XA Travel (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

Travel Photography Workshop to Bhutan

Depart: 1st Jul 2017 (Saturday)
Return: 8th Jul 2017 (Saturday)
Price:  SGD4450 (Twin share) / SGD4800 (Single)
Group Size : 8 (min) / 12 (max) 

Hightlights:

  • Led by Michael Lee, a qualified UK Master Photographer (MPAUK) and Leica Akamedie instructor, who was invited by Tourism Council of Bhutan and DrukAir Royal Bhutan Airline to photograph Bhutan in Year 2014 and led photography group more than 8 times to Bhutan 
  • Organised by XA Traval company, a licensed tour operator by Tourism Council of Bhutan with standard of  ISO9001:2008 certified by United Kingdom Accreditation Service
  • Two festivals at Bumthang - Nimalung Tshechu and Kurjey Tshechu celebrated at the Heartland of Bhutan, with masked dances in colourful and ornate costumes performed by monks or gomchens (gurus)
  • International flight from Bangkok to Paro and one way domestic flight to Bumthang, an eastern countryside town which is considered as the spiritual heartland of Bhutan
  • Unique itinerary and opportunity for special arrangement with private access to visit and photograph inside few monasteries and dzongs
  • Road drive from Paro to Punakha, the most historic and beautiful valley 

Click to browse the album and video from previous Leica Akademie photography workshop to Bhutan.

Bangkok - Thimphu  (B/L/D)

Depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport, arrive Paro and transfer to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Visit the bustling Centenary Farmer’s Market, famous for its agricultural products, and the opportunity to witness and photograph the traditional Bhutanese art of paper-making. Followed by a visit Tashichho Dzong, which houses the throne of the King of Bhutan and Kuenselphodrang Nature Park, where you can catch a panoramic view of Thimphu Valley. Late afternoon, we could have a drive up to Buddha point or take a leisure walk at the Thimpu town at early evening. Overnight at Thimphu.

Punakha (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we drive to Dochula Pass, a 108 chortens was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants and to liberate the souls of the soldiers lost. Followed by a visit to Chhimi Lhakhang temple built in 15th century and Punakha Dzong. The Dzong is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers. Take a walk down to the 160 metres Pho Chhu Suspension Bridge, which is known for the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan, which gives you spectacular views of Punakha dzong and the Pho Chhu Valley. Late afternoon, you will visit a nun monastery to understand the life of nun practicing Buddhism. Private access to be arranged to watch and photograph the Puja ritual. Overnight at Punakha.

Trongsa (B/L/D)

After enjoying the breakfast, we would start the journey heading east to Bumthang, one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is an area with a wide variety of fauna and flora. Bumthang Valley is known as the heartland of Buddhism in Bhutan. In 746 AD, it is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here to exorcise a demon from the king and then converted the people to Buddhism, restoring peace to the region. Guru Rinpoche stayed in the valley to build more than 40 temples. Along the journey, you will stop by Taa Dzong, which is a watchtower built in 1652 at the mountain, to ward off attacks of the town below. It now serves as home to the Royal Heritage Museum, highlighting the history of the area and the Wangchuck dynasty. Featuring Buddhist art, royal memorabilia, a 500-year-old jacket of Ngagi Wangchuck, and Padma Kathang’s personal copy of the handwritten biography of Guru Rinpoche. Arrive at Bumthang by evening, check in and dinner. Overnight at Bumthang.

Festival Celebration (B/L/D)

Today the residents of Bumthang celebrate the festival of Nimalung Tshechu. The Nimalung Tshechu will culminate with a rare display of a giant silk applique thangkha (painting) depicting Guru Padmasambava or some other important Buddhist deity this morning. Followed by the celebration of Kurjey Tshechu which is an important occasion not only for the local people of Bumthang but for all Bhutanese. We could have the opportunity to witness and receive blessings by witnessing age-old mask dances , and to enjoy this unique culture whilst basking in the natural beauty of Bhutan’s spiritual heartland. Overnight at Bumthang.

Bumthang and Tang Valley

Morning visit Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery. Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery, located above the main town, about 3 km from Chamkhar town. The monastey has become part of an extensive effort to preserve and revitalize Tibetan culture. The monks regular curriculum include reading, memorizing the daily prayers. Followed by a visit to the village community primary school located at the mountainous village. After lunch, we will hike up to Thangbi Valley, crossing a suspension bridge to visit the Thangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century via an unpaved road and Jambay Lhakhang, built in 659 by Tibetan King Sontsen Gampo to pin down a demoness who was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Overnight at Bumthang. 

Paro - Taksang (Tiger Nest) (B/L/D)

We take the morning domestic flight from Bumthang heading west to Paro. Arriving at Paro airport, we will be heading to Takshang Monastery (Tiger Nest Monastery). It requires 2 hours to hike up to the monastery , along the journey it offers magnificinet view of Taksang, a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred temple complex located on the cliff side of Paro Valley. Overnight at Paro.  

Paro (B/L/D)

After breakfast, we drive up to Drukgyal Dzong, which is built on the summit of a rocky hill that rises steep on three sides to guard the approach to Paro Valley from Tibet. Followed by visit to Jangsarbu Lhakhang, watch tower of Ta Dzong, and Rinpung Dzong with special access to arranged inside the monastery where photography is allowed. After lunch, we can visit one of the Bhutanese farm houses that could offer a good glimpse into the lifestyle of a farmer. These farm houses are usually very colorful, decorative and traditionally built without the use of single nail. Dinner at Paro town in the evening. Overnight at Paro. 

Paro - Bangkok (B/L)

Early transfer to Paro airport. Arrive Bangkok by late noon. 

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Inclusions :

  • 2 way international flights Bangkok to Paro by Royal Bhutan Airline - DrukAir
  • 1 way domestic flight Bumthang to Paro by Royal Bhutan Airline - DrukAir
  • Private tour with comfortable vehicle
  • Bhutan visa and daily government tariff of USD250/USD200 a day 
  • All entrance fees and permit
  • All meals as per itinerary above
  • 7 nights accommodation of comfortable 3 star and boutique hotel 
  • XA tour guide - licensed Bhutan tour guide with more than 10 yr experince
  • On site photography guidance by Michae Lee, instructor of Leica Akademie
  • Maximum participant of 12pax
  • Pre trip departure notes

Exclusions :

  • Additional beverages (including alcohol) not included in meals
  • Any other incidental expenses incurred by participants
  • Tips for both driver and local guide per person (voluntary basis)
Remarks

Fitness :

  • Able to carry own photography equipment and personal chores

Air flight detail as follow :

  • Airline : Royal Bhutan Airline or Druk Air
  • Depart : 1st Jul 2017 KB501 0630 1050
  • Return : 8th Jul 2017 KB500 0710 1530