Shangrila Photographic Journey

Shangrila Photographic Journey

In-fact everything in Bhutan can be a photographer’s theme that designing a package for the lenses do not sound practical.

However, enabling one to pick out the gem from the jewels is practical, and “Portraits through Lenses,” is the guide for capturing the most beautiful from beauties of the Himalayan Kingdom.

However, there are restricted areas for photography and you will be informed of this by your guide.

There are areas for capturing frames for people from a diverse range of professions. From writers to researchers, scholars and photographers, apart from the ordinary tourist, one can pick your choice of destinations. The historian can capture images of the ruined “Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa” (Drugyal Dzong) build in the 17th century to commemorate Bhutan’s victory from the invading Tibetans. Similarly, climate change scholars can take home pictures of several peaks and if required, the glacial lakes.

A photograph of the “Tiger’s Lair” (Taktsang) – a monastery stuck on a hillock with a deep ravine, will be a masterpiece on your wall, at home. 

Trip Overview

Bhutan is a photographer’s paradise. Its natural beauty is unrivalled as its location in the midst of the Himalayas affords spectacular views of the world’s highest mountains, mind-boggling gorges, waterfalls and other wondrous manifestations of nature. This is complemented by the rich and rare Bhutanese culture with its unique sights and sounds.

Apart from this, you can immortalize Bhutan’s wealth of flora and fauna into your frames. Among thousands of flowers which carpet the mountainsides in spring, there are more than 55 different varieties of rhododendron alone and about 500 species of orchids. This tiny country has over 700 species of birds, more than the whole of North America.

As mentioned earlier, the tour brings you the opportunity to bike and click. You will also be travelling, along different landscapes and geographical areas.

This package includes visits to remarkably architectural masterpieces, embodied in massive Dzongs (fortresses), monasteries and historic places, such as the majestic Punakha Dzong, which from far looks like a giant ship on a mass of still water.  Photography is permitted in most areas.

The package is similar to a guide for photographers and one can do more than just “clicking.”

Tour Highlights

  • Concoction of adventure and culture, offering one the opportunity to bike and visit culturally important structures and institutions.
  • Paro - Taktshang - “Tiger’s Lair,” Rimpong Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels), Ta Dzong (watch tower and now the national museum), Drugyal Dzong (Fortress of the Victorious Drukpa), Kyichu Monastery (a 7th century monastery, believed to be build on the left knee of a giant ogress and one of the 108 temples that the Buddhist King Songsten Goempo built across the Himalayas within a day, to spread Buddhism and subdue evil forces).
  • Similar historic structures in other areas like Thimphu, Punakha.
  • Flora and Fauna.
  • People.
  • Cuisines.
  • Landscape. 

What to bring

For Cultural Tour 

  • A pair of full sleeve shirts and pants to be worn while visiting the dzong, which houses the government offices.A pair of hiking/walking shoes.
  • Foldable umbrella.
  • Hat/Cap
  • Sun lotion.
  • Pair of un glasses.
  • Pair of walking sticks.

Photography Gears 

  • Canon/Nikon DSLR bodies 
  • Wide angle lense, f 2.8, 16-35mm
  • Telephoto lense, f2.8, 70-200mm
  • Prime lenses, 50mm, f1.4 and 85mm, f.18
  • Tripod 
  • Shutter release cable 
  • Sufficient memory cards
  • Back up batteries
  • Camera Backpack 
  • External flash Light

Brief Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrival Paro/Sightseeing/Paro
  • Day 2: Explore Paro/Paro
  • Day 3 & 4 Thimphu Exploration/Thimphu
  • Day 5 Thimphu/Punakha/Wangdue
  • Day 6 Punakha/Wangdue/Trongsa
  • Day 7 Trongsa/Bumthang
  • Day 8 Explore Bumthang/Bumthang
  • Day 9 Bumthang /Mongar
  • Day 10 Mongar-Trashigang
  • Day 11 Explore Trashigang/Trashigang
  • Day 12 Trashigang /Samdrup Jongkhar
  • Day 13: Samdrup Jongkhar/Guwahati airport for onward flight

Detailed Itenerary

Day 1 Arrival Paro/Sightseeing/Paro

Be seated on the left side of the aircraft, keep your camera ready (battery charged, of course), and follow the instructions of the pilot as he/she guides you through the world’s highest mountains, one after another – Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse, etc. On a clear day, the views are nothing short of spectacular.

Get a bird’s view of Paro International Airport, a black strip in a narrow valley that is considered to be among the world’s 10 most challenging airports. Here on, you have entered the “dreamland”, so to speak, for photography. 

Day 2: Explore Paro/Paro

  • Rimpong Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels), National Museum, 7th century Kyichu Temple among several other ancient religious monuments and sites.
  • The ruins of Drugyal Dzong and Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair) Monastery, famed for its religious significance and architectural wonder.
  • Chelela Pass (3,988 meters) and from there stunning views of Mt Jomolhari (7,326 meters) which is revered as the Abode of Goddess Remati. Also, numerous species of alpine flowers, and birds like Himalayan Monal, Satyr Tragopan, and Kalij Pheasant.


Day 3 & 4 Thimphu Exploration/Thimphu

Thimphu is Bhutan in a miniature. There are places that no photographer should miss. These include:

  • Tashichhodzong – the magnificent 500-year old seat of Bhutan’s governance and the palace/office of the king.
  • Parliament Building – An epitome of modern Bhutanese architecture combined with traditional grandeur.
  • Buddha – the world’s biggest Buddha built on the breast of a hillock which commands a spectacular view of the capital city.
  • Sangaygang– The perfect viewpoint for Thimphu city.
  • Memorial Stupa – the most beautiful stupa in Bhutan built in memory of the father of modern Bhutan, king Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.
  • Vegetable Market – For people and culture.
  • Norzin Lam (street) – The busiest place in the capital.
  • Textile Museum, Folk Heritage Museum, School of Art and Craft.

Day 5 Thimphu/Punakha/Wangdue

  • Semtokha Dzong, the oldest monastery fortress of Bhutan.
  • Dochula, the 3,116 meter pass which provides a breathtaking view of the higher Himalayas. 
  • Vegetation from alpine to the sub-tropical, rare birds and flowers.
  • The Wangdue-Punakha valley, farms and villages, ancient monasteries including Chimi Lhakhang (the Temple of Fertility).
  • Punakha Dzong, the old capital of Bhutan and Bhutan’s most prized asset.
  • The ruins of Wangdue monastery-fortress. 
  • The area is the habitat of White-Bellied Heron, the world’s rarest bird.

Day 6 Punakha/Wangdue/Trongsa

  • Verdant forests, rare birds (including the exotic black-necked crane) and animals, and beautiful alpine flowers.
  • Pelela pass (3,390 meters), the Black Mountain range, hamlets along the way.
  • 18th century stupa at Chendebji.
  • View of Trongsa Dzong – the monastery fortress which is one of the biggest in Bhutan and traditionally the power centre of central-east Bhutan.
  • The Watch Tower of Trongsa.
  • Trongsa town. 

Day 7 Trongsa/Bumthang

  • Views of Mangde valley.
  • Yotongla pass (3,400 meters).
  • Bumthang valley, one of the most beautiful in Bhutan, filled with old palaces, historical and religious monuments.

Day 8 Explore Bumthang/Bumthang

  • Jakar Dzong (Castle of the White Bird.)
  • Wangdicholing Palace and Domkhar Palace.
  • The famous Kurjey Temple and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang (temple).
  • Tamzhing Monastery, and the legendary Mebartsho (Burning Lake).
  • Airstrip, villages, nature trails, towns, etc.  

Day 9 Bumthang /Mongar

  • Thrumshingla National Park and the Thrumshingla Pass (3,780 meters).
  • Sengor-Yongkala-Lingmithang area, which is known as the Birding Capital of the World. Has the world’s highest density of birds, including some of the most rare and exotic.
  • Ruins of Zhongar Fortress.
  • Kurichu Hydroelectric Dam and power house.
  • Lingmethang and Mongar towns.

Day 10 Mongar-Trashigang

  • Korila Pass and the surrounding views of the landscape of eastern Bhutan.
  • Yadi zig, and shots of the valley carved by Dangmechu, the biggest river of Bhutan.
  • Gomphu Kora, a great site of pilgrimage for Buddhists.
  • Trashigang Dzong, historically the powerhouse of the regional ruler.
  • Trashigang and Rangjung towns.
  • North Trashigang, the most populated area of Bhutan – local culture, customs, traditions, lifestyle.

Day 11 Explore Trashigang/Trashigang

  •  North Trashigang, the most populated area of Bhutan and the centre of local culture, customs, traditions, and lifestyle.
  • Folk festival, dance and music.

Day 12 Trashigang /Samdrup Jongkhar

  • Dozens of villages along the way.
  • Sherubtse College (Bhutan’s first), Yonphula airstrip, and the adjoining views.
  • Numerous ancient temples and monasteries reroute.
  • Ancient iron smithy at Barshong.
  • Bird watching area at Moshi, Dewathang.

Day 13: Samdrup Jongkhar/Guwahati airport for onward flight.

Total Tour Cost

High Season (March, April, May, September, October & November)

  •   1 Pax: US $ 3220
  •   2 Pax: US $ 3100 per person
  •   3 Pax & above: US 2740 per person

Low Season (June, July, August, December, January & February)

  •   1 Pax: US $ 2680
  •   2 Pax: US $ 2560 per person
  •   3 Pax & above: US $ 2200 per person 


  • Sightseeing seeing as per the itinerary
  • Government Royalty
  • All meals during the tour
  • Three start standard twin bedded accommodation on sharing basis
  • Transportation by foreign vehicle
  • Full time guided tour by certified local tour guide
  • One time visa processing fee, US $40 per person 

Not Included

  • Air ticket, both domestic and international
  • Travel and health Insurance
  • Laundry, telephone, mobile, fax and Internet bills
  • Tips and gratuities for guide and driver
  • Shopping and Entertainment 


  • Arrival refreshment
  • Free mineral water during tour
  • Museum and park fees
  • Free ticketing service for Bhutan Airlines, no commission levied
  • One time cultural program for a group comprising 5 and above

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