Dates: July 7–22, 2018

Begins & Ends: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Nearest Airport: Ulaanbaatar (ULN)

Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Winslow Lockhart

Maximum Participants: 8

Tuition: $6,900

Accommodation: Included
(optional single supplement: $900)

Meals: Included

Payment Policy: 3 Installments
     • $500 deposit to confirm participation
     • 50% due by November 1, 2017
     • Balance due by March 1, 2018

This photographic adventure begins and ends in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Tuition includes hotels/gers (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement), meals, driver and guide tips, and local group transportation for the duration of the adventure. It does not include souvenirs, bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), nor any personal expenses.

This adventure is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.

Reserve your spot below.

Tribes of Mongolia Within The Frame Photographic Adventure

Tribes of Mongolia Within The Frame Itinerary

Nicknamed “Land of Blue Skies,” Mongolia is a magical country of spectacular landscapes, vast steppes, rugged mountains, clear lakes, abundant wildlife, herds of livestock, and one of the last few places on the planet where nomadic life is still a living tradition.

Tribes of Mongolia is a deeper adventure with significant time devoted to understanding and photographing the fascinating minority groups and nomads of northern Mongolia, particularly the Tsaatan reindeer herders, who are also known as Dhuka. Tsaatan means “those who have reindeer” in Mongolian. They are among the last nomadic reindeer herders in the world. In fact, there are only about forty families that continue this disappearing tradition.

We will begin in Ulaanbaatar, the increasingly dynamic and progressive capital of Mongolia. Then for three days, we will drive northwest across the Mongolian steppe towards the mountains, encountering and photographing nomads and shepherds as we travel in our 4×4 vehicles. Each night we will overnight at a scenic ger camp. Once we reach Khovsgol Lake we’ll be in the Tsaatan’s home territory. We’ll have two nights on Khovsgol Lake before heading even deeper into the mountains and up to a plateau where a Tsaatan family of reindeer herders will host us for three nights in a temporary camp so that we can spend all our time with them. We will then head south for three nights and then east for two nights across the beautiful Mongolian steppe, stopping for two nights to enjoy thermal springs along the way, before arriving back in Ulaanbaatar for one last night.

This photographic adventure is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities — our vision. It is appropriate for photographers of all levels, and you will be free to photograph independently or always with the assistance of one of the leaders.

Ulaanbaatar (Day One)

We will all arrive in Ulaanbaatar in time for a meet-and-greet dinner and an orientation to discuss our itinerary and events for our shared photographic adventure.

Mongolia’s capital juxtaposes the historical and religious importance and tranquility of monasteries like Gandan Khiid with an increasingly dynamic and modern city that pulsates with commerce, bohemian counter-culture, and nightlife. The city center has seen a building boom in recent years, but the outskirts of the city are still dominated by ever-expanding ger suburbs that surround the city.

While in Ulaanbaatar we will stay at the five-star Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace. It is an oasis of European luxury in the heart of the city.

Amarbayasgalant (Day Two)

This morning we will drive to Amarbayasgalant Monastery, which is known as the “Monastery of Tranquil Felicity.” Built by Manchurian Emperor between 1727–1736 with more than forty temples in honor of Sant Zanabazar, it is one of the most important active monasteries in Mongolia and is one of the few to have partially escaped destruction during the Stalinist purges of 1937. The architectural construction is beautiful. The main style is Chinese with influences from Tibetan and Mongolian architecture.

We will stay the night at Amarbayasgalant Urguu Ger Camp.

Hutag Undur (Day Three)

Today we will drive to Hutag Undur Village in the Bulgan Province. The Uran-Togoo Tulga Uul Natural Monument is a national protected area with stunning beauty.

We will stay the night at Hutag Undur Ger Camp.

Khovsgol Lake (Days Four – Five)

Today we make our way to Khovsgol Lake in far northern Mongolia near the border with Russia at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountains. The lake is 1,645 meters (5,400 feet) above sea level. It’s 136km (85 miles) long and 262m (860 feet) deep. It is the second largest freshwater lake in Asia and contains almost 70% of all of Mongolia’s fresh water (and 0.4% of all fresh water in the world). The lake’s location in northern Mongolia helps form the southern border of the great Siberian Taiga Forest. It is surrounded by several mountain ranges. Mönkh Saridag, at 3,492 meters (11,457 feet), is the highest mountain; its peak is exactly on the Mongolian-Russian border.

The Tsaatan often come down to the lake during the summer. We will also have the opportunity to hike, ride horses, and boat on the lake as we explore and photograph this stunning area.

We will stay two nights at Ashihai Ger Camp. The views of the lake and mountains are stunning.

Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake) (Days Six — Nine)

This morning we will drive to White Lake (Tsagaan Nuur) in the Darkhad Valley of the northernmost region of Mongolia. Then from the village, we’ll drive to the Taigan Forest and our temporary camp of Tsaatan yurts (similar to teepees), where we’ll be hosted by a Tsaatan family of reindeer herders.

The Tsaatan’s sense of community is structured around their reindeer. In many ways, the reindeer are treated like family members and given similar respect. The Tsaatan and the reindeer are dependent upon one another. The primary use of the reindeer is for their milk as reindeer milk, reindeer yogurt, and reindeer cheese that are the staples of the Tsaatan diet. The reindeer also provide a means of transportation.

This is an incredible opportunity to experience and photograph the daily life, traditions, and culture of the Tsaatan people, who remain among the last nomadic reindeer herders. We’ll be spending our mornings, days, and evenings with, and photographing, our Tsaatan hosts, their reindeer, and their culture with dignity and respect.

Murun (Day Ten)

We will drive to Murun in the Khovsgol Province, where we’ll have an opportunity to photograph ancient deer stones and petroglyphs. The deer stone originated during the late period of the Bronze Age. The top of the deer stone has the shapes of the sun and the moon, while in the middle part there is a flock of sheep. It is believed that deer stones provide an overwhelming feeling of relaxation and peace when one comes in contact with the stone. Believing that deer stones had great mystic powers, ancient warriors sacrificed to deer stones before a long journey and hunt.

We will stay overnight at Bugan Chuluu Ger Camp.

Jargalant (Day Eleven)

Our destination today will be Jargal Jiguur Hot Spring Camp in Jargalant Village, where there is a sulphuric spring of 70º water emerging from underground. We will visit with a nomadic family here and also have the opportunity to ride horses and yaks. Yes, yaks!

We will stay overnight at the ger camp.

Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake (Day Twelve)

Surrounding the extinct Khorgo Volcano, which erupted 8,000 years ago, are some interesting caves, including an ice cave. Here we will visit a nomad family near the lake and stay at the Ikh Khorgo Ger Camp.

Tsenkher Hot Springs (Day Thirteen)

South of Tsetserleg in the Arkhangai Province are the Tsenkher Hot Springs, which folklore claims have a medicinal value, making this a popular place for Mongolians. This will provide an opportunity to photograph Mongolians who are travellers instead of nomads.

We will stay at Duut Resort Ger Camp.

Elsen Tasarkhai (Day Fourteen)

Today we will drive to Elsen Tasarkhai, which is a part of the Mongol Els Sand Dunes. This area is truly spectacular. There are sand dunes, hills of rare bushes, and a small forest near the river. The area presents a unique combination of Mongolian mountains, forests, and a Gobi-like landscape in a single location. Elsen Tasarkhai literally means “an isolated torn-off piece of sand” as it is a small section of real desert in the midst of the green steppes.

We will overnight at a nearby ger camp.

Ulaanbaatar (Day Fifteen)

We will spend our last day on the non-road (Mongolia doesn’t have many roads) driving back to Ulaanbaatar, stopping as we encounter photographic opportunities, where we’ll again enjoy the luxury of the Kempinski Hotel and a farewell dinner.

Ulaanbaatar (Day Sixteen)

We will spend our final morning exploring Ulaanbaatar one last time, enjoying the company of new friends, and planning our next adventures before saying our goodbyes and heading home.

Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.

Reserve Your Spot

A $500 deposit is required to confirm your participation. Click on the Pay Deposit button to reserve your spot. You will be able to pay the deposit via PayPal or credit card. To pay by other methods (or if you encounter difficulties), please fill out the Registration Form and request an invoice in the comments. Please read the Cancellation Policy and the Release of Liability.

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