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Photo Competition 2019 Winners

Each year Goyo Travel guests take home an abundance of memories to last a lifetime – whether it’s meeting a nomadic family, wildlife spotting, or witnessing the spectacle of one of Mongolia’s unique festivals. As always, many of these moments are captured through the lens of guests’ cameras, and we’ve been spending a lot of time deliberating which three photos we loved the most from 2019. Finally, we have our winners, and you can check out these photos along with a little information from each photographer below. Thank you to everyone who sent in their fantastic photos, we’ve loved seeing them all.


3rd Place: Horses vs Nomads  by Yigit Yenihayat

Horses vs Nomads

In third place is this rustic, black and white snap from Yigit Yenihayat, which shows the skill required to tame a horse. Yigit is an amateur photographer from Turkey who captured many fantastic, authentic photos during his time on our group trip Grand Tour 2. Here is what he had to say about this shot:

“This photo was taken on the 7th August at the Tsaidam Horse Festival in the northern Orkhon Valley. The funny thing about this photo is that if you look at the people in the background, you can see how they are calm during such a frantic moment. This moment was so exciting and amusing for us spectators – but for them it was so normal and routine. They live with the horses, they are kind of a part of their family and culture. I preferred to convert the photo to black and white as it captures the moment better for the viewer.”

Why did we pick this photo?

Mongolia is known worldwide for being a horse-lovers paradise. A man and his horse are never far apart in the Mongolian countryside, and therefore a popular choice for photographers in Mongolia are horses – whether it be a wild ‘takhi’ horse, a horse galloping across a shallow river, or locals trying to tame a horse. The reason we chose this as a winning photo from all the fantastic entries is due to it collectively having everything in place and being very natural. No one is looking at the camera, no people or animals are half cut-out of the photo, everyone is watching avidly, and all in traditional clothing (headwear aside!). Of course the centerpiece is also the stand out subject of the photo, with the horse mid-air as it resists the attempts to be tamed. From it’s shining black coat to the defined wrinkles on it’s standing leg, this photo fantastically showcases one of Mongolian’s most important countryside tasks. Congratulations Yigit – you are the recipient of some traditional Mongolian table mats!


2nd Place: “Fabulous Food & Hospitality in the Dunes”  by Eve Watson

Fabulous Food & Hospitality in the Dunes

In second place is this fantastic, personal shot of a nomadic lady serving up traditional Mongolian cuisine in her ger, taken in central Mongolia by Eve Watson. Eve booked herself a tailor-made adventure through central and northern Mongolia in July. Here is what she had to say about this brilliant photo:

“Today our group visited a local family who live in the Elsen Tasarkhai Dunes. Bor and his family are extremely proud to have each of the five esteemed animals of Mongolia which are sheep, cows, camels, goats and horses. We had the opportunity of either going for a camel ride or spending more time with Bor and his family and we chose to spend the time at their home. It was wonderful spending the time getting to know more about their lives and this picture is of the beautiful meal we were served at lunch by Bor’s lovely wife. This was yet another amazing authentic experience provided by Goyo Travel.”

Why did we pick this photo?

Whilst we get a lot of photos of Mongolian people, we rarely get a photo with such great lighting from inside a ger. We also don’t receive too many photos of Mongolian cuisine, so this photo was a great combination of both. Often the snaps our guests send in of Mongolian people have them looking into the camera, posing, under poor lighting, or outside. We really liked this shot by Eve as it’s more personal and reflective of what it’s like inside a Mongolian ger. The only light being natural light from the top of the ger or an open door, the single beds sat at the edge alongside colourfully decorated storage units, and the dining table the central focus for families to enjoy their traditional meals. We feel this captured nomadic life in Mongolia very well and is different to many other photographs we receive. Congratulations Eve – with second place you will be receiving a set of 2 handmade Mongolian cushion covers!


1st Place: “Proud Tradition”  by Matthew Noble

Proud Tradition

This year’s winning photo belongs to Matthew Noble. Matthew is an Australian guest of ours who partook in an incredible solo adventure through western Mongolia. His tour took him through the Altai Tavanbogd National Park, Tsambagarav National Park, and Kharkhiraa National Park, trekking for weeks at a time and encountering Mongolia’s awe-inspiring landscapes and nomadic people, including eagle hunters. Here’s what he had to say about his photo and his time in Mongolia:

“I don’t often take photos with people in them because I feel like I’m intruding. The eagle hunter near Dayan Lake was where I learned that some people really don’t mind and are actually quite proud to have their photo taken. They were so accommodating. They let me choose this viewpoint over their magnificent homeland just as the sun was about to set. My two days with them was a great experience, really getting a better understanding of their way of life.”

Why did we pick this photo?

Each year we receive many photos showcasing Mongolia’s stunning scenery, as well as many which capture eagle hunters and their feathered beasts. However, this photo particularly stood out to us as it is the perfect combination of both of these things and is nice and simple without any flapping wings or distracting ‘photo bombers’. The lighting and focus are perfect, with the hunter facing the sunlight making him and his eagle prominent, in front of the stunning yet slowly fading background. This backdrop also played a huge role in us choosing this photo as our winner. It shows off the hills and mountains of Western Mongolia as well as the flatter plains where nomads lead a simple life – reliant on their livestock and gers which seemingly pale into insignificance against the imposing mountains. Congratulations Matthew – with our winning photo of the year, the handmade Mongolian table runner is on its way to you!


To be in with a chance of winning one of our prizes in next year’s competition, check out our group or private tours and explore Mongolia with us in 2020! Congratulations once again to this year’s winners.