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Bhutan

Bhutan Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Bhutan? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Bhutan? See below for an introduction to Bhutan locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Bhutan Film Locations

As a result of government restricted levels of tourism, Bhutan remains one of the most un-spoilt countries in the world. Bhutan is best know for the Himalayan mountains, glaciers, lakes, forests, mountain villages, Buddhist temples and monasteries. 

Buddhist temples and monasteries of note include Paro Taktsang, Trongsa Dzong, Rinpung Dzong, Tashichho Dzong, Gangtey Gompa, Punakha Dzong, Kichu Lhakang, and Dechen Phrodrang.

National parks of note include Manas National Park and Jigme Dorji National Park.

Gangkhar Puensum is the highest peak in Bhutan, and the 40th highest in the world. It has never been summited. It is widely claimed to be the highest unclimbed mountain in the world.

Bhutan has hosted films including Travelers and Magicians, and Little Buddha.

Bhutan Film Location Permits 

Filming Bhutan is very restricted. Contact us for specific advice on your project. Mountaineering in Bhutan is not allowed.

When To Shoot?

Northern Bhutan is cold with year-round snow on Himalayan summits. The inner Himalayan valleys of the southern and central regions are temperate. In the southern plains and foothills, the climate is humid, subtropical and affected by monsoons.

Winter (December to February) is very cold at higher elevations but it offers the clearest conditions for photographing the Himalayas. Spring (March to May) is a great time to film in Bhutan for weather. Summer (June to August) is the monsoon season. At this time of year rockslides make mountain travel difficult and low hanging clouds obscure views of the Himalayas. Fall (September to November) is another good time to film in Bhutan for weather. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Most festivals in Bhutan are based on events in the Buddhist calendar. Events of note include:

• Chorten Kora Festival in February / March
• Gomphu Kora Festival in March / April
• Ura Yakchoe in May
• Haa Summer Festival in July
• Thimphu Tshechu in October
• Black-necked Crane Festival in November
• Trongsa Tshechu in December

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Local costs are very expensive compared to the rest of the region. Travel to and around Bhutan is restricted and expensive. Since little to no filming infrastructure exists, all key crew and equipment must be brought in from abroad. On the whole, unless your project needs something only Bhutan can offer, there are far easier places to film in the region. Of course our Bhutanese fixer will do all possible to negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. At present there are no tax incentives for foreign commercials or films shooting in Bhutan.

Film Crew & Talent

Crew. Bhutan has a very small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Key crew should be brought in from abroad.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Bhutan.

Talent day rates and and buyouts are negotiated on a personal level. Most citizens are ethnically Bhutanese with some Nepalese looks also available. All other talent looks need to be brought in from abroad.

Bhutan Film Equipment

Must bring in all camera, grip and lighting equipment from abroad.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction is very basic.

Studios and backlots. None exist at present.

Post Production. Post abroad.

Visas & Work Permits

All foreigners (except for citizens of Bangladesh, India, and Maldives) must obtain a visa before visiting Bhutan. Entry is free for citizens of Bangladesh, India and Maldives, but all other foreigners are required to sign up with a Bhutanese tour operator and pay a fee of $250 per day in country during the high season, or $200 per day during the low season. This includes the guide, accommodation, transportation, meals, and special entry fees.

Upon entering Bhutan, all foreigners are issued a 7 or 14 days “Entry Permit”, valid for Thimphu and Paro only. The rest of Bhutan is considered a restricted area, and foreigners need a “Restricted-Area Permit” to enter. Immigration checkpoints are located at important road junctions throughout the country, where police check the permits of all foreigners they find. In addition, foreigners wishing to visit Buddhist temples must obtain a “Temple Permit” from the Ministry of Culture.

Contact your local Bhutan embassy or representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure. Main roads are in a fair condition. Rural and mountain roads are slower going. Druk Air is currently the only airline operating flights in Bhutan. Several international airlines service flights into Thimphu.

Accommodation. Best options in Bhutan include:

Uma Paro
Taj Tashi

Final Notes

Safety. See here for up to date travel advice.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Bhutan, please see below:

Hire Bhutan Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Bhutan, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Bhutan, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.