Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

Photographer's Mongolia: Photocultural Journey with Alison Wright (13 days)

Nomadic Expeditions

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia To Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Valid for Departures: 22 Aug 2018 - 03 Sep 2018

Photographer's Mongolia: Photocultural Journey with Alison Wright (13 days)

Day 3

Ulgii, Mongolia

Day 4

Ulgii, Mongolia

Day 5

Ulgii, Mongolia

Day 7

Kharakhorum , Mongolia

Day 8

Kharakhorum , Mongolia

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
22 Aug 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Best Western Hotel None

Welcome to Mongolia! The contrast between ancient traditions and a 21st century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries sit side by side with modern high-rises.Upon arrival at the airport you will be welcomed by your private Nomadic Expeditions guide and driver and transferred to the centrally located Best Western Hotel.

Day 2
23 Aug 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Best Western Hotel Breakfast, Lunch

Begin the day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Although Buddhist monasteries were either destroyed or converted into museums during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, Gandan Monastery continued to operate as a showpiece for government officials. However, in spite of the government’s efforts to suppress Buddhism and other religious beliefs, Mongolia’s spirituality persisted and a significant resurgence of Buddhism began in 1990 when Mongolia became a democracy. Experience these exciting developments firsthand at Gandan Monastery. Strolling through the monastery grounds, hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras, the teachings of the Buddha. Also visit the recently renovated Chenrezi and Kalachakra Temples, as well as the magnificent statue of Migjid Janraisig, “the lord who looks in every direction.” This 82-foot high gilded statue is clothed with silk and precious stones and completely fills the biggest of Gandan’s temples.Next, drive through downtown Ulaanbaatar to the National History Museum for an excellent overview of Mongolia’s history and culture. The newly remodeled museum displays traditional implements of daily nomadic life, including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, sacred religious relics, and agricultural, fishing, and hunting equipment. After lunch, visit Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Named in honor of Zanabazar, the renowned 17th century artist and politician, who was also the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia, the museum contains one of the best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts in the world, including many of Zanabazar’s original works.In the evening (if time permits), stroll through Sukhbaatar Square, the site of the Great Khans Memorial, built in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Mongolian Empire.

Enjoy dinner on your own.

Day 3
24 Aug 2018
Ulgii, Mongolia
Private camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, fly to Ulgii, capital of Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s westernmost province. Dominated by the Mongolian Altai Mountains, Mongolia’s highest, this isolated area has preserved the language, culture, and traditions of the Kazakh people who settled here centuries ago. Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority, the Kazakh women are renowned in Mongolia for their skills in embroidery and appliqué, and their gers are decorated in a kaleidoscope of colors. Felt carpets line the floor, each design unique to a family, and delicately embroidered tapestries cover the walls. Upon arrival, we visit the local mosque and the province museum. If time permits, we can also visit the local market before driving to our private camp set up near a Kazakh golden eagle hunter’s summer pasture. Overnight in private camp.

Day 4
25 Aug 2018
Ulgii, Mongolia
Private camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kazakh nomads continue to hunt with trained Golden Eagles in the winter months, a tradition passed down from their Turkic ancestors. The hunters use female eagles because they are more aggressive and weigh as much as fifteen pounds, or nearly one-third, more than their male counterparts. The first day spend time with the “eagle hunters” in the nearby mountain valleys and learn how they train their eagles – summer is when they do a lot of training and actual hunting is reserved for the winter months. On the second day go on day hike or horse safari to explore the landscape, plant life, and wildlife of the surrounding area.

Day 5
26 Aug 2018
Ulgii, Mongolia
Private camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

On the second day go on a day hike or horse safari to explore the landscape, plant life, and wildlife of the surrounding area.

Day 6
27 Aug 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Best Western Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport for a flight to Ulaanbaatar. Arrive in Ulaanbataar by mid-afternoon and after checking in at the hotel, we head out to visit and photograph the Choijin Lama temple, housing one of the best collections in the world (in terms of quality and quantity) of Tibetan artifacts outside of the Potala Palace. The evening, enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and khoomi throat singers followed by a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant.

Day 7
28 Aug 2018
Kharakhorum , Mongolia
Munkh Tenger Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we start our journey through the Mongolian steppes, heading to Kharakhorum (a four-hour drive), site of the 13th-century capital of the Mongol Empire. The empire, created by Chinggis Khan and his descendants, was the largest contiguous land empire in recorded history, and its scope has never been matched. Travelers in the 13th century were impressed not only with the beauty of Kharakhorum, but also by the internationalism and openness of this city where traders, intellectuals, and clergy enjoyed religious freedom

Day 8
29 Aug 2018
Kharakhorum , Mongolia
Munkh Tenger Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kharakhorum was destroyed in 1388, but traces of this once-magnificent city still exist at Erdene Zuu, Mongolia’s largest monastery, which was reputedly built from its ruins in the 16th century. Surrounded by 108 stupas, Erdene Zuu has been a place of Buddhist activity for centuries. Explore the monastery grounds and observe the monks as they perform their daily prayers and rituals in temples decorated with fine Buddhist art. We will also have the opportunity to meet Basan Lama (the Abbot of the monastery).As we explore the town, we will visit a local school, and time permitting, a museum founded to showcase the research findings from the ancient capital of Mongolia by the Mongolian and German joint archaeological expedition

Day 9
30 Aug 2018
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After an early breakfast, we continue our journey south. Leaving Kharakhorum we drive (on dirt roads) through the rolling hills of central Mongolia, passing through scenic valleys and streams. We will have a picnic lunch at a place of our choosing on top of one of the hills with views. By early afternoon, arrive at Ongiin Hiid and explore the ruins of this 17th-century temple, situated in a beautiful mountainous region. Still known as the “Pearl of the Great Desert,” Ongiin Hiid was one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia until its destruction during the communist purges in 1939. After we explore the monastery grounds we enter the vast Ongi Steppes, a flat area known for its mysterious beauty with endless mirages and occasional sighting of camels. We will stop to visit with nomadic families on the steppes as they’re known to be very hospitable towards visitors. By early evening, arrive at Three Camel Lodge luxury eco-lodge, located on the edge of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Spend the rest of the evening at your leisure or explore the surroundings on your own.

Day 10
31 Aug 2018
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast, drive to Moltsog Els, one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. Explore the sand dunes on foot or on back of a Bactrian camel. You will also have the opportunity to visit a local camel herding family. Return to the lodge for lunch. Later this afternoon, drive to the legendary Flaming Cliffs, named for the orange glow of the rock at sunset. The world’s first nest of dinosaur eggs was discvoered here in 1923 by Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History and it remains rich with paleontological finds.
Day 11
01 Sep 2018
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend today enjoying the specially arranged Naadam Festival where local nomadic children will compete in the “three manly sports” including wrestling, archery, and horseracing competitions. These three sports traditionally measured the courage, strength, and pride of nomads and warriors, although men, women, boys, and girls all take part in contemporary Naadam games.Archery: The skill of Mongolian archers and their advanced bow design was a significant asset to Chinggis Khan and his descendants during the years of Mongolian conquest. In the past, sharpshooters would practice by aiming for the heads of marmots. At today’s Naadam games, small round leather targets are placed at a distance of 60-100 meters from the archers, who still use formidable compound bows made from wood, horn, and sinew. The archers wear a special glove on the thumb and index finger of the right hand and wrap the left arm in soft belts. Referees, lined up next to the targets, mark each hit, raise their hands, and move around the spot singing a short song of praise. The best archer receives the title of “mergen” or marksman.Wrestling: Each wrestler wears trunks, an open-fronted long-sleeved silk vest, and ornamental knee boots with upturned toes. Before the wrestling match begins, the wrestlers perform the “eagle’s dance” symbolizing power and invincibility. The wrestler who forces his competitor to touch the ground with his knees or elbow is considered the winner. The victor then repeats the “eagle’s dance,” with his opponent passing under his arm (as though under a wing) as a sign of submission.Horse racing: Horseracing originally involved adult jockeys and the most popular contests involved riding unbroken horses. Later, so as to ease the burden on horses in long-distance races, the adult riders were replaced by children as young as six years old riding broken horses. The racing is done both with and without saddles, and the horses that take part are two years and older. Depending on the age of the horses, the distance of the races vary from 5 - 30 kilometers. The race’s winner is honored with a cup of airag (fermented mare’s milk), which he or she drinks and sprinkles on the head and croup of the horse.

Day 12
02 Sep 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Best Western Hotel Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, transfer to the local airport for your flight to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, visit the Bogd Khan Palace Museum, home of Mongolia’s last theocrat, Bogd Jabtzan Damba Hutagt VIII, which displays elaborate ceremonial robes, other personal effects of Mongolia’s ‘8th Living Buddha.’ In the evening enjoy our “farewell dinner” at a fine local restaurant.

Day 13
03 Sep 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
None None

This morning, transfer to the airport in time for your departing flight.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature

Description

Journey to Mongolia with photographer Alison Wright!

This 13-day photocultural journey travels to the must-see destinations in Mongolia. First, explore the fascinating mix of ancient and modern culture in Ulaanbaatar before setting out for an adventure in the remote and rugged westernmost region of Mongolia - the Altai Mountains. Here, you’ll meet the Kazakh eagle hunters, who carve out an existence in this stark landscape dominated by the highest mountains in Mongolia. The Kazakhs celebrate a centuries-old tradition of hunting with golden eagles and you’ll have the opportunity to photograph them and learn more about their lifestyle. You will travel to mystical Kharakhorum, the 13th-century capital of the Mongol Empire, where you will explore Erdene Zuu, purportedly constructed from the ruins of the ancient capital. Of course, no visit to Mongolia is complete without a foray in the Gobi. From sand dunes and ancient monasteries to interactions with nomadic families and a visit to the majestic fossil-rich Flaming Cliffs, as well as a traditional Naadam celebration, these three days will be especially memorable. Along the way, Alison Wright, an acclaimed documentary photographer and visual anthropologist, will provide invaluable insight into capturing your memories by camera.

About Us

Nomadic Expeditions is an award-winning tour operator that has been crafting trips of a lifetime to Mongolia, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Siberia, Sri Lanka, and India for 25 years. Founded by Mongolian-American Jalsa Urubshurow, Nomadic Expeditions pioneered luxury adventure travel to Mongolia shortly after its democratization in 1990. As developers and owners of the Three Camel Lodge, Nomadic Expeditions continues its commitment to providing exceptional experiences coupled with sustainability in this hidden corner of the world.

Insider Tip

Ask us about the remote luxury private camp in remote corners of Mongolia

Terms & Conditions

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to Nomadic Expeditions. Cancellation charges are based on the number of days from the date we receive the written cancellation notice until the main trip departure date.

Cancellation charges:

  • 90 days or more Full Deposit
  • 89-60 days 25% of land
  • 59-30 days 50% of land
  • 29-0 days No refund
  • After trip departs - No refund

In addition, any unrecoverable charges or fees imposed by suppliers or vendors on advance payments will be assessed. Airfares are refundable in accordance with the policy of the airline carrier being used, subject to a $50 handling charge. If full payment is not received 90 days prior to departure, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to consider this a cancellation. A Late Payment Fee will apply to all payments made less than 90 days prior to departure. Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to cancel or postpone any travel services prior to departure for any reason, including insufficient number of participants. In the event that a trip cannot depart on the dates specified due to unforeseeable events that render the itinerary inoperable or inadvisable, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to postpone services until such time as it is deemed appropriate by Nomadic Expeditions. Trip payments will be held by Nomadic Expeditions, and subject to the same conditions as for the original scheduled trip. Nomadic Expeditions is not responsible for any unrecoverable expenses incurred by trip participants due to trip cancellation or postponement, including non-refundable airline tickets, medical expenses and visa fees, or additional arrangements, made either through Nomadic Expeditions or another provider, purchased to coincide with this scheduled departure. This trip is subject to the cancellation, refund, and other policies set forth on our Departure Guide. We urge you to read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions.



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Highly Recommended

By: CW


Reviewed on: 02 May 2014

The tour group offered helpful advice about Mongolia and organized a VIP immigration service on arrival in Ulaanbaatar. The guide was experienced and very friendly and worked hard to get me to see all the sights I wanted to see (quite a feat as I tend to want to see everything).
Travel Advisor:  Ilana Valo