Price

$4597 AUD per person

Inclusions

  • Return airport transfers
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • 9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 9 Dinners
  • English speaking Guide
  • Local Mountain Guide and pack horses
  • Domestic flights Ulaanbaatar/Murun/Ulaanbaatar in economy class
  • Entrance fees and National Park fees and permits to protected areas
  • Bottled water
  • Private transportation
  • Horses

Exclusions

  • International and domestic flights not mentioned above
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

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Reindeer Tribes of Mongolia

$4,597.00

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Mongolia - one of Asia's last frontiers and one of the world’s last unspoilt destinations. Travel by horse to the nomadic Tsaachin tribe who have a spiritual connection the reindeer herds that they live with. Once a thriving community, the Tsaachin tribe has dwindled in recent years leaving only 200-400 members left in northern Mongolia. This specialist photography tour with leading photographer Chris Van Ryn is the perfect way to explore and mingle with this shrinking tribe in the spectacular landscapes of Mongolia whilst improving your photography skills. Become more confident with your equipment and return from your journey with spectacular images, memories and new found knowledge. Mingle with friendly nomads as you learn their way of life. Ride through lush meadows, wooded hills and ruins from the ancient Mongolian Empire before reaching the magnificent turquoise Lake Khuvsgul, known in Mongolia as ‘Blue Pearl’.

The Tsaachin or Tsaatan’s entire existence is based on their reindeer herds which provide them with milk for producing cheese, antlers for carving and medicinal purposes, transportation and on the odd occasion, meat. Part of the Tuvan ethnic group, this small tribe is truly nomadic, regularly moving in search for a rare type of lichen and grass for their reindeer. The Tsaachin people do not stay in the traditional Mongolian gers we commonly recognise as a symbol on the country, but live in urts, similar to the Native American teepees which were traditionally made from birch bark.

A culture rich in Shamanism, these spiritual healers play an important role to the community providing traditional remedies for injury and illness. Previously a self sufficient tribe with only their reindeers, the Tsaachin now have to forage for berries, wild potato and pine nuts in the Autumn as well as occasionally fish or hunt to simply survive. The reindeer are said to have been domesticated several thousands of years ago and play a key role in the spiritual, socio economic and linguistic traditional of the local community.

Your visit to the reindeer herding people plays an important role to help them and their culture survive. Although very few travellers venture into this realm, our tourism initiative provides them with a supplemental income and cultural exchange education for both our travellers and local Tsaachin people. To spend time with these tribes people is truly remarkable and brimming with cultural practices that provide a deep insight into this fascinating way of life.

Travelling on horseback is the best way to reach the remote settlement with a full support crew of guides, cooks and horse tenders there to assist. Sleep in teepees like the locals and after visiting this isolated land, continue on through the spectacular scenery of rolling mountains, lush forests before venturing the turquoise waters of Lake Khuvsgul.

Day 1 – Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

Welcome to Mongolia! Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon following lunch, you will set out to explore the city. Visit the Gandan Monastery which is home to a huge gold plated Buddha, a symbol of Mongolian national pride and cultural revival. You will also visit the National Museum of Mongolia where you can learn about the history of this fascinating country through their collection of artefacts from Mongolia and Central Asia dating from the Stone Age to the present day. This evening, enjoy a traditional art performance and welcome dinner where you can get to know your fellow travellers. (L,D)

Overnight Khuvsgul Lake Hotel or similar

Day 2 - Ulaan Uul

Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Khuvsgul province (1.5hrs). On arrival at local airport of Murun, the centre of the Khuvsgul, you will meet your driver and for an hour before stopping for a picnic lunch. Continue for another 5-6 hours before you reach Ulaan Uul town. You will cross rivers and passes and take in the scenic view over the mountain ranges. Breathe the fresh mountain air as you explore this spectacular scenery. Here you will be surrounded by stunning towering rocky mountains. The view from our camp ground is spectacular. This evening we will be camping in tents. A shower tent, toilet and kitchen tent are also provided. (B,L,D)

Overnight Camping

Photography focus: Travel photography: Aims and Objectives – capturing the reality of a place through strong imagery that builds a story, giving a comprehensive coverage of the destination.

Day 3 - Ulaan Uul town - Tsagaan nuur town - Horse Ride to Taiga

This morning, you will drive to Tsagaan nuur town (approx. 2-3hrs) before continuing beyond the town another 40 mins to meet with your local horse specialist guides and trail finders and of course, your horses. After having a brief instruction on riding Mongolian horses, you will get acquainted with your own horse before it is time to set off. Start riding towards Taiga, the region where part of the Tsaachin communities live. You will be introduced to the amazing but sadly dwindling world of the reindeer-herding people (Tsaachin). Due to the marshy road conditions, we will not use vehicles to reach the area, entire our luggage and food supply will be transported by horses. Horse riding today is approx. 3-4 hours. (B,L,D)

Stay overnight in a local Tsaachin teepee

Photography focus: Understanding what your camera can do for you: An overview of Exposure (ISO), Aperture, Shutter Speed. Using RAW versus JEPG

Day 4 - Tsaachin community & Shaman Experience

Spend the next day staying amongst the Tsaachin people and experience their everyday life. Learn of their unique traditions such as milking reindeer and processing milk products like cheese. Spend time talking with the local people and understanding their local culture and how they have managed to maintain such a traditional way of life for so long. You will have the opportunity to ride into the Taiga forest where the area is so energetic and mysterious. Explore Bor Khuyag river valley, which is rich in crystals and other minerals. Take in the beauty of the larch forest and wildflower patches. Be inspired and gain power while meditating in untouched wilderness.

You will witness a traditional shaman ritual and meet a shaman custodian of a hidden realm. Shamanism is a traditional spiritual belief system based on worshipping nature. Shamanism plays an important part in Tsaachin; the shaman also acts as a healer, providing traditional remedies for ailments to the local people. They also perform many mystical holy rituals and use many different magic charms in their daily life, for hunting, calling, and preventing the rain. (B,L,D)

Stay overnight in a local Tsaachin teepee

Photography focus: The art of photography: Capturing moments, pre visualising images, being in the right place at the right time, iconic images, images that tell a story.

Day 5 - Taiga to Hogorog

This morning is a free morning at the reindeer herder’s camp before you ride back to your vehicle after lunch. Today, say farewell to your new nomadic friends as you horse ride back to Tsagaannuur soum.

Your mind will be swirling with the incredibly rare experience you have just had over the past few days. When you arrive in Hogorog, you will meet with another shaman and go with him to his holy tree area and witness another shamanic ceremony. (The Shaman in the reindeer camp only perform their ceremony in the dark, so it is challenging to shoot any photos or movies). Stay in the tented camp near his home and his farm animals. (B,L,D)

Overnight in a tented camp near the Shaman’s home

Photography focus: Composition: The rule of thirds, Depth of field, Focus points, Framing, Scale, Horizons, Altering your viewpoint.

Portraits: Communication with strangers, capturing the classic travel portrait, Environmental portraits, Group photography, Children photography

Day 6 - Hogorog - Jigleg Valley

After breakfast, drive further into the mountains. It will take us whole day driving.  Upon arrival, set up camp and enjoy the natural world and clear night skies. (B,L,D)

Overnight in a tented camp

Photography focus: Moving Subjects: How to freeze the action, creating blur and panning

Day 7 - Jigleg Valley - Toilogt, Khuvsgul Lake

This morning, you drive to Jigleg Pass and make your way to your camp on the shore of blue pearl Lake Khuvsgul. The Lake is sacred and is known as the ‘Mother Lake’ to Mongolians and holds 2% of the worlds fresh water. Khuvsgul Lake is surrounded by beautiful high mountains of the Khoridol Saridag and Bayan Mountain Ranges, along the west shore. Even though it is summer, some parts of the lake will be icy. Enjoy walking around the lake – this area is often referred to as Mongolia’s most scenic region and you will certainly see why.  (B,L,D)

Overnight in a tented camp

Photography focus: Light: How light can transform a subject, Lens Flare, Sunrise/Sunset – the golden hour, Capturing light trails, Silhouettes.

Photographing Lakes: Using ND and polarising filters, Capturing reflections.

Day 8 - Hiking

This morning you will be met by boat. Enjoy a boat ride of just under 2 hours which will take you to your ger camp. The scenery as you cruise across the lake is spectacular and the air so fresh. Your vehicle will meet you on the other side with your luggage.  Enjoy walking along the lake shore or hike through the surrounding mountains to take in the panoramic view over the lake. There is an optional boat trip on the lake this afternoon for those who are interested in getting a different perspective from the water of the spectacular surrounds. There is also the option to go for a short horse ride (payable locally). This evening, build up your appetite for an authentic Mongolian barbeque! This will be prepared in the traditional way with the meat grilled with hot stones which gives it a unique taste. (B,L,D)

Overnight in a Ger camp

Photography focus: Landscapes: Using wide apertures, Tripods, Slow shutter speeds, Photographing mountain ranges.

Day 9 - Fly to Ulaanbaatar

This morning, drive back to Murun town. Transfer to the domestic airport for your flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Overnight Khuvsgul Lake Hotel or similar

Post Production: Editing, Getting your images ready for publication, workflow.

Day 10 - Departure

This morning is at leisure until it is time to transfer to airport for your onwards departure. (B)