View Full Version : Bhutan (Himalayas) Doc

04-18-2004, 01:08 PM

I am going to the Himalayas this summer for 2.5 months in a small kingdom called Bhutan. The scenery is stunning and the people are ery friendly and welcoming. I will be teaching english during my stay.
It is very similar to Tibet in many ways, but the culture is quite unique. I will be bringing my DVX100AP and I was just wondering if anyone had any tips regarding travel from Toronto to Bhutan (i.e. airports, X-ray,...) and advice on what types of shots I should get or from past experiences in similar situations. Also, I have not decided yet what my topic will be. I have a few ideas such as doing a journal/reaction to my stay over there (culture shock), document some time with monks in a monastary, a general documentary on the country,... Anybody have some ideas?

Here is a link if you would like to know more about the country: www.kingdomofbhutan.com/

Also if you google Bhutan you will find many websites


05-09-2004, 03:47 PM
Good luck - interesting place with not many documentaries done on it. It would be interesting to focus on the cultural structure - shamans their role in the society and how that figures in with the gotama bronzes. Nativist's anamists contrasted with religionists. The other element is how modern world encroachment is effecting the culture.

06-08-2004, 01:31 AM
I have not been to Bhutan , but I have been to Tibet once and Nepal twice(for trekking), so I have "some" ideas on what Bhutan might be like. What i know about Bhutan is that it is very expensive for tourists to get permits into the country(must travel on a pre arranged itinerary and pay US$200 a day) It is like Mustang kingdom in Nepal, only very few selective people with money can go to this country. I guess you don't have to pay the fee since you are going there to teach English, how lucky you are. Some of my friends who are super travel/backpacking buffs haven't even been there yet. I guess it is one of the last shangri las on earth. I also heard that it is the last nation on earth to broadcast television, and there has been some unwanted cultural changes happened since the TV was introduced(like murder and drug offences etc. http://www.guardian.co.uk/weekend/story/0%2C3605%2C975769%2C00.html)

Well, I hear Bhutan is a Trekking Paradise, and my friend who is a professional white-water kayaker told me that they have the greatest rivers in the world. I don't know if you are planning to go trekking, but if you do, make sure you take plenty of batteries with you, especially if you going to high altitude(above 3000m). I remember taking my old camcorder to Nepal for trekking, and my batteries died very fast in the cold weather, and camcorder stopped working above 4000m in the cold temp, I guess it froze or something, and it started working fine when I came down to lower altitude.

I don't think there are any travel guide videos on Bhutan at all. Don't really think you need any topics or themes. Make a travel guide videos like Globe Trekkers(http://www.pilotguides.com/tv_shows/globe_trekker/), or videotape your teaching experience in Bhutan. As ddh mentioned above, making documentaries on shamans, and the cultural change happening in this hermit nation since foreign tourists started comming since 1975 etc, all these sound really interesting.

Good luck and looking foward to hearing about your experience there.

06-21-2004, 02:03 PM
I've been to Bhutan and it's a lovely place. The capitol, Thimpu, is very interesting. The weekend market there is a must see. Go also to the Painting school, the Traditional Medicine Clinic, the National Library and the paper making factory (not really a factory as much as a small building in which paper is hand made). The textiles of Bhutan are really wonderful. If you get a chance to go to Bumthang (a region in central Bhutan) you can see women weaving the fabric. By some of the general stores in Chumee valley I saw several looms at work.

The Tsechus in Spring and Autumn are huge religious festivals with very long elaborate dances with masked dancers and lots of live music. I went to the Tsechu at Wangdi Phodrung and one at the Dzong in Thimpu.

The temples and monasteries and stunning but they do not allow cameras. Some of the most stunning places are in Bumthang. I hope you get a chance to that region.

If you want more info you can email me.

07-04-2004, 04:38 AM
Thanks for all the info. I will make good use of it. I have been making a short movie with some students at a high school. It is a bit cheesy, but we have had a good time making it. I am also doing a doc on Western Influences on Bhutan (I have interviewed the governor of Thimphu, a senior monk, the head of the broadcasting corp...). I am also planning to interview the 6 canadians that are with me to talk about their experiences in Bhutan.

Bhutan is really a beautiful country and I am having a great time. I just spent a week in Bumthang. I went trekking and watched some tshechus. It was very interesting. Anyhow I go to go. Talk to you soon.

06-12-2006, 01:13 PM
Hello Yue!

So how was the trip to Bhutan? Do you have any stills or footage stored anywhere? I would love to see it. There isn't a lot of footage of Bhutan, so if you had the honor of shooting there, you are VERY lucky!


PS What equipment did you bring along on your trip?

PSS how was it teaching English to the Bhutanese? I taught English in China for a couple of months & it was a trip! :)

06-12-2006, 11:00 PM
PBS did a Nature program called Bhutan, the Last Shangri-La. It was part of the Living Edens series. Here is the web site for the film:
There is some interesting behind-the-scenes commentary on the site.

Chris Pyle
Wildland Films