10D9N BHUTAN masterclass
Traveling to the scenic Central Bhutan and improve your photographic technique at the same time with our experienced professional masterclass instructor.
See the major sites in Western and Central Bhutan
Engage with local villagers and photo document their daily life
Spend some fun time with the adorable school kids in schools with MAD projects
Scenic view at the Taksang (Tiger's Nest)
learn and improve your photography skills from experienced professionals
Day 01: Flight To Paro (2,300m)
Arrive at Paro and proceed to Thimphu.
Elevation 2,300m | Drive time 01 hours
Paro Rimpung Dzong
On arrival, we will adjourn for lunch before we visit the dramatic Paro Dzong. Also called the Rinpung Dzong, the Fortress of the Heap of Jewels, Paro Dzong was built in 1645 by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is an imposing square fortress, representative of typical Dzong architecture, with a central tower and courtyards housing the administrative quarters and the monastic section.
We would then proceed to Thimphu and there are many more photographic opportunities as we drive towards the capital city, Thimphu.
On the way we will make a stop at Tamchhog Zam (Iron Bridge) where you can take some interesting shots of prayer flags and iron bridge. The bridge is made of iron chain and the materials are from 15 century.
Gather in the evening for quick brief with our masterclass instructor.
Day 02: Thimphu to Punakha
Elevation 1,300m | Drive time 03 hours
Thimphu being the capital, it is most populace city in Bhutan, the Royal family and all government headquarters are concentrated in Thimphu.
It is a monument is built in 1974 as the memory of the Third King of Bhutan and to World Peace. Located close to the center of Thimphu City, it is one of the most iconic monuments of Bhutan.
Elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day gives a good photo opportunity to capture the spiritual life of the people.
It’s the home of Buddhist master Lam Nima, son of Phajo Drugom Zhipo. It’s one of the oldest temples in Thimphu where people around Thimphu valley visit to seek help and blessings from the local deity. From the temple we can enjoy and photograph the panoramic view of Thimphu city.
Trashi Chhoe Dzong
‘Fortress of glorious religion” constructed in 1641 and restored in 1960s. It’s the office of His Majesty the King and the secretariat, and houses two ministries and other offices.
The coronation of the present King took place in this fortress in 2008.
It is one of the largest statues of sitting Buddha (Made of Bronze glided in gold) in the world at the height of 169” (51 meters) approximately; the place gives you a bird’s eye view of Thimphu city.
It is located approximately 3,140m above sea level and it is a mountain pass to go to Punakha. It’s a breath-taking viewpoint where you can see panoramic view of Himalayan ranges that fall in Bhutan. There are also 108 Chortens (Stupas) built beautifully to mark the spot.
Evening debrief by instructor after dinner.
Day 03: Punakha
Chimi Lhakhang/ Temple of fertility
The 15th century temple believed to behold the blessings of fertility. The temple is founded by, the divine madman; popularly known as Drukpa Kuenly, a teacher, who the phallic symbol is associated.
It’s a pleasing 20 minutes walk to the temple through local field and village. While passing through the village we will have time to interact with the locals and capture some moments of village life.
"The palace of great happiness or bliss", is the administrative centre of District, in Punakha Bhutan. Constructed by Ngawang Namgyal, in 1637. It is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan and one of its most majestic structures.
Punakha Dzong was the administrative centre and the seat of the Government of Bhutan until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu.
It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten (Optional)
It is a glorious example of the Bhutanese architecture and artistic traditions. Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck commissioned building of the stupa, which took about nine years to build. It is located on a ridge at Kabisa Gewong in Punakha overlooking several villages. This temple has been dedicated for the well being of the kingdom, its people and all sentient beings.
It is walk/hike through rice fields before you start climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 1 hour from the car park to hike up to the temple, and from the temple you will enjoy the magnificent view of mo-chhu valley below.
Sangchchen Dorji Lhuendrup nunnery
The temple is located on a ridge beside the neighboring Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang amidst pine trees. The temple complex also has a learning and meditation centre for the nuns, and it also provides them other trainings such as embroidery, tailoring, statue making, and the famous thangka painting. There is a majestic bronze statue of a height of 14 foot Avalokiteshwara. The statue is also considered as one of the biggest statues in the country made by the unique handwork of many local Bhutanese artisans. Besides, the other statues present here include of Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Namgyel Namsum, Saint Padmasambhava, and the 21 Taras, Tsela Namsum and the Tsepamay (Buddha of Longevity).
Day 04: Punakha to Phobjikha
Elevation 3,100m | Drive time 03 hours
Morning market is the best opportunity to be involved in the bustling activities in Bhutan. Great time to engage with the locals and take close up portraits.
Phobjikha is a bowl-shaped glacial valley because of the large flock of black-necked cranes that winters here; it is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country. In addition to the cranes there are also barking deer, wild boars, sambars, serows, Himalayan black bears, leopards and red foxes in the surrounding hills. The stream drains the marshy valley. Some people know this valley as Gangtey after the goemba that sits on a ridge above the valley.
Today, the group will spend some time to present some of their selected images to our instructor for critique.
Day 05: Phobjikha - Bumthang
Elevation 3,100m | Drive time 06 hours
Today we will drive towards Bumthang through the winding road, and as the road widening are underway we will experience bumpy ride, but the scenery are never out of your window. We will drive-through Trongsa districts, and cross two passes, Pelala pass 3300m, and this pass separates western Bhutan from central Bhutan, and the Yotongla pass 3400m.
Day 06: Exploring Bumthang
We will spend the day in Bumthang visiting the historical sites. Spend some time in the Lhakangs and catch the monks during their prayer sessions or in the classrooms. It will be one of the highlights of the trip for travel and people photography.
Temple of Maitreya , and the temple is one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan King Songtsän Gampo in 659 CE on a single day, to pin down an ogress to earth forever. It was divined that the supine demoness was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism, and temples were constructed on her body parts that spread across Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands.
This large and important temple is named after the body (kur)print (jey) of Guru Rimpoche, which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest temple out of the thrtemple buildings.
The fortress of the white bird derives its name from the account of Lam Ngagi Wangchuk, Zhabdrung’s great grandfather, witnessing an auspicious omen of a white bird landing on the site where he was building a temple. The Dzong standing today was later built in 1646.
We will walk the street and explore the jakar town also known as Bumthang town.
Day 07: Exploring Bumthang
Today, we will be up early to visit some schools and there will be opportunity to photograph village life.
Review of images and critique session in evening.
Day 08: Bumthang to Paro to Haa
Elevation 2,200m | Fligth to Paro (30mins) | Drive to Haa 03hours
Today we will catch the domestic Flight to Paro so that we don’t have to drive the same way back to places we have passed trough. (Airfare at the most USD $200)
The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan's old monasteries and temples. The valley is also home to Mount Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley.
Day 09: Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest Temple)
Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to “The Tiger’s Nest”. This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley.
It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.
In order to arrive at the temple visitors must trek for around 2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site.
Wrap up session by instructor.
Day 10: Departure
Departure via Druk Air/Bhutan Airlines. Your guide and driver will accompany you to the airport and bid their farewells there.