JOURNEY TO THE 21ST GOLDEN EAGLE FESTIVAL

11 day
2237 USD


Hunting with eagles is a traditional form of falconry for thousands of years, practiced by the Kazakh people in Bayan-Ulgii, the westernmost province of Mongolia. This journey brings plenty of adventurous and lifetime memories with mind-blowing experiences to its participants. One of the reasons to choose this package tour is the Golden Eagle Festival. The Festival has been celebrated since 1999 with the aim of promoting conservation of Golden eagles and preservation of Kazakh’s traditional unique culture.  The festival comprises various competitions including one called shakhyru, during which the eagle must catch a piece of fox fur pulled behind a galloping horse, also traditional horse games and camel races. Prizes are awarded for speed, agility, and accuracy, as well as for the best traditional Kazakh dress, and more. Dark, rocky mountainous terrain forms the backdrop to the event, which incorporates cultural exhibitions and demonstrations followed by sporting activities and competitions.

HIGHLIGHTS

Ulaanbaatar city tour

Eagle trainer’s family visit

Horseback riding to Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

Potanin Glacier

Wild life observing

Sagsai River valley

Tsengel Khairkhan mountain

Shiveet Khairkhan mountain

Sagsai village

Eagle Hunters’ family visit

Eagle training method acquainting

Nomadic family stay

Golden Eagle Festival attending


ITINERARY
Day 1 (26th of Sep.): Arrival in Ulaanbaatar city

Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar city, our driver and English-speaking guide will pick you up from the airport and be transferred to your hotel in downtown. After you settled in, we will start a sightseeing tour including visit Sukhbaatar’s square. The Square is in the center of Ulaanbaatar, in front of the Mongolian Parliament House. Across from the central square, we will visit the National Museum of Mongolia, the biggest museum with over 54000 exhibitions from the prehistoric period till the 21st century. Our next stop will be Gandan Monastery. Which is the biggest Buddhist pilgrimage center in Mongolia. If time permits, we will walk up to Zaisan Hill Memorial. This hill provides a panoramic view of Ulaanbaatar. In the evening we will go to Mongolian folk concert. Overnight in a hotel.

-/Lunch/Dinner

Day 2(27th of Sep.): FLIGHT TO ULGII, BAYAN-ULGII, AND DRIVE TO SAGSAI SOUM

After breakfast at the hotel, our team will pick you up from your hotel, and take you to the airport for domestic flight to Ulgii, a provincial town of Western Mongolia. After your arrival in Ulgii, our local driver will pick you up from Ulgii airport with his guaranteed 4WD vehicle and drive to nomadic Kazakh family in Sagsai soum of Bayan-Ulgii province. Once we reach the home of nomadic Kazakh family, you have an opportunity to learn about their lifestyle including how they train their Golden eagles for hunting, how they take care for their herds in the vast pasture land, and also you will get a chance to try what nomadic people do in their daily life. Overnight in a ger with eagle trainers’ family.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 3(28th of Sep.): head to Shiveet Khairkhan; snow-capped mountain

We’ll wake up at the same time with the eagle trainers’ nomadic family, and involving their daily morning routes including milk their cows, and produce dairy products. After having breakfast with the eagle trainer’s family, we will pack up and drive to a snow-capped sacred mountain Shiveet Khairkhan. The mountain has an altitude of 3000m and surrounded by archaeological monuments extending in time from the Bronze Age through the Turkic Period (sixth to ninth centuries CE). The mountain is the closest place to Altai Tavan Bogd peaks reachable by car. Once we arrive in the foot of Shiveet Khairkhan mountain, we will set up our tent, and you have time to explore the mountain until dinner. In the evening, we will prepare our luggage for next 2 days trekking to Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Overnight in a tent.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 4(29th of Sep.): trek to base camp of Tavan Bogd peak

After having breakfast on the foot of the sumptuous snow-capped mountain, we will load our luggage on horseback, leave our vehicle and trek toward Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Approximately 3 to 4 hours of horseback riding, we will reach the base camp of Tavan Bogd peaks. The name Tavan Bogd Mountains means the ‘5 Saints” makes sense when you stand by the five tallest peaks in the park. Starting with Kuiten Uul at 14,350 ft (4374 m), Nairamdal at 13,714 feet (4,180 meters), Malchin at 13,287 feet (4,050 meters), Bürged at 13,346 feet (4,068 meters) and Ölgii at 13,287 feet ( 4,050 meters) constitute the other giant mountains.  Once we arrive in the base camp of the National Park, we will set up our tent camp just off the glacier’s edge, then have lunch and saunter around the largest glacier in Mongolia named “Potanin glacier” between the Tavan Bogd peaks. Overnight in a tent.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 5(30th of Sep.): Potanin Glacier and Tavan Bogd peaks

After having a peaceful breakfast next to the glacier’s edge, you have a full day to explore the Tavan Bogd National Park. The national park is, however, more than the high peaks and circa 34 glaciers. Indeed, the park includes the beautiful flat area of the Lakes region. Composed of three freshwater lakes, Khurgan Nuur and Khoton Nuur linked by a small river, and the smaller Dayan Nuur south of the two lakes. After the exploration through the national park, you will enjoy the alpine-like scene next to your tent. Overnight in a tent.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 6(1st of Oct.): drive to Tsagaan Salaa river

Today we will trek back to Tsagaan Gol river valley. The Tsagaan Gol river sourced by the biggest glaciers in Altai mountains including Alexandra, Grene, and Potanin glacier. When the glaciers melt, the river becomes white-colored as well as milk, the suspended powder of rock eroded by the high glaciers. After 3 to 4 hours of horse hacking, we will meet our vehicle and a nomadic family, and our camp will be pitched next to the nomadic family’s ger. Overnight in a tent.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 7(2nd of Oct.): drive back to Ulgii town

It’s time to say goodbye to our nomadic Kazakh friends. Today we will drive back to Ulgii town. After approximately 5 hours of backseat driving, we will reach the Ulgii town. Once we arrive there, you have time to relax in the hotel until dinner, and refill your energy for attending the 21st Golden Eagle Festival tomorrow. Overnight in a hotel.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

day 8&9(3rd&4th of Oct.): attend 21st golden eagle festival

On these days, we will attend the 21st Golden Eagle Festival. The festival begins with a parade of hunters holding their eagles marching with their horses. The competition of best traditional costume and equipment is held followed by games to test the best communication techniques between the eagle and the hunter. The other main competition involves the fastest and most attractive descent of an eagle from top of the mountain to the owner on the valley floor. Other authentic games are enjoyed by the Kazakhs such as kukbar (tug of war on horseback), archery and horse racing. Hunters put on their best costumes while decorating their eagles with the traditional “eagle costumes”.

Event program:

¾    Competition of how eagles adapted to hunters “Shyrga Tartu” (eagles will be qualified how fast and smoothly catch a lure that made of rabbit or fox skin)

¾    “Tenge Ily” competition - (traditional coin grabbing game while riding a horse)

¾    “Jambi atu” competition – (shooting at a target while riding a horse)

¾    Competition of the best Kazakh costume of couples

¾    “Kyz Khuar” game show - (traditional horseback riding fun game for youth, boys whipped by girls if they reached by them)

¾    “Kukhbar” competition - (traditional horseback riding game fight over for goatskin)

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

day 10(5th of Oct.): Flight back to Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport to catch a flight to Ulaanbaatar. We will arrive in Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon, and you have time for visiting the world’s number one cashmere store and Mongolian souvenir shops or relaxing in your hotel until dinner. In the evening, our farewell dinner will take place in a restaurant. Overnight in a hotel.

Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner

Day 11(6th of Oct.): Departure

Today is the end of the Golden Eagle Festival tour. Our team will transfer you to the airport in time for your international flight. Have a nice trip back to your home and thank you for choosing ELT Mongolian tours.

Breakfast/-/-

 

Price

 

Group size

Price per person

2 pax

2674 USD

3-5 pax

2296 USD

6-9 pax

1926 USD

10-15 pax

1757 USD

 

Inclusions

Accommodation (twin based): 1 night in 4 – star hotel, 7 nights in ger camps, 1 night in nomadic family’s ger

Domestic airfare

Guiding and interpreting service

Full board meals

Transportation: vehicle 4x4 or minivan

Entrance fees to protected areas and national parks

Museums and cultural performance

Sleeping bags, and matt

Pack animals, and gears per itinerary

Exclusions

International airfare

Personal equipment

Optional activity cost

Excess baggage charges

Alcoholic drinks

Travel insurance

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