The Silk Road. Mongolia epic photo adventure: Eagle Hunters and Gobi desert, 4-14 September 2019, second group: 15-25 September



Guided by: Bayar Balgantseren, Anton Agarkov, Erdenebulgan Battsengel (this tour is not guided by Daniel)

Dates:

First group: 4-14 September

Second group: 15-25 September

Mongolia is a stunning place to experience a thousand years old culture, photograph epic desert landscapes in the heart of Gobi desert, experience famous hospitality of local people. The first part of our Mongolian adventure is devoted to the Southern Mongolia, where the most famous Gobi sands lay. This is a land of canyons, deserts, beautiful mountains and ancient culture. We meet and photograph locals, have sessions with camel herders crossing sands. We have private sessions organized just for us with Bactrian camels, and visit most amazing places of Southern Mongolia. We stay in traditional Ger camps and photograph not only landscapes – it’s a great mix of nature&cultural experience.
Besides Gobi we organize a very special event in West Mongolia. Every year Eagle Hunters festival takes place in Mongolia. But we decided not to be in the crowd, but bring our own little festival to just our private group. Moreover, after a private festival we visit the most stunning mountain locations with 3-5 eagle hunters to make beautiful photos of West Mongolia. It’ll be a trip where you can mix a cultural experience, portrait and genre photography plus practice in landscape. Mongolia is the land of wild beauty and untouched nature.
We travel by specially prepared Toyota landcruisers with local drivers, live in hotels or Ger tents with beds.

Day 1 – 4 or 15 September

Arrival to Ulaanbaatar (Airport Code ULN, we call it short UB). You’ll be met by our drivers and transferred to hotel. We meet at 7 p.m.  at the lobby of our hotel. Then we drive to our dinner restaurant. There we will have discussion about photo tour and get to know each other. Stay overnight at nice hotel just 5 min from the main square. /D/
You can choose any flight today landing before 5 p.m. Options are via Beijing, Seoul or Moscow. International flight is not included in the tour. It is recommended to arrive a day or 2 earlier to have some rest and make sure you will not miss next morning flight.

Day 5

Departure from Dalanzagrad local airport back to UB. The local flight will take 1,5 hours and included in tour cost. Again, flights will be released only in March, so please arrange your international tickets after we have local itinerary at hands.
Check in to comfortable hotel in the very center of UB. Dinner in one of local restaurants.

Day 10

In the morning after early breakfast we leave from Olgii airport back to UB. Flight is included – 3 hours to fly. Check in to hotel around 2-3 p.m. You’ll have time to stroll around UB city center.
Farewell dinner at UB restaurant. (B, D)

Day 11 – 14 or 25 September

Our drivers will take you to UB airport (code ULN). You can select any flight this day, a private transfer will be arranged this day and included in the tour. (B)

Price: 7900 USD 6900 USD – early bird discount 1000 usd!

Included in the price:

  • Sharing twin accommodation in hotels where available
  • Ger camp /All accommodations/
  • All transportation: 4 Domestic flights and ground transport by well-prepared Toyota Land Cruisers, 3 persons per car
  • Drivers
  • Fuel
  • Photography Guides and Tour leaders services
  • National park fees
  • Meals
  • Chef’s services
  • Private Eagle hunting mini festival, Eagle hunting activity – all stages and model fees
  • Beverages (water)
  • Additionally we prepare electric cord line, power generators for remote places with no electricity

Full board (all meals included as stated in itinerary!)

Not included in the price:

  • Medical insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Visas (but we will prepare all needed documents for your visa – invitations, supporting letters etc)
  • Single supplement in hotels (750 USD) – in Ger camp in Gobi twin accommodation, single supplement for hotel basis (Olgii, UB)
  • Extra baggage charge (Limit of baggage in Domestic flight is 15kg total carry on and check in), around 2-5 usd charge per extra kg paid by credit card at the airport

 

What to bring

Gear:
– DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
– A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40. Best lens for use in wide-angle scenes or architecture photography
– A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
– A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm

Wear:
– Waterproof and windproof jacket (consider the average temperatures +5  – 20 C)
– Waterproof pants
– Warm down-jacket and thermal pants
– Casual clothes for dinners and lunches and photography workshops

Full list of recommended wear will be sent to participants.

 

Accommodation and food

Amazing hotel in UB, more basic hotel in Olgii (but best in town). Hotel in Olgii has private shower in each room, electricity, wifi, private toilet.
During Gobi part we stay in heated Ger tents sleeping in beds. Women sleep in one Ger, ment in the other Ger (2 persons per one Ger). Electricity in every tent in Gobi, in kitchen at flaming cliffs. Facilities camp-style outside in sheltered toilet (normal toilet, not “hole”). Some camps have modern toilet facilities outside, some basic hole in the ground with shelter around. Dining in a special Ger tent. No wifi in Gobi part, slow cellular internet connection partially available. There are no hotels in Gobi, just nice Ger camps – so this experience might be a bit of your comfort zone, which definitely compensated by amazing unspoiled nature around.
During extension tour (only) in remote part of Altai you stay in traditional Ger tent with stove. Heat up in the night, cool down til the morning). Sleep on the mattress/carpet in provided sleeping bags or take yours. Toilet outside (hole in the ground with mobile tent around it). Electricity by generator run in the evening 2-3 hours.
Please note that we bring our amazing cook for this trip. So even vegetarian options are available. It’s hard to get veggies in Mongolia, but you can be sure that we take care of good food during this trip. Let’s say for breakfast we have bacon and eggs, toasts with nutella, sausages, juice, coffee etc. For lunch and dinner we have salads, nice soup and meat/pasta/rice various nice dishes.

Physical difficulty

The main tour is easy to moderate in terms of activity. Most of locations in the West even in the mountains are just next to the car parking. First and second location in West Mongoia – 50-100 m from the car). Third location in West Mongolia involves 300 m walk with 20-30 m ascend on a 20%-30% slope to reach little panoramic hill. At Gobi desert you need to be ready to walk in sand dunes. I recommend bringing hiking poles here. Usually it’s 30-40 min walk to most amazing inner dunes.
Temperatures in the night might be colder, so you just need to prepare yourself in terms of wear, especially for extension part in remote Altai.
In this tour lots of driving is involved on unpaved roads (although on nice landcruisers). In Western part it’s 1-2 hours to location and back, to get to Gobi from Dalanzadrad is 4-5 hours to drive and back).

Weather: (Averages in Sep – Oct)

Coldest: +1°C to -2°C

Normal: 6°C to +8°C

Warmest: +13°C to +16°C

The Gobi desert is the warmest area in Mongolia. But it’s autumn time and it gets cold in the night time. So please take your warm clothes. Full packing list will be sent to participants 2-3 months before the trip start.


Tour leaders

 

 BAYAR BALGANTSEREN (guiding 5-15 September tour)

Bayar graduated with a degree in economy and he took on photography in 2007. He taught himself through online study and relentless practice.

Bayar uses mostly Nikon equipment and specializes in nature, wildlife, landscape, and traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle photography.

His first photography book, Bayar’s Photography Impressions, was published in 2013.

  • An exhibition to celebrate his work was held in Mongolia at the Blue Moon gallery in January 2013.
  • In February 2014, Bayar showcased his work in three Japanese cities – Tokyo, Saitamo, and Yokohama – with an exhibition called Beautiful Sceneries of Mongolia
  • Also he held exhibition in Ulan-Ude, Buryatia, Irkutsk, Yakutsk, Chita cities Russia, in January 2015 and 2016
  • His exhibitions were in Bassano del Grappa on 19 September – 8 November 2015, 2017 Italy.
  • And in Dolo city on 28 February – 6 March 2016 in Italy.
  • Arxian city on15-30 December in 2016 China.
  • “Beautiful Mongolia” Ottawa 2-15 March 2017 in Canada.
  • “Beauty of Mongolia” Krakow city 25-30 October Poland

In the past four years, Bayar’s travel photography has been featured in multiple Mongolia magazines: National Geographic Traveler, Deejis, Goodali, Mongolian Photo, and Wonderful Life.

Awards:

  • Won First Place at the Glowing Sunsets Photography Competition organized

by Canon in 2014

  • Very Popular Photo at the Mongolian Photography exhibition held by

Cresc. 5. Japan, 2013

  • Nominated First Place for Nature Photography at the Mongolian Press Photo competition, 2012
  • Won Third Place at the Mongolian Birds Photography Contest organized by the Mongolian Centre for Wildlife Protection, 2012
  • Best Participant in the EZNis Contest My Beautiful country – 2012
  • Nominated one of the 40 best photos of the Mongolian Flickr group 2012
  • Won Best Photo at the CIS corporate photography competition aimed at promoting Mongolia worldwide, 2011

 Erdenebulgan Battsengel (both tours)

Erdenebulgan is a landscape, travel photographer. He took photograph since 2011.

In the past years, Erdenebulgan’s photography has been featured in multiple magazines: Lonely Planet, Viewbug, Deejis, Goodali, National Geographic Mongolia etc…

2015: Feeling Chain – Photo exhibition

Awards:

  • Winner in the EZNis Contest My Beautiful country – 2012
  • Winner in the “Hureelen” Best of Mongolia photo contest – 2014
  • Winner in the Delta outfitters photo contest – 2015
  • Also many 3rd place awards and best participants..

Anton Agarkov (both tours)

Anton Agarkov is a travelling photographer and journalist with more than ten years of shooting experience. Anton shoots mostly landscape and travel stories and organises photography workshops and expeditions in Russia and Central Asia in which he spends more than 200 days a year. His outmost interest lies in the territories of natural parks and reserves as well as hard to reach territories. Anton have a vast experience in shooting in harsh weather conditions such as snow and sandstorms, extreme cold and heat. Anton is Tamron ambassador in Russia and pro-rider for Marmot Russia. Works on regular basis with Nikon, Lowepro, Carl Zeiss and multiple other brands. Organises lectures and workshops on traveling and photography.