Incredible photo tour to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon. A kingdom as magical as the dragon that symbolizes it, join us on this photographic journey to one of the most secluded places on the planet.

Trip Type

Photo Tour

Activities

Landscapes, People, Portraits, Cultural

Starts in

Bangkok (BKK)

Day One

November 27, 2021

Group Size

4-8 Participants

Fitness

Moderate

WHY A PHOTO TOUR TO BHUTAN

The backdrop to this photography tour is a small Kingdom nestled in the eastern Himalayas, between Tibet, China, and India, rich in ancient traditions, Buddhist sites, friendly people, and a vast expanse of natural beauty. 

Carried from generation to generation, and still in practice today, the cultural heritage in Bhutan is strong and unique. This is a place that has defied globalization and chosen to remain a hidden gem. Very few make it to Bhutan, and even the most seasoned travelers consider a privilege to visit.

The flawless combination of photographic opportunities and a pristine environment is what makes Bhutan a paradise for photographers.

More than a photo tour, this is an authentic expedition to document and photograph the places and culture to one of the few untouched places on earth.

The spirit of this kingdom will spark your awareness and creativity. The natural beauty of Land of the Thunder Dragon will resonate in your heart for years to come through the photographs you will make in this photo tour.

 

OUR PHOTO TOUR TO BHUTAN

Our Bhutan photo tour is an extraordinary adventure, limited to only eight participants. 

Designed to take you to the most stunning locations, this photo tour to Bhutan will guide you to places often overlooked, even for the people that visit here.

Since flights to Paro are limited, our group will gather in Bangkok, and from there, we will fly together to the Paro International Airport in Bhutan. 

Our photo adventure will take us east to the remote valley of Tashigang. To avoid back-tracking and save time, we will take a domestic flight there. By heading to Tashigang, first, we will travel only in one direction, west, to our starting point Paro, thereby avoiding long travel times by vehicle. In this manner, we will move only in one direction, rather than both ways, giving us more time for photography than on other similar tours.  

 We will start our adventure in Paro and fly east to Tashigang; from there, we will explore Tashi Yangtse, Mongar, Gangtey, Trongsa, Bumthang, and of course, Punakha and Thimpu. 

During our journey, we will photograph and interact with locals, monks, visit farmhouses, monasteries, and stunning fortresses not to be found anywhere else, all framed by the majestic Himalayan mountain range. 

A photo tour and adventure certainly not be missed, with exceptional opportunities to capture images and memories that will last a lifetime. 

 

When: November 27 to December 11, 2021.

Who: Open to all skill levels, non-photographer spouses are welcome. 

Group Size: Minimum 4 People, Maximum 8 People.

Where: This photo tour starts and ends in Bangkok, Thailand. Airport Code (BKK).

Fitness Level: Easy to Moderate/Active. Most photo opportunities are within easy walking distances from the vehicle and up to a maximum of 2 miles or so from our parking location. For the most part, the photo tour will feature long days, with a full and active itinerary. You need to be comfortable walking over cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails. Also, we are rating some activities as moderate/active. Potentially in two excursions, we will need to hike a little bit longer with some elevation gain. For example, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a 4 mile, roundtrip, with 3,000 feet elevation gain. These hikes are limited to a couple of days, and they are optional. (At Tiger’s Nest, horse and mule transport will be available to transport you to an excellent viewpoint of the monastery. A café is located here for drinks and relaxing.). The average altitude Bhutan is 2,500 meters; we will spend most of the time in the valleys that are way lower than this, however, at times we will reach high passes (while in the vehicle) up to 3,500 meters during our journey. Some days may require early morning departures and later evening returns. 

The tour is open to all levels of photographic skills, from beginner to experienced. However, there will be no formal workshops or critiques. We will share knowledge and skills along the way, in the spirit of real adventurers.

Itinerary Detail

November 27, 2021

Day 1 | Arriving in Bangkok, Thailand, Airport code (BKK) | (D)

After arriving in Bangkok, you’ll be greeted and transferred to your hotel. Today you’ll meet your tour leaders, the other guests, and enjoy the first meal together.

Overnight at Hotel around Bangkok Airport (tbd).

November 28, 2021

Day 2 | Bangkok to Paro | (L, D)

Today, we will take an early flight to Paro.

The flight into Bhutan takes us close to the high Himalayas, offering dazzling scenic views of some of the world’s highest glacial peaks.
As we enter Paro valley, we will sweep past forested hills with the silvery Pa Chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley below.

On arrival, we will transfer to our hotel, and we will have lunch.

After lunch, we will visit the Rinpung Dzong (Paro Dzong), the fortress of the heap of Jewels built in the 17th century. Afterward, we will explore the Paro village town.

Overnight in Paro, Hotel Naksel Boutique, or similar

November 29, 2021

Day 3 | Paro | (B, L, D)

Today we will start early in the morning to hike and photograph one of Bhutan’s most recognized symbols, the Taktsang monastery, better known as Tiger’s Nest. The round trip is about six kilometers and will take about four to six hours, but we’ll take it slowly to enjoy the vistas. For this special day, we have also secured horses (mules) that will cover the first half of the trek; the decision is yours to ride them or send your gear up.

In the late afternoon, we will visit and photograph Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in the country. After our visit, you will have an opportunity to take some well deserved time to rest and soak yourself on a traditional hot stone bath before heading to dinner at a local farmhouse.

Overnight in Paro, Hotel Naksel Boutique, or similar.

November 30, 2021

Day 4 | Paro to Tashigang | (B, L, D)

Today we will take a domestic flight from Paro to Yonphula and drive towards Tashigang. A beautiful serene valley also called “the jewel of the east”; we will have lunch there.

After lunch, we will visit the Merak village, home to semi-nomadic indigenous people called Brokpas and highlander yak herders. Merak is a little village with about sixty households surrounded with beautifully enthralling plains. We will interact with locals and delve deeper into their social, cultural, and religious structures of this unique community. Experiencing the peaceful and raw lifestyle of its people in this village will undoubtedly be an eye-opener.

Overnight in Tashigang, Hotel Druk Dhejung, or similar.

December 1, 2021

Day 5 | Tashigang | (B, BL, D)

Today we’ll be focused on capturing the Bhutanese way of life.

This morning, we’ll head over Tashi Yangtse. On the way, we will visit the temple of Gomphu Kora and the Doksum village, where we will photograph women weaving traditional Bhutanese fabric.

Tashi Yangtse was an important center; the area is famous for its wooden containers and bowls. Here, we will also photograph the Tashi Yangtse Dzong, which overlooks the town.

In the evening, return to Tashigang.

Overnight in Tashigang, Hotel Druk Dhejung, or similar.

December 2, 2021

Day 6 | Tashigang to Mongar | (B, L, D)

Today we will start early in the morning to visit Tashigang Dzong, the “fortress of the auspicious mountain.”

After our visit, we’ll start our drive towards Mongar with a detour to see and photograph the Dramtse Gompa, one of the most important monasteries of eastern Bhutan. From here, we will do a short downhill hike to the Baging village to photograph the farmers and immerse ourselves in this rural village life.

Overnight in Mongar, Wangchuck Resort, or similar

December 3, 2021

Day 7 | Mongar to Bumthang | (B, L, D)

We will start our journey early in the morning as the drive to Bumthang will typically take around seven hours. However, there will be a few stops to photograph along the way.

The road to Bumthang offers the most spectacular views in the country. We’ll pass along the ruins of Sengor Dzong; we’ll also stop at Namling waterfall and the Ura village.

Depending on the number of stops and time spent, we may reach Bumthang in the late evening.

Overnight in Bumthang, Hotel Mountain Lodge, or similar.

December 4, 2021

Day 8 | Bumthang | (B, L, D)

We will start in the morning with a visit to the temples Kurjey Lhakhang and Jambay Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.

After lunch, we will photograph the Tamzhing Monastery, founded in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It contains interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Later on, we will head to Jakar Dzong to capture images of the dzong and monks. Finally, we will stop at the local market area before returning to the hotel.

Overnight in Bumthang, Hotel Mountain Lodge, or similar.

December 5, 2021

Day 9 | Bumthang | (B, LB, D)

Today, we’ll explore and photograph the fantastic Tang Valley.
We will drive north of Bumthang and enjoy one of the most remote valleys in Bhutan, the Tang Valley.

In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Ogyen Choling village & mansion. The photographic opportunities will include the ancient library, armors, textiles, and the local lifestyle.

Overnight in Bumthang, Hotel Mountain Lodge, or similar.

December 6, 2021

Day 10 | Bumthang to Phobjikha| (B, L, D)

Day ten of this photo tour to Bhutan will take us to Phobjikha by taking a scenic drive and stopping in Trongsa.

We will have time to stroll the quaint village of Trongsa, and we will photograph the Trongsa Dzong, ancestral home to Bhutan’s monarch. Here, we will have the opportunity to photograph the fortress and the resident monks.

Continuing on our journey, we will stop briefly at the Chendebji Chorten, which according to belief, was built to cover the remains of a demon spirit, continuing, we will visit the original home of the royal family.

Depending on the time we spend at the stops, we may reach Phobjikha towards late evening.

Overnight in Phobjikha, Hotel Dewachen, or similar.

December 7, 2021

Day 11 | Phobjikha to Punakha | (B, L, D)

In the morning, we will a short walk at the Gangtey Nature trail; this is one of the most beautiful nature trails in Bhutan. This walk takes about an hour through a pine forest and small bamboo plants. From here, we will get stunning views of the Phobjikha valley, and we will also observe the Black Neck Cranes.

We will photograph and have lunch at the Gangtey Monastery, followed by a stop at the village of Rinchengang before reaching Punakha.

Overnight in Punakha, Hotel RKPO Green Resort, or similar.

December 8, 2021

Day 12 | Punakha | (B, L, D)

We will start our day with a walk to the temple Chimi Lhakhang through rice fields and farmhouses. It’s a forty-five-minute walk from the car park until we reach the temple. This place is also known as the “Fertility Temple” and has exciting legends and stories of the divine mad monk and crazy wisdom teachings. We will have lunch at Sop Sokha village with a local family in a traditional style.

After lunch, we will photograph one of the most important fortresses in Bhutan, the Punakha Dzong, magnificently standing between two rivers, Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu; male and Female River.

To conclude our day, we will visit the Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge, this bridge is known for being the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan. From the bridge, we’ll be provided spectacular views of Punakha Dzong and the Pho Chhu Valley.

Overnight in Punakha, Hotel RKPO Green Resort, or similar.

December 9, 2021

Day 13 | Punakha to Thimphu | (B, L, D)

Today we will start our drive towards Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.
On the way, we will stop at the Dochula Pass, famous for being surrounded by more than one hundred small stupas and fluttering prayer flags.

Upon reaching Thimphu, we will visit and photograph the most iconic places within the town, like the National Library, a painting school, the general post office, and have lunch in the traditional Bhutanese style.

After lunch, we visit the National Memorial Chorten and will end up the day photographing the world’s tallest Buddha statue, from there we will have a fantastic view of the Thimphu valley and city.

Overnight in Thimphu, Hotel Druk, or similar.

December 10, 2021

Day 14 | Thimphu | (B, L, D)

Our last day of exploration on this photo tour to Bhutan will take us to visit the Cheri Monastery. To get there, we will have to hike up to the hill for about one and a half hours. Nowadays, the monastery serves as the main meditation center of the country and has more than 70 monks undergoing their three-year retreat.

On our return, we’ll visit Tango Goemba, a Buddhist institute for higher education.

The afternoon will be free for shopping at the craft Bazaar, which is the ideal place for souvenir shopping.

Overnight in Thimphu, Hotel Druk, or similar.

December 11, 2021

Day 15 | Thimphu | (B)

This is the conclusion of the photo tour to Bhutan, today you’ll be transferred to Paro for the flight back to Bangkok.

The price of the tour includes: 

    • 14 nights of accommodations in twin/double sharing basis as listed above.
    • Meals, 12 breakfasts, 13 lunches, and 14 dinners. (Includes non-alcoholic beverages and tips).
    • Daily government royalties. 
    • 2 photo tour leaders.
    • Model fees and camera fees in each city.
    • Local English-speaking Guide.
    • Air-conditioned ground transportation and included driver.
    • Excursions and activities as listed above.
    • All monuments and monasteries entrance fees.
    • Daily bottled water
    • Porter fees at airports, tips for hotels, and waiters.
    • Government tax and service charge.

The price DOES NOT include:

    • Your flight or other travel to Bangkok.
    • Your flight from Bangkok to Paro (approx $ 950.)
    • Internal flight in Bhutan (approx $ 275.)
    • Visa fee to Bhutan $ 40.
    • Tips for your guide and driver.
    • Meals and snacks that were not listed above.
    • Alcoholic beverages.
    • Personal travel and medical insurance. 
    • Medical expenses.
    • Personal spending (souvenirs, spa treatments, laundry, etc.)
    • Optional activities, anything outside what’s listed above. 
Daniel Korzeniewski

Daniel Korzeniewski

Tour Leader

Photography is more than a passion for Daniel; it’s a golden opportunity to document the world and share unique cultures with people across the globe. Embarking upon his creative path at the age of 17, he has since shot assignments, commercial work, and lifestyle campaigns. However, his primary focus is on travel and landscape photography. During the last few years, Daniel led photo tours in Morocco, India, Peru, Cuba, and Vietnam. Daniel is fluent in both, Spanish and English.

George Plucienkowski

George Plucienkowski

Tour Leader

George is an adventure/travel photographer based in Miami; however, most often, he is traveling somewhere in the world. His passion started in his youth; the love for photography has never stopped growing for the 40 plus years. His unique approach for developing itineraries, for arranging high-quality excursions, and guiding people to unique locations yields the capture of great images. He brings all of his experience and knowledge to share it personally with each participant.

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Bhutan is one of those places that you will never forget, just getting there is a truly unique experience. 

This Bhutan photo tour offers a great combination of photographic opportunities, from landscape to people, street, and monastic life so that you will have plenty of shooting possibilities.

While several photography tours are being offered to Bhutan, none of them provide a similar experience. This tour is designed to take you off the beaten path; we are going where others don’t. 

This photo tour to Bhutan is limited to only eight participants, with two tour leaders. You will get the most from this incredible experience. 

Just do your due diligence and compare the number of days, meals, and accommodations. 

Bhutan is extremely safe. Crime and petty theft are almost non-existent in all over the country. In sum, yes, Buthan is very safe to trave

We have rated this tour as Easy to Moderate/Active.

Most photo opportunities are within easy walking distances from the vehicle and up to a maximum of 2 miles or so from our parking location. 

For the most part, the photo tour will feature long days, with a full and active itinerary. 

You need to be comfortable walking over cobblestones, city hills, stairs without handrails, limited or no access to elevators, muddy/slippery walking/hiking trails.

Also, we are rating some activities as moderate/active. Potentially in two excursions, we will need to hike a little bit longer with some elevation gain. For example, the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a 4 mile, roundtrip, with 3,000 feet elevation gain. These hikes are limited to a couple of days, and they are optional. (At Tiger’s Nest, horse and mule transport will be available to transport you to an excellent viewpoint of the monastery. A café is located here for drinks and relaxing.). 

The average altitude Bhutan is 2,500 meters; we will spend most of the time in the valleys that are way lower than this, however, at times we will reach high passes (while in the vehicle) up to 3,500 meters during our journey. See below for more information. 

Some days may require early morning departures and later evening returns. 

No vaccinations are officially required for a visit to Bhutan. You should check a travel immunization clinic and check with your doctor.

Take along any prescription medication with sufficient supplies, as those might not be readily available in Bhutan.

It is wise to use an insect repellant against mosquitoes, especially in forested areas.

Altitude sickness is the adverse health effect of being rapidly exposed to low amounts of oxygen on a high altitude location.

Altitude sickness typically occurs only above 8,000 feet (2,500m) though some people can feel affected at lower altitudes.

General symptoms may include headaches, tiredness, dizziness, trouble for sleeping, and vomiting. Symptoms usually develop within the first day at altitude but may be delayed by up to 2 weeks.

During the photo tour to Bhutan, the locations with high elevation are the following:

    • Paro: 7,200 feet (2,200m)
    • Tashigang: 3,510 feet (1,070m)
    • Bumthang: 9,185 feet (2,800m)
    • Phobjikha: 9,800 feet (3,000m)
    • Punakha: 4,075 feet (1,242m)
    • Thimphu: 7,656 feet (2,320m)

If you are unsure or uncomfortable about how the altitude may affect you, you should visit your physician before traveling to Bhutan. Your physician can prescribe a medication for altitude sickness.

October to December is the ideal time to visit Bhutan as the air is clean and fresh with sunny skies.

Bhutan in December is relatively mild, with clear, crisp skies and pleasant weather.

While most of the Himalayan regions are already getting cold in December, Bhutan is still a relatively warm country. Even at the higher altitudes of Thimphu and Paro, the temperatures only get down to below freezing at night in the most extreme cases. Average temperatures across the northwest of the country, where most of the major attractions are, range from 4 to 12 degrees Celsius, making it a pleasant time of year to visit.

The central region of the kingdom is still reasonably warm in December, and with almost no snow or rain, it is an ideal place to travel to for trekking and sightseeing. Days can reach as high as 12-14 degrees in Trongsa, and Wangdue Phodrang, a stark contrast to the near-freezing temperatures in Paro and Thimphu.

The Bumthang region is colder than most areas, with highs of just 11 degrees during the day and almost -4 degrees at night. This colder weather is pleasant, though with bright sunshine that makes you feel much warmer, and crisp.

We recommend concentrating on trekking/outdoor clothing and hiking shoes with ankle support.

We recommend wearing layers. The fact that Bhutan is situated within the Himalayas, during the night the temperature drops and could be warm during the day. So wearing layers to accommodate the fluctuations is the best approach.

Wear long sleeves and pants to avoid mosquito bites.
We recommend packing an insulated light rain jacket and extra warm layers for those cold nights and mornings. Don’t forget your sunglasses.

A valid passport with at least six months of validity is needed to enter Bhutan.

All International travelers wishing to enter Bhutan require a visa. This Visa must be pre-arranged through a licensed Bhutanese Tour Operator or one of their international partners.

We will take care of obtaining an e-visa for you before travel Bhutan via our travel partner.

The Visa cost is $ 40 US Dollars, and it will be billed with your final invoice.

It is required that all of our guests have their own travel insurance, which should include evacuation for medical reasons.

Bhutanese currency is known as the Ngultrum. Its value is tied to the Indian Rupee, which is also accepted as legal tender.
Although Bhutanese Ngultrum only circulates in Bhutan, foreign currencies can be exchanged for Ngultrum. If you’re planning to exchange, it is better to carry big notes in US dollars.

ATMs are available in major towns around Bhutan; however, once we go to most isolated areas, it will be difficult to find ATMs. The best option is to get cash out in Paro before we venture east.

Unique properties, boutique hotels that can offer a historical or cultural feature, close to where we need to be. 

But as we always strive for the best, some locations are more remote, and we need to settle for convenience instead of comfort. The list of the preliminary hotels booked for each location is listed here. 

However, keep in mind that there could be occasions where it won’t be possible to obtain final confirmation. In such a case, we will replace it with a hotel of a similar category. 

On or around forty-five days before the trip, you’ll receive a list of final confirmed hotels:

The most distinctive characteristic of Bhutanese cuisine is its spiciness. Chillis are an essential part of nearly every dish and are considered so important that most Bhutanese people would not enjoy a meal that was not spicy.

Rice forms the main body of most Bhutanese meals. It is accompanied by one or two side dishes consisting of meat or vegetables.

Pork, beef, and chicken are the meats that are eaten most often.

However, a wide selection of western and Indian food is also available in many of the restaurants around the country.

Yes, it is possible to connect to a cellular network in Bhutan. If you’re planning to buy a local SIM Card, the phone must also be unlocked.

B-Mobile Sim and TashiCell are the dominant communication providers in Bhutan. All offer a variety of mobile phone and home internet plans.

All hotels in major cities have internet access and wifi.

But keep in mind that connectivity might be touch-and-go, but in a country that is still largely disconnected from the outside world, this is one of the best things about traveling in Bhutan.

Bhutan uses 230 volts and the standard frequency 50hz. The used power plugs and sockets are of type D, F, and G.

Also, keep in mind that if your devices run at 110 volts only, you’ll need to bring a converter to avoid frying the electronics.

1) Booking procedure:

    • All prices for the tours are quoted in US Dollars.
    • To book a place in the selected photo tour, we require a deposit. The deposit is due at the time of booking. The deposit shall be paid online via credit card. 
    • Other than the deposit, you need to fully complete the registration form for you and your guests, if any. 
    • If you are traveling solo and want to share a room, we will try our best to find you a match. However, if, for any reason, we don’t find a suitable match, the single supplement fee will apply.

We will send you an email shortly after confirming your booking. Do not book your flights at this time unless otherwise indicated by us. We will let you know once the minimum number of guests to run the tour has been reached. 

2) Balance of Payments:

The final payment for the trip is 90 days before departure. Such payment shall be made via credit card or wire transfer. Failure to meet the payment schedule will result in cancelation and forfeit of deposit. 

3) Cancelation and Refunds

If, for any reason, DAK Photography Inc. must cancel the trip, 100% of paid deposits will be fully refunded. We reserve the right to cancel any trip/tour/group due to insufficient registration at any time. In the event of such cancellation, those with reservations shall be notified as soon as possible, and a full refund of trip payment will be given. 

If a guest needs to cancel, we must receive written notification, email is accepted. 

The following cancelation fees apply:

    • 120 days or more before departure: no charge.
    • 91 days to 119 days before departure: 50% of the deposit.
    • 61 days to 90 days before departure: 50% of tour fee.
    • 60 days or less before departure: 100% of tour fee.

In the event that you have to cancel, we will do our best to fill your spot. If we do so, we will refund 100% of the tour fee less an administrative fee of $ 150.- 

Refunds will be not be made for any other costs you may have incurred as a result of your booking. 

Travel and medical insurance that includes emergency evacuation coverage are mandatory. We recommend that you purchase this as soon as the trip is confirmed to protect your investment. 

Pricing Information

Price:  $5,975 US Dollars.

Single Supplement: $890 US Dollars.

Flight from Bangkok to Paro: Approximately $ 950 to be determined/billed within 90 days before departure.

Internal flight in Bhutan: Approximately $ 275 to be determined/billed within 90 days before departure.

Deposit: $595 US Dollar, secures your spot.

Balance: Due 90 days before departure. Full terms and conditions in FAQ. 


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What you will photograph in Bhutan

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