Mongolia Photo Workshop
Mongolia is known as a country with the last true nomad and a great history of Chinggis Khaan! It is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Mongolia is a unique and relatively unexplored travel destination that offers a great combination of scenic landscape, nomadic lifestyle, and rich culture!
The first part of our adventure is the private Golden Eagle Festival in West Mongolia. You will be witnessing the cultural heritage of Kazakhs, their ancient art of eagle falconry, as well as the breathtaking landscape of the Altai Mountain Range! The second part of our adventure is the Gobi Desert, where you will have the rare opportunity to photograph the local Mongolian as they are herding the Bactrian camels across the Khongor sands in South Mongolia.
Get yourself ready and be inspired by the beauty of Mongolia. Join us on 11 day, 10 nights photography workshop in Mongolia for a unique cultural experience and learn about cultural, portrait, and landscape photography with some of the best photographers on earth!
Double Room: US$6599
Single Room Supplement: US$799
Easy, no long hiking. Walking in the sand dunes, and short walking uphill to capture panorama view with eagle hunters. Some long driving (100-200km).
Maximum 13 people
90 days prior to the workshop starting date.
InclusionsAfter you signup, we’ll send you the information about the international flight, recommended camera gear, packing list, and other important information. Please pay special attention to things that we say are absolutely required.
- Hotels or Ger camps depend on the location
- All domestic flights
- Ground transportation in Toyota Land Cruisers or similar cars, 3 persons per car (everyone gets a window seat)
- All meals, water, coffee, tea
- Photography guide, tour guide services
- All parks entry fees
- Private golden eagle festival, eagle hunting activity – all stages and model fees
- Private camel festival – all stages and model fees
- Private Naadam festival
- Power generators for remote places with no electricity
- International flight to/from Mongolia
- Visa (we will prepare documents for your visa application)
- Travel Insurance
- Alcoholic beverages
- Single supplement in hotels and Ger camps
- Extra baggage charge for domestic flights (limit of baggage is 15kg total carry-on and check-in luggage, around US$2 to US$5 per extra kg to be paid during check-in)
- Gratitude for guides, drivers, and models
Detailed tour itinerary
Upon arrival in Chinggis Khaan International Airport, Ulaanbaatar (UBN), we will transfer you to hotel in Ulaanbaatar. Because of the limited flight into Mongolia, you have may arrive one or two days earlier, and have time to explore the beautiful city of Ulaanbaatar. We will meet at 7PM in the hotel lobby and have the welcome dinner in the local restaurant. Over the dinner, we will give you an overview of our exciting journey ahead.
Overnight in hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
After breakfast in the hotel, we will go to the airport and take the domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad. The flight time is 1.5 hours. In the case that no flights are available, we will travel by cars from Ulaanbaatar towards Dalanzadgad at no additional cost. Depend on the arrival time, we will either staying in the hotel in Dalanzadgad or driving straight to the Khongor Sand Dunes.
Our main stage for the next two days – Khongor Sand Dunes, one of the largest and the most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia, with the area over 900 square kilometers, and some dunes can reach the heights of 100 to 300 meters! The inhabitants here name the Khongor Sand Dunes as “Singing Dunes” due to the “roaring” or “blooming” noise when the sand grains move over one another in the windy condition.
Bactrian camels will be our companies in the photography sessions. Bactrian camels are double-hump camels native to the Gobi Desert. They are among the most adaptable creatures on Earth, as they can cope with drought, high altitudes, and extreme temperature between +40°C in the summer and -30°C in the winter. Domesticated Bactrian camels are a separate species from wild Bactrian camel, they have served as pack animals in inner Asia since ancient times, and as a form of transportation on the Silk Road. We will be having 5 camels and 2 local Mongolians in their traditional costume to be posed in the sand dunes for photography! You will be witnessing the amazing shadow of sand dunes casted by the low-angled sunlight and the camels walking across the sand dunes, just like the silk road era!
Overnight in hotel in Dalanzadgad in Day 2, and Tourist Ger Camp in Day 3 and Day 4. The amenities include comfortable beds, clean public shower and toilet, and limited hour of electricity.
After breakfast, we will be driving back to Dalanzadgad and catch the flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon return to Ulaanbaatar, you will check in to the hotel. In the evening, we will meet up for dinner in the local restaurant.
Overnight in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
After breakfast, we will be going to visit the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex, and then to the training camp to for the private Naadam Festival, where we will be photographing the Mongolian throat singing, wrestling, and archery.
The Mongols are descendants of the greatest warriors the world has ever seen with good reasons, but first and foremost it is their training. As soon as they were old enough to sit on a horse and hold a bow they started hunting also from a young age they were taught a fighting style called Bökh which is generally referred to as Mongolian wrestling today. Mongols are expert horsemen as well, both men and horses had great endurance and could travel anywhere from 80-120 kilometers a day, which was an unheard-of speed in those times. Their skills with the bow and arrow were so good they could shoot accurately from a horse even from behind. The Mongols are extremely proud of this heritage, so even if today they are amongst the friendliest people you can find, they are still great with horses, bows, and arrows and are considered amongst the toughest wrestlers in the world. We will have the opportunity to meet some of those warriors, both archers, and wrestlers, where they will demonstrate their skills, and if you are up for it… maybe step into “the ring” with one of them!
Overnight in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
After breakfast, we will take the 2 hours domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar to Olgii. Our drivers will pick us up and drive toward the Altantsugts Soum and Tsambagaraw Mountain, which is our base for the next few days. You will be welcomed by the Kazakh family and you will enjoy the traditional meals in one of the Kazakh Ger camps.
The tradition of eagle hunting is over a thousand years old and Genghis Khan is believed to have engaged in the sport. The Kazakhs inherited the sport from their Turkic and Mongol ancestors and were practicing it when they emerged as an ethnic group since 15th century. The hunting with golden eagles is primarily for fur, not for meat. The main preys are red and Corsac foxes, hares, wild cats and wolf. Usually, the female eagles are captured from their nests while they are a few months old. They are then trained by their owner, and a close relationship develops along the way. The eagle will stay with her owner for 4 to 10 years, when she is of breeding age. She is then released as far as possible in order to discourage her from returning, and the owner will continue to monitor her to ensure she is feeding and reintegrating. In 2011, UNESCO added Kazakh eagle hunting to the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as an example of living human heritage. As one eagle hunter told National Geographic, “When Kazakhs came into the world, they were eagle hunters.”
In the next few days, we will be having the private golden eagle festival with 10 to 15 eagle hunters. Our private festival will be different from the public festival, which is almost impossible to take home any good images due to the enormous number of tourists. During our private festival, you will have full access to take as many stunning images as you want while the Kazakh eagle hunters demonstrate their amazing skills in eagle falconry on horseback with the majestic landscape in the background! We will be photographing them in various locations, running and posing on the mountain ridges, grasslands and rocky landscape, reflection under the Altai Mountain range, the horses running across the river. Your day will be filled with excitement and heart-pounding moments!
In the middle of the day when the light is harsh outside, we will be photographing the Khazakh people with their traditional costume inside their Ger camp, with the ambient lights coming through the door. The results will simply blow your mind! If you are brave enough, you will be given the rare opportunity to get up closely to the golden eagles and let them stand on your arm!
Over these days, you will be having the traditional cuisines together with the Khazakh family, you will be enjoying their foods after the long days of photographing. The Khazakhs will also present you their epic instrumental music, dancing and vocal singing!
Overnights in Kazakh’s Ger Camp. The amenities include beds, toilet tent with seat toilet, heater, and limited hour of electricity.
After the sunrise session and breakfast, we will be driving to the Olgii airport to catch the flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon return to Ulaanbaatar, you will check in to the hotel in city center. In the evening, we will meet up for dinner in the local restaurant.
Overnight in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
You will be transferred to the Ulaanbaatar Airport by our drivers, and leaving Mongolia with full of memories and great images!