Day 1: ARRIVE IN ULAAN BAATAR
We start our adventure today as we are met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. After check in, we’ll start with a quick tour of the Mongolian Capital.
Ulaanbaatar, which means Red City in the native language, is a weird and aesthetically interesting mix of then and now. We’ll start out with a more spontaneous photo session in the streets, taking in the mix of modern westernized houses with the lingering vestiges of the Soviet Era, mostly in the form of drab, uniform row homes.
After a tour around the major sites and back alleys, we’ll head over to the Chojin temple. There we have a set photo session with two models in traditional Mongolian dress. Besides that, the Chojin temple itself is of great photographic interest. It is a sprawling temple complex which Stalin had converted into a museum in the late 1930s.
After our photo sessions we will have a photosession with models dressed in typical outfit.
Overnight in hotel. (L/D)
Day 2: ULGII, THE KAZAKS , EAGLE TRAINING
We will meet at the hotel and transfer by car to the airport to catch our flight to Ulgii. This town is centrally located in the far western province of the country of Bayan-Ulgii. It is town with a high population of Kazaks – a nationally recognized minority. They live very traditionally and are known best for carefully preserving their culture and traditions.
We will have several photography sessions today, one light, off the cuff, around the town as we explore, and other posed and set sessions with the local people. One of these sessions will include one of the most gorgeous and unique photographic opportunities, which is a chance to get personal with the famed Eagle Hunters of Ulgii.
Of course as well we will stop along our way for some short sessions of the incomparable landscapes; mountains rising sharp and hard against a bright, clear sky, o’ertop of rolling endless miles of countryside.
Overnight in tent at the Kazakh family (with in-tent toilet) (B/L/D)
Day 3: EAGLE TRAINING EXPERIENCE
We will be visiting an eagle training facility where the family that has run it for generations will show us how they train and then use the eagles for hunting, and we will meet a multi time champion of the Golden Eagle Festival.
We will be spending the first half of the day photographing the training and then hunting process of these great birds, and have plenty of time with the trainer as well, getting to know him, and telling the story not only of his process, but his rich and storied history with these animals, the land, and their culture.
In the afternoon , we will head into town to stay at a hotel, to get ready for our flight the next day.
Overnight in Hotel (B/L/D).
Day 4: FLY TO ULAAN BAATAR- ULAAN BAATAR
Fly back Ulaanbaatar and check in our hotel. Next,we will visit Gandan. In the afternoon, attend Mongolian traditional culturalperformance which is one of the most interesting and authentic performances in Ulaanbaatar.
Accommodation: Hotel. (B/L)
Day 5: DRIVE TO ELSENTASARKHAI / SAND DUNES/ CAMEL HERDER FAMILY
After breakfast, start the countryside adventure to Elsentasarkhai. Elentasarkhai is a beautiful area of mountain steppes, green meadows and sand dunes. Arrive at Elsentasarkhai by lunch time. Have a lunch at a ger camp and visit camel herding family. See and photograph the camel herder’slife and show. Journey continues to Kharkhorin.In the evening, see the traditional performance.
Accommodation: ger camp. (B/L/D).
Day 6: NAADAM IN in KHARKORIN
Today we will be visiting the Naadam of the town of Kharkorin, set in a wide valley on the banks of the Orkhon River. We will arrive in the morning to photograph the opening ceremony of this wonderful festival, before moving on to photo sessions with the rest of the day’s events.
We will have a plethora of opportunities, from horse racing, to wrestling, and traditional archery competitions where we can be up close and personal with the competitors. We will have several hours to photograph all these events, and the milling in the aftermath; proud Mongolians in fine traditional clothing, showing off their medals and their beautiful horses.
As it will take place in a small town we will also have access to the local schools and official buildings. And of course, the food! We’ll be served up some true Mongolian hospitality in the form of sharing their famous Huushuur, a fried meat pie.
Overnight in the camp. (B/L/D).
Day 7: KHARKORIN / ERDENEZUU MONASTERY
We will wake up early, ready to start the second day of our Naadam adventure, and after breakfast we will head to the ancient and breath-taking monastery of Erdenezuu. A unique photographic experience, this monastery is over 400 years old but situated in the distinctly modern atmosphere of Kharkorin. The temple’s name means Hundred Treasures, and it certainly is worth that many, having been built from the bricks of the ancient city of Kharkorum which once stood here. We will be also visiting an active temple section where monks still practice, chanting and burning incense.
After our visit and session at the temple, we’ll continue on our photo shoot of the Naadam, which will include more events, and the phenomenal closing ceremony.
Overnight in the camp. (B/L/D).
Day 8: HERDING NOMADS
Today we’ll bid Kharkorin a fond farewell and head northwards to another Ger camp in the wilds of Mongolia. Our destination is the encampment of a nomad family.
Once we arrive we will have several photography sessions throughout the day including an up close and personal experience with horse training and breaking – watching the expert tamers weave around and rein the wild geldings in their care, and some portrait work with the nomads as they go about their daily life alongside their ever present animals.
We will stay and eat and have accommodation in the Ger camp. (B/L/D)
Day 9: ULAAN BAATAR
Today we start the long drive back to Ulaan Baatar. Once we arrive in the Red City we will check in at the hotel and have a little rest.
During the afternoon we will have another chance to do some spontaneous shooting along the streets of the city, looking for opportunities we may have missed before.
Overnight at Hotel. (B/L/D).
Day 10: ULAAN BAATAR -DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport and end of services. (B).