Bhutan photography tour date: 22nd March - 28th March 2018. Last Date to Register: 1st March 2018. More information: Contact
In Kashmir I'm at home, and the locals instantly recognize me as one of their own. But after several years of visiting Bhutan, I'm starting to become a familiar face there too: someone that people have come to know and trust. This means that my Bhutan experiences are also insider experiences. As will be yours too if you come with me.
On this page you will find details of what you can expect if you decide to join me on one of my photography tours of Bhutan.
Bhutan is blessed with an almost pristine, pollution-free environment and an outstanding degree of biodiversity. It is also a land of unparalleled natural beauty and home to an astoundingly rich cultural heritage. What's more, after being effectively closed-off to the rest of the world until the middle of the last century, some parts of the country are so untouched by outside influence that it is like being transported back to the 1700s. As you can imagine, all this makes for some truly spectacular and unique photo opportunities.
If this weren't already enough, the Bhutanese are an immensely friendly and welcoming people. But in a nation that measures its productivity not in GDP, but in terms of Gross National Happiness, who would expect it to be otherwise!
Of course, for those of a slightly more adventurous inclination, the primary challenge that you face when planning a trip to Bhutan is the requirement that you must go on an officially sanctioned tour - complete with driver and guide. While these kinds of tours are usually well organized and generally offer pretty good value, the downside of this rule is that you are unlikely to have much opportunity for genuine, spontaneous interaction with ordinary Bhutanese citizens. In effect, you will largely be shown a tourist-friendly 'performance' of Bhutanese culture, with little chance for direct contact with the local people and their unique traditions.
This is not the way that I personally like to travel. Nor are such trips likely to result in great photographs. This is why I have structured my Bhutan photo tours very differently.
My Bhutan photography tours are for a maximum of 6-8 people. Traveling as a small group of like-minded individuals, we're at a distinct advantage.
For example, while I work with a team of local guides and professional drivers, if you prefer the thrill of driving your own SUV on Bhutan's spectacular mountain roads, you're free to do so. Likewise, we can choose not to stay in a hotel, instead spending the night in a local farming family's house. Or alternatively, as we bring our own cook with us, we can pitch our tents and camp out under the Himalayan sky wherever we please.
After a long day of shooting we'll sit around the campfire drinking local wine and critiquing one another's photos until the pure mountain air and soporific heat of the fire send us to bed. Rising before dawn, we're already 'on location' and poised to capture the most sublime early-morning light. I go out for a walk before breakfast, compass in hand, chasing the sunrise. Those who want to can join me.
The sun comes up, the people wake and open their doors to greet us. Who knows who we'll meet? Adventure and surprise are all part of the deal. A far cry from the experience of most tourists on the average Bhutan package tour.
We will travel up highland roads and over misty Himalayan passes. Through lush hidden valleys dotted with ancient villages and on to remote hill-top fortresses. We will stop at Buddhist monasteries that have stood watching over these mountainsides for centuries. These are profoundly sacred places, where the monks continue to live their lives in total dedication to prayer and meditation - in the exact same way as countless generations of Buddhist lamas have done before them.
Invariably my Bhutan photography tours are scheduled to coincide with religious festivals: utterly exhilarating spectacles of music, dance, color and ceremony. The Bhutanese masked dances in particular are like nothing else on earth, and offer an incredible sensory experience to the adventurous traveler. Not to mention unrivaled shooting opportunities for the hungry-eyed photographer!
While my expeditions are of course from fully licensed and officially approved agencies, I approach things in a different way to the norm. After numerous trips to Bhutan, many of the elders have come to accept me and people know me; I've even been invited to their weddings. Because of this I am able to offer you a photography adventure holiday in Bhutan like no other: with unfiltered and unrehearsed access to the unique culture and inhabitants of this enchanting Himalayan nation.
This is why I believe that my Bhutan adventure holidays are among the most exciting Asian photo tours available right now. Offering a connection with this magical kingdom and its wonderful inhabitants that other Bhutan travel photography tours cannot.
Sure, that's quite a grand claim, but one that I can make with a certain degree of confidence; secure in the knowledge that I initially planned these trips to satisfy my own needs as an adventurous traveler looking to experience the real Bhutan. In fact, I'd estimate that we see (and indeed experience) something like 75% more than on regular photography and adventure tours of Bhutan.
Finally though, while I believe that I've done everything I can to put together the very best itinerary, and to make sure that we will travel in the most authentic and spontaneous way, there's one very important element that's still missing, and that's you.
When you read about my tours, my approach to travel photography, and especially my connection with people, does this chime with your own sentiments? With your own attitude to travel? If so, then you're exactly the kind of person that I want to share my adventures with. And it's the people who travel with me that will make this next Bhutan photography trip one like no other!
For more information about my next scheduled photography tour to Bhutan, please Contact