BHUTAN – EXPLORATORY PHOTO TOUR 2025
US$8,595 / person sharing
13 – 20 Mar 2025
Few countries in the world can claim to have the mystique that surrounds the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan. Essentially isolated from the intrusion of the modern world until the latter half of the 20th century, Bhutan offers, without doubt, one of most fascinating cultural experiences on earth. Thanks to a small population and its Buddhist traditions, Bhutan has avoided the environmental ravages that have left its neighbours’ forests sadly degraded, and much of the scenery is quite spectacular. Here, majestic mountain passes littered with prayer flags give way to pristine forests often dominated by massive dzongs (temple-fortresses), and we will have an opportunity to view up close the impressive artwork that adorns these structures and interact with the devout Bhutanese people.
This Bhutan photo tour’s highlights will include cultural photo sessions with the unique and distinct Layap and Brokpa people, the annual Paro festival, which is one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan, as well as visits to picturesque dzongs and monasteries, including the impressive cliff hugging Tiger’s Nest.
Penny Robartes and ORYX Photo Tours look forward to welcoming you to the most pristine landscapes in all of the mighty Himalayas to the Kingdom of Bhutan!
Why This Photo Tour Is For You
This morning is the start of our Bhutan photography tour, and after arriving in Paro, you will be collected at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The afternoon’s activities will include a welcome blessing and spiritual cleansing by the High Lama at a monastery, followed by a private sacred song and dance performance, which will be held at a heritage home, and ending off the day by visiting Rinpung Dzong.
his morning after breakfast, we will drive to Thimphu, the Bhutanese capital, which is just over an hour’s drive. Here we will aim our cameras at traditional Bhutanese religious and folk dances, with performers in traditional attire and in some cases, sacred masks as well. Along with urban street photography in Thimphu’s city centre, we will also pay a visit to the Centenary Farmers Market, and in late afternoon, we will attend a prayer ceremony with some local monks before closing out the evening with dinner.
As the sun rises on the third day of our Bhutan photo tour, we will visit the Buddha Dordenma Statue, otherwise known as Buddha Point, which sits at a vantage point and overlooks Thimphu. We move onto Takin Preserve, which is hidden in a fold of the forest-draped hills high above Thimphu, and home to the Bhutan Takin, and will then transfer to Punakha, which will take approximately 2 hours. In the late afternoon, we will visit Dochula Pass, and after a full day of activities, we will retire to our hotel for the evening.
Today will be a culture infused day as we head into the alpine forest and focus our lenses on the Layaps, a distinct segment of the Bhutanese society with unique culture, traditions and appearance. We will be able to capture the lives of the Layaps, and will end our day with a cultural song and dance around the bonfire.
Our adventure continues this morning as we depart very early (approximately 04:00) for our road transfer to Gaza (approximately 3 hours). Here you will have the opportunity to witness the less seldom visited Gaza Dzong Festival. Photographic oppurtunities are endless and truly a highlight of the Bhutan Exploratory Tour. This afternoon we will have a riverside picnic before embarking on a leisurely stroll through the paddyfields to reach Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the Fertility Temple, which is a monastery located in the Punakha district of Bhutan. We will then transfer back to Punakha to rest and relive the incredible memories of the day.
The impressive fortress and monastery of Punakha Dzong serves as a magnificent reminder of the Bhutanese devotion to their religion. This was the second of Bhutan’s dzongs to be constructed and until the time of the second king it served as the seat of the Bhutanese government. This afternoon we will have a riverside picnic before embarking on a leisurely stroll through the paddyfields to reach Chimi Lhakhang, also known as the Fertility Temple, which is a monastery located in the Punakha district of Bhutan. We will then transfer to Paro, which will take approximately 3 hours, and rest for the remainder of the day.
Our last full day sees us visiting Bhutan’s most famous (and easily recognisable) landmarks, Taktsang Monastery – best known as “Tiger’s Nest.” From a distance, this iconic building seems to float, weightless, halfway up a sheer cliff-face, 900m (3,000 feet) above the floor of the Paro Valley. For lunch, we will enjoy a local picnic, which is a unique experience as home chefs prepare traditional delicacies and fusion dishes while only sourcing natural ingredients that are local to the valley. In the afternoon / evening, we will embark on some urban street photography in Paro city centre and enjoy one last dinner together.
Today after breakfast we will make our way to the airport as our Bhutan adventure comes to a close.