Itineraries within Bhutan in the Fall — the Best Time to Visit.
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—2011 saw less than 24,000 tourist visas
issued and the government is considering lowering
that number by raising fees, acknowledging that
they cannot arm-wrestle with unabated tourism
Or perhaps 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.
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 2014 for the twenty-sixth time.
Capture amazing portraits at temples...
the pages of our web site will give you
s ome 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
If you will take the time to read these detailed
itineraries, I am confident you will want to
Please call or email me for more details
and to discuss your personal travel and photography
Bhutan is changing quickly, in spite of its
best effort to move gradually, maintaining its
Buddhist culture and pristine environment. Teenage
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 streets in Thimpu, the
capital, selling betel nut and rice by the pound
from open baskets—with posters of Hulk Hogan
tacked to the wall.
And as this photo 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
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—we have
partnered with Rainbow Tours and Treks of Bhutan
(RTTB), ranked #6 out of 343 registered Bhutanese
tour companies by the Department of Tourism,
Ministry of Economic Affairs. For each
traveler RTTB hires a Bhutanese helper, 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, including working
photographers, some with studios in Paro
and Thimphu, as well as guides who are registered
and trained cultural guides with the Department
of Tourism. 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.
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.
So please, read on and discover the trip of your
life. Come with us to Bhutan!
Robin Smillie, Owner
Rainbow Photo Tours
Drive far to the east, two to a car with guide
and driver, not a bus.
2014 Fall Tour
Now booking this tour.
Bhutan Cross Country Cultural
and Festivals Tour
Sept. 20 - Oct. 5, 2014
15 days in country
Travel completely across the country with special
permission to exit
Two exclusive cultural events that no other
nomadic people of Sakten and Merak.
Limited to 16 participants
for this tour
here for tour cost.
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 by booking
many of the same events you see here on this
Non-Photographers Welcome Too!
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.