Day 1, 2 Sept. 28, 29 Depart the U.S. or Canada for the trans-Pacific flight to Mongolia and cross the International Dateline.
Day 3 Sept. 30 Arrival in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to hotel. The group will gather in the evening and receive a briefing from Jim and Kevin on the sites we are about to experience as well as a discussion of photographic principles such as lighting, exposure, composition, interacting with foreign models, and a creative use of lenses. Overnight Springs Hotel.
Day 4 Oct. 1 After breakfast, we spend some time with Mongolian women dressed in traditional wedding dresses. Our models will be positioned in a traditional setting and present us with a unique opportunity to photograph something most people will not see. Overnight Springs Hotel.
Enroute to Terelj National Park we will visit the Giant Genghis statue. This 46m statue is the biggest equestrian statue in the world. We then continue on to the beautiful Terelj national park, lunch at a tourist ger camp. Here we will visit the Turtle Rock and the Temple of Meditation etc. In the evening return to the hotel in Ulaanbaatar for dinner and overnight. Overnight Springs Hotel. (B L D)
Day 5 Oct. 2. Oigii
After breakfast fly to Mongolia's western-most province, Bayan Olgii. Olgii is home to the Kazakh people who have a rich cultural heritage, music, handicrafts and traditional hunting with golden eagles. On arrival in Olgii, we visit the local museum, which provides insight into the diverse ethnic groups in the region. Next we visit the local mosque and market for portraits of local people. This evening we spend the night with an eagle trainer's family. ( B L D)
Day 6 Oct. 3 Olgii Today is the day to watch the eagle trainers at work. We witness the special relationship between the trainer and his bird, often considered a family member. Join the hunters on their hunting trips and watch them pamper their birds. Spend the night with a nomadic Kazakh family to learn more about their culture and traditions. (B L D)
Day 7, 8 Oct. 4, 5 The Golden Eagle Festival
Eagle trainers will gather to show their skills and their eagle's abilities. The festival will begin with the hunters displaying their traditional Kazakh dress and their eagle's equipment and ornaments. This is an exciting and authentic event which not only features eagle hunters' competitions, but also other Kazakh traditional games such as Kokbar (goat carcass polo), Kazak archery, etc. Prizes are given for the best traditional dress, the eagle's gear and ornaments. Also, the eagles themselves will be marked according to their speed and agility. During the festival, folklore performances will take place adding even more cheerfulness to an already fantastic atmosphere. Spend the night in a ger camp. (B L D)
Day 9 Oct. 6 Olgii - Khovd
Travel by car to Khovd, the biggest city (population 35,000) in Western Mongolia. Khovd is at the foot of the Mongolia Altai Mountains and in the valley of the Buyant Gol River. There are sixteen distinct ethnic groups living in Khovd: Khalkh, Zakhchin, Torgood, Oeld, Durved, Myangad, Uriankhai, Monchog and Kazakh. Visit local villages and spend the night in a ger. (B L D)
Day 10 Oct. 7 Khovd
Today we transfer to the airport for the flight back to Ulaanbataar. The afternoon is at leisure. In the early evening, Jim and Kevin will conduct a critique session of your work if you wish to participate. Overnight Springs Hotel. (B)
Day 11 Oct. 8 Hustai National Park
After breakfast drive to the Hustai National Park. Just 100 km away from the capital, it is the nest of the Mongolian Przewalski horses which can be seen roaming wildly in this beautiful national park. The ancestors of these horses enabled Ghenghis Khan to conquer virtually all of Asia and part of Europe. Return to Ulaanbaatar and overnight. (B L)
Day 12 Oct. 9 Departure
Today we transfer to the airport for the trans-Pacific flight home where we regain the day lost at the beginning of the trip. (B)
Special note: Some of the places we travel to in Mongolia can only be described as 'in the middle of nowhere'. Our accommodations are in comfortable felt-lined tents called Gers that are simple, fairly large structures. The bathroom facilities are shared, and the hot water showers consist of a gravity feed water container. This is basically camping in style. In the cities, we stay in the best available hotels, and in the steppes where no hotels exist we sleep as the Mongolian nomads have slept for centuries. It is the only way to be able to get the kinds of photographs that you've traveled this far to take.
Limited to 12 participants, with a minimum of 6
Fitness Level: Some low level to medium physical activity involved in this photo tour meaning moderate walks and outdoors for most of the day.
Tour cost: USD $5695
Single Suppliment (where available): USD $450
Deposit required securing spot: USD $750USD, (balance due 120 days prior to travel)
. Transfers on arrival and departure
. English speaking guide at all time.
. All lodging: Twin share in a 4* hotel in Ulaanbaatar & triple/quadruple in ger camp and family gers.
. All meals are provided as mentioned in the itinerary.
. 4x4 Russian vehicles in Western Mongolia (Olgii & Khovd), comfortable minivan/minibus in and around Ulaanbaatar
. Park Entrance Fees
. Sightseeing as per itinerary
. Ticket for the Eagle Festival
. Ulaanbaatar - Olgii, Khovd-Ulaanbaatar flight tickets + Tax (15kg free luggage)
. 1 liter of drinking water per day per person
DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, travel insurance, medical insurance, visa fee, drinks, additional services, personal expenses, items of a personal nature, gratuity to local guides etc.