Visit Bhutan in the Fall, the best chance
for clear weather. 

  • We sponsor two unique festivals in small villages
  • Limited to 16 participants, 8 cars, with 16 Bhutanese guides and drivers
  • Community tourism at it's best—visit farmhouses, small villages and schools
  • U. S. based company partnered with one of Bhutan's Top Ten tour companies (... out of over 500 companies!)
"Photography enthusiasts should check out the expert guided itineraries of Rainbow Photo Tours."
— Lonely Planet Guide to Bhutan, latest edition

Bhutan Photography Tour #1
Sept. 19 - Oct. 4, 2015 —Sorry, this tour is Sold Out as of 11/14/14. 
Bhutan Photography Tour #2
October 8 - 23, 2015  Seats still available as of 12/1/14.  Fifteen days in country!  Two unique festivals that we sponsor, in-depth cultural immersion, visit schools and much more.  Same exciting itinerary as tour #1.  After perusing our site, contact us for more details.
Read a Tour Overview here 
Fall Tour

Tour Cost $6995 PPDO - click for registration details

...or let us arrange a private tour throughout the year for you or your small group with a custom itinerary of Bhutan.

All Skill Levels — Non-photographers Welcome

Most of our travelers are from United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand Most of our travellers are from Canada, United States, Australia, New Zealand Most of our travellers are from Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand Most of our travellers are from New Zealand, United States, Canada, Australia

“Fascinating Photo Journey” - TripAdvisor Review

Why Bhutan?

Reincarnate
Capture amazing portraits in temples where our special permits allow photography....
If you are reading this, chances are you already know something about this tiny and magical "Last Shangri-La."   Perhaps you know about Bhutan from world press reports that recently covered Bhutan's first democratic election.  Most of the articles about the election also mentioned the government’s cautious attempt to open the door to the Western world by controlling the number of tourist visas issued and setting a high price on what it calls the "government royalty." Back in the seventies when the fourth king of Bhutan set this policy he knew this tiny kingdom could not arm-wrestle with unabated tourism and win.

Or maybe you saw the 60-Minutes feature on Bhutan back in 2000 when Morley Safer said, "...we found a place, perhaps the only place on Earth, where the government's first priority is something it calls Gross National Happiness." The program went on to document how Bhutan had just then allowed the installation of its first network of television cables. "We have to go there!" was my wife's comment when she heard that report. And we did, in April 2001.

Festival Dancers in Bhutan
Festival dancers whirl across the courtyard in our two unique festivals. We are the only foreigners there!

I can say that for me, in all of my world travels, Bhutan is the most fascinating country I have ever visited and I can hardly wait to return in September 2015 for the twenty-nineth time.

I hope the pages of our web site will give you some sense of what this unique country has to offer the adventure traveler who enjoys furthering photographic skills—we welcome all levels of photographers, professional to point-and-shoot, digital and film.

Our web site offers very detailed itineraries to help you discover if we are a good fit and I am confident that if you read those details you will want to join us. Please call me or email for more details and to discuss your personal travel and photography goals.(robin@rainbowphototours.com)

Why Bhutan Now?

Bhutan is changing quickly, in spite of its best effort to move gradually, maintaining its Buddhist culture and pristine environment.  School girls wear traditional government-mandated kiras and giggle their way down a rocky path from home—in platform shoes straight out of a Western shopping mall.

Small shops line the street in isolated villages selling betel nut and rice from open baskets—with pictures of Spiderman tacked to the wall.

Cell Phone in Bhutan
And as the photo above illustrates, many images of Bhutan now juxtapose the ancient with the modern—the white sign between strips of drying yak meat outside of a shop in Haa refers to purchasing additional minutes for your cell phone.

Now is the time to visit Bhutan, before more Westernization changes the face of this serene country.

Bhutan Tours Rice Field
Drive far to the east in Bhutan, two to a car with guide and driver, not a bus.

TripAdvisor TripAdvisor Reviews of Rainbow Photo Tours 

Travel in cars, not a bus.  15 days in country, all the way across Bhutan.

Why this Tour?

It is our goal to put you in front of remarkable scenes so that you can enjoy your hobby or work your craft. To accomplish this—to get you in front of hidden photographic treasures—each traveler will have a Bhutanese "fixer" at their side, either a guide or a driver. That means each modern SUV will carry two travelers and a Bhutanese guide and driver.   They come from all walks of life but most come from farm families across Bhutan.   The guides are trained and registered as cultural guides with the Department of Tourism and the drivers are mature men who carry hard-to-get special driver's permits—they know each curve of the nation's only paved highway intimately.  They will carry your gear, introduce you to their families, go with you to yak herder huts to interpret, aim reflectors, and are very eager to meet you and introduce you to their country.

Bhutanese Farmer
...and farmhouses.
Rainbow Tours and Treks has used their vast, intimate knowledge of the country and their working relationships with religious and government officials to arrange several very special events that you will not find on other itineraries.

Since 2002 most tours have sold out early, with wait lists carried over to the following year.   We have fine tuned the itinerary to the point where not a moment is wasted, and previous participant equipment suggestions in the comments and "What's in My Bag" sections will prove to be a valuable resource for photographers going to Bhutan for the first time.

I look forward to introducing you to my friends in Bhutan and showing you this magical Land of Gross National Happiness!

Robin Smillie, Owner
Rainbow Photo Tours

· Read On About Our Fall Tour to Bhutan!

· This is the photo tour for me!  What do I do next? Read Reservation and Cost information

Dzong Eaves in Bhutan

Outdoor Photographer Bhutan Tour
Read Outdoor Photographer Magazine's latest information on our tour.
“We went to areas where no other tours are going." —TripAdvisor Review of Rainbow Photo Tours

Listen to the Bhutanese Monks' Chant again!

Non-
Photographers Welcome Too!

Mimi's Story of Bhutan

We accept all skill levels of photographers, from those who have a "point-and-shoot" to those who are advanced pro/amateurs with all the latest digital SLR gear. Our goal is to put you in front of remarkable scenes and cultural experiences—this is not a workshop with evening photography meetings or critiques. Travelers who are not keenly interested in photography will have plenty to do, always with guides and drivers at your disposal. Click to read an overview of the fantastic itinerary we have to offer in the Fall 2015.

Bhutanese masked dancer

We are the experts in Bhutan cross-country cultural and photo tours. 

Bhutan Fall Tour Itinerary

Bhutan Cross Country Cultural and Festivals Tour

Sept. 19 - Oct. 24, 2015 is sold out as of 11/14/14.

****2nd Tour -
Oct. 8 - Oct. 23, 2015 — 15 days in country - Seats still available as of 12/1/14!

2015 Tour -  Guaranteed departure.

Travel completely across the country with special permission to exit into Assam. Two exclusive cultural events that no other tourists attend. Meet the nomadic people of Sakten and Merak. Limited to 16 participants.  Contact us for complete details.  (We generally are filled by the end of the previous year.)

Custom Itineraries

We also specialize in private tours with custom itineraries to Bhutan throughout the year. We make all the arrangements for singles, couples or small groups, including visas, Druk Air ticketing, and exciting itineraries that go to unusual places within Bhutan. We can make your dream tour a reality. emailRobin Email Robin.

Rainbow RuleBackground photo:
Bhutan photo by 2013 Tour Participant Jeff Henry on the way to Tiger's Nest. Read Itinerary for Fall 2015 trip to Tiger's Nest.

Tiger's Nest by Jeff Henry
Rainbow Rule

 
Most of our travelers are from United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand
Most of our travellers are from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United States
Most of our travellers are from Australia, New Zealand, United States and Canada
Most of our travellers are from New Zealand, United States, Canada and Australia
map15 Days in Country - Travel across entire country into remote areaas