Day 1 – Arrival
You will arrive in Ulaanbaatar (Airport Code ULN), where you will be met by our drivers and transferred to your hotel. You will have the rest of the day at your leisure to explore the city, a melting pot of cultures where East meets West, before meeting your guides and the rest of your group at 7pm in the hotel lobby. You will then be driven to a local restaurant for a welcome dinner, during which you will be able to sink your tastebuds into some of the delicious regional fare on offer and get to know your fellow travellers a little bit more. Over dinner, your guides will give you a brief overview of the itinerary and prepare you 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.
After breakfast, you will meet together as a group and board a domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad. The flight time is 1.5 hours. Please note that 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.
Depending on your arrival time in Dalanzadgad, if time permits then you will head towards the Khongor sand dunes – the most important sand mass of the Gobi desert – for a sunset shoot. Suddenly arising from the plains and reaching breathtaking heights, these dunes are undoubtedly among the most spectacular in the country. Beyond the dunes, the steppe extends as far as the eye can see, making for a mind-blowing scene.
You will 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.
The adventure truly begins! You will have a sunrise session at the Khongor sand dunes, where a camel herder will be waiting to provide you with an exciting and private shoot with camels. The sunrise is sacred to Mongolians, as they believe that the first rays of the sun revives the spirit. You will have the chance to experience this principle first-hand as you witness the rays streaking across the undulating curves of the Gobi Desert, painting the mountains behind them with a blushing glow.
During the day, you will convene with your guides for an image review, critique and post-processing session at the kitchen Ger.
In the evening, be prepared for a sunset shoot in the magnificent Gobi desert, followed by an unimaginable shoot beneath the fabric of the night sky, adorned with a veil of countless shimmering stars.
You’ll retire for the night at the same tourist Ger.
On this day, you’ll have an early sunrise session at the Khongor sand dunes. Thereafter, you’ll be treated to a hearty breakfast and begin making your way towards the Bayanzag red sand cliffs, arriving by the afternoon. Otherwise known as the “flaming cliffs”, these smoldering ridges take on a life of their own at sunset, during which you will have the chance to photograph their fiery edges ablaze with the light of the sun from a number of panoramic locations.
You will retire for the night in a small Ger camp.
The adventure continues with a 1.5 hour flight from Dalanzadgad airport back to Ulaanbaatar. 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.
Once you arrive in Ulaanbaatar, you will be transferred to a comfortable hotel in the city centre and have the chance to rest before meeting once again with your group for dinner in a local restaurant.
You will retire for the evening in Ulaanbaatar.
The day begins early with a 3-hour commercial flight to Ulgii city from Ulaanbaatar. From there, our drivers will pick you up and take you towards your next destination – the welcoming home of a Kazakh family, where you will be presented with the opportunity of a lifetime to capture portraits of the locals dressed in traditional clothing.
In the afternoon, you will have an exhilarating sunset shoot with several eagle hunters poised regally with sweeping mountains all around, making for a series of captivating photos. After sunset, our drivers will return you to Olgii, where you will have dinner with your group before retiring for some much needed rest for the night.
You will spend the night in a simple hotel with a shower, access to wifi and electricity.
After breakfast with the group, you will return to the home of the Kazakh family from the day before. Be prepared for a day of breathtaking wonder, as you partake in an experience of traditional Kazakh heritage that you’ll never forget. This is the day that you will witness a private Golden Eagle Festival. Our private session will be different from the much busier public festival, during which it is almost impossible to take home any photographs of much value due to the sheer number of people in the background. During our private session,you will have full access to take as many stunning photos as you like while the Kazakhs demonstrate their majestic skills in eagle falconry on horseback with nothing but the landscape all around. Clad in traditional coats and scarlet hats, the eagle hunters will exhibit their mighty finesse in a whirlwind of fearlessness as Golden Eagles perch strongly upon their arms. You will even have the rare opportunity to get up close and personal with the Golden Eagles, as well as to allow one to perch upon your own arm.
Afterwards, we will have a private portrait session with up to 20 eagle hunters across a number of diverse locations, spanning mountain ridges to grassy marshlands where reflections and horses hooves crashing into the water will make for immeasurably heart-stopping moments and magnificent photos.
In the evening, we will return back to Olgii where you will retire to your hotel.
After yesterday’s excitement, you’ll be glad to wake to a slow morning after a long night’s sleep and to tuck into a hearty breakfast., following which you will head towards the stunning wilderness at the foothills of the Mongolian Altai mountain range. This spectacular region is home to many different ethnic groups and five striking holy peaks – of which Tsambagarav, standing at 4208 metres tall, will be your magnificent backdrop for the day. On this day, we have arranged for you to participate in private photo sessions with five eagle hunters, who will demonstrate their prowess in an incredible 360° location surrounded by jagged, rocky ridges to one side and snow-capped mountains to the other.
In the evening, you will return to Olgii and retire for the night in your hotel.
Following on from another epic day, you’ll have the chance to rest in the morning before heading out together as a group for lunch in the town of Olgii. From there, your drivers will transport you to a crystal blue lake, where you will have the opportunity to photograph three eagle hunters set against a panoramic rocky viewpoint. The magic takes hold when the sun begins to set, bathing the eagle hunters in the last rays of warm sunlight. It’s a wonderful occasion to practice shooting with a person for scale, demonstrating the power of the eagle hunters against the immense beauty of the landscape.
You’ll return to Olgii in the evening and retire for the night at your hotel.
After a hearty breakfast in the morning, you’ll depart from Olgii airport on a flight back to Ulaanbaatar. This 3-hour flight is included in the price of the tour. On return to Ulaanbaatar, you will check in to your hotel, after which you will have a few hours to explore the city centre at your leisure.
In the evening, you will meet your group for a final farewell dinner at a restaurant in Ulaanbaatar before retiring for the night to your hotel.
You will be transferred by our drivers to the Ulaanbaatar airport (code ULN). The private transfer is included in the price of the tour. You can select any flight on this day to return home or to continue your journey elsewhere around the world.