14 NIGHTS/15 DAYS
(Click thumbnails to enlarge)
Day 1: 19th March
We fly into Paro and drive through beautiful mountain scenery to Thimpu, the capital of Bhutan where we will spend the night.
Phobjika Valley is one of the few glacial valleys in Bhutan and during the winter rare black-necked cranes make their home there. The jewel is Gantey Gompa dating back to the 17th century where we will spend time photographing the architecture and monks.
The spectacular drive to Bumthang passes Tongsa Zdong, a massive fortress perched on the spur of a river gorge. This one of my favorite locations and the medieval atmosphere is enhanced by monks flitting in and out of a maze of courtyards. We continue to Bumthang in the very center of the country.
In the morning we drive east to Ura and the village of Shingkar. This is high mountain country at 10,000 feet and above and will offer us many great photo ops. We will return to Bumthang for the night.
We leave early for a long drive to Punakha, one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. We will stroll through terraced rice fields visiting the village of Chimi Lhakhang and the Khamsum Yueley Chorten. We spend the night in Punakha.
We drive to Gasa and photograph the village and preparations for the Gasa Tshechu.
Today we will immerse ourselves in the magical world of Bhutanese festivals. The color and ceremony is remarkable. You will need plenty of spare memory cards and fresh batteries to capture all of the action. Many of the big, well-known festivals are overrun by tourists but these small village festivals retain an authenticity rarely encountered in the world today.
Drive to Haa – We will spend the night in Haa.
The morning will be spent photographing the villages around Haa and the we will drive up to Chele-La to photograph the Himalayan range before returning to Paro for the night.
We will spend the day exploring Paro and visiting even more Dzongs. You are probably thinking “enough Dzongs already” but believe me, each one has something different to offer and the monks will always make any photograph memorable.
A highlight of any trip to Bhutan is the trek up to Taksang Monastery, the legendary “Tiger’s Nest” perched at 10,000 feet on a steep mountainside. The 2 1/2-hour walk is well worth the effort but horses are also available if you want them.
Day 15 : Thursday 2nd April
Fly out – END OF TRIP
Extra: End-of-Tour Trek
Andrea and I will be making a short 7-day trek up into the mountains at the end of the tour. This will involve deluxe camping, with pack horses, in cold weather but will provide an unsurpassed window on the Himalaya of Bhutan . We will be pleased to send details and cost to anyone interested.