Photography of Bhutan

Photography of Bhutan

Photography of Bhutan is a 9 Nights Photography Tour in Bhutan. The itinerary covers the Valley of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha/Wangdue and Gangtey/Phobjikha. It also covers the highest motorable road in Bhutan, the chelela pass from where the views are stunning. The itinerary is designed taking into considerations the requirements of a photographer.

This tour can be customized and can be combined with with any other activities or interests as per the convenience, comfort and requirements of the travelers traveling to Bhutan.

Tour Highlights

  • Opportunity to Photograph Nature and Culture at its best.
  • Opportunity to Photograph unique Art and Architecture of Bhutan.
  • Opportunity to Photograph the High Himalayas.
  • Visit less traveled places and one of the most beautiful places in Gangtey/Phobjikha.
  • Breathtaking views of the Himalayas and the nature from the Dochula pass, Chelela Pass and Lawala Pass.
  • Opportunities to walk around less touristy places and villages.
  • Opportunity to explore Gangtey/Phobjikha valley (one of the most beautiful Glacial valleys in the Himalayas), Paro valley, Thimphu (the capital city of Bhutan without traffic lights) and the Punakha Valley (the old capital of Bhutan)
  • Travel hassle free with your own guide and driver. Travel as per your convenience and visit places as per your interest. We are flexible with the itineraries except for the confirmed overnight destinations. Enjoy a real holiday.
  • Personal attention by the tour operators.
  • A private traditional cultural show and experience of the traditional hotel stone bath.
  • Wonderful day hike to the abode of gods and monks, the world famous, Taktshang Monastery (Tigers’ nest)
  • Visit to the age old Lhakhang (Monasteries/ temples) and dzongs ( Fortress)
  • Opportunity to explore villages, visit to village houses and interact with local people.
  • Opportunity to play archery (the national game of Bhutan) and many more.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1. Arrive Paro/ Drive to Thimphu

Driving Distance: 65 Km, Driving Time; 1.5 – 2 Hr, Altitude of Paro: 2280 M, Altitude of Thimphu: 2350 M

On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.

On arrival you will be received by your Bhutanese Guide with “Tashi Khadar” and Drive to Thimphu with stops at different places for photography. Check in Hotel.

After lunch,

Visit the main traffic to photograph the unique traffic that does not use traffic lights. Instead a Traffic police directs the traffic with exaggerated hand motions. This could be the most unique collections to their photographs.

Then visit the National memorial Chorten to photograph Bhutanese of different age groups, the butter lamps and the moving prayer wheels. Sometimes there will be ceremonies going on which would give additional unique pictures for the collection.

National Memorial Chorten: Built in 1974 in the honor of our late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

After breakfast, sightseeing includes:

After dusk drive to Zilukha to photograph the night view of Tashichhodzong.

Night view of Tashichhodzong: We shall be taking photographs of the night view of the Dzong (Fortress). It indeed looks fascinating with the lights surrounding it.

Night view of the National Memorial Chorten: The memorial Chorten shall give you another different and beautiful shot due to lights around it in the night.

Dinner with your Bhutanese host s as you converse in regards to Bhutan. Traditional Cultural Show over the dinner.

Overnight in hotel.

Day 2. Thimphu

Altitude of Thimphu: 2350 M

Wake up early morning at around 5 am in the morning and drive to the Nyingmapa Buddhist Nunnery, to photograph the morning prayers and incense brining session by the nuns in the Nunnery.

The nunnery is situated approx 9 km from Thimphu Town and is one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan.

Dive back to Thimphu and visit a school for photographs of the morning assembly and prayers. We can have beautiful collections of young Bhutanese children.

The go to the hotel and have breakfast. After breakfast, visit Kuenselphodrang.

Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing which has the largest Statue of Buddha Sakyamuni on the top of the Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.

Photograph the Buddha Statue, the bird’s eye view of the Thimphu Valley from west you shall also have the shots of Simtokha Dzong from here.

Then visit the Zorig Chusum (The school of 13 Bhutanese traditional arts and crafts)

Photograph the students working on various arts. Then visit Mr. Pema Tshering on Work.

Mr. Pemba Tshering, 33 years old from Thormashong, Tsakaling, Mongar was born with cerebral palsy. He cannot use his upper limbs and uses his legs for carving, painting and daily chores like cooking, washing clothes etc. He is a great source of inspiration.

Then visit Mr. Kheng Sonam Dorji, a renowned musician in Bhutan. Converse with him in regards to Bhutanese Music. A private performance if situation favours. He is the Managing Director of The Music of Bhutan Research Centre.

The Music of Bhutan Research Centre (MBRC) was founded in 2008 to document, preserve, and promote the traditional music of Bhutan. Under Sonam’s leadership, MBRC aims to break new ground by professionally researching, recording and archiving the many musical traditions of the country’s diverse regional, linguistic and ethnic groups, and by documenting the finest living master musicians in performance and interviews.

We shall have a typical Bhutanese lunch at the Folk Heritage Restaurant today.

After lunch, visit Sangaygang view point to photograph the prayer flags and the view of Thimphu valley. Besides it would be great experience to have a soothing breeze after your heavy Bhutanese meal.

Then visit the Takin Preserve Center. The Takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region. Photograph the Takin.

Then drive to the Lungtenzampa Bridge to Photograph the business of the Thimphu town. School children returning home, travelers traveling, etc.

By 4:30 Pm, dive to Tashichhodzong to Photograph the flag hoisting ceremony.

Then visit the Tashichhodzong. The unique architecture outside and inside the Dzong is worth adding to your collection.

Drive back to hotel and relax.

Day 3. Thimphu – Punakha

Driving Distance: 76 Km, Driving Time; 3 Hr. approx., Altitude of Punakha: 1310 M

After breakfast, drive to Punakha. On the way, stop at places in Hongtsho and Yushipang for photography. Then drive further to Dochula Pass.

Stop for a photography session in Dochula pass.

Dochula pass is the most known pass in Bhutan; about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang/Punakha. It is at around 3150 M height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khamgzang Chhortens which is believed to bring multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.

Interests for photography:

  • The Dochula Pass
  • The Drukgyal Wangyal Chhortens
  • The Himalayan Ranges
  • Prayer Flags
  • Flora and Fauna.
  • The Dochula Temple

Drive to Punakha. As you near Punakha, you shall have a fascinating view of the Punatshangchhu River and the Wangdue valley for photography. You shall also come across simple villagers, villages and unique farm houses for which you wouldn’t hesitate to stop a while for a shot.

Lunch on the way. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 4. Punakha – Gangtey/Phobjikha

Driving Distance: 70 Km approx., Driving Time; 3 Hr. approx., Altitude of Phobjikha/Gangtey: 2900 M

After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha. Take enough time on the way to photograph the different villages, landscapes and people.

After lunch, photograph the one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas. This is also the winter place for the endangered Black Necked Cranes. No time is enough to have all the shot possible here.

You shall also have the opportunity to meet and photograph local villagers and interact with them to get an insight into the Bhutanese way of life. You shall also visit villages. The people in farms, etc.

Drive and explore the inner villages and lifestyle in Phobjikha

In the evening visit,

Gangtey Goenba: Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 5. Phobjikha/Gangtey

Altitude of Phobjikha/Gangtey: 2900 M

Full day photography in this beautiful and remote valley. You can also drive to Gogona Valley for photography.


  • Valley and nature,
  • People and culture and way of life,
  • Art and architectures
  • Mountains and landscapes,
  • Agricultural fields and farmers
  • Black necked Cranes (Only in the winter months Late October – February)

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 6. Gangtey – Punakha/Wangdue

Driving Distance: 130 Km approx., Driving Time; 4 Hr. approx., Altitude of Trongsa: 2300 M

After breakfast, drive to Punakha/Wangdue. Afternoon,  excursion to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten.

The excursion through the Paddy Fields, villages could give you a good time and good photographs.

Visit Khamsum Yulley Monastery. The Monastery you have a very good view of the Punakha Valley.

Then explore villages in the upper parts of Punakha. Capture scenery and villages and the rural people.

Day 7. Punakha/Wangdue – Paro

After breakfast, reach the Punakha Dzong at 8:30 in the morning and wait at the entrance of the Traditional Bridge. Photograph the government servants coming to the Dzong for their days work. Photograph the way they put on their Kabney and Rachu (Scarf Bhutanese have to wear in visiting important places. The prayers flags fluttering in the traditional Bhutanese bridge and the flowing river, and the Dzong between two rivers shall definitely give you very good moments to capture.

Take photographs in the courtyards of the Dzong, iconography, monks, etc.

Punakha Dzong: This Dzong was built by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1637. It is built at the junction the Pho Chu and Mo Chu Rivers. The annual Punakha Tshechhu (Festival) is held here. The monk body resides in this Dzong in winter.

Then visit the Chhimi Lhakhang.

The excursion through the rice fields and the valley is a good sight for photograph. You also come across people working in the field during specific seasons.

On the way there is a shop which sells different kinds of handicraft “Phallus”. This makes a unique photograph and souvenir collection.

Visit Chhimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15th century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Devine Madman.

(Note: The road widening is going on between Punakha and Thimphu, in this regards it is better to start early so that we do not get struck in the road blocks).

After lunch, drive to Paro. In the evening free time to explore the Paro town and Valley. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Day 8. Paro

After early breakfast, drive to Chelela pass to photograph the higher Himalayan Mountains and the fluttering prayer flags in the morning sun. You can also put your own prayer flags here.

Chelela Pass is the highest point between the Haa valley and Paro valley at an altitude of 3810 m. This place gives a very good view of the Himalayan Mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari. The place also gives good view down towards the Haa valley. A lots of prayer flags flutter in the place.

Drive back to Paro. After lunch, visit;

Rinpung Dzong:  Meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. The Dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for around 200 monks of Paro and was built at the same time of Drukgyal Dzong. The famous Paro Tshechhu (festival) is held here in spring.

Ta Dzong: It overlooks the Rinpung Dzong and was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This Dzong is Round, more like parts of the European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha, etc.

In the evening, photograph the town and the business in town. Visit Handicraft shops for souvenirs.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 9. Paro

After breakfast, you have to reach the Drukgyal Lower Secondary School, where they have the learning centre for special children (Most of them are deaf and dumb), they have a unique way of doing their morning assembly with actions (since they cannot say their morning prayers like in other school).Photograph their morning assembly and the special children in their classes.

Then excursion to Taktshang Monastery.

From the base we will hike for about 2 hrs up hill. Hiking uphill is difficult but the prize that waits in reaching the top is just unimaginable.

In reaching the top, the views downhill, the fluttering prayer flags, the rocky hill and the Taktshang Monastery everything awaits you here longing to be captured. Take your perfect shots precisely selecting your location and choosing what you want to photograph. After the photography session visit the Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s nest Monastery).

Taktshang Monastery; The primary Lhakhang was built surrounding Guru Rimpoche’s Meditation cave in the 1684 by Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay.  This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava flew here on the back of a tigress.

Walk back to the base. After lunch, drive to the Village House and spend your time there. You models for the day are the people in the village house. Photograph the different activities going on in the house. Photograph the daily life in a village in Bhutan.

Learn from her the rural day to day life in villages in Bhutan. Take a traditional hot stone bath. And participate in household activities (if you are interested) such as preparing Bhutanese dinner, milking cows, etc.

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

After dusk, as soon as the lights are on, drive to a location near the Paro Rinpung Dzong to take its perfect shots. The night view of this Dzong (fortress) with the lights around it makes a perfect creation to capture. You may take your shot from different possible location so that you have your perfect shot.

Dinner in and overnight in the Bhutanese village house.

Day 10. Departure

After breakfast, drive to Paro airport and departure with priceless arts and memories.

Important Notes

The comfort, convenience and interest of the travelers is very important to us. We are flexible with the itinerary. Sightseeing can be done as per the convenience and interests of the guests. If it is of interest to the guest, they may choose to visit places that may not be in the itinerary, except for the change of overnight destination.

We reserve the right to change the itinerary or hotels anytime as may be required to, in case of unforeseen contingencies (natural/man made) or unavailability of hotels.

Some of the sites to be visited may be closed on government holidays or during breaks. In such cases we shall do other sightseeing in its place.

This itinerary can be tailor made for any duration or within any destination and can be combined with any kind of activities such as trekking, rafting, walking tour, cycling , etc.

It is advisable to book tours in Bhutan at least 6 months prior to the travel date because of limited Bhutan tourism infrastructures and inventories.