Mongolian Eagle hunters & Western Mongolia Culture

Mongolian Eagle hunters & Western Mongolia Culture

Mongolia Photo Tour
  • Level of difficulty: low/medium
  • Group size: 6-8 participants 
  • Date: September 12th – 19th, 2020
  • Places visited – Western Mongolia
  • Accommodation: hotel / camping tent 
  • Transport: car & airplane 


  • Small group of maximum 8 participants
  • Guiding in areas which have been hardly photographed
  • Accompaniment by an internationally known photographer with great knowledge of the region
  • Private photo session with the eagle hunters
  • Witnessing the nomad daily life alongside different Mongolian ethnic groups
  • Attending the Eagle hunters’ festival
  • Visiting the Kazakhs – the eagle hunters
  • Visiting different other Mongolian ethnic groups on the way
  • Flourishing and developing nomad’s capital city Ulaanbaatar


  • Learn about the biggest nomadic country in the world
  • Discover and experience the authentic nomadic lifestyle of Mongolia
  • Get to know the culture, traditions and customs of different ethnic groups you will be visiting during the trip
  • Explore the hospitality of the locals
  • Meet the Mongolian Kazakhs, the eagle hunters


Vast steppes, rugged mountains, clear lakes , nomadic culture, cultural heritages and great deal of diversity amongst ethnic groups are some of the beauties that are making Mongolia a must visit country. Isolated from modern influences for decades, Mongolia is yet little explored destination in terms of photography, there are remote places where tourist haven’t touch the ground, or even locals.

We will start our journey in Ulaanbataar, the capital city of Mongolia where half of the population lives. From here we will head towards Olgii in Bayan- Olguu Aimag area and meet the Eagle Hunters, part one of the most famous ethnic groups from Mongolia, the Kazakh. We will visit local families and have the opportunity not only to live with them and experience their daily nomadic lifestyle, but also photography their daily life and private photo shootings with the family and eagle trainer/s.
We will attend the Eagle festival where will have the opportunity to get to know more of the Kazakhs culture and traditions. The festival is a big celebration of the Kazakh’s culture and starts with parades and competitions for costuming and hunting techniques. It continues with different competitions such as eagle call competitions, Kyz Kuar, Tiyn Teru and Kokpar.

The Kazakh people are coming from Kazakhstan. They ran away from the communist period and established themselves in Bayan Olgii Province, bringing with them their culture and traditions. The tradition of eagle hunting dates for more than a thousand years and it was spread in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Once associated with an elite, nowadays it is mostly used for tourist attraction and festivals, however the tradition is kept alive and honored.

The eagle hunters are living in ger tens and they move up to 4 times a year, along with their families and livestock (sheep, gouts, yaks, cows and horses). The Kazakhs from Northen Mongolia are the only ones that are hunting with golden eagles.

On the way of both Mongolian regions, we will have great photographic opportunities in the rural areas.

For more information about the itinerary we invite you to consult the full program.

Day 1 – Arrival in Ulaanbaatar.

The capital city of Mongolia, home of half of the total population of the country. You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to the hotel. For those who will arrive in the morning and noon, after lunch, we will explore throughout photography the Ger district. The locals of this district used to be nomads living in the countryside. You will also explore the fussiness of the Naran Tuul Black Market, where we will be able to experience a bit of Mongolian lifestyle.

After dinner the group will gather in the evening and take part of the briefing about the site we will explore, customs, traditions and photography tips and tricks about the composition, lighting, communication & interaction with locals.

For tomorrow’s flight please note that there are weight restriction of 15kg per baggage. Hand luggage it should contain only 1 piece. The excess baggage will be charged from $4 to $7 per kilo relying on the route.

Overnight in Ulaanbaatar.
Accommodations: Khuvsgul lake hotel

Day 2. Heading to Olgii in Bayan- Olguu Aimag. Sagsai Area

Today we will have an early morning flight to Western part of Mongolia, in Ulgii, the capital of the Bayan Olgii Aimag province. Ulgii lies on an altitude of 1710 meters (5610 feet) on the banks of the Khovd river and is the town with the highest population of Kazakhs. From Ulgii we will head to Sagsai village, where we will spend the next two days in the company of the Kazakh community and their families.

The Kazakhs people are a recognized minority in Mongolia with a different language, customs, traditions, religion and appearance. In addition of the noble tradition of raising eagles, the Kazakhs are herding different livestock such as yaks, sheep, goats, cows and of course the traditional eagle, therefore the majority of the Kazakhs are nomads, moving around the region several times per year searching for better pasturage for their livestock. They are migrating between river valleys in the winter and high pastures during summer.

Today we will have the opportunity to gain amazing insights into Kazakhs way of life, getting to know them, their culture and eagle hunter tradition.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: We will spend the night in tourist ger camp on the shore of Khovd river

Day 3. Opening ceremony of the festival

Today we will witness hundreds of years old traditions. The festival is a big celebration of the Kazakh’s culture and starts with parades and competitions for costuming and hunting techniques. The festival will be open with a parade of eagle hunters marching on their horse with their eagle. Even thou the main focus is on the eagle, the hunter and horse appearance are very important as well. During the entire festival we will have the opportunity to watch and capture the eagles in action proving their hunting skills.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: We will spend the night in tourist ger camp on the shore of Khovd river

Day 4. Altai eagle festival

Today we will have a full day photographing the Festival. We will have the opportunity to witness a variety of cultural experience and photographic scenes both on the arena and on the public, as many Kazakh are coming from far away to participate and to be a witness of the festival. During the festival we will be able to photograph eagle-call competition (tests hunters’ ability to call eagle to their horse from a distance), fox-skin, archery, Tiyn Teru (a race to pick a coin off the ground from horseback), Kyz Kuar (“woman chase,” a man and woman racing with the woman whipping the man), and the highlight, Kokpar (tug-of-war while on horseback).

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: We will spend the night in tourist ger camp on the shore of Khovd river

Day 5. Drive to Khovd and take snowcapped mountain and river photos along the way. Meet nomad families.

Today we will be heading to the remote parts of the western Mongolia to meet the eagle hunters families in their own environment.
As photography opportunities we will have several stops on the way and capture the unmatched mountains and landscapes. As we reach the Kazakhs families we will get acquainted and start discovering who they are the fascinating insights of this interesting ethnic group. Today and tomorrow are flexible days depending on the weather and the families activities.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: We will spend the night living as a Kazakh in the yurt or tent

Kindly note that due to our remote location the accommodation will be made in your own tents (or we can provide you one) alongside the Kazakh families or in the family yurt. Also, please note that we will provide portable toilets and solar shower, when possible, however there will be no western showers or western toilets facilities.

Day 6. Day spent with the Kazakh families

Today we will be spending the day with the Kazakhs families, get to know and experience their way of living, their tradition, customs and history. We will photograph and document all their daily activities as well as having photo sessions during the sunset. We will have the chance to portray the eagle hunters, as well as we will learn the story of the process and tradition and its place in Kazakh history and culture.

Late afternoon we will say goodbye to the Kazakh people, thanking them for their hospitability and we drive back to Ulgii town spending the night in a local hotel.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Overnight in a local hotel in Ulgii

Day 7. Flight back to Ulaanbataar

After an early breakfast we will take the flight back to Ulaanbataar. Depending of the arrival time in the capital we could have a visit to the National History Museum, where you will be able to explore the Mongolian history from the earliest times till present and enter into the old nomadic empire.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Overnight in a local hotel in Ulaanbataar

Please note that there are weight restriction of 15kg per baggage. Hand luggage it should contain only 1 piece. The excess baggage will be charged from $4 to $7 per kilo relying on the route.

Day 8. After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport and depart.

PhotoInsights Academy is engaging to provide qualitative services across the board, photography courses or workshops. All the information presented during our courses and workshops will help your further development and improve your knowledge in the field. All the services we offer are subjected to the provisions below, and to the Service Agreement to be concluded between you and us. You implicitly accept these conditions when you fill out the registration form and make the advance payment.

All private data provided by you during any activity organized by PhotoInsights Academy, upon registration and during our collaboration, is confidential and will not be used for any other purposes than those related to the activities of the Academy. It will not be disclosed to third parties. For more details, please read the PhotoInsights Confidentiality Policy.


Initial deposit: 30% from total value

Once we receive your request and deposit, we will send you written confirmation of your booking along with details for the payment of the balance.

For full payment until 1st of June 2020 you benefit from a 10% reduction of the total cost of the course.


The quotation that you find below is calculated for 3 types of groups:

2800 EURO per person based on 8 people (plus a tour photographer, tour guide, driver and chef)
2910 EURO per person based on 7 people (plus a tour photographer, tour guide, driver and chef)
3050 EURO per person based on 6 people (plus a tour photographer, tour guide, driver and chef)

If the group is formed by less than the number of person in the quotation, the price will be recalculated. Prices are subject to change in case of VAT or other tax increase.

DEPARTURE DATE FOR 2019: September 12-19th, 2020


  • Photography tutoring by Luiza Marinas (Boldeanu)
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary: Twin share in 4* hotel in Ulaanbaatar & triple/quadruple in ger camp and family ger for warm lodging or lodging in tents.
  • All transport throughout tour in 4WD vehicles (Russian van)
  • Domestic flight tickets (UB-Murun-UB and UB-Ulgii-UB)
  • English speaking guide and cook
  • Photography fee
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
  • Airport pick-up & drop-off service
  • Bottled water – 2 liters per day
  • Camping facilities with minimum standard- portable toilet, mattress, solar shower, good sleeping bags


  • International airfares
  • Visa application & fees
  • Tipping (optional)
  • Travel insurance (recommended)
  • Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone etc)
  • Optional activities and visits
  • Meals/beverages not stated in itinerary
  • Any other item not specified as included
  • Excess baggage charges

Single Supplements

Price is per person based in double occupancy and for 8 travelers (see the surcharge for less participants). Unfortunately we can offer the single option only in cities. For this option there will be an additional fee. A limited quantity of single occupancy are available for an additional charge. Make sure to send us your request at least 30 days prior to the tour start.

Visa Requirements

Visa is required for most travellers, and must be obtained in advance of entry. The only exception is US citizens, who can enter the country as a tourist for up to 90 days. It is your responsibility to organise a visa for Mongolia. Please contact us if you need a Mongolian visa support letter and further assistance.

Passport, Visa, Custom, Currency, Vaccine, Health Regulations
Client must independently follow the rules and regulations required for travel continuity. Client is responsible for having enough information about passport, visa, custom, currency, vaccine, and healthy regulations. Client is responsible for related expenses by him/herself.

Travel Insurance Is Recommended

Insurance fee /expenses to cancel travel, health insurance/ is not included in travel payment. We hereby recommend you to involve in travel insurance by Insurance Authorities in host country and under conditions and terms proposed by them. We reserves the right to deny booking for travellers who have no insurance or sufficiently covered. It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your return to your country, with at least 2 blank pages at the time of travel.


The advance payment/ initial deposit is due at the time of registration.
If you reserved your place by means of a deposit, the remaining amount must be paid by at least three weeks before the commencement of the tour. If you have not paid the entire amount by this date, you lose your deposit as well as your place.
For full payment you receive a 10% discount from the full price of the course.

Payment methods and registration

After filling out the form, you will receive a notification confirming your registration, and you will be contacted by an Academy representative.
Payment can be made by bank transfer into our account opened with ING Bank Bucharest or online, by bank card, as following:

  • Online, by bank card, via Paypal, the payment processor who processes and issues the payment documents.
  • Payment by bank transfer, in which case the processing and the payment documents are issued by the supplier. The details of the payment by bank transfer will be communicated to each participant after registration.
  • Online, by bank card, via EuPlatesc (Visa/Maestro/MasterCard).

If you have chosen to pay online by bank card, you must fill out a form with your payment information on the secured website of the payment processor.
Payments by Visa and Mastercard credit/debit cards (Visa/Visa Electron and Mastercard/Maestro) are made via the “3-D Secure” system, created by organizations ensuring the same level of security for online transactions as those carried out from an ATM or physically, at the supplier’s cash register.
“3-D Secure” ensures first that no information related to your bank card is transferred or stored at no time on the servers of the store or the payment processor, being introduced directly into the Visa and Mastercard systems.
For card payments, no commission is charged!
A deposit of at least 30% is required in order to reserve a place in the course. Registration/reservation is considered valid only when the advance/deposit is paid.


We understand that circumstances may arise in which cancelling a course is inevitable. However, two months before the commencement of a tour, all financial arrangements have already been made, and the payments become fully or partially non-reimbursable. Thus, the following conditions apply at the time of cancellation:

  • More than four weeks before the event – Full reimbursement, minus the deposit.
  • Between one and four weeks before the event – Reimbursement of 50% of the fee.
  • Less than two week before the event – Payments are non-reimbursable.

All deposits are non-reimbursable.If you leave a trip for any reason after it has commenced, we are not obliged to make any refunds for unused services. If you fail to join a tour, join it after departure, or leave it prior to its completion, you will be responsible to pay the extra cost incurred to join the tour.

Cancellations must be confirmed in writing at

Cancellation by PhotoInsights

On rare occasions, we cancel a tour due to unusual or unforeseen circumstances outside of the reasonable control of PhotoInsights and inform you as soon as reasonably possible. In these circumstances, we will offer you an alternative tour of equivalent or closely similar standard and price at no extra cost, or a less expensive tour, in which case we will refund the difference in price. If you do not wish to take the alternative we offer you, you can choose another offered for sale by us and pay, or receive a full refund of, any price difference. Or, if you prefer, you can receive a full refund of any money you have paid to us, except for any amendment charges. PhotoInsights is not responsible for any incidental expenses or consequential losses that the Client may have incurred as a result of the cancelled booking such as visas, vaccinations, non-refundable flights or rail, non refundable car parking or other fees, loss of earnings, or loss of enjoyment, etc. PhotoInsights is also entitled to cancel the tour in case of it lacks a sufficient number of participants applied for the specific package tour. PhotoInsights is obliged to notify all travelers of the cancellations at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the tour and reimburse the full amount of the paid service.

Your Responsibilities

You acknowledge that there may be a significant degree of personal risk involved in travel and there are dangers inherent in adventure travel generally and considered such risk to health and safety and are willing to assume it, by confirming their booking tour.

Our Responsibilities

PhotoInsights’s responsibility starts at the designated meeting point and time, i.e. when you meet the tour manager or guide in Ulaanbaatar. PhotoInsights is not responsible for any damages, expenses, losses, or claims that are due to the fault of any traveler, unforeseeable risks, or a force majeure event.

Changes made by PhotoInsights

Reasonable changes in the itinerary of the tour may be made where deemed necessary or advisable for operational reason by our partners while we try our best to operate all tours as advertised. PhotoInsights takes responsibility for informing client about travel cancellation or many changes in travel program as soon as possible. Minor program changes are sometimes necessary, depending on weather, road conditions and accommodation.

Changes made by the client

Client may request any changes that will depend on availability and subject to PhotoInsights approval. Any extra costs incurred in making the change will be charged to the client along with an Administrative Fee. No changes are permitted to any booking within 14 days of departure of the tour to depart.


By filling out the registration form and making the advance payment, participants certify that they do not suffer from any mental illnesses or any other disabilities that could create a risk to themselves or to other participants. We reserve the right to request a medical certificate in support of an applicant’s statement.
Once the applicant has been registered, medial circumstances are considered exceptions from the enforcement of cancellation policies only if a relevant medical certificate indicating the impossibility to participate is submitted. In this case, we reserve the right to return a certain quantum of our fee, according to the date of cancellation.


Luiza Boldeanu (born 1987) is a well-known Romanian photographer, specialized in portrait photography, documentary and fine art. She started photography in 2007 when she decided to capture in images, the places where she was traveling at that time. But travel photography was not enough so she started to challenge herself with different projects. She is an avid explorer, travelling and documenting people and places from Romania, Nepal, Argentina, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Jordan, Mongolia and many others..

Her pictures were published in many publications, including National Geographic, Fine Art Photo, Dodho Magazine and Bored Panda. She is the author of several personal and group exhibitions in Romania and abroad. She has several photography awards inclusive 3rd place on National Award, on Sony Photography Awards, 2014.

Luiza is the coordinator of one of the biggest photography schools in Romania, where she teaches courses and workshops. Till now she was leading photo tours in many parts of Romania, but also foreign countries. She visited and photographed till now more than 20 countries.

More info here:

Luiza’s Statement:

During my childhood I traveled a lot and sincerely, because I couldn’t afford a camera, I was always trying to get the photos from friends and relatives. After I went to college, where I learned important things that formed me in the one I am today, took some dance and music lessons, read some books…. and suddenly I was a grown up. Several years ago I started playing with photography, which led to where I am right now.

As we pass by life most of us forget to open our eyes and see. Since I put my hand on a camera, I started to see the world in a different way, a way that I couldn’t describe in words. Photography is more than technique and composition.

Photography “speaks” through light and shadows about emotions, moments, inner feelings, life style, cultures and customs. It speaks about life, and this is what I love and want to express through my images.

I always aim to create images in which each viewer can find himself in a certain stage of life. I started photography in 2007 when I decided to capture the places where I was traveling. I travelled and pictured people and places from Romania, Mongolia, Nepal, Argentina, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand and many many others. But travel photography was not enough so I entered shyly in the stunning world of fine art photography/portraits.
I have tried almost all types of photography but none of them fascinates me enough as portraiture, being documentary, fine art or conceptual. We, as human being, are beautiful and that is reflected through our eyes, through our features, through our gesture.

It is stunning just to stay and observe, and then capture it and show it, in order to open the eyes of everybody towards the beauty that is around us. I started photography because this is the only way to express what I see, feel, think, to make public my inner being, my state of mind. And it is an unbelievable stunning feeling when you show your work and people find themselves in it, in that pictures, in that moment.


Mongolia is developing country with vast landscapes and road transportation projects are still on going but it has many opportunities to experience adventure travel. From doing outdoor activities, immersing nomad culture and local communities. Experiencing authentic Mongolia may require a spirit of adventure, flexibility, basic comfort of accommodation and facilities. Luxuries are only found around Ulaanbaatar.

Travelling through the countryside can involve long hours driving in a 4wd vehicle over the dusty and bumpy road; most roads are unpaved. It is extremely important to acknowledge that while we took every step to make the trip as comfortable as possible, we tried to keep the experience as authentic as it could be therefore we will be travelling on very remote areas, not as frequented by tourists and we will have very few tourist facilities around.


Food during the tour can be found many varieties of a typical meat-based dish with vegetable and rice/pasta/noodle. Fortunately, vegetarian foods are available and can be requested. Some of the lunch meals are picnic. Bringing some snacks with you is recommended.



We will be travelling in Russian vans which allows us to carry as much stock. There will be long drives, bumpy and very bumpy roads until we reach the desired remote areas.


Digital photography equipment recommended:

  • It is recommended to have included an extra photo camera, aside your digital camera.
  • Photo camera and the spare camera
  • Lenses (wide, normal, tele)
  • Tripod
  • Memory cards
  • Batteries for your camera
  • UV & polarized filters for each lens
  • Cleaning tools
  • Photo bag


  • Waterproof Trekking boots
  • Mountain Sneakers
  • Long pants (thin mountain pants) (2-3)
  • Trekking socks (5-7)
  • Short pants – 1per
  • T-shirts (2-3)
  • Power dry body blouse (2-3)
  • Water proof Polartec jacket & Windproof Jacket
  • Headscarf
  • Raincoat
  • Sunglasses
  • Backpack
  • Sleeping bag – 4 seasons (minimum comfort -6 Celsius degrees)
  • Tent
  • First aid Kit (insect repellent, sun cream, lip-gloss and first aid kit (medicine for headache, cold, diarrheas, runny nose; bandages; any medicine prescribed for you)

We also recommend:


One to one classes with Luiza

Luiza Boldeanu is extremely passionate about photography. She guided me over a year through all facets of photography and editing processes. She is extremely dedicated in the way she prepares the course, very patient in her explanations and spotting the areas where we needed to put additional effort, in giving feedback.

Under her close up guidance I managed to develop my photographic technique, improve my knowledge, and better apply my knowledge in practice. She is able to both praise your work and give you the right impulse to continue in seeking improvement but also to objectively criticize when it is needed.

I fully recommend Luiza to all of those who want to step in the amazing world of photography, those waho want to refresh or improve their knowledge. Thank you Luiza, for all I have learned from you and for giving me the courage to believe in my talent and my artistic eye.

Alesandra Smit Munteanu

The 2018 Corbu Verde summer school

What I liked best was the opportunity to do something artistic and learn how to do it better. I enjoyed about different ways to do photography. I learned that photography can give off sensations as well as emotions, and chaching is very important.
I understood that photography helps me capture a real moment and immortalise it, communicate an emotion or simply to keep a rememberance.

Mara Optasanu
2019-09-05T10:28:34+00:00November 14th, 2018|