Mongolia Photography Tour - Iurie Belegurschi

Journey into the heart of Mongolia, a land of vast deserts, majestic mountains and endless blue sky. This 11-day workshop will immerse you in all of the extraordinary culture that this rugged country has to offer, as you get up close and personal with the locals, capture the pristine landscape that surrounds you and take your photography skills to an amazing new level. 

Total price: 7900 USD


Dates

20 - 30 Aug 2019

4 - 14 Sep 2019

15 - 25 Sep 2019

11 - 22 Aug 2020

22 Aug - 1 Sep 2020

Guided by 3 Local Photo Guides

Guided by 3 Local Photo Guides

Guided by 3 Local Photo Guides

Guided by 3 Local Photo Guides

Guided by 3 Local Photo Guides

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Overview


There are two parts to this tour. In the first, we'll explore the Gobi Desert – a vast and arid region that is well-known for its sprawling sand dunes, breathtaking mountains and rare wildlife, such as snow leopards and Bactrian camels. We'll travel safely in our specially-modified Toyota Landcruisers and stay in traditional Ger camps with the locals.

You'll be treated to special, private sessions during which you'll be able to meet and photograph the local shepherds as they herd their camels. In this region, hunting with eagles is a traditional form of falconry, so there will also be the amazing opportunity to participate in a private Golden Eagle Festival, during which we'll witness Kazakh eagle hunters doing just this.

Over a number of days, you'll have more chances to photograph the eagle hunters, with numerous private sessions arranged for our group to capture these incredible men doing what they do best in the inspiring beauty of nature.


Itinerary


Day 1 - Arrival

The adventure begins! You'll arrive at Ulaanbaatar airport, where our drivers will transfer you to your hotel. There will be some time to rest and to explore the city at your leisure, before we meet together as a group at 7pm in the hotel lobby.

From there, we'll head to a local restaurant where we'll enjoy our first meal together. You'll be able to get to know your fellow travellers a little bit better as your guides explain the itinerary for the days ahead.

You will stay overnight in Ulaanbaatar.

** Please note: International flights are not included in the price of this tour. When booking flights, please choose one that will land on this day before 5pm. Options include via Beijing, Seoul or Moscow. However, it is recommended that you arrive one or two days in advance to ensure that you will be well-rested and that you will not miss your morning flight on Day 2.

Day 2

In the morning, we'll meet for breakfast before departing our hotel together as a group. From there, we'll take a domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad.

** Please note: The flight time is 1.5 hours. The flight schedule will only be released in March. In the case that no flights are available, we will travel by cars from Ulaanbaatar towards Dalanzadgad at no additional cost. We ask that you only purchase your international flight tickets after the point that local flights are announced.

Once we arrive in Dalanzadgad, we'll make our way towards the Khongor sand dunes for a sunset session.

On this evening, we'll spend the night in a tourist Ger camp. Amenities include electricity and a shower. The Ger camp is heated with 2 persons allocated to each Ger. Each person will have their own bed with linen, blanket and a pillow provided.

Day 3

We'll rise early for a sunrise shoot back at the Khongor sand dunes. This will be a special session, as a local camel herder will be on-hand to provide us with some incredible photo opportunities, as the first rays of sunshine kiss the sands of the desert and light up the gorgeous blue sky.

As the sun gets higher overhead, you'll retreat to the kitchen Ger for a post-processing masterclass with your guides.

In the afternoon, you'll head back out into the extraordinary surrounds of the Gobi desert, where you'll catch the last light of the sunset casting the desert in a pale, mystical glow. Don't put your camera away yet though as we'll have an astrophotography session tonight, to capture the billions of stars hanging in the dark night sky.

You’ll retire for the night at the same tourist Ger.

Day 4

We'll begin day four with another sunrise session at the Khongor sand dunes, followed by breakfast back at the Ger. Thereafter, we'll travel towards the Bayanzag red sand cliffs – otherwise known as the "flaming cliffs" – which seem to light on fire during sunset. They make for the perfect panorama, captured from a number of different vantage points.

You will retire for the night in a small Ger camp.

Day 5

On day five, we'll pack our bags and fly back from Dalanzadgad to Ulaanbaatar.

** Please note: This flight is included in the price of the tour, though flight times will only be released in March so please only arrange your international airfares once we have access to the local flight itinerary.

On arrival in Ulaanbaatar, you'll be transferred to your hotel where you'll be able to rest and freshen up. In the evening, we'll meet together as a group for dinner at a local restaurant.

You will retire for the evening in Ulaanbaatar.

Day 6

On day six, we'll catch a 3-hour flight to Ulgii city from Ulaanbaatar. On arrival, our local drivers will whisk us away to the local home of a Kazakh family, who will welcome us warmly and invite us to experience their day-to-day life. There will be amazing opportunities to photograph them dressed in their traditional clothing and going about their usual business.

As the sun gets lower on the horizon, we'll head out for a sunset shoot with several eagle hunters, who will stand poised against a backdrop of majestic mountains. Thereafter, we'll return to Olgii for dinner as a group.

You will spend the night in a simple hotel with a shower, access to wifi and electricity.

Day 7

On day seven, we'll have breakfast before returning to the home of the Kazakh family. This will be the day that we witness a private Golden Eagle Festival, so be prepared for an incredible experience ahead!

The benefit of our private session is that we will have full access to the eagle hunters, as they demonstrate their astonishing eagle falconry skills on horseback. At the public festival, it is almost impossible to take a shot, due to the sheer number of people around. We'll make the most of our special access with a private portrait session involving up to 20 eagle hunters, who will make for the perfect models set against a number of diverse backdrops.

In the evening, we will return back to Olgii where you will retire to your hotel.

Day 8

Following on from an incredible day yesterday, we'll have a late breakfast before making our way to the Mongolian Altai mountain range. This area conceals a wealth of wildlife. It is also home to a number of ethnic groups, as well as the magnificent Tsambagarav mountain peak. Towering at 4208 metres tall, it will make a fine backdrop for our private sessions with the eagle hunters today.

In the evening, you will return to Olgii and retire for the night in your hotel.

Day 9

We'll have a late breakfast, before heading out to the town of Olgii. From there, we'll head towards a glorious blue lake, where we'll have another private shoot with the eagle hunters perched high atop the rocks with their majestic birds.

You’ll return to Olgii in the evening and retire for the night at your hotel.

Day 10

After breakfast on day ten, we'll fly from Olgii back to Ulaanbaatar.

** Please note: This 3-hour flight is included in the price of the tour.

On arrival in Ulaanbaatar, you'll be transferred to your hotel. You'll then have some leisure time during which you'll be able to relax or explore the city.

We'll meet in the evening for our final group dinner, during which we'll experience some of the delicious local fare on offer.

Day 11

In the morning, you'll be transferred by our drivers back to Ulaanbaatar airport to catch your flight home or onwards towards your next destination.

** Please note: The private transfer is included in the price of the tour. You can select any flight on this day.


Included:


Twin share accommodation in hotels where available

Ger camp /All accommodations

All transportation: 4 Domestic flights and ground transport by well-prepared Toyota Land Cruisers, 3 persons per car

Drivers

Fuel

Photography Guides and Tour leaders services

National park fees

Meals

Chef’s services

Private Eagle hunting mini festival, Eagle hunting activity – all stages and model fees

Beverages (water)

Additionally will have an electric cord line and power generators for remote places with no electricity

Not Included:


Medical insurance

Alcoholic beverages

Visas (but we will prepare all needed documents for your visa – invitations, supporting letters etc)

Single supplement in hotels (750 USD) – in Ger camp in Gobi twin accommodation, single supplement for hotel basis (Olgii, UB)

Extra baggage charge (Limit of baggage in Domestic flight is 15kg total carry on and check in), around 2-5 usd charge per extra kg paid by credit card at the airport


Accommodation and food


During this photo tour, you will be staying in an amazing hotel within Ulaanbaatar city centre. In Olgii, you will stay in a more basic hotel, though we can assure you that it will be the best in town. This hotel will have a private shower and toilet in each room, electricity and wifi.

When in the Gobi Desert, you will be staying in a heated Ger tent with beds, pillows and linen provided. Sleeping arrangements will be 2 people per Ger, with women and men separated. Electricity is available within every tent in Gobi, as well as in the kitchen tent at the Flaming Cliffs. Please be aware that facilities are basic camping style outside with a sheltered toilet (normal toilet, not a hole in the ground). All dining in Gobi will be in a special Ger tent. There will be no wifi available in Gobi, though slow cellular Internet connection is partially available. There are no hotels in Gobi, only Ger camps. This is an incredible experience designed to get you out of your comfort zone and into the pristine surrounds of nature.

During the extension part of the tour only, you will stay in a traditional Ger tent with a stove in the remote region of Altai. The Ger will be heated in the night and allowed to cool by the morning. You will be sleeping on a mattress / carpet in a camel sleeping bag that is provided. If you are particularly sensitive to the cold, then you may bring your own down sleeping bag. There will be a toilet outside for you to access (a hole in the ground with a mobile tent around it) and electricity is available via a generator which is only run for 2-3 hours in the evening.

Please note that all meals will be provided by our talented chef during this tour. Although it is difficult to obtain vegetables in Mongolia, we will ensure that good vegetarian options are available.


Physical difficulty


The main photo tour in Mongolia is easy to moderate in terms of physical activity. Most of the locations, even in the mountains, will be easily accessible from where our drivers will park. The first and second locations in West Mongolia are about a 50-100 metre walk from the car, whereas the third location involves a 300 metre walk with a 20-30 metre ascent on a 20-30% slope to reach a small panoramic hill. At the Gobi Desert, you will need to be prepared to walk in sand dunes, which can be moderately physical in nature. We recommend that you bring hiking poles for this part of the tour, which is usually a 30-40 minute walk to reach the beautiful inner dunes.

At night, the temperatures may be cooler, so please be prepared in the way of warm clothing – particularly for the extension tour in the remote Altai mountain range.

During this tour, you will travel in Landcruisers on mostly unpaved roads. In West Mongolia, it will be a 1-2 hour drive to the location and back. The drive from Dalanzadgad to the Gobi Desert is 4-5 hours there and back.


Weather: (Averages in September)


--Coldest: +1°C to -2°C

--Normal: 6°C to +8°C

--Warmest: +13°C to +16°C

The Gobi desert is the warmest area in Mongolia. But it’s autumn time and it gets cold in the night time. So please take your warm clothes. Full packing list will be sent to participants 2-3 months before the trip start.


Cancellation and Refund Policy


We strongly recommend you to get a Trip Cancellation & Travel Insurance after booking your trip. If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:

Greater than 90 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 service fee.

75 days or more: 75% refund

60 days or more: 50% refund

Less than 60 days: no refund

Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.


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