Bhutan is intriguing from the moment you start flying over the Himalayas or drive in into its breathtaking landscapes. The blissful country and the last Shangri La is magical as it grows. The Buddhist kingdom is a spiritual and cultural high where the chilies are a staple, cigarettes are illegal, rice is red and houses, temples, schools are painted with the phallus. It is a country with a perfect blend of the monarchy with modern democracy, where Gross National Happiness (GNH) is treasured rather than Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The tiny Himalayan kingdom with a population of 750,000people is landlocked between India, China, and Tibet. Bhutan maintains undisturbed traditional culture because the government has intentionally isolated itself from the influence of the outside world.
Bhutan is the least photographed country due to its isolation and limited accessibility. Its remoteness makes it one of the desirable destinations for the wanderlust photographers. During Bhutan Photography tour, prepare to encounter unpredictable downpour, limited availability of technology, and a culture associated with myth and legends that will enrapture you.
Bhutan Photography tour highlights –
1. Explore the major and grand, intricately built fortresses called as Dzongs at Thimphu, Paro, Punakha, etc.
2. Visit the magnificent and highest motorable passes Dochula and Chelela Pass that offers an enrapturing view of the snow-decked peaks.
3. A day hike to Tiger’s Nest – ( Paro Taktsang) that is mysteriously built on a top of a cliff- a most sought-after destination in Bhutan.
4. Short distance walks in amid the rural areas, quaint villages, open spaces, etc. This will make your Bhutan Photography tour more fulfilling as it will help you have a glimpse in to the real Bhutan experience the rustic feel.
5. Indulge in photography of monks, peoples, heritage structures, landscapes, gaiety markets, festivals, etc.
Important and unmissable tips from experienced local and foreign photographers-
1. Plan your photography tour around Bhutanese Tshechus-
Attractions- majestic religious ceremonies mask dances, people wearing best “ghos” and “kiras” (traditional Bhutanese attire) archery competitions, community festivals, etc.
Recommended time- September to November.
2. Learn about weather, best time of the day, Seasons-
Attractions- monsoon months (June-August) nurtures lush green landscapes, moody cloud formations, alpine beauty, wildflowers, macro photography,
Recommended time- Early morning and afternoons after 3 pm as these are the “golden hours.”
3. Ditch the hotels, book a FarmStay-
Attractions- Quaint Villages, rural life of Bhutan, people, remotest and sparsely inhabited regions.
Recommended places- Phobjika Valley and Wangdue Phodrang District.
4. Offer Respect-
“Wherever you need to take your shoes off, you are not allowed to take photos” – A Bhutanese local to Dylan B. Haskin, Photographer.
Photography inside temples is prohibited.
We recommend- Learn few phrases: “May I take your picture?” – Na gi paa chi tab gay la? And “Thank you”- ‘Kadrinchey la’
Seek permission before shooting and publishing pictures of the Royal family.
5. Charge up wisely-
We Recommend- Buy a proper power strip to charge your gear on your arrival in Paro or Thimphu. Outlets are limited in all areas.
Everyone, pack extra batteries!
6. Clean and protect-
We Recommend- Carry large-sized Rocket Air Blaster, Wet Wipes, paint brush for dust removal. Carry a white umbrella for it can be used to diffuse harsh sunlight and to shield the wind. Carry a microfiber towel to clean the wet gear.
So, come and capture the best moments that will last a lifetime.