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Mongolia Photo Tour – 2020

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From$6,468
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August 29, 2020
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16 Days
Availability : August 29 to September 13, 2020
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

M O N G O L I A

Off The Beaten Track…
PHOTO TOUR
August 29 to September 13, 2020

WHAT’S THIS ADVENTURE ABOUT?

Our second tour to Mongolia is packed with exciting adventures. From overnight stays in Ger camps, to exploring the unique culture of Mongolia, plus we explore the famous Gobi Desert. We will target its people, how they live and the countryside they call home. The landscapes are stark and a perfect challenge to your creative photo interests.

This tour is not about climbing the biggest dunes, or walking great distances, but it is about maximising your Mongolian experience! We spend quality time with Mongolian families. Our expert local guide and your professional WPA guide will optimise regions where they know we will find families that live traditionally and welcome outsiders as new friends. The Ger camps are very comfortable, clean and a special facet to the adventure. The Gobi is a dream come true for landscape and creative photographers.

AND it is linked to our Arctic Russia adventure!

WE INCLUDE…

A fantastic land package! All your accommodation, meals and services as per itinerary. You simply need to organise flights and to get yourself to the start of the tour and for the departure. Julia is happy to help you.

ITINERARY TO ADVENTURE…

DAY 1 – Ulaanbaatar
August 29

We meet today at 4pm at reception. After tour information is offered, we undertake our first workshop to help you shoot lovely images of this unique country. We offer a welcome to Mongolia dinner tonight. Lots of options from western to more traditional food. Overnight in 4-star hotel. (D)

DAY 2 – Ulaanbaatar – Mongol Nomads Khar Bukh Balgas – Ugii Lake
August 30

Today we drive back in time, to a place that recreates the lives of Mongolian nomads at the beginning of the 20th century. This was when Mongolia gained its independence from the Qing Dynasty and established itself as a reemerging nation under a living godking. We shall attend a demonstration of how the nomads lived their lives during this era, and we shall see a stunning performance of Mongolian horsemanship. After lunch we continue our journey west as we arrive at Khar Bukh Balgas. Built during the Kitan Period, at about 1000 AD, this was a part of a chain of fortresses that were used to govern and control the northern region and borders of the Khitan (Kidan) State. Upon arrival to the site, we will explore the ruins, and learn about the various kingdoms that dominated Mongolia during that era. In the afternoon we arrive at the shores of Ugii Lake, where many nomadic families spend the summer. Overnight in a Ger camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 3 – Ugii Lake – Kultigen – Khar Balgas Tsenkher Hot Springs
August 31

Our first visit of the day is at the Kultigen monument. The massive stone tomb was built in honor of a Turkic prince and warrior killed in a battle that took place not far away. The stone is engraved in both Chinese and Runic scripts. From here we proceed to Khar Balgas. Built at about 744 AD, Ordu Baliq has flourished as the capital of the Uyghur Empire until 840 AD, when it was destroyed by the Yenisei Kyrgys. Though not much is left to date, this city has spread over 25 sq. km, and ruled an area that spread over the majority of nowadays Mongolia, the Chinese Xingjian Province, and Manchuria, at total of 5,500,000 sq. km. In the afternoon, we reach the area Mongolians call ‘the paradise of the horse herders’ for its lush grasses and open valleys. We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at about 80°C, and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak. Overnight in Ger camp.
(B,L,D)

DAYs 4&5 – Hiking Around Tsenkher
September 1&2

Today we will take a short drive to the trail head where we hike for a couple of hours – a truly enchanting walk up a stream where we hop from one stone to another. In this part of Arkhangai the wildflowers are plentiful, and it is likely you will see families cutting hay for winter fodder for their animals. A light walking day just by the camp (beautiful forest), and we can visit a local nomadic family. The next day your guides will optimise the best of this beautiful region. Horses can suddenly appear in striking landscapes. We will visit at least one new Ger family each day.
Overnight in a Ger camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 6 – Tsenkher – The Red Waterfall – The Orkhon Valley
September 3

We leave Tsenkher, and follow the flow of the Red River, along the eastern slopes of the Khangai Mountain. The Khangai (in Mongolian-prosperous) Mountain is Mongolia’s second largest mountain range, and dominating the central Mongolian landscapes. To its south, the vast Gobi Desert, and to the north, a land of plenty of water, and excellent graze for the herds. We drive through vast lush green meadows, pine forests, and mountain passes, on our way to the Red Waterfall. Here we will take an easy hike along the canyon floor, and end up at the pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfall. For the brave at heart, a cool swim awaits! We then take a one hour’s drive to a ger camp located at an excellent view point over the Orkhon River’s canyon.
Overnight in a Ger camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 7 – The Orkhon Valley – Kharkhorin
September 4

Today we will be driving north up the Orkhon River Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the valley has served as the center of several kingdoms and empires that ruled much of Central Asia for centuries. The UNESCO committee states: “Collectively the remains in the site reflect the symbiotic links between nomadic, pastoral societies and their administrative and religious centres, and the importance of the Orkhon valley in the history of central Asia.” (UNESCO website). Late in the afternoon we arrive in Kharkhorin, and climb up to a hill where the “Monument of Empires” is located. Built to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the coronation of Chinggis Khan as the ‘King of all kings’. Here we watch the sun setting over Kharkhorin and the Orkhon Valley (weather permitting of course!).
Overnight in a Ger camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 8 – Kharkhorin – Elsiin Tasarkhai
September 5

Built by Chinggis Khan about 800 years ago, Kharkhorin, better known as Karakorum, was famed throughout Asia as the capital of the Mongol Empire. Within the walls of this spectacular city, kings were chosen, laws made and the fate of the next city to be conquered were determined.

We will visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery and other historical monuments in the area. After lunch, we leave Kharkhorin for another one hour’s drive. Marking the northern edge of the great Gobi Desert, Elsiin Tasarkhai is a sand dune that stretches over 130 km north into the heart of Central Mongolia.

In the afternoon, we will go for a hike along the sand dunes, and if weather permits, we will enjoy a beautiful sunset over the dunes.
Overnight in a Ger camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 9 – Elsiin Tasarkhai – Hustaiin Nuruu SPA – Ulaanbaatar
September 6

We begin the day with an optional ride on the desert ship, the Bactrian two-humped camel, through spectacular sand dunes. You can also walk. This is a great experience and a chance for unique images.

After lunch, we depart the dune area and head towards Hustaiin Nuruu. (Strictly Protected Area). The SPA was established as part of a unique project to reintroduce the world’s last surviving wild horses back to their natural environment. On the brink of extinction during the last century, only a very few Takhi or Przewalski’s horse were left in zoos around Europe. This graceful steppe horse was returned to Mongolia, and today, thanks to this special project, two herds again roam the Mongolian steppes. Late in the evening, we take another two hours’ drive back to the Mongolian capital and book into a tradition western style hotel.
Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar. (B,L)

DAY 10 – Ulaanbaatar South Gobi – Yolin Am – Khongorin Els
September 7

In the morning we fly to (flight is included) the southern part of the Gobi Desert, landing next to the Goviin Gurvan Saikhan (The Three Beauties of the Gobi) National Park, after which we will visit Yolin Am canyon. Located in the southernmost province of the Gobi Desert, Yolin Am is part of the Great Gobi National Park. The area is an oasis, attracting wildlife from the area all around with water, good grazing, and sheltered canyons. The wonder of this beautiful valley is the river of ice stretching across the canyon floor, which survives the desert heat well into the month of August every year, better known as the Gobi Glacier. A hike down the valley offers us a great opportunity to observe wildlife, and enjoy the cool waters of the stream that emerges from under the glacier. We then embark on approximately six hours’ drive through the Gobi’s typical desert landscape, to the Khongorin Els (Singing Sands) sand dunes.
Overnight in a Ger camp. (B,L,D)

DAYS 11/12 – Khongorin Els
September 8&9

We will spend two days hiking around and along the sand dunes – targeting the best light and enjoying a break. The walks are as easy as you like. For the more adventurous, you can explore walk to the higher points for new beautiful landscapes scenes. We search for different angels and sand formations created by the wind over the sand. Your professional guides will work hard to maximise this stunningly beautiful region.
Overnight in a Ger camp on both nights. (B,L,D)

DAYS 13-14 – Khongorin Els/ Bayan Zag
September 10&11

Known to Westerners as The Flaming Cliffs, Bayan Zag (Rich with Saxaul) is famed for its red sandstone cliffs which take on beautiful red and orange hues during sunset. Sculptural Saxaul trees grow in the arid rocky soil. The area is also recognized as one of the world’s largest dinosaur graveyards. In 1921, the American Roy Chapman Andrews discovered some of the most important Palaeontological findings of the last century. Since then, hundreds of archeological expeditions have come to this remote desert location. We arrive at Bayan Zag around lunch time and spend the afternoon exploring the cliffs, then drive to the ger camp in the late afternoon. The next day we enjoy an easy day at Bayan Zag, the nearby Moltsog Els Sand Dune, and we might even be lucky enough to find a family of camel herders, with which we can spend some time.
Overnight in a Ger camp on both nights. (B,L,D)

DAY 15 – South Gobi – Ulaanbaatar
September 12

We catch an early flight (flight is included) back to Ulaanbaatar. We arrive in the city, and after settling in our western style hotel, time to explore the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian might need, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers. Goods brought to the market come from all corners of Mongolia. A visit to the market is a colourful experience which gives the visitor an insight to the everyday life of the people of Ulaanbaatar. In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner.
Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar. (B,L,D)

DAY 16 – Tour Ends
September 13

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Chinggis Khan International Airport for your departure flight. (B)

Transfers/extra services are not included. Julia is happy to help.

(B,L,D) – Confirms if Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner are included that day.
Itinerary, price and details are subject to change.

PHOTO TOUR PRICE

MAIN TOUR – AU$8,995.00 Twin Share per person

As per itinerary, with accommodation, meals, access to unique photo opportunities, small group size – local guide and driver and professional photo guide.

EVENT DEPOSIT REQUIRED – AU$2,000 pp.

Please read our terms & Conditions and fill in our booking form. You should now pay for travel insurance, including deposit protection insurance. Note that your deposit is refundable up to one year before departure, except for a $500 cancellation fee. After this time, deposits are non refundable.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT – AU$1,295 pp.

We will try our best to find someone to share with you. However, part of the booking conditions is that a single supplement is applicable if no one is available to share.

THE COST INCLUDES

• All land tour costs as per itinerary.
• Accommodation is 4 star Hotel, or best available. Ger have no ratings, but are clean and comfortable.
• All meals as detailed in the itinerary.
• 2 X domestic flights.
• Entrance fees to parks as per itinerary.
• Professional photo guide.
• Local expert guide/driver/mini bus.

NOT INCLUDED

• International Air tickets
• Personal expenses
• Items not included in the itinerary
• Tips and drinks