Winter Tour 2023


Dates: 12 days.  Feb 23rd - March 6th 2023.

Cost: USD$1995 per person (minimum 4 guests, maximum 8)

Download the brochure.

What to expect
Tour Summary
Other details


What to expect

Experience the amazing festival of horsemanship in the Tsaikher Valley.

Experience the beautiful Mongolian Winter.

Stupas Winter

Live with and experience genuine nomadic herder family culture and lifestyle.

Woman and goat

A local festival of horsemanship and competition

MG 7676

Photographic opportunities with Mongolian people, livestock, nature and stunning winter landscapes.

Old horseman2

The amazing winter festival on Khuvsgul lake

 Horse Sleigh Racing2

Tour summary

Starting and ending in Ulaanbaatar, this is a full service tour focussing on photography. The itinerary revolves around two key events – a horse festival celebrated by nomads in a remote valley far off the tourist trail, and the Khuvsgul Ice Festival which is one of the most significant tourism events of the winter season.

The herdsmen of the Tsaikhir Valley have realised that individually, they are unable to adequately protect their horse herds. They therefore bring all their horses together into one mob of up to 2000 horses and entrust them to the care of four young men who take them from pasture to pasture and provide a 24 hour watch against predatory wolves. The horses are taken from early October, and returned to their owners on March 1st. On this day, the herders celebrate the return of their horses, their wealth, with this celebration. This is NOT a tourism event, but rather one of the most genuine nomadic cultural celebrations you’ll ever experience.

We'll then drive north to Khuvsgul Lake where you will experience a beautiful, and unique Ice Festival which is very much tourism event which will bring together performers and competitors, competing in ice sculptures, wrestling, ice skating, dog sledding, song and dance, horse sleighs and many other traditional events.

All the above make for amazing, and unique photographic opportunities. Your guide will endeavour to cater to your desires as a photographer to capture images in the right light, and the right time, for the best possible images.




Day 1. Thursday Feb 23rd.  Arrival into Ulaanbaatar.
Ulaanbaatar Blue Sky

You will be met at the airport upon arrival and transport provided to your hotel. Gather together for a welcome dinner. 

Day 2. Friday Feb 24th.  Chingiss Khan Equestrian Statue visit, and shopping.

After a breakfast at the hotel, take a day-long tour of Ulaanbaatar and environs, beginning at the Chingiss Khan Equestrian Statue. Visit the Naran Tuul Market (Black Market) to purchase traditional winter clothing and boots if required. Enjoy a cultural performance, and then dinner together. 

IMG 6703
Day 3. Saturday Feb 25th.  To Arkhangai.
Erdene Zuu prayer wheels

Two vehicles with drivers and guides will be provided for the duration of the tour. Travel approx 8 hours from UB to Arkhangai, stopping enroute to photograph a region of sand dunes sometimes referred to as 'The Little Gobi’. Continue on to briefly explore the 1586 Erdenezuu Monastery in Kharhorin, the ancient capital city of the Mongol Empire. Enjoy the hospitality and comfort of Fairfield Guesthouse. 

 Day 4. Sunday Feb 26th.  To Tsagaan Nuur and Khorgo Volcano.

After a hearty Full English Breakfast, drive to Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake), stopping enroute to photograph Taikher Chuluu and the Chuluut Gorge. Climb the Khorgo Volcano and take in the enormous crater, and the beautiful landscape over the lava field and the lake. Stay with a nomadic family not far from the lake. 

 Khorgo Volcano
 Day 5. Monday February 27th.  To the Tsaikhir Valley

Drive into the Tsakhir valley which is very rarely ever visited by foreigners and begin to engage with the local herders of the valley. If weather permits and the interest is there, hike for a few hours in a stunning valley which may provide sightings of the elusive ibex and other wildlife. Stay with a herder family and experience and photograph the incredible way of life of these tough and hardy nomadic Mongols.

 Day 6. Tuesday February 28th.  Tsaikher Valley Horse Festival

This day is central to the tour, when the herders of the Tsakhir Valley are reunited with their horse herds (their wealth) after months without them. They celebrate this day with food and song and shows of horsemanship. This is NOT an event for tourists, but rather for themselves. It is an incredible honour to be invited to witness and partake in this celebration, and to be in the thick of the action to capture images of it all. A short video here. 

 Old horseman
 Day 7. Wednesday March 1st.  To Khuvsgul 
 Horse sleds on ice in tandem2 Drive north to Khuvsgul Lake, the ‘Blue Pearl’ of Mongolia ... though frozen solid at this time of year. The lake is known for crystal clear water that freezes clear, in places allowing you to see through to the stony bottom metres below. Check into a Tourist Ger Camp on the lake edge and prepare for the Ice Festival the following morning. 
 Day 8. Thursday March 2nd. Khuvsgul Ice Festival Opening
Spend the day on the ice at this unique festival involving ice sculptures, wrestling, dog sledding, horse sleighs, ice skating, song and dance, and much more.   Horse Sleigh Racing3
 Day 9.  Friday March 3rd.  Ice Festival, then to Murun
 Opening Ceremony Dancers2 Day two of the Ice Festival. Continue to take part in the festivities, or take some time in solitude in this stunningly beautiful part of Mongolia. Drive about 2 hours to Murun city and stay in a comfortable hotel for the night. 
 Day 10.  Saturday March 4th.  Amarbayasgalant Monastary
Begin a two-day drive back towards Ulaanbaatar, stopping at the Amarbayasgalant Monastery, the largest and one of the most important monasteries in Mongolia.

IMG 9977

 Day 11.  Sunday March 5th.  To Ulaanbaatar


Continue the drive into Ulaanbaatar and check back into your centrally located hotel. Final shopping opportunities, and then a farewell dinner together. 
 Day 12.  Monday March 6th.  Departure Flights

A shuttle service to return you to the airport (or railway station) will be provided in plenty of time for your check-in. 


Other Details

 What is included:
  • Private vehicles and drivers for the entire tour including all fuel costs
  • An English-speaking guide, and his/her meals and accommodation - expenses.
  • All accommodations
  • All meals. There will be opportunities to purchase snacks at various points throughout the tour.
  • Drinking water for the entire tour. 
What is NOT included:
  • Flights to and from Mongolia
  • Mongolian entry visa fees (see notes re visa application following)
  • Travel insurance. We recommend seeking travel insurance coverage prior to travelling
  • Accommodation and activities before or after the tour
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, beverages, alcoholic drinks, telephone calls, optional activities, sightseeing or meals which are not included in the itinerary
Fitness and health considerations:

This tour does include a number of hiking / walking opportunities, and as such a basic level of physical fitness and ability is required. It is not, however, an enormously demanding trip.


Visitors from most countries no longer require a tourist visa to enter Mongolia. If you do not qualify for visa-free entrei, these are quite easy to obtain online or through a Mongolian embassy, consulate, consulate-general or honorary consul. We are able to provide an official letter of invitation to facilitate this process. Please request this if needed, and we will advise you of the information required to produce this letter.


An opportunity will be provided to purchase additional winter clothing if required.

  • Clothing – You will experience some extremely cold temperatures, so you must be prepared. Thermal underwear, thick socks, multiple layers of warm shirts and jackets. Heavy winter coat. Gloves, beanie, scarf. Light gloves for photography.
  • Footwear – Winter boots suitable for walking and hiking
  • Sleeping bag – Bedding will be provided in all locations, but a winter sleeping bag is recommended as an additional layer as temperatures in gers tend to fluctuate during the night.
  • Photography equipment – Cameras, zoom and wide angle lenses, tripod, shutter release cable, batteries and chargers.
  • Insurance – Travellers are required to register travel insurance details with Fairfield prior to the tour.

A more complete packing list is available upon request.