I’ve had the great fortune to travel with Mongol Khan Expeditions several times and am about to go off on another journey.  What start...

Golden Eagle Festival

Duration
9 nights/10 days
Difficulty
Easy to Moderate
Group size
1-8 people

Overview

In the far western corner of Mongolia there are Kazakh people live under the shadow of Majestic Altai Mountains. They have 2000 year old tradition of Hunting with Golden Eagles. Once nearly forgotten tradition was revived recently and every October there is Golden Eagle Festival. Kazakh hunters gather with their trained Golden Eagles and put on their best-ornamented clothing and saddle to take part of this colorful event. Besides of competing with their best Eagle training skills there are several other sporting and traditional games played and public openly competes with each other. Nomad festival is very different from modern day sporting event, it is a rare chance for them to get together and share their news and meet each other and hang out, which otherwise happen very seldom in their isolated busy lives.


Highlight

  • Staying and hunting with an actual eagle hunter few days before festival starts.
  • Getting first hand in depth understanding about Kazakh nomad family and their culture.
  • Breathtaking view of Altai Mountains and its’ surrounding
  • Very unique and colorful Golden Eagle Festival
  • Adventure with good food and comfortable stay

Itinerary

  • expand_more Day 1: Arrive Ulaanbaatar, city sight seeing. Kempinski hotel
    Arrival in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia. You will be welcomed at the airport by your local guide and driver who will transfer you to the comfortable hotel in down town.  Depending on your flight we will have some optional sights to visit this day before resting for the night. Kempinski Hotel. /L, D/
  • expand_more Day 2: Sightseeing day in Ulaanbaatar.
    Sightseeing day in Ulaanbaatar. This morning after breakfast we will have a full day of city sightseeing through the major sites of Ulaanbaatar, including Sukhbaatar Square, National Museum, Gandan Monastery, Zaisan Memorial Hill and Bogd King’s Winter Palace Museum. In the evening before dinner we will be entertained with the folk music concert that presents very unique art of age-old Mongolian traditional singing, dancing and music. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 3: Fly to Ulgii province, drive to eagle hunters home. Private ger stay.
    Domestic flight to Ulgii Province. This morning we will catch an early flight to Ulgii for 2.5 hours. Upon arrival we will meet our vehicles that will take us directly to our eagle hunter family’s home, where we will stay 3 nights with the family. This family rents out rooms in their house and we Private ger stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 4-5: Hunting with eagle days. Private ger stay. 
    Hunting with Golden Eagles. These 2 days we will set out to different mountains on a horse riding together with the eagle hunter and his eagle. It is very surreal feeling of riding next to the Eagle hunter who is carrying 6-7kg Golden Eagle on his arm to make an actual hunt. The hunt involves Eagle hunter himself with his eagle and couple of more people who will be flushing out the preys. When Eagle hunter positions himself up on a mountain top flusher goes at the bottom of the mountain and cflushes the preys (usually rabbits and foxes) out of their hidings. When there is a prey running ot flusher signals the hunter and hunter releases the hood of the eagle. Eagle dives down to the prey and snatches it with their very sharp and strong talen.  Then eagle just sits on the prey and this is when eagle hunter comes down the very steep mountain very fast on his horse, which is another sight to see. We will try out this way few times during the day with several breaks and lunch break. It is impossible not to find a relative to our eagle hunter and we pay a visit to couple of families. Private ger stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 6: Drive to Eagle festival venue. First day of Eagle festival. Ger camp stay.
    Drive to Ulgii, first day of Festival. This morning after breakfast we will say goodbye to the hostess and will drive to Ulgii for a Golden Eagle Festival’s first day. It is a 1 hour drive from the festival venue and we will be there just in time to see the incoming participants of Eagle hunters with their best trained eagle, most beautiful horse and very colorful outfit. There will also be slow gathering of expectators, sales people, participants for parade and other games that will held during 2 days. It is an incredible sight and observation. There will be some of the competitions for eagles as well as other traditional games. Ger camp stay.  /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 7: Second day of the Golden Eagle Festival. Ger camp stay.
    Second day of the festival. After breakfast we will return to the festival venue to enjoy the second day of the festival with finals of the competitions and games. There will be couple of different horse races, horsemanship skill competitions, archery and dating games while main competition of eagle training skills happening with their awe inspiring demonstration that is nearly brushing your face with their feathers. In the afternoon the competitions will be over and afternoon will be mostly awarding ceremonies that is another sight to see the cheerful winners and their supporters as well as couple of participants who start counting days for next festival. Ger camp stay.  /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 8: Fly to Ulaanbaatar. Optional sightseeing and shopping. Kempinski Hotel.
    Fly to Ulaanbaatar. This morning after breakfast we will catch a 2.30 min domestic flight back to UB. Upon arrival we have optional sightseeing or shopping before having farewell dinner. Kempinski Hotel.  /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 9: Day trip to Hustai National Park to see Wild Horses. Kempinski Hotel
    International departure. Today you will be transferred to the airport for your international departures to your next destination. /Breakfast/

Inclusions

This price includes:
  • All accommodations based on twin share
  • All transportation including domestic flight
  • All meals in the city and out in the field
  • All local staff and field guides
  • Entertainments as shown in the itinerary
  • National Park and Protected Area fees
This price doesn’t include
  • International flight
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa processing
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature

Dates

Trip date:
9-17 Sep, 2019
Second departure:
30 Sep - 09 Oct, 2019

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