Trip Overview

Come  to improve your photographic skills. You will work alongside the Forest Guardians of the Red Panda Network to spot and photograph the wild red pandas! The Red Panda Network has a 90% success rate in finding red pandas in each ecotrip!

Check this link to read the Red Panda Network´s trip page


Trip Description

Himalayan Red Panda Photography Expedition

Imagine photographing the breathtaking landscapes of Mount Kangchenjunga and Mount Everest. Imagine becoming a wildlife photographer in one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, home to the elusive Nepalese Red Panda...

Imagine yourself exploring the beautiful cloud forests of the Himalayas and becoming a member of the warm and gentle Nepali communities...


A) Profits from this trip go directly towards developing the largest “protected forest” in Nepal, the first to be managed by a network of community forests. 

B) Profits will improve the ongoing training and employment of local communities as Forest Guardians and the Education Centre for Public Conservation Awareness.


Besides the red panda, the locations of our photoadventure are fantastic to observe other species like: Clouded Leopard, Common Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Yellow Throated Marten, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, Asian Macaque.

There are more than 120 species of birds including the Wood Snipe, Satyr Tragopan, Common Teal, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Maroon-backed Accentor...


Day One- Sunday, 1st April 2018

Arrive at Kathmandu airport

Be greeted and transported to your accommodations. Free time before meeting with fellow adventurers and RPN team and then dinner and trip debriefing in the evening.


Day Two- Monday, 2nd April 

Photography mission of the day:

Hone your travel photography skills! Capture some of the most iconic Nepali locations and learn how to make your architectural shots look imposing and different. Take amazing memories of your adventures back home!

All day guided sightseeing in the vibrant and beautiful Kathmandu Valley – visiting palaces, marketplaces and temples.


Day Three- Tuesday, 3rd of April 

Photography mission of the day:

This day is packed with dozens of UNIQUE landscape photography chances. Learn how to use bracketing -a photography technique- and apply filters (polarisers, neutral density filters…) to your wide angle lenses. You will also learn other landscape photography techniques with your wide angle and telephoto lens. In addition, you will master how to shoot from a vehicle using a telephoto lens.

Late morning 45-minute domestic flight to Bhadrapur, with spectacular views of the Himalayan ranges including Mt. Everest, Mt. Kangchenjunga, Mt. Lhotse, Mt. Makalu. Then we travel by road to Ilam and begin our journey north into the mountains, passing tea gardens and Nepali communities. Overnight hotel stay in Ilam, overlooking tea gardens.


Day Four- Wednesday, 4th of April 

Photography mission of the day:

During this day, you will learn how to prepare yourself properly for your next travel photography shoot so you spend more time shooting and less time scrambling. Travel photography becomes more exciting- but also more complicated- when it is combined with wildlife, bird photography opportunities AND when you are trying to capture a photo during a hike. A good day of photography planning will help you keep hundreds of killer photos.

Leave Ilam after breakfast, bird watching and then drive higher into red panda habitat. We arrive at Dobato (perched on a mountain ridge-2655 m) in the late afternoon, the village closest to red panda habitat and our base for the next four nights. Light hike in the evening for bird and mammal watching. Overnight homestay at Dobato.


Day Five and Six- Thursday, 5th of April to Friday, 6th of April 

Photography mission of the day:

The real adventure begins now! Learn how to track wildlife: Patience, blending with nature and respect for the animal that you are trying to photograph are key attributes.  Those of you who bring a flash will master the use of flash in wildlife photography, a technique used by professional wildlife photographers to bring their photos to the next level. The flash and the Better Beamer will make your photos look sharper and you will learn how to turn these accessories into your allies. Furthermore, there will be dozens of landscape photography opportunities as well! The local Nepali people will share their knowledge of the mountains with you and they will bring and we will wake up early and stay until the end of the day to capture the beautiful sunrise and sunset light falling on the Himalayas.

The next two days we will wake up early to begin tracking red pandas in the alpine temperate forests with RPN Forest Guardians. We will also likely see other mammal and bird species throughout the day. We will stop in local homes for lunch and hot refreshments and immerse ourselves in the community with fun tasks in the evenings. 2 nights home stays in Dobato.


Day Seven- Saturday, 7th of April 

Photography mission of the day:

Many people own a telephoto lens but not everyone knows how to use all of their features. For this reason, we will provide specialized tuition where we will teach action photography skills (how to shoot from a tripod, panning, zoom burst, flash and slash…). Birds are one of the most challenging subjects in wildlife photography -they are fast, and many of them are also very small-, but you will receive unique training to make sure that you capture them in flight.

Leave Dobato after breakfast and look for red pandas and other wildlife along the way. Lunch at Kalpokhari (3026 m) on the Nepal and India border in the afternoon with beautiful elevated views of the Mai River Valley. Hike up to the highest peak in the Singhalila range (3636 m), with breathtaking sunsets over Mt Kanchenjunga and Mt Everest. Overnight stay in a hotel at Sandakpur.


Day Eight- Sunday, 8th of April 

Photography mission of the day:

BECOME A PRO LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHER! Everyone knows how to take landscape photos with a wide angle lens, but telephoto lenses can help you in your landscape shots as well. In addition, landscape photographers have several tricks up their sleeve, in the form of polarisers, graduated and neutral density filters, L-brackets… Lastly, you will learn landscape compositional skills and how to make sure that your landscape photos are always sharp, from the beginning to the end of your frame.

Rising in the early morning we make our way to vantage points for the panoramic view of the impressive Himalayas during sunrise. After breakfast and refreshing we hike back down to Dobato for lunch, and then drive back to Ilam.


Day Nine- Monday, 9th of April

Our last day.

Our last day, departing Ilam after breakfast by road for the return journey back to Kathmandu. Group farewell dinner in the evening.


Group size is limited to 7 people, sign up to secure your place in the team at


Recommended gear

This trip can be completed with ONLY a camera, a telephoto zoom, a wide angle lens, tripod and a cable release. HOWEVER if you can afford it, we recommend the following gear: 

  • ANY CAMERA. But be aware that we recommend full frame cameras for landscape and macro, and cropped sensor cameras for shooting action such as wildlife.
  • A telephoto zoom, such as a 70-200, 70-300, 100-400 or an 150-600 and extenders (x1.4 or x2)
  • A wide angle lens, such as a 16-35, or a general purpose lens with wide angle capabilities, such as a 24-105 or a 24-70.
  • A circular polarizer that fits your wide angle lens
  • Graduated neutral density filters or your preferred filters.
  • An E-TTL/i-TTL Flash
  • A sync cord for your flash. An extra flash might be useful for macro and/or if the first flash stops working.
  • A cable release for long exposures
  • A Better Beamer
  • Flash bracket to hold your flash off-camera
  • Rain protection for all your camera gear and for yourself (rain covers)
  • Silica gel bags
  • A smaller camera bag
  • Lens cleaning tools, (be careful and bring your sensor cleaned before arriving at each destination).

Trip Inclusions


• All airport transfers, meals and lodgings, domestic (in-country) flight, car and jeep transport, guides and porters in Kathmandu and the field.

• Lodgings are in rustic teahouses and homestays. Hotel accommodation in Kathmandu and tea gardens.

• We cater for everyone- Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian.


• Your international airfare to Nepal and visa fees

• Bottled and alcoholic beverages

• Personal expenses

What To Expect:

- Cultural guided tour of Kathmandu, it’s palaces, temples and markets.

- Traditional Nepali cuisine

-  Overnight hotel stay in beautiful tea gardens

- Sleeping in rustic teahouses and homestays in high-altitude surroundings

-  Immersing yourself in daily mountain village life

-  Being exposed to four of the world’s seven tallest mountains

-  Working alongside Forest Guardians in the field observing Red Panda and habitat monitoring

- Searching the cloud forests for Red Panda

- Opportunities to observe other unique forest species such as the Clouded Leopard, Common Leopard, Himalayan Black Bear, Yellow Throated Marten, Bengal Fox, Golden Jackal, Assam Macaque and more than 120 species of birds including the Wood Snipe, Satyr Tragopan, Common Teal, Fire-tailed Myzornis, Maroon-backed Accentor, Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, and the Rusty-fronted Barwing.

- Seeing first-hand our community conservation work in action and how profits from this Phototrip directly benefit our most important conservation partners: the rural communities who need alternatives to forest exploitation.


Trip Date & Price

Departure Dates
Price (Per person)
Trip Status

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