trip
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2
Adventure touring
Activities
  • Adventure touring
  • day walks
Accommodation
  • 4 nights hotel
  • 7 nights ger camp
Meals
  • 11 Dinners
  • 9 Lunches
  • 11 Breakfasts

12 Days$5490USD

Hit the trails with confidence

COVID-19 safety measures
Read our Covid-19 travel policy and what we're doing to keep you safe

Remote adventures
means social distancing comes naturally

Small groups only
Guided group sizes are strictly limited to maximum 16 people, average of 8-10


 
 
Trip Code: AON

Trip highlights


  • Dramatic landscapes: As we journey through national parks, you’ll have many opportunities to marvel at mountains, valleys, and rock formations—and the chance to roam on horseback or by foot and photograph stunning features up close.
  • Eagle festival: At this enormous annual gathering, you’ll have the chance to capture breathtaking shots of contests and birds of prey slicing across the wide-open sky.
  • Overnights in traditional ger camps: Throughout the trip, we'll be spending our nights beneath the stars. We’ll rest up in the great outdoors in these traditional nomadic dwellings similar to yurts.

We’ll be charting a path across large swaths of Mongolia’s striking terrain. On this remote adventure, photographers will find inspiration at every turn as we encounter one spectacular view and dynamic environment after another.

Along the way, we’ll pass through alpine wilderness and vibrant towns tucked into valleys. We’ll visit with nomadic families, stay in traditional ger camps, dive into the knotted history of the Mongol Empire, and sample traditional foods and drinks including fermented mare’s milk, a local favorite. Our journey will lead us to a sunset search for bands of wild horses and to a large gathering celebrating birds of prey. With our guide, photographer B.A. Van Sise, we’ll capture unforgettable scenes.


You'll be met and transferred from the airport to the group hotel. Our group will meet in the evening for a welcome dinner and trip briefing before spending our first night in Mongolia.

Meals:  D

After breakfast, we'll spend our day exploring the capital city. First, we’ll visit the restored Gandan Monastery, a Tibetan-style Buddhist monastery home to more than 150 monks. We'll also visit the National Museum of Mongolia, which documents and celebrates cultural heritage, and Sükhbaatar Square. This central square is named for Damdiny Sükhbaatar, often known as the "Father of Mongolia's Revolution," which brought independence from China in 1921. After lunch, we'll test our brain power at the International Intellectual and Puzzle Museum, also known as the IQ Museum. Created by puzzle master Tumen Ulzii, it is a place dedicated to curiosity, logic, and riddles. This evening, we'll enjoy a dinner and a traditional folklore concert, including a performance by Mongolia's national orchestra.

Meals:  B,D

After breakfast, we’ll depart for Khustain Nuruu National Park. The conservation area’s 195 square miles are home to a coterie of creatures. We’ll keep watch for dozens of mammals, including marmots and the spotted Eurasian lynx, and hundreds of species of birds. Since we’ll be spending the night in the park, we’ll take advantage of the daylight to settle into our ger camp (ger is the Mongolian term for a traditional yurt). Just before sunset, we’ll make our way up into the mountains. You’ll want to get your camera ready, because we’ll be on the lookout for wild horses, or takhi. The majestic animals were introduced to the park in 1992. In the years since, their numbers have stabilized, and they gather as at sundown. On our way, we might also meet some of the horses’ neighbors, such as gazelles, ibex, foxes, or badgers. We’ll come together for dinner at the camp, then settle in for the night beneath the stars.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast at the ger camp, we'll drive to visit a local nomadic family, who will be our hosts for the rest of the day. Today, we hope to get a brief glimpse into the daily life of Mongolia's nomadic people. For lunch, we’ll have a cooking class and make buuz, a traditional Mongolian meal. During the day, you have several different options. You can horseback ride, or hike in the surrounding mountains and meadows. There will be ample opportunity to taste Airag—made from fermented mare's milk, it's a favorite drink of Mongolians. Our evening meal will be a traditional Mongolian barbecue, called Khorkhog. Overnight will be in our ger camp, which will be set up right next to our host family. (about 50km driving, about 1 hour) For this night only, we will sleep in large gers that will be segregated by gender.After breakfast at the ger camp, we'll drive to visit a local nomadic family, who will be our hosts for the rest of the day and share a glimpse into their routine. For lunch, we’ll enjoy a cooking class and try our hands at making buuz, traditional Mongolian meat dumplings. In the afternoon, you’ll have several options for exploring in the open air: You can hike in the nearby mountains and meadows, or cross them on horseback. There will be an opportunity to sip airag. Made from fermented mare's milk, the spirit is a favorite drink of Mongolians. Our evening meal will be a traditional Mongolian barbecue called khorkhog, in which bone-in meat is cooked by the steam rising from rocks heaped in a jug. We’ll get a good night’s sleep in our ger camp, which will be set up near our host family.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today after breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to our hosts and continue our journey. Our destination is Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Along the way, we’ll stop to see a towering metal statue of Genghis Khan astride his horse. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, which is also home to a Buddhist monastery, has two famously photogenic rock formations whose nicknames will make a lot of sense when you see them: Turtle Rock and Praying Lama Rock. You'll have the chance for an evening walk before dinner, before turning in for the night at our ger camp.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, we’ll spend the whole day exploring the vast park. Set out for a hike, ride a horse, or spend some time in the monastery and meditation center. Your guide will be glad to offer more options for ways to connect to the surroundings. We’ll regroup for dinner, before returning to Ulaanbaatar for the night.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast, we’ll head to the airport for a flight to Ölgii, where we’ll get a different view of Mongolia’s history and culture. The country’s westernmost province, Bayan-Ölgii is predominantly Kazakh and Muslim. Descended from Turkic nomads, the Kazakhs train eagles for winter hunts of fox, wolf, and marmot—a tradition stretching back thousands of years. As borders have hardened around China, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan, the Kazakhs don’t roam as freely as they once did, but their culture has endured in this valley, full of clusters of gers. Tonight, we have dinner in together in one of the most remote regions of the world.

Meals:  B,L,D

Hunting foxes and hares with the help of specially trained birds of prey is an ancient tradition across the Eurasian steppe. We’ll spend the next two days at the awe-inspiring eagle festival, an annual tradition that draws the best hunters from across the Bayan Ölgii province. A Kazakh guide will introduce us to competitors’ traditional regalia and decorated horses, and we’ll watch as they compete in stunning tests of precision and distance. We’ll enjoy a private concert performed by local artists using traditional Kazakh instruments such as the dombra, a type of lute.

Meals:  B,L,D

As the eagle festival continues, we’ll watch spectacular ceremonies and contests, from horse racing to archery and buzkashi, a game in which players on horseback race to put a goat carcass in a goal. There will also be an opportunity to visit the museum in Ölgii, which offers a fascinating peek into the region’s culture and history.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today, we’ll head west for a daytrip to Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, named for the jagged mountain range that separates China, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. Some of the soaring summits, such as Khüiten Peak, which towers more than 14,000 feet, spend the year capped with snow. These heights, alongside lush valleys and glaciers and lakes, will offer ample opportunity for spectacular photographs. We’ll walk in search of ancient petroglyphs and historic Kazakh monuments. After a great day of photography, we’ll return to Ölgii for the evening.

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning, we catch a flight back to Ulaanbaatar. The afternoon is free. Relax in one of the capital city’s sidewalk cafes, do some last-minute shopping, or visit other sights, such as the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan. Tonight we will have a special group dinner to celebrate the end of our journey.

Meals:  B,L,D

Trip concludes after breakfast. Transfers will be organized to take you to the airport.

Meals:  B


Inclusions

  • 11 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 11 dinners
  • airport transfers (day 1 and 12 only)
  • hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar
  • private transportation in country
  • internal flights
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • expert bilingual local guide
  • medical kit
  • Special Escort B.A. Van Sise

  • Aerated and alcoholic drinks
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, etc.
  • Tips and gratuities
  • International airfares & departure taxes
  • Visa costs
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)

About Your Leader

B.A. Van Sise is also one of the world's busiest travel photographers, and a frequent contributor to Buzzfeed, the Daily Mail, and the Village Voice. In addition to being a Nikon/AFAR travel photography ambassador, Van Sise has been a staffer for Newsday and AOL CityGuide, has been featured on both the cover of the New York Times, on PBS NewsHour, the Daily Mail, and on NPR. A number of his portraits of notable American poets are in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian and the Center for Creative Photography.


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Total Priceper person from

$5490USD

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    *Prices listed are per person

Essential Information

Ready to book? Make sure you download and read the detailed photographing mongolia: an expedition to the golden eagle festival with atlas obscura trip notes which contains all the essential information you need to know before booking. Once you’ve booked, we will supply you with a Pre-Departure document which contains a detailed gear list and other important information to help you prepare for your adventure ahead.


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Award Winning Adventures

Enhancing your journey with authentic experiences, genuine cultural exchange and real exploration are the focal points on all of our adventures. In 2019, we were crowned by our peers as the best in adventure travel at The Travel Awards in Sydney.

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Responsible travel is at the heart of every program we offer as a fundamental and long held philosophy. When you book one of our 100% carbon offset adventures you’re supporting true sustainability in the protection of local communities, natural environments and wildlife.

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 When you book one of our adventures, you will receive quality services at the best prices with plenty of inclusions. There are no hidden costs, single travellers don’t pay more and you’ll enjoy many ‘extra touches’ that ensure your holiday is excellent value for money.

Positive Impact Travel

By joining this trip you are directly supporting positive impact projects in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We’ve offset the carbon emitted by this trip by purchasing credits that support important projects that address the UN’s seventeen SDGs, like reducing poverty, affordable and clean energy, reducing hunger, clean water and climate action.

Proceeds from this adventure purchase carbon credits through the world’s largest and most awarded carbon project developer, South Pole, which are invested into projects accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources in developing countries.

Supported projects are based on internationally recognised standards and are third-party audited. They entail a series of positive impacts on the ground, which benefit local communities and ecosystems, that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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