September 25 - October 5 2021

Mongolia - Golden Eagle Festival Tour

10 unforgettable
Mongolian nights

Join us as we depart Ulaanbaatar travel
to Altai Tavan Bogd in search of Kazakh
Eagle hunters!

From 2,680 USD per person

Please apply by 18th September, 2021.

Tour closed Tour Details

Mongolia - Golden Eagle Festival Tour

10 unforgettable
Mongolian nights

Join us as we depart Ulaanbaatar
travel to Altai Tavan Bogd
in search of Kazakh Eagle hunters!

From 2,680 USD per person

  • Overall

    This tour takes us across Mongolia and out to the far west to witness an event that is certainly one of Mongolia’s most incredible spectacles, if not the world’s; the Golden Eagle Festival. It’s one thing to watch a local Kazakh Eagle Hunter working alongside his expertly trained bird, but imagine 70 such hunters all competing against one another against a backdrop of snow-capped Mongolian mountains. That’s the Eagle Festival! We’ll explore the capital, Ulaanbaatar, before catching a flight out to Bayan Olgii, one of the largest cities in the far-west. Here we’ll explore the region’s incredible sights such as the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park and the Khurgan & Khoton Lakes, to name but a few. Sightseeing over, we’ll head to Sagsai Village to witness the festival. We’re heading this far away from modern civilization to get a real sense of how the locals celebrate this festival as opposed to the over-commercialised versions taking place in other cities across Mongolia. It truly is something you’ll not want to miss and will never forget!

    **As with all our tours, we pay great attention to your safety. Of course, we will be delivering even greater care this year due to the ongoing COVID situation. Although Mongolia is one of the best countries globally for social distancing (due to its low population level and vast open spaces), all travellers will be issued masks daily and hand sanitisers available throughout travel. This tour is available for booking, although we will not ask for a tour deposit until we can 100% guarantee your place on this adventure!**

    Highlights

    Experience the Kazakh Golden Eagle festival -- the biggest festival of the year for Kazakhs Visit Mongolian Kazak and Tuva nomadic families Enjoy camel trekking and horseback riding Hike the great mountains (with views across to Russia and China) Explore the Altai and Bayan Ulgii region of Mongolia Marvel at the skill of local eagle hunters. We'll stop at glaciers, mountains and waterfalls all the while sleeping in Tents, gers and yurts 

  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 11
    1. Saturday 25th September.

      Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

      Upon landing in Mongolia's capital, we make our way to our centrally located hotel to recharge before our adventure begins. If you're feeling energetic, you can take our optional walking tour to get your first taste of this fascinating city before returning for our 4 pm hotel briefing.

      Here we'll give you an overview of the country and culture, along with some etiquette tips for visiting the homes of the shamans, Kazakhs, and Tuvan people we'll meet along the way. Then join us for another city walk, this time by night. Get a glimpse of Sükhbaatar Square, named for revolutionary hero Damdinii Sükhbaatar; its perfect geometric angles make this – technically – the world's largest square. The statues of Genghis Khan and other Mongolian generals are even more impressive when all lit up.

      Meals | Dinner

      Overnight | Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar. A local hotel situated in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, within 5 minutes walk from the main square. This hotel offers a great location from which to step out and explore the city.

       

    2. Sunday 26th September.

      Tour of the city, and then fly to Bayan Olgii.

      We start our day at Gandantegchinlen, Ulaanbaatar's largest Buddhist monastery, where we can see practising monks and learn about the role of Mongolia's largest religion.

      • Then it's back to the city centre, where we'll stop off for supplies at the State Department Store. Today privately owned, this is a throwback to the old Soviet sales system, where everything is under one roof, and you pay with multiple receipts before returning for your purchases. This is an ideal time to stock up on trip supplies, even outdoor gear, so if you've discovered your sleeping bag has a hole, now's the time to upgrade.
      • We'll then see Sükhbaatar Square by day and then head to the National Historical Museum, which takes us through Mongolian history from the Stone Age to the collapse of Communism. We'll also see the Natural History Museum, filled with those dinosaur fossils the country is known for.
      • After lunch, we'll take a two-hour flight to Bayan Olgii and pile into Russian jeeps for a short drive to our accommodation for tonight, the traditional Kazakh yurt. Once we have had a bite to eat and you've settled into your home away from home, we will head into the city for a little exploration.
      • First, stop the Olgii Museum; it may have that mothballed Soviet feel about it; however, the guides there and exhibits give us a great overview of the region, its history and culture.
      • Olgii Market is a perfect site to pick up extras for those who have realised you've under packed towels, old Russian army jackets and blankets are just some of the things you can pick up here; if you don't need to shop, then people watching and photography is also an option.
      • The Central Mosque a great way to begin our look at Bayan Olgii by learning a little about the religion in this region. The Central mosque is a newer building, brightly coloured and welcoming, a true reflection of the people in this part of remote Mongolia.
      • Before heading to our ger camp, our final stop will be to pick up a few supplies for the coming days in a nearby supermarket.

      This evening after a true Kazakh meal, we'll have the chance to listen to some traditional Kazakh music as a local group trying to keep the tradition alive will serenade us playing Dombra and Jetigen.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger (yurt) Camp. We'll stay in one of the tourist ger areas found on the outskirts of Ulgii city. This camp offers a shower block with warm running water and wash facilities and a restaurant area where our chief can provide more delicious food.

    3. Monday 27th September.

      Sagaan Gol and Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain

      Today it's up and out early as the adventure truly begins; we're into our Russian trucks and away! We work our way through mountain passes, river valleys skirting remote villages to reach the mouth of Tsagaan Gol (White River), a mighty water source with enough limestone deposits to give the milky river its name.

      We'll stop for pictures at the stunning Shiveet Khairkhan, with more rock carvings and an unforgettable view of Tavan Bogd (Five Saints), a mountain massif on the border of Mongolia, China and Russia. To the indigenous minority Tuvan, Shiveet is sacred – as is the 400 mountain ibex, which are never hunted. Each year the Tuvan climb Shiveet's summit and perform shamanistic rituals, making offerings to the local ghosts and paying ancestral respects. The Tuvan are herders and known for their archery skills. This evening, they'll teach us to cook some of their favourite dishes. And after days of having the locals watch us pitch our tents – and comment on how long it takes us, how thin the material is, and how we'll never survive the night – today we'll build our felt-lined ger (with a little help), to see how the nomads do it.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Camping / tent. Camping on this night will be based around a pre-booked ger, offering us the chance to prepare meals and equipment ready for tomorrow's hike. The scenery here is amazing, surrounded by snow-capped mountains while listening to the roar of the white river.

    4. Tuesday 28th September.

      Hike to the base camp of Altai Tavan Bogd

      Today we leave our vehicles and heaviest luggage behind, load everything else onto camels, and then trek up Tavan Bogd with a local Tuvan guide. It’s about 15 kilometres to our base camp (camels can also carry tired trekkers), which is located at the edge of Potanin Glacier, the longest in Mongolia – listen carefully, you might hear it cracking. Potanin is at the foot of Malchin Peak, one of Tavan Bogd’s five sacred mountains. This hike will take us through lush alpine tundra and herds of camels, providing fantastic views across the glacier to the peaks. Once at our camp, you're free to explore, relax or sleep but do make time to soak up the stunning scenery. 

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. 

      Overnight | Camping / tent. Camping at the Tavan Bogd base camp. Toilet facilities are provided, and we will build a restaurant tent for dinner and breakfast. This area is remote yet beautiful, being at the base of the main mountain range and only a stone’s throw from the main glacier.

    5. Wednesday 29th September.

      Khurgan and Khoton Lakes

      Another early start sees us trek to our waiting trucks in order to begin our most amazing drive. It's a long but spectacular journey taking us through wildlands, over moraines (glacial debris) and past ancient burial sites, with stone-age rock carvings of animals and hunting scenes covering the mountainside. The wonderful Khurgan and Khoton Lakes lie at an altitude of 2,073 metres and are surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

      We set up camp with a local Kazakh family in the forests fringing these high alpine lagoons. The families here are Kazah eagles hunters and it will be our first opportunity to learn a little more. 

      Meals |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight |  Camping / Tent. We will build tents as a group next to a local family on this night with the assistance of our local team.

    6. Thursday 30th September 

      Unseen valleys and hidden waterfalls

       

      As we're in this beautiful region for two nights, there's no need to break camp today. However, those into photography may want to awake early to catch the livestock being milked and released to roam free.

      Today is your free day to further interact with the local family, enjoy a well-deserved rest or join us for a mini-adventure.

      We will carry a packed lunch for those who wish to join, borrow some resident horses, and ride out to Turgen Falls.

      The 36-metre high Turgen falls are some of the largest in Mongolia and make for an excellent photographic opportunity roaring away with the snow-capped Altai mountain as the backdrop. The Turgen falls are beautiful but a little touristy, so we make a slight detour and take a different route from here. Our expert guide knows this region well as we break off the beaten track making our way into the valleys beyond, searching out pure rivers, hidden valleys and unseen hikes; very few travel this way; hiking can be challenging but rewarding.

      Meals |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight |  Camping / Tent. We will build tents as a group next to a local family on this night with the assistance of our local team.

    7. Friday 1st October 

      Drive to Sagsai and stay with a Kazakh eagle family

      We leave after a leisurely breakfast, slowly making our way to the heart of the Mongolian Kazakh eagle hunters Sagsai village.

      Our drive to Sagsai traces the route of the Hovd river and is a leisurely scenic journey passing local dwellings set in amongst the beautiful Altai mountains. 

      Sagsai, located high in the Altai mountains region, has for many years been regarded as the home of eagle hunting in Mongolia. This small village is made up of Kazakhs, some semi Nomadic and some more permanent. We call Sagsai our home for tonight as it is here that we stay with an eagle hunter, not just any eagle hunter but one taking part in tomorrows Golden eagle festival. We aim to reach our host family mid-afternoon to learn a little more about how these traditional hunters live and if they have any special preparations for tomorrows big event. 

      Meals |  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight |  Camping / Tent. We will build tents as a group next to the local eagle hunting family, our last night under canvas, but what an adventure!

    8. Saturday 2nd October.

      Golden Eagle festival Day 1 

      After waking, it's a hearty breakfast to prepare for the day, and not just any day as after breaking camp, we join our host and follow him to the regions biggest event, the Golden Eagle festival

      The Golden Eagle Festival began in 1999 and has grown to be the largest event for eagles and their hunters globally and recognised by UNESCO as a world heritage cultural event.  

      There are smaller, more corporate events across the region, but this is the largest and most traditional. Over 70 hunters are involved yearly who show their Eagle skills and show some more traditional Kazakh games.  

      Once at the festival, we first watch the opening ceremony, which sees each participant parading in on horseback with their eagles.

      • The competition gets going when the hunters show their hunting outfit and accessories, with the most elaborate and beautiful receiving the highest points.
      • One of the events at the festival is the Uriankhai archery competition. The Uriankhai are a small ethnic group found in this region and famed for their unique style of archery.
      • Bactrian camel racing is also a unique event held at the festival, making quite a grand photographic opportunity. 
      • There is also an event for couples who parade within the arena showcasing their traditional Kazakh costumes perfect for those into fashion shows. 

      After the events, we will head back to Ulgii city and freshen up in our ger camp before heading back out for the evening. This evening we will enjoy a Kazakh Concert with traditional songs and music within the Bayan Ulgii theatre, a real soviet gem.

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger (yurt) Camp. We'll stay in one of the tourist ger areas found on the outskirts of Ulgii city. This camp offers a shower block with warm running water and wash facilities and a restaurant area where our chief can provide more delicious food.

    9. Sunday 3rd October. 

      Golden Eagle Festival day 2

      Today, Is the day when the Golden Eagle Festival gets real, and the anticipated eagle flying begins. So we leave the comfort of our yurts after another great breakfast and arrive early at the event to find the best spot. 

      The day starts with some traditional equestrian activities, some a little comical although all steeped in tradition. 

      The first eagle hunter event involves the hunter calling to his eagle, who is atop a nearby mountain; the eagle is expected to fly down and land gracefully on the hunter's arm.  

      The final event sees the eagles tempted to hunt when a horse pulls a lure to simulate a rabbit, hare or fox. This is a real test of not just the hunter's skill in controlling his bird but also showcases the eagles hunting ability. 

      The grand finale is the closing ceremony that sees winners from each event named and the overall eagle hunting champion crowned. The eagle hunting champions eagle will then be taken to hunt either a fox or wolf within the wild; traditionally, this marks the beginning of the Eagle hunting season. 

      Let's hope our host family win this year!

      We will defiantly find time for those all-important photo opportunities with the hunters, their eagles, and their families during the event. 

      Our last night in Bayan Ulgii sees us enjoy an evening meal with our crew as well as the entertainment of a traditional Mongolian throat singer. 

      Meals | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

      Overnight | Tourist Ger (yurt) Camp. We'll stay in one of the tourist ger areas found on the outskirts of Ulgii city. This camp offers a shower block with warm running water and wash facilities and a restaurant area where our chief can provide more delicious food.

    10. Monday 4th October.

      Fly to Ulaanbaatar

      Leaving our horses, camels, Russian jeeps and friends behind for good, we board a plane and return to Ulaanbaatar. This is a free day where you can shop ‘til you drop at the city market – you’ll never find cheaper cashmere, and you might pick up a shamanistic, Buddhist artefact or a relic from Soviet times. 

      History lovers can stop by the winter palace of the Bogd Khan (1869-1922), who became Khagan (theocratic ruler) when the country split from China in 1911. Or you can relax with a coffee or cocktail at an outdoor café and watch this fascinating city unfold before you. Then we’ll meet up for dinner at a local family’s home so that we can see Mongolian home life away from the steppes.

      Overnight | Hotel 9, Ulaanbaatar. A local hotel situated in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, within 5 minutes walk from the main square. This hotel offers a great location from which to step out and explore the city.

    11. Tuesday 5th October.

      Departure day

      We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

       

  • What is / is not included?

    English speaking guide Western tour leader All meals outside Ulaanbaatar Camels for luggage Internal flights Horse riding All included sight seeing All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas All camping equipment (not sleeping bags.)

    Sleeping bags International flights Any alcoholic beverages Meals where specified Medical insurance (can be arranged.) Visas (if needed) Airport pick up 25 USD one way Helmet rental 30 USD Sleeping bag hire (incl cleaning 30 USD for tour) Items of personal nature

  • Notes

    Please note! This tour has been specifically arranged to visit these areas; it may have elements of an expedition about it due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. As such, any change in the itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible, although please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter extreme weather conditions. Along the way, all tour decisions will rest with Rich (tour manager) and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own.

    For those who have booked international flights, should there be any change in the scheduling of these or route cancellation, Koryo tours can not be held liable; however, our crew on the ground will do all they can to help find an alternate flight or make your stay as a little easier.

    We insist that with all of our tours, you book comprehensive travel insurance not only to cover your dates of travel but your departure and return. 

Please apply by 18th September, 2021.

Tour closed Contact us

[email protected] | + 86 10 6416 7544
Room A409, Jucai Building. No. 76 Caoyuan Hutong.
Dongcheng District, Beijing, 100027, PR China

中国北京市东城区草园胡同76号聚才大厦A 座409 室,
邮编:100027
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