Bhutan tourism starts with the intriguing moment of flying over the magnificent Himalayan mountain and its breathtaking landscapes. The pleasant land of the last Shangri La is a country where cigarettes are banned; rice is red, chillies are a staple and temples and houses are painted with Phallus. The country is known for its untouched beauty and minimum foreign exposure. Every year thousands of tourists travel here to experience the tradition and culture of Bhutan. The second least populated country in South Asia has a simple lifestyle as the government has isolated the place from western influence. The Buddhist kingdom has a perfect blend of monarchy and democracy, where Gross Natural Happiness is treasured instead of Gross Domestic Product. This tiny country with untouched beauty is located between India, China, and Tibet.
Bhutan is one of the most desired destinations for wanderlust photographers due to its isolation from the outside world. While on a trip to Bhutan, be prepared for unexpected rain, delightful architecture and stories of mythical traditions and local culture.
Bhutan Photography tour highlights –
1. Dzongs of Bhutan
Dzongs or fort-monasteries are found throughout Bhutan. Earlier it was built for military, government and Dzong Lords but now these forts are a popular destination for photographers. Trongsa Dzong, Lhuentse Dzong, Jakar Dzong, Paro Dzong, and Punakha Dzong are few famous fortresses in Bhutan that holds important relics and texts. Dzongs are visited by locals and tourists in large numbers as these have evolved as vital hubs of cultural and religious activities. They also housed many of the regions essential relics and texts. Over the years they have grown to become essential hubs of religious and cultural events.
2. Motorable passes
Highest Motorable passes in Bhutan is the Chelala Pass situated between Haa and Paro valley. The panoramic view of Mountain Jhomolhari covered with snow can be captured from here.
3. Hiking at Paro Taktsang
Also known as the Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest, Paro Taktsang is one of the most important sacred site and Buddist monastery in Bhutan. It is located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley.
4. For a fulfilling experience of photography, you can visit local villages, markets, rural villages to witness the true culture. The simple living style says a lot about Buddhist traditions.
5. Indulge in the photography of monks, monasteries, festivals, and rituals.
Tips from local and foreign photographers:
1. Mask dance and festivals
Bhutan tourism is incomplete without witnessing the Tshechus festival. The festival is held in Bhutan on the tenth day of a month of the lunar Tibetan calendar. So planning your photography tour around the Tshechus festival will allow you to capture several mesmerising pictures of the celebration, mask dance, performances etc.
Recommended time: September to November
2. Learn about the weather and the best time of the month
Bhutan’s weather is unpredictable so before planning a photography trip, learn about the weather in advance. Usually, the recommended months are June-August, when you can do macro photography of lush green landscapes, moody cloud formations, alpine beauty, and wildflowers.
3. Stay in the countryside
If you want to capture the true essence of Bhutanese lifestyle, ditch the city and live in the countryside. Phobjika Valley and Wangdue Phodrang District are the perfect getaway destination for photography.
4. Learn local phrases and offer respect
Learn local phrases like ‘Na gipaa chi tab gay la’ (can I take your picture) and ‘Kadrinchey la’ (thank you). Do not click pictures inside temples and shrines.