Experience Western Mongolia & Golden Eagle Festival
Experience the best that Western Mongolia has to offer: a living nomadic culture, staying overnight in a ger, and incredibly vast landscapes. On our Experience Western Mongolia & Golden Eagle Festival trip you’ll visit the Kazakh minority community, learn about their way of life and stay overnight in a ger. You’ll also witness the stark desolation of the Mongolian landscape on remote roads and day hikes. At the Golden Eagle Festival, we’ll watch with fascination how these hunters use their birds for this ancient tradition.
Why We Love this Tour
The Golden Eagle Festival is only held twice per year and you don’t want to miss this. Combine this with our Mongolian Gobi Trip for an unforgettable journey.
- Day 1Flight to Bayan-UlgiiMeet in Ulaanbaatar for transfer to the airport for a morning flight (2.5 hours) to Ulgii, capital of Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s westernmost province. If time permits, we will visit Ulgii town to explore the local market. Ulgii (or Ölgii) sits at an altitude of about 1,700 meters (5,600 ft) and has a population of about 29,000. It is the largest town in the area. It is the center of the predominantly Kazakh region of Mongolia. Our local staff will greet and welcome you at the airport. Visit to the local ethnic museum. Stay overnight in local 3-star hotel.
- Day 2Travel to Tolbo Lake and Uriankhai family experienceAfter breakfast we will travel to Tolbo lake and visit a local Uriankhai family. Stay overnight in ger camp.
- Day 3HikingIn the morning we will be hiking near the lake for 2-3 hours and after lunch, we'll take a hike to a neighboring mountain and hills for 4 hours. Stay overnight in Ger camp
- Day 4-5Visiting Eagle Hunting Family and explore their unique lifestyleTravel to Sagsai soum (90 kms) via Ulgii town. Here we will visit Kazakh families in their settlement. Their gers are slightly larger than Mongolian gers and are decorated with brightly colored rugs. We will enjoy their hospitality and friendliness and learn more in-depth about their culture, specifically how Kazakh men train their eagles for hunting purposes. In the evening, we will taste traditionally prepared “bisparmak”, a real Kazakh dish prepared for respected guests. Stay overnights in ger of local community.
- Day 6Golden Eagle FestivalIn the morning we'll enjoy the opening ceremony of the Golden Eagle Festival as the participants join the parade on horses with their eagles. The competition begins with each Kazakh displaying his hunting outfit and accessories. The most elaborate and beautiful clothing and accessories are given the highest points. In the afternoon, the Golden Eagles will be evaluated for their speed and agility. In the evening we'll watch a Kazakh concert consisting of traditional songs and dances. Stay overnight in ger of local community.
- Day 7Golden Eagle FestivalPrepare for some exciting action today! The Golden Eagles will be released from a cliff to attack fox skins that will be dragged by their owner on horseback. The eagles will be judged on their success of grabbing the “fox”, their speed, and “gripping” technique. As the points for the competitions are being tallied, the Kazakhs will compete in their traditional game called “kekbar”- passing goat skin which tests one’s horse-riding skills, strength, and agility. In the late afternoon, the winners of the festival will be announced at the awards ceremony. In the evening, travel to Ulgii town (30 km) to enjoy a celebration dinner. Stay overnight in local hotel.
- Day 8Flight back to UlaanbaatarAfter breakfast, we will visit the local market and then transfer to the local airport for taking our flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to your hotel. Rest and leisure day. Stay overnight in a three-star hotel.
- Day 9DepartureTransfer to airport and departure home.
Packing List for Experience Mongolia trip (recommended)
- Weather in Mongolia in late summer / early autumn can be warm during the day and chilly at night. Pack layer clothing.
- Comfortable shoes/hiking boots for walking/hiking
- Cash (new, clean Euros or USD printed after 2006)
- ATM cards, credit cards (only useable/accepted in the cities)
- Headlamp and/or flashlight (and spare batteries)
- Money belt
- Gifts from home like photos, stickers, postcards, children’s books, souvenir pins for the Nomad family
- Please note that the temperatures can become chilly at night an average about 4 to 10 degrees Celsius (40-50 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night time, and colder in the higher elevation, and about 10 to 20 degrees Celsius (50-68 degrees Fahrenheit) during the daytime.
For the current weather conditions in Ulaanbaatar, visit: http://www.bbc.com/weather/2028462
The accommodation will range from a three-star hotel for 1 night in Ulaanbaatar after traveling through the countryside of Mongolia where we will spend 3 nights in ger camps and 4 nights in a local hotel.
The transportation during this trip will be by bus/minibus in the city and by 4WD Russian minivan in the countryside. There are two domestic flights.
Our trip provider: This exclusive Unquote Travel tour is brought to you in conjunction with local tour provider: Tour Mongolia. Tour Mongolia has been a local tour leader in Mongolia since 2001. We chose to work with them due to their experience connecting travelers with local Mongolian culture, their focus on adventure travel, and their continued dedication to Responsible Tourism. Hope you’ll let us show you the real Mongolia!
Cancellations and Refunds
If you must cancel your reservation for a tour and/or its extension, we will refund your payment, less the following fees per tour and/or extension:
|Days Prior to Trip Start Date||Trip Cancellation Fee Per Person|
|31 – 60 days||50% of trip price|
|0-30 days||100% of trip price|