Bhutan Photography Tour

Bhutan Photography Tour

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Bhutan Photography Tour

DETAILED PROGRAM (7Nights/8Days):

A desire for a unique destination is what drives photographers to Bhutan be it professional or amateur there is indeed a SUBJECT for everyone; the country remains largely untouched even today with its pristine landscape, rich biodiversity and rich Buddhist culture which translates into the daily life of people. Depending on your choice of subject, photography tour can be undertaken any time of the year; however, spring and fall are ideally the best time to view Bhutan through the lens. During this period weather is mild and sunny with clear blue skies and many of the important religious festivals also fall during these seasons.

 

If you are a bird watcher, the endangered black-necked crane arrives in Bhutan in October and stays until March; however not limited to only this subjects. The charm of Bhutan has never failed to inspire and delight photographers and funny it may seem these photographers return yet again, to take a shot at the same subject, however viewing it from a different perspective, so is the magic of Bhutan mired in myth and mystery.

Day 1
Arrive Paro, Transfer to Thimphu Valley (1hr/54kms)

On a clear day, the flight to Paro is breathtaking, with views of major Himalayan peaks such as Everest, Kanchenjunga and Makalu, and on the final approach Bhutan’s own snowy peaks, the sacred Jhomolhari, Jichu Drake and Tserimgang. On arrival at Paro airport and after completion of airport formalities, you will be met by your Ati Jong representative. Drive from Paro to Thimphu, the modern capital town of Bhutan and an exciting blend of tradition and modernity.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel. Afternoon visit *Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery; the only nunnery in the Capital it is popularly known as Zilukha Anim Dratshang. Located few minutes’ drive from the town. It was built in 1976 by the 16th emanation of Thangtong Gyalpo, Drubthob Rikey Jadrel. You may interact with some 60 nuns or so that has devoted their life to spirituality and Buddhism.

Free or program may be arranged, according to choice. Evening, you will drive to Mini Zoo where Takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region and the head of this animal looks like that of a goat and body of a cow/yak and before sun set drive to Sangay gang view point (2685 meters) to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley (Overnight at Druk Hotel)

Day 2
Thimphu Valley Exploration:

Thimphu, perhaps the most unusual capital city in the world, is the seat of government. This bustling town is home to Bhutan’s royal family, the civil service, and foreign missions with representation in Bhutan. It is also the headquarters for a number of internationally funded development projects.

Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes visits to:

Visit * Statue of Sakyamuni Buddha (51.5mt bronze), sitting on top of Kuensel Phodrang hill. This site offers unobstructed views over the Thimphu Valley.

Did you know that Bhutan has set a world record for tree planting in 2016? A team of 100 volunteers in Bhutan set a new world record by planting 49,672 trees in one hour. The record was set under the watchful eye of the Statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Bhutan is proud of its efforts towards the conservation of the environment.

* National Memorial Chorten- the building of this landmark was originally envisaged by Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who had wanted to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is both a memorial to the Late King (“the father of modern Bhutan”), and a monument to peace.

* Folk Heritage Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insights into Bhutanese material culture and way of life.

* Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

* Institute for Zorig Chusum: Commonly known as the Painting School, the Institute offers a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. On a visit one can see students learning the various skills taught at the school.

* Tashichho Dzong: The “fortress of the glorious religion” was initially erected in 1641 and rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s. Tashichho Dzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. It is open to visitors during the Thimphu Tsechu (held in autumn) and while the monk body is resident in its winter quarters at Punakha Dzong.

In the evening, take a stroll along the town’s main street. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 03: Transfer to Punakha & Explore (3hrs/74kms)

After early breakfast, drive up to Dochu-la pass (3,088m/10,130ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chortens, Mani walls, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the high Himalayan peaks towards the northeast will be revealed in all their glory. On a clear day, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendegang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m), Jejegangphugang (7,158m), Kangphugang (7,170m), Zongaphugang (7,060m) a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana, and finally, Gangkar Puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Then continue the drive to Punakha Valey. Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and central monk body. Hike to the nearby Chimi Lhakhang, a temple dedicated to the "Divine Madman", an eccentric monk from the 16th century famous for many his many amusing, Rabelaisian folklore stories.

Rest of the day at leisure. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 3
Punakha Valley Exploration

Today, you will begin the day with hike up through fields of rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999.

After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the kingdom. Damaged by fire, flood and earthquake over the centuries, it has now been fully restored in its original splendor.

Evening stroll through the town area. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 4
Punakha Valley Exploration

Today, you will begin the day with hike up through fields of rice along the banks of the Mo Chhu to the upper end of the valley to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten, a stunning monument recently built by the Queens and consecrated in 1999.

After lunch visit Punakha Dzong, built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, has played prominent role in civil and religious life of the kingdom. Damaged by fire, flood and earthquake over the centuries, it has now been fully restored in its original splendor.

Evening stroll through the town area. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 5
Transfer to Paro (4hrs/130kms):

Morning drive to Paro and visit:

Visit Ta Dzong, formerly a watchtower and now the National Museum. The museum collection includes ancient Bhutanese art and artifacts, weapons, coins, stamps and a small natural history collection. Then visit Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) situated at a commanding height overlooking Paro valley. Built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646, this Dzong now houses Paro’s monk body and the offices of the civil administration and is symbolic as the religious and secular center of all affairs of the valley.

You will also visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 6
Day Excursion to Haa Valley

We start the day early for the drive to Haa via Chele-la pass. After driving 4 km. to Bondey village, we take a side road and begin the steep climb up the hillside to Chele-la (3,810m/12,573ft), reaching the pass after a 45 km. drive upwards through blue pine & rhododendron forest. On a clear day there is a superb view of Mts. Chomolhari and Jichu Drake from this point, we will stop here briefly to stroll around and enjoy the lovely mountain scenery.

Then continue on to Haa (2670m/8,811ft), descending all the way for another 22 km., finally reaching Haa after about an hour’s drive.

After lunch, we visit two famous monasteries, Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). The central shrine in Lhakhang Nagpo is said to be almost identical to that of the Jowo temple in Lhasa. Legend has it that local deities assisted in the construction of Lhakhang Karpo. 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.

The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa valley were called ‘Me Rig Puen Sum’ especially after the event of the Lhakhang Karpo construction. Today the three hills are popularly known as ‘RigSum Goenpa’ signifying three deities, Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrezig (known in Sanskrit as Manjushri, Varjapani and Avalokiteshvara, respectively). These are the three principal bodhisattvas (Buddhas to be) among the thousand future Buddhas to come, and representations of them are to be found in every lhakhang (temple) and household shrine room.

Later, other Buddhist saints like Guru Rinpoche and ‘Machi Labdorn’ came to this place, Jungney Drag, in Haa and blessed the locality. After Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal unified the country under the Drukpa Kagyupa sect of Mahayana Buddhism in the early 17th century, the chief guardian deity of Haa became Ap Chundu.

Evening drive back to Paro. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 7
Taktsang Hike:

In the morning, take an excursion to Taktsang Monastery, also known as Tiger’s Nest. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche, founding father of the Bhutanese form of Mahayana Buddhism, arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery. The main structure was severely damaged by fire in 1998, but after many years of painstaking restoration work, the complex has now been fully restored to its former glory. (Overnight at Hotel)

Day 8
Depart Paro:

Early breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to onward destination.

Please note that some of the sights/itinerary may change due to season, weather, national holidays, and special events. We maintain the rights to alter the itinerary since tours are made in advance and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve your overall travel experience in Bhutan.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.