Bhutan Photography Expedition
17th to 27th March 2019
US$ 4,200.00 per person (twin sharing), add US$ 1,200.00 for single occupancy.
Minimum 4 to go, maximum 6 in a group.
Starts / Ends:
Explore and hone your photography skill at one of the world’s most exclusive destinations that has earned itself a reputation for a well protected cultural and nature heritage. This photography expedition coincides with PARO TSECHU, a religious festival celebrated in spring. Bhutan is a familiar ground for Caroline. She has spent a year photographing the kingdom. Her photography work has been published in Drukair's inflight magazine throughout 2017 and few other travel magazines.
In The Media
Read about Caroline's journeys and discoveries of Bhutan since 2015, published in six part series throughout 2017 in the inflight magazine of Drukair, Bhutan's national airline. Digital copy can be viewed here.
Caroline Pang Photography is one of the TENS mentioned in 10 Places to sign up for photography workshops in Singapore by Marie France Asia.
Go On A Virtual Journey Of Bhutan:
Itinerary - 11 Days
Day 1: Arrive Paro (2,200 m)
You will be met on arrival at Paro international airport and check in to your hotel. Our orientation of Bhutan will be at the National Museum. Tonight, we gather for a welcome dinner followed by a briefing on the next day’s activities. Overnight at Mandala Resort in Paro. (L, D)
Day 2: Paro
Paro Tsechu is one of the most celebrated religious festivals of the Bhutanese Tantric Buddhism. We will join the local at Rinpung Dzong, where the festival will be held, to witness sacred dances called the Cham and rituals. There are many opportunities to photograph the people of Bhutan, their colourful culture and dances. We will explore Rinpung Dzong, also known as Paro Dzong, built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Rimpoche to protect Paro valley from the frequent Tibetan invasions. Dzongs are fortresses. Today, Rinpung Dzong serves as the administrative office of Paro district and a monastery that houses 110 monks. Overnight at Mandala Resort in Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Paro - Thimphu (2,320 m)
Today we leave Paro and drive to Thimphu (2,320 m), the capital city of Bhutan. In Thimphu, we will visit Tashichho Dzong, a fortress that houses the throne room and offices of the King and his government. The lighting of the dzong is very impressive at night. We will stay a bit longer for the light to come up and work on some night photography from outside the gate of the dzong. Overnight at Namgay Heritage Hotel in Thimphu. (B, L, D)
Day 4: Thimphu - Punakha (1,300 m)
Today is an early rise to get to Buddha Point for a panoramic sunrise view of Thimphu. This is a good opportunity to work on timelapse photography, capturing the first light of the day. A huge Buddha Dordenma statue sits on top of this mountain overlooking the valley. Later in the morning, we drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan. We will pass by scenic landscape of the valley which is filled with farmland. A chance to photograph farmers and activities around. We will take a walk along rice fields and farmhouses to Chemi Lhakhang, popularly known as the Fertility Temple. Built by Lama Nawang Chogyel in 1499, this temple is for barren women who come to pray for a child. Overnight at Meripuensum Resort in Punakha. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Punakha
We start the day with exploring Punakha Dzong. This is one of Bhutan’s magnificent dzongs and it has held a number of historical monastic events including the crowning of the first King in 1907. The current King was married in this dzong in 2011. It is also the winter residence of Bhutan’s Chief Abbot. Then we continue to visit other historical sites in Punakha with many opportunities to photograph architecture, people and landscape. This evening we will photograph the beautiful sunset landscape of Punakha. Overnight at Meripuensum Resort in Punakha. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Punakha (3,300 m)
Today we spent the day hiking in the valleys of Punakha, venturing into villages, temples and farms. We will have plenty of opportunities and time to photograph the locals and their daily farm life and the spring wilderness of Bhutan. Overnight at Meripuensum Resort in Punakha. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Punakha - Phobjikha (3,300 m)
This morning, we leave for Phobjikha valley, the largest reserved wetland in Bhutan. The valley is a habitat to the black-necked cranes that migrate here at the end of October and goes back to Tibet in March. This is the only species of crane found in Bhutan. Phobjikha valley is spectacular in spring, filled with blooming flowers, villages and stunning landscape. Overnight at Hotel Dewachen in Phobjikha. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Phobjikha
Today we will go on one of the beautiful hiking routes through pine forest, farmlands and wetlands at 3,300m. It will be another spectacular photography day, out and about exploring farms, forest and interacting with villagers along the way. Our hike ends near our overnight hotel. On a fine day, the valley usually has a beautiful sunset. Overnight at Hotel Dewachen in Phobjikha. (B, L, D)
Day 9: Phobjikha - Paro (2,200 m)
We leave Phobjikha for Paro passing the amazing Dochula mountain pass. We will be making stops along the way to photograph the changing landscape, and whenever we discover something interesting along the way. We are expected to arrive Paro in the late afternoon. Overnight at Mandala Resort in Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 10: Paro
We will go on a morning hike to the Tiger Nest Monastery at 3,120 m. This is one of the holiest and popular pilgrimage monasteries for Buddhists around the world. As we slowly hike uphill, we will at some point discover some spectacular sight of Paro valley. This evening, we gather for a farewell dinner. Overnight at Mandala Resort in Paro. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Departure
Transfer to the airport for our flights home. (B)
Pre-Trip Notes Before You Book
1. Trip Starts / Ends
2. Minimum / Maximum Participants
4 persons to go / 6 persons
US$ 4,200.00 per person (based on twin sharing), add US$ 1,200.00 per person for single occupancy.
11 nights of accommodation with a mix of 3 / 4 STARS hotels and boutique lodges, activities as stated, private transportation, meals as stated, entrance fees, tourism royalty and taxes imposed by the government of Bhutan, visa, high season surcharge and local English speaking guide.
International airfare, airport tax, camera and video fees, excess baggage, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at meal time, laundry, tips to guide and drivers, personal travel insurance, additional expenses incurred should there be any re-routing due to weather, floods, political disruptions, strikes, riots and other disturbances, and any items and services not mentioned on cost inclusions.
From March until April, the weather is mostly dry and windy. It is spring and also a great time for nature exploration. Temperature varies according to the altitude. Minimum temperature is between 8 degrees celcius in the night to 24 degrees celcius in the day.
Flights is not included in the package price. Druk Air is Bhutan’s national airline, flies Singapore to Paro on every Thursday and Sunday. Paro to Singapore is every Wednesday and Saturday. Druk Air also operates ex Bangkok, Kathmandu and Sydney. Please check with Druk Air to confirm. This information is correct at the time of compilation.
8. Health Conditions
Participants must be in good physical and mental health for this exploration. This programme involves walking and hiking at manageable terrain. For Day 11, the hike up to Tiger Nest Monastery can be strenuous for some people. Therefore, walking at your own pace and take a rest in between makes it possible.
9. Itinerary & Changes
We are continuously fine tuning the itinerary as we get updates on the festival's schedule. It would usually be re-adjustment of where we would be on which day, all in your best interest to show you the best of Bhutan. When you are in Bhutan, we encourage participants to participate with a spirit of adventure, an open mind and ability to go with the flow when itinerary changes. This could be due to road closure, crowds at the festival sites.
The highest altitude that we will get to is 3,300 m in Phobjikha. Prior to that, we will be spending several nights at different altitude between 1,300 m to 2,200 m. This usually would give enough of time for one to acclimatise. Some people are more prone to high altitude sickness than others. If you would like to take precautionary measures against high altitude sickness, please seek your doctor’s advice.
11. Group Size
Keeping our group to maximum 6 persons only enable quality and personalised coaching to every participant. Also, to minimise impact on delicate and natural areas, and to avoid intrusion on people and the natural environment.
12. The Workshop
There is no formal classroom sessions. Instead, we will spend as much time out there to capture great photographs and moments. There will be ample opportunities to work side by side for instruction, advice and sharing of knowledge as well as to discuss all aspects of photography throughout this exploration. The priority is to take advantage of all photographic opportunities especially when the weather and light permit.
13. Recommended Equipments
It is recommended that you have one camera with wide angle lens for general shots including landscape and another with telephoto lens (70-200 mm fast lens) for festivals. However, you are not restricted to use any type of camera you have. All of these should be fitted into your day pack with your spare batteries, ample storage cards and tripod. You are encouraged to bring a laptop so that you can transfer your day’s shots for storage and also that we can have a review and discuss your day’s work.
14. Travel And Photograph Responsibly
We always include areas that are less frequented by tourists so we can generate income to the local communities. We do not support any activities that involve animals in captivity. That includes elephant ride, crocodile breeding farms and any animal enclosures or centres with no conservation goals and objectives.
US$ 1,500.00 per person non-refundable deposit is required to book a spot.
16. Final Payment
Final payment is due 120 days prior to travel date. Travel visa will be issued by the tourism council upon receiving the final payment.
17. Bookings made less than 120 days prior to travel
Subject to full payment upon confirmation of booking.
18. Mode of Payment
We accept cheque issued under any local banks in Singapore only and telegraphic transfer for our overseas participants. Bank details will be provided in the invoice. Credit card payment via Pay Pal.
19. Cancellation Policy
a) Deposited amount cancelled more than 120 days prior to travel date - 50% refund
b) Fully paid bookings cancelled more than 120 days prior to travel date - 30% refund.
c) Fully paid bookings cancelled less than 120 days prior to travel date - non refundable.