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 then 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.
Day 1 Welcome to Mongolia!
Ulaanbaatar is an intoxicating mix of old and new – a capital city where high rises are juxtaposed against nomadic gers. After a short rest we will head out to explore and photograph the city.
Day 2 Explore Ulaanbaatar
Today will be brimming with opportunities to see and photograph Ulaanbaatar’s past and present. Begin with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Visit the National History Museum, the Zanabazar Art Museum, and stroll through Sukhbaatar Square.
Day 3 Fly to Ulgii
Fly to Ulgii, located in Mongolia’s westernmost province. This rugged and remote land dominated by the Altai Mountains is where the Kazakhs have made their home.
Days 4-5 Eagle Hunter’s Family
Spend the next two days photographing and getting to know a Kazakh eagle hunter and his family. You’ll have the opportunity to learn how they train the eagle, what is involved in the competition at the annual Golden Eagle Festival, and go on a hike or horse safari to explore the surrounding area.
Day 6 Fly back to Ulaanbaatar
Return to Ulaanbaatar and later set out to photograph the Choijin Lama temple, home to one of the world’s finest collections of Tibetan artifacts outside of the Potala Palace. Tonight you will enjoy a khoomi performance, or traditional Mongolian throat singers.
Days 7-8 Kharakhorum
On the morning of day 7, drive to Kharakhorum (four hours), where you will visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, reputedly built from the ruins of this ancient Mongol capital. You will have the opportunity to meet with Baasan Lama, the abbot, as well as explore the surrounding town and visit a local school.
Day 9 Drive to the Gobi
Drive through dramatic and varied landscape to the Gobi. We will stop along the way to photograph herds of horses and Bactrian camels, as well as the ruins of a 17th-century temple in Ongiin Hiid situated in a beautiful mountainous region.
Day 10 Nomadic Family | Flaming Cliffs
In the morning, travel to Moltsog Els, one of the Gobi’s regions covered by sand dunes. Here, you’ll visit with a local camel herding family to learn more about their daily life. Return to the Lodge for lunch and then head out for an exploration of the Flaming Cliffs, renowned as a rich paleontological site and home of the world’s first nest of dinosaur eggs.
Day 11 Local Naadam Festival
Spend today photographing and enjoying the local Naadam Festival where local nomads 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.
Day 12 Return to Ulaanbaatar
Fly back to Ulaanbaatar and visit the Bogd Khan Palace Museum, home of Mongolia’s last theocrat, Bogd Jabtzan Damba Hutagt VIII.
Day 13 Departure
Transfer to the airport for your departure.
About your Trip Leader: Alison Wright
Alison Wright, an acclaimed documentary photographer and visual anthropologist, travels to all regions of the globe photographing indigenous cultures and people while covering issues concerning the human condition. She is a recipient of the Dorothea Lange Award in Documentary Photography, a two-time winner of the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award, and an Explorers Club Fellow. She was awarded “The Most Compelling Woman in the Travel Industry, 2014” by Premier Traveler magazine and was named a 2013 National Geographic Traveler of the Year as someone who travels “with a sense of passion and purpose.” She has published ten books including her latest, “Human Tribe a series of global portraits celebrating our diversity and visual tapestry of humanity.
Alison has been published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic Adventure, Outside, Islands and Smithsonian.
Alison’s life was nearly cut short during a devastating bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Her best-selling memoir, “Learning to Breathe; One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival,” chronicles her inspirational story of survival, the years of rehabilitation and her ongoing determination to recover and continue traveling the world as an intrepid visual storyteller. Her experience working in post disaster/conflict areas inspired her to establish a foundation called Faces of Hope (facesofhope.org); a non-profit that globally supports women and children’s rights by creating visual awareness and donating directly to grass-roots organizations that help sustain them through education and healthcare.
(All Photographs in the Galley Below are Copyrighted by Alison Wright and Not to Be Used Without Permission)
Trip Dates & Pricing
Dates:Aug 22, 2018 - Sep 3, 2018
10 Participants: $6400 per person
8 Participants: $7200 per personper person/double occupancy
$525 per person