Date: 2019 Dates TBC
Duration: 12 Days
A 12 day tour starting in the capital of Bhutan, Thimphu, where we will visit one of the largest Buddhist statues in the world, a traditional painting school, an impressive fortress and a hand-made paper factory, before ending with a traditional folk dance at a traditional farmhouse, giving us ample opportunity to witness and photograph daily life. From Thimphu, we drive to Punakha through the Dochula Pass, sitting at 3100 metres above sea level, with 108 Buddhist shrines and stunning views across Himalayan valleys. From here we meander through Metsina village and rice fields before stopping at Chimi Lhakhang, nicknamed 'The Temple of the Divine Madman', after its founder, a 15th century lothario monk, named Drukpa Kunley, set about denouncing celibacy as a necessary path to enlightenment. At Punakha we visit its largest temple, which scenically sits on the convergence of the Mo and Po Chhu rivers. Following Punakha, we head to the Black Necked Crane Centre in the beautiful Phobijkha glacial valley, which is the winter home of Tibetan cranes, although we will be slightly early for their migration period. We’ll also stop off to view the well preserved murals at the Gangtey Monastery, before continuing our journey east through the watchtower of Trongsa, a traditional textile and weaving centre and onto Bumthang, which translates as beautiful field and is where the Jambay Lhakhang Festival is held. The festival is known as a Tshechu and takes place in one of the oldest monasteries in Bhutan. It is performed by resident monks, who don elaborate silk costumes and masks whilst performing a number of dances and comical plays depicting Buddhist scripture. On the first evening there is a black hat and fire dance ritual, to mark the opening of the festival. The following day there are a number of performances, depicting mythological tales of the struggle between ‘good and evil’. Whilst at the festival in Bumthang, we will also visit Ura Village, which consists of 40 dwellings with cobbled streets, giving it a rustic ambience, and explore the surrounding countryside within the Ura Valley. Heading back west to Paro, we visit its weekend market, which is always great for street photography, before ending the tour with a trek to the iconic Taktsang or ‘Tiger’s Nest Monastery’. The monastery sits perched high on a cliff face, 3120 metres above sea level, with, on a clear day, a view of the magnificent Mount Jomolhari. Following our trek, we will return to our hotel for a farewell dinner before flying out the following morning. If the above tour through ‘The Land of the Thunder Dragon’, sounds like your kind of adventure click on the itinerary button below for more detailed information.
Who are these tours for?
These tours are suitable for all those who enjoy travelling and taking photographs. Whether you are a photography enthusiast looking for a tour built around maximising photographic opportunities or a travel enthusiast interested in exploring photography as part of your travel experience.
As Bhutan is still somewhat off the beaten track and demand for accommodation often outstrips supply, hotels are usually charged at a higher premium, in comparison with neighbouring destinations. Along with our local supplier we have elected a budget that will offer good 3 star accommodation, whilst keeping our price to you as competitive as possible. As per all our tours we aim to secure the best available accommodation within our budget and include local heritage hotels where ever possible.
If you are a photography enthusiast, apart from getting you to great photographic locations, these tours cover an incredibly broad range of subjects within a compact time frame, including street photography, environmental portraiture, historical architecture, wildlife and landscapes. They will give you the opportunity to test the capability of your camera and every lens in your kit, whilst exploring different genres and refining your creative style. You will return with a large and vibrant body of work and due to the range of genres covered, these tours serve as a great platform for creating images worthy of entering into photography competitions.
If you are a travel enthusiast with a passion for travel, but have previously felt your photographs didn’t quite reflect the depth of your experience, these tours are a great combination of a culturally immersive tour, with a practical introduction into digital photography, giving you an opportunity to assess whether delving further into photography will enhance your travel ventures, through a gallery of beautiful images that more accurately portray your experience.
Intro to digital photography
For those that do not currently photograph in semi-automatic mode, use RAW files and/or digitally process their photographs, your tour leader is happy to introduce you to photographing in aperture priority and digital processing using Lightroom software. Please note this is a entry level introduction, to give those new to photographing outside of full automatic mode, a flavour of what can be creatively achieved with user input. Depending on the number of requests, this is either carried out on a one to one basis or as part of a group and is fitted in around the itinerary in a practical format. For intermediate and advanced users already doing the above, these tours are built to maximise travel photography opportunities, at optimum times, whilst travelling with fellow photography enthusiasts.
The tour leader for this tour is Melissa Fileppi, who has designed this tour with the aim of offering flexible and more affordable photo-centric tours, as a vehicle for travel and photography enthusiasts to tour with like minded individuals. To explore Melissa's photographs view her Instagram feed by clicking button below:
These tours are relatively fast paced to ensure you experience the highlights of each region, with an average stopover of 2 nights. If you are uncertain about its suitability, we advise reading the itinerary before booking. As quick guidance, so long as you enjoy being active on holiday and taking photographs, you will revel in the visual extravaganza and cultural stimulation of these tours. Regions of this tour reach high altitude so we advise being aware of possible risks, although rare, of high altitude sickness, particularly if you haven't been skiing or mountain trekking before.
Maximum group size: 6 - 8
*currently our group size does not exceed 6, however if demand is high we will consider a max of 8
Accommodation (incl. breakfast), all entrance and day excursion fees, land transportation, driver, local English speaking guide and above tour leader for groups of 3 or more participants.
International and internal flights to and from the arrival and departure city. Meals and drinks outside of breakfast, visa applications, criteria not listed under 'what's included'.