Mongolia is truly one of the world’s last undiscovered travel destinations and the safest country to visit. It is a land where you can experience wide-open spaces, cobalt blue skies, forests, deserts, crystal clear rivers and lakes, and the traditional hospitality of the nomads.
The tour begins with the exploration of the Nomads City where the nomadic and urban lifestyle clashes in harmony. Around half of the Mongolian population inhabits the capital city Ulaanbaatar. The Ulaanbaatar is unique in a way that both the modern and the traditional homes exist in harmony.
Experience the Naadam Show at the Mongol Nomadic camp, the three manly sport competition which is also a national holiday that dates back to the time of Genghis Khan.
Next, there is the Bayan Gobi Desert which exists in the middle of grassland in the center of Mongolia. The contrast between the lush greenery and the sand dunes at the Bayan Gobi Desert makes a surreal landscape picture and the sunset would leave unforgettable memory.
Continue on to the Karakorum village which was once the capital of the Mongolian Empire and famous trading city. Presently on the base of the ancient city stands the Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the important Buddhist center in Mongolia. The monastery has different types of architectural mix which makes them attractive for a photo shoot.
The tour continues on to the Hustai National Park, the home of the Przewalski horse. See the forefather of Horse which has been existing on the earth for thousands of years.
The last bit of the tour starts with a flight to Western Mongolia. There are countless opportunities to experience the unique culture and take good pictures there as we will be visiting Eagle Hunter Family and stay with them, also we will visit Uriankhai Family which is another ethnic minority of Mongolia.
Feel the wind as we drive across the vast plains, where nothing obstructs the sights.
Relax in the wild nature and explore the Mongolian culture, history and nomadic life style…
Day 1: (June 20) Arrive in Ulaanbaatar.
Whenever your international flight lands in the city airport, you will be transferred to the hotel in Ulaanbaatar. Free at leisure for the rest of the day. You may need some time to relax and recover from the long-distance flight or possibly from jet-lag. If you feel like going for a walk and checking out places nearby, feel free to ask from your hotel reception for recommendations.
Day 2: (June 21) Explore the Nomad’s city, Ulaanbaatar.
In the morning at 9 am, your tour guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel lobby. This day’s city tour starts with a visit to “Gandan” Monastery, which is Mongolia’s largest functioning Buddhist monastery including the Mongolian Buddhist University. At the Monastery, you can observe the interaction between monks and visitors. (The highlight of visiting Gandan is a 26-meter-high majestic gilded indoor statue of Megjid Janraisig.)
Continue to visit the Museum of Mongolian National History – the museum presents Mongolian history and culture from prehistoric times to the present day.
After lunch at a local restaurant, we visit Sukhbaatar square which lies at the heart of the city. On normal days the square is lively with both young and elderly playing or sitting in the sun. During festivals, the square would be bustling with visitors interested in the attractions on the Sukhbaatar’s square.
Next stop is Bogd Khan Palace museum – the complex was a residence of 8th Bogd Javzandamba in the 19th century, the head of Mongolian religion. The palace consists of seven Summer Prayer temples and the winter palace.
Afterward, we will visit Zaisan Memorial Hill which is great for aerial photography since is located in the south side of Ulaanbaatar City (have the best view of the city and surrounding hills).
In the evening, we will see vibrant and intriguing performances 3
by one of the best Mongolian traditional artists at Tumen-Ekh Ensemble’s “Wonders of Mongolia” Concert.
Day 3: (June 22) Bayan Gobi Desert & Gobi Nomads
This is the day we leave the hustle bustle of the city and drive into a more rural part of Mongolia. The destination is Bayan Gobi Desert. On the way, we will have many moments to take pictures of the changing landscapes. The Bayan Gobi Desert is a magnificent sand dunes surrounded by hills with willow trees, streams, and bushes, and appear as a small desert in the center of the country.
Upon arrival, we will check into the Tourist Ger Camp for lunch.
In the afternoon, we will visit camel herder family and explore their
lifestyle and try riding a camel. We will discover the magnificent Bayan Gobi from the back of a Bactrian camel (2 humped camel). There are several occasions for a photo shoot with the
family and with domestic animals.
Since the Bayan Gobi Desert has a variety of landscapes together in one place it would make a wonderful place for landscape photography. Moreover, as the sun sets over the sand dunes, over the grassland everything will be dyed in beautiful orange glow which leaves an unforgettable picture in our mind.
Day 4: (June 23) Karakorum village & Erdene Zuu Buddhist Monastery – Lake Ugii
The destination of the day is Karakorum village. Present day Karakorum is a small settlement compared to the 13th century Karakorum which was not only the capital of the vast Mongolian Empire but the epic center of trade along the Silk Road.
Upon arrival at the village, we will visit the museum of Karakorum and learn about the old capital Karakorum.
After lunch at we will pay a visit to the magnificent and one of the oldest Buddhist Monastery complex of Erdene Zuu, which were built form the ruins of Karakorum in the 16th century.
Here you can be immersed in an authentic Mongolian Buddhist culture as the monastery is active and have many devotees coming to pray all year around.
The Erdene Zuu has different types of Buddhist architectures (Tibetan, Chinese, Mongolian) which would make interesting photos in combination with the crimson-robed of monks.
In the late afternoon, we will continue our journey to Lake Ugii, a freshwater lake well known for its birdlife (registered in Ramsar Convention).
There it is possible to observe a variety of waterfowl at the lake.
Day 5: (June 24) Hustai National Park (Wild Horse Park).
Today we’ll visit the Hustai National Park with its unique landscape that features mountain and steppe. The park is home to the Mongolian wild horse known as Przewalski. Seeing these truly wild horses which existed hundreds of thousands of years ago, feels like traveling back in time. There is great opportunity to take photos of these endangered horses. If you are lucky, you can see fox, deer, roe deer, eagle, and more. In the evening, we will take a short drive and hike to see the horses in their natural habitat. Overnight in Ger camp.
Day 6: (June 25) Return to Ulaanbaatar- Free Day
Early in the morning, we will explore the park to do more
sightseeing. Then we will have breakfast at the camp and return to Ulaanbaatar. The rest of the day is a free day.
Day 7: (June 26) Naadam horse racing & meeting the Horse trainer
Today you will experience the brilliant madness of the horse race
field. Better start the day early, be picked up from the hotel at 08:00 am. We will head out of the city to the horse racing field. See the Naadam horse race, where children ride small but sturdy horses across the steppe. You will learn interesting traditional beliefs about horse, such as the one who stands in the dust of Soyolon race (strongest horse aged 4) will be blessed until next Naadam. Then we will meet the Horse trainer & race kids and interact with them and get in depth information on their lifestyle.
There will be plenty of opportunities to take candid shot & portraits of the horse trainer and the race kids.
In the late afternoon, we will return to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 8: (June 27) Mongol Nomadic & Naadam show
This day, we will be attending the Mongol Nomadic Naadam Show outside of Ulaanbaatar. The Naadam Show focuses mainly on three sports: horse racing, Mongolian-style wrestling, and archery. It’s no coincidence that all three skills were derived from the capabilities of Genghis Khan’s legendary military – a force that conquered and controlled the largest empire the world has ever known.
At 8:00 am meet the guide at the hotel lobby and drive to Mongol Nomadic Ger camp. Upon arrival at the camp, we will see the Mongol Nomadic show. (The show demonstrates traditional living of nomads, making of dairy products.) After lunch at the camp, the Naadam show will start. The event will begin with Mongolian long song & horse head fiddle performance as a tradition. Then 16 strong wrestlers will compete in the 1st round of wrestling competition, followed by the archery competition. Afterwards a musical performance of local artists (Mongolian dances and song) Archers will perform archery showcase and spectators are welcome to try. Also, a group of locals will perform traditions of moving with a Ger – loaded on a yak cart, and they will join the Naadam later too.
Horse racing will follow soon after the little jockeys sing Giingoo – a special song/blessing echo for racing horses. The winners of the competitions will be awarded with sheep and other traditional gifts of nomads. Visitors have the opportunity to meet the competitors and take photos. Visitors also can make bets on the racehorse and wrestlers.
In the evening we will return to Ulaanbaatar and prepare for the next day’s journey.
Day 9: (June 28) Flight to Western Mongolia – Exploring the Ulgii city After breakfast we will drive to the airport for the flight to Western Mongolia (Bayan–Ulgii Province). On arrival at Ulgii (Bayan Ulgii province center), we will go to see the local museum and the local “Black market”. Then after lunch at a local restaurant, we will continue our exploration of the province center Ulgii. One of the interesting things to see while being there is to visit the Wedding Palace, (as it is not religious and only have the purpose of conducting marriage sermons). You might experience Kazakh wedding while visiting because the summer months are high season for weddings in Bayan – Ulgii. Moreover, if you’re lucky you could get invited to a wedding.
Day 10: (June 29) Altantsugts village & Visiting Eagle hunter’s family
In the morning we will drive to Altantsugts village to visit Eagle hunter’s family. We will be introduced into their daily life and see the families magnificent bird. (Specially trained eagle can hunt small animals such as rabbits, foxes, partridge, black hazel grouses.) While staying with the family you will learn the unique customs of the Mongolian Kazakhs.
Day 11: (June 30) Photoshoot with Eagle Hunter & Uriankhai family
This day to make the trip more memorable we will do some hiking with the Eagle Hunter, on the way feel free to take picture and admire the scenery. On the way, we will drop by a Uriankhai family, which is also an ethnic group of Mongolia. It’s possible to snap some pictures of their home and if the family agrees their picture can also be taken. Afterward, we will continue to the mountain for our photoshoot with the Eagle Hunter.
In the evening we will return to Ulgii to our Hotel.
Day 12: (July 1) Flight Back to Ulaanbaatar.
After arriving in Ulaanbaatar will be transferred to the Hotel. You’ll have the afternoon free and in the evening we’ll have our farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar.
Day 13: (July 2) Ger district.
Today we’ll explore the Ger district and photograph the city dwellers who live in the traditional Mongolian abode, known as a Ger. The residents of this district were once Nomads that living in the countryside. During our visit, you will be able to take photos of daily lives of the locals and also visit small business owners who operate and live in the district.
After lunch at the city center, we will explore the bustling Naran Tuul Black Market. The where you’ll find an abundance of photographic subjects – everything from colorful fabrics to furniture and carpets, household items and clothes. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar.
Day 14: (July 3) Departure.
The last day of the tour. You will be free at leisure in your hotel or wander around on your own until being escorted to the Chinggis Khan International Airport for your departure flight home. Your driver will assist you with flight check-in and luggage, and see you off at the point of security check.
OR….4 day/3 night Extention to Northern Mongolia
Day 1: (July 3) Flight to Northern Mongolia – Blue pearl Khuvsgul Lake.
Today we’ll fly to the city of Muran in Northern Mongolia. After lunch, we’ll be transported to Khatgal port village on the shore of Lake Khuvsgul while enjoying the view of hundreds of grazing livestock and wildlife of northern region of Mongolia. Located on the shore of the lake, Khatgal Village is home filled with stalls selling dried fish, honey, shell charms & ornaments. The market with its people and goods along with the beauty of the lake as a backdrop means there is something every photographer. Overnight Ger camp.
Day 2: (July 4) Visit to Tsaatan family (Reindeer herders) & Shaman.
This morning we’ll visit a Tsaatan family. Tsaatan are the descendants of the last reindeer herders who survived for thousands of years inhabiting the remotest subarctic taiga. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore with hiking, kayaking or just enjoying nature and taking photos. In the evening we will visit a Mongolian Shaman. The Shaman will be dressed in a traditional deel (coat) decorated with colorful symbolic animals and have special headgear decorated with feathers. We’ll witness them using a variety of instruments during a ritual, making for great photo opportunities. Overnight Ger camp.
Day 3: (July 5) Northern Mongolia – Fly back to Ulaanbaatar.
Today we will return to the local airport for our flight back to Ulaanbaatar. On the way to the airport, we will visit the ancient Uushig Deer Stone – one of the most clearly depicted deer stones in Mongolia. A deer, an arch, a shield, a horse, a knife, the moon, the sun, and a mirror figured belt were engraved on the stone. Upon arrival to Ulaanbaatar you’ll be transported to your hotel. The rest of the day is open for you to enjoy at your leisure. You’ll have the afternoon free. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar.
Day 4: (July 6) Departure
Guests will be transported to the airport to connect with their flights home.