Golden Eagle Festival

The Golden Eagle trainers at the heart of the Altai Mountain Range.

The Golden Eagle Festival

Bayan Ulgii, Western Mongolia

  • Asian Delights
  • Festivals & Events
  • Culture
10 Days
2 Flights
Child friendly

Dates for this trip are fixed for obvious reasons, however, if there are parts of this trip you want to enjoy, that aren't related to the golden eagle festival itself, please feel free to contact us and set up your own Custom Tour.

Itinerary

In western Mongolia, deep within the Altai mountain range, an ancient tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles is still alive. The Kazakhs of Mongolia train their eagles to hunt for rabbits and foxes. Once a year, hunters from all over Bayan-Olgii province gather to celebrate this traditional skill and compete against each other challenges that show off the abilities of both birds and their trainers. Prizes are awarded for the fastest eagle, the best traditional Kazakh dress, and more. Various folklore performances are given during the festival. We take you to participate in this regional festival and also to visit with Kazakh families, join the hunters on hunting trips, and see different sights in Bayan Olgii province, home of the Kazakh minority in Mongolia.

Day 1. 14 Sep 2017 Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

  • Dinner

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital city. At 14:00 we meet our guide at the airport, and head to the city center. The short drive passes through the shanty town inhabited by those who were once nomads, but have neglected their traditional lifestyle in the hope of finding a little fortune in the city, which not too long ago has seen some rapid development. The urban landscape quickly changes into expansive shopping malls and brand new residential complexes, shifting again to the scenes of the city center, where modern high-rises are quickly built amidst soviet-era buildings. After checking into our hotel, and if time permits, we will have an orientation tour of the city center through the central square, which was recently renamed after Ghengis Khan, the nation’s forefather. Right at the heart of the square we see the figure of D. Sukhbaatar, one of the heroes of the communist revolution of 1920’s, boldly raising his arm towards the statue of the Great Khan, whose name wasn’t allowed to be mentioned during the 70 year communist reign. We then visit the National History Museum, which holds a permanent exhibition on the different civilizations that have inhabited the territory of Mongolia from prehistoric times to the present. This exhibition includes a significant display of objects from the era of the Great Mongol Empire. From here we take a short walk to the drama theater where we attend an impressive folk concert, featuring some traditional Mongolian art forms. After a welcome dinner, we drive back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.

Day 2. 15 Sep 2017 in Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We begin the day with a few hours of exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian might need, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers. Goods brought from all corners of Mongolia are here for sale. A visit to the market is a colorful experience which gives the visitor an insight to the everyday life of the people of Ulaanbaatar. After lunch we visit the Bogd Khan Palace museum, the palace of the last Mongolian king, who was considered a living god. if time permit, we pay a late afternoon visit to the Museum of the Victims of Political Oppression. Though rather small in size, this museum, located at the home of Mongolia’s first prime minister, which later vanished in the Siberian steppes without leaving any trails, gives a dark testimony over Mongolia’s rather recent history, when thousands of people have lost their freedom and lives during the communist revolution. After dinner in the city center we revert to our hotel for a second night in Ulaanbaatar

Day 3. 16 Sep 2017 Ulaanbaatar ✈ Ulgii- First day of the Golden Eagle Festival

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast we drive to the airport, for our flight to Mongolia's western-most province of Bayan Ulgii, which is mostly inhabited by Kazakh people. Other ethnic groups also reside in the region, among them Tuvans and Buriats. The Kazakh have brought with them their rich cultural heritage, music, handicrafts and the ancient tradition of Hunting with Golden Eagles. As we arrive in Ulgii, we take the one hour’s drive to the small village of Sagsai, where we participate in the first day of the Golden Eagle Festival. About 30 Eagle trainers will gather to show their skills and their eagle’s abilities. The festival will begin with the hunters displaying their traditional Kazakh dress and their eagle's equipment and ornaments. For the next 2 days we will observe an exciting and authentic event which consists not only on eagle hunter's competitions, but also other Kazakh traditional games. In the evening we again take the one hour’s drive to Ulgii, to enjoy the most comfortable accommodation facility the region has to offer. Overnight in a local hotel in Ulgii.

Day 4. 17 Sep 2017 Second day of the Golden Eagle Festival

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The second day of the festival includes competitions and presentations of the special relationship between the trainer and his bird of prey, which is often considered a family member. We will be able to experience a number of Kazakh traditions on first-hand. Mingle with the hunters, watch them pampering their birds and cheer for the competitors against the backdrop of the high Altai mountains. Overnight in a local hotel in Ulgii..

Day 5-6. 18-19 Sep 2017 With an Eagle Trainer's family

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We leave the provincial capital and travel towards the Khovd River, stopping for lunch on the shores of Bayanuur Lake. By early afternoon we arrive at the home of one of the province’s most renowned eagle trainers with whom we shall spend the coming two days. The trainer will share with us some of the secrets of the hundred's of years old tradition of training and hunting with golden eagles. In the evening we join the trainer's family in their ger (which is known in this part of the country as yurt- the turkic name of the felt-made dwelling of central Asia's nomads), and enjoy the traditional music Kazakhs are famous by. We spend the coming two nights with our host family, either in their yurt, in a guests yurt they might have built for us, or in our own camping tents. (Note: these days’ program might slightly change depending on the actual location of the family with which we stay)

Day 7. 20 Sep 2017 Back to Ulgii

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today we will ride with the trainer to the nearby mountains, to watch him in a training session with one of his eagles. After enjoying a traditional lunch together, it is time to say farewell to our generous hosts, and head back to Ulgii town, arriving there Rarher late in the evening. At day’s end we can enjoy a hot shower at the local baths, which are very comfortable and well supplied with hot water. Overnight in a local hotel in Ulgii.

Day 8. 21 Sep 2017 Ulgii ✈ Ulaanbaatar - Terelj National Park

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Taking the first available flight, we return to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, we will meet our driver and guide, and embark on the 1.5 hours’ drive to Gorki-Terelj National Park. The park features unique rock formations, scenic valleys, a winding river, and restful groves of trees. Many nomads live in the park itself, where they find good grazing for their animals. We will stay the night in a ger camp in the park.

Day 9. 22 Sep 2017 Terelj National Park - Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

This morning we take an easy hike to the famous Turtle Rock, a symbol of wisdom and longevity to the Mongolian people. We then continue hiking to Ariabal Temple. The temple has been recently reconstructed, after the original temple had been destroyed during the communist purges of the 1930’s. A great site of tranquility, it functions today as a meditation center to Buddhist monks. After lunch, we leave the park and drive back to the Mongolian capital. As we arrive in town in the late afternoon, we visit the Bogd Khan Palace museum, the palace of the last Mongolian king, who was considered a living god. In the evening enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a visit to the Zaisan Hill, for a view over the city at night. Overnight in a 4-star hotel.

Day 10. 23 Sep 2017 Departure from Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Chinggis Khan International Airport for our departure flight.

Loading map...

Dates & Pricing

Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above. If you are booking this trip for a party of four travelers or more, please contact us for our special rates.

[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

Prices are based on twin share occupancy.

Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$2692/ person
6 travelers- US$2353/ person
8 travelers- US$2286/ person

  • Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.

14th September, 2017–23rd September, 2017

  • $2,993 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $358 Single Room Supplement

Additional Information


Inclusions
  • 2 Domestic flights: Ulaanbaatar/Ulgii/Ulaanbaatar
  • Accommodation as per program
  • Meals as per program (full board basis)
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Private 4WD vehicle
  • Golden Eagle Festival entrance fee
  • Drinking water
  • All transfers

Exclusions
  • International travel to and from Mongolia
  • Mongolian visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Excess luggage
  • Gratuties
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, communication etc.)
  • Anything not clearly mentioned in the program


Accomodation
  • Ulaanbaatar: Chinggis Khan Hotel 4-star

Note: Accommodation throughout this trip is as basic as it gets. The local hotel in Ulgii (the best available in town) may provide rooms and services of all degrees, and one should not expect anything other than a roof above their head, and very likely- a running toilet and shower. Whilst staying with the eagle trainer's family, no toilets and/or shower facilities will be available. Please do bear in mind this is a trip to Mongolia's most remote region, where tourism related infrastructure is literally non-existent.


Gallery


More trips of this type

Alishan

12 Days From $5,252 Per Person (From 2 people)

Taiwan & South Korea

  • Festivals & Events
  • Walking
  • Food
  • Culture
Hoi An 1

14 Days From $2,510 Per Person (From 2 people)

Vietnam, Cambodia

  • Asian Delights
  • Cross-Cultural
  • Culture
RS2574 IMG 7616 NQ

13 Days From $2,658 Per Person (From 2 people)

Vietnam

  • Themed Trips
  • Asian Delights
  • Food
  • Culture
Kamikochi

14 Days From $3,741 Per Person (From 2 people)

Japan

  • Active Adventures
  • Festivals & Events
  • Walking

More trips in these destinations

Trek-Lake-Khuvsgul-1

14 Days From $3,927 Per Person (From 2 people)

Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia

  • Active Adventures
  • Trekking
  • Culture
Horse

14 Days From $3,563 Per Person (From 2 people)

Mongolia

  • Active Adventures
  • Asian Delights
  • Festivals & Events
  • Overland
JOMMNGAL26

13 Days From $3,254 Per Person (From 2 people)

Mongolia

  • Active Adventures
  • Asian Delights
  • Overland
CircumBaikal

19 Days From $8,673 Per Person (From 2 people)

China, Mongolia, Russia

  • Themed Trips
  • Asian Delights
  • Cross-Cultural
  • Culture

We specialize in creating custom trips.

Let our expert tour planners tailor an experience for you!