paro to photograph the Tigers Nest the most iconic and photogenic of all Bhutanese Monasteries. There is the option of horses to make the trail more

comfortable, but you will need to walk back down the hill after the light has faded over the horizon. The Tigers Nest is a remarkable and fitting and challenging highlight to finish our journey.

Day 10 | Departure to Delhi

We leave Paro on an early flight into Delhi, we recommend you do not book onward flight from Delhi until late afternoon or plan another night or two in Delhi before flying home.

Donkey at Tigers Nest by David Gardiner

Donkey at Tigers Nest by David Gardiner

Photography Tour Inclusions:

The instructing photographer and a local guide are included for this tour. All meals in Bhutan, the Bhutan Visa fee, your return flight between Delhi and Paro ( if you will join from Bangkok, we can meet in Bhutan) all transfers and flights in and around Bhutan, the mandatory Tourism Development Fee, the Bhutan Government Taxes (35%) and all entry fees to temples & monuments. A private minibus for each group which will have plenty of extra room for camera gear.

What’s not included: Drinks, laundry, phones, the internet (there is wifi in some hotels) and your camera.

Group Size: Maximum of 10 people per instructor and guide

Accommodation: A mix of 4 and 3 star hotels, guesthouses and farmhouse stays. Lots of variety. All accommodation is on a twin-share basis unless you select to pay the single supplement.

Meals Included: Full board: breakfasts, lunches and dinners.


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