Freelance travel and wildlife photographer Margot Raggett shares her beautiful photographs of the fascinating kingdom of Bhutan. 

“Whenever anyone asks me what Bhutan is like, I find the best way to describe it is like Narnia: it is so remote and unlike anywhere else on Earth that I’ve visited. And then I implore them to visit before it is too late, before it all inevitably changes.

“Bhutan is one of the last Kingdoms left on earth and describes itself as the happiest country on the planet, and I have to say from what I saw, they pretty much have it right. The country’s wealth is measured by the peoples’ happiness, not its GDP (they call it Gross National Happiness) and the citizens are incredibly well looked after by the state. Crime levels are low, graffiti and rubbish non-existent. The people have to wear traditional national dress at all times, which results in an explosion of colourful outfits wherever you go. My jeans put me to shame.”

“I visited to coincide with the famous Paro Tshechu festival which includes days of traditional dances acted out for visitors who come far and wide in their best dress. Aside from the many stunning temples and breathtaking scenery, the best thing of all for me about Bhutan was the warmth and beauty of the people, which is what I spent most of my time trying to capture. It’s truly a unique place to experience. “

Monks making their way into the dzong (monastery) for the Paro Tshechu Festival

Monks walk in Monastery, Bhutan, Copyright Margot Raggett

Prayer flags in the wind

Flags in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

Punakha Dzong, Paro

Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

Locals walking past Punakha Dzong, Paro

Men walk in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A young nun at the entrance to a temple

Bhutan Monk, copyright Margot Raggett

A traditionally decorated balcony

Small girl in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

Religious candles burn in a dzong

Candles in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A joker (Atsara) mask on sale for the Paro Tshechu Festival, used to entertain the crowds

Statue Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A festival-goer with her young child strapped to her back

Woman and baby in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

Young boys watch a game of football from a monastery window

Monks look out from Monastery, Bhutan, Copyright Margot Raggett

A giant thangka (embroidered painting) of the Guru Throngdel

Festival dances in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

Prayers held in front of the Throngdel

Men worship in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A little boy plays with a piece of string

Young boy in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A masked performer does a traditional dance at the festival

Festival in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

Crowds at the festival in their best outfits

People of Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A young nun amused at having her photo taken

Bhutan Monk, copyright Margot Raggett

A giant statue is paraded around the festival

Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

A masked dancer

Festival dances in Bhutan, copyright Margot Raggett

All images belong to Margot Raggett. You can view more of her work at margotraggett.com. See more stunning travel photography on the Rough Guides Instagram and browse our photography section hereCompare flightsbook hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook