Day 1: Meet in Ulanbaatar
Day 2: Ullaanbaatar
Walking tour including Sukhbaatar Square, National Library, several museums. Visit the National Museum of Mongolian History, Gandan Monastery, and Zanabar Gallery. Enjoy traditional art performance and dinner. This is a lively city!
Day 3: Travel to Khognokhaan Mountain Natural Reserve
Khognokhaan Mountain Natural Reserve, a sacred mountain that was venerated by the Orkhon Turks.
Visit a nomad camel herder family where you will enjoy seeing how skilled horseman catch untamed horses and train a horse in the nomad way. Those who wish, enjoy an hour camel riding through the sand dunes.
Day 4: Travel to Kharakhorum
KharaKhorum, the ancient capital of the Mongolian empire. We visit Erdene Zuu (Hundred Treasures) Monastery, built on the remains of Kharakhorum city in 1586 by the order of Abtai Sain Khan, descendant of Chinggis Khan. It was the first Buddhist center in Mongolia.
Day 5: Travel to Khustai National Park
Khustai National Park, the habitat of resurrected wild Mongolian horses, popularly known as Takhi (Przewalski’s Horse). The park encompasses an area of 50.620 hectares. Explore the park to see the Takhi horses in the wilderness.
Day 6: Mongol Nomadic Camp
Visit a nomadic family to see and learn about traditional culture and lifestyle more in depth. You can enjoy activities of:
- Learning daily life of nomad herders
- Making of dairy products and tasting
- Movement by ox cart and camel freight
Day 7: Fly to Ulgii
This morning transfer to airport and take a 3 hr flight to Ulgii, the center of Bayan-Ulgii province. On arrival transfer to hotel in Ulgii town. Visit a local ethnographic museum.
Day 8: Kazakh Eagle Hunters
Enjoy Kazakh traditional hospitality at Kazakh community Ger (traditional dwelling). Visit Kazakh family and learn about traditional lifestyle of the Kazakh nomads. Move to the mountain with Kazakh hunters a short distance away and observe training of the eagles for falconry.
Late in the afternoon travel back to Ulgii town. Stay overnight in local hotel.
Day 9-10: Golden Eagle Festival
This morning we drive 35mi to the Tolbo lake, the place where the Golden Eagle Festival and celebration is held. Prepare for some exciting action!
Attend opening ceremony and parade of participants on horse with their eagles. The competition begins with each Kazakh displaying his hunting outfit and accessories. Other competitions include: the eagles evaluated for their speed and agility returning to owner upon signaling, the eagles judged on their success of grabbing the “fox”, their speed, and “gripping” technique. Enjoy a Kazakh concert of traditional songs and dances.
On the 2nd day, 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.
Day 11: Fly to Ullaanbaatar
Morning 3 hr flight. After lunch visit the Mongol Costumes Centre which designs and manufactures many of the fabulous dels (traditional coats) that are worn during the Naadam opening ceremony and at other state events. You can see the different varieties of del and even dress up in traditional Mongolian gear for a professional photo shoot (T10,000). The highlight of the centre is a small museum that features traditional Mongolian garments, as well as ethnographic artefacts, old chess sets, jewelry and replica 13th-century battle gear.
If interested: go to the Gobi Cashmere shop—largest cashmere factory with quality products, very reasonable prices.
This evening enjoy a traditional cultural performance of the Tumen Ekh Song & Dance Ensemble at the State Youth & Children’s Theatre featuring traditional singers, dancers and contortionists. It’s a great chance to hear khöömii (throat singing) and see some fabulous costumes. Shows last just over an hour.
Day 12: Day Excursion to Terelj National Park
Visit the local sites including Aryabal Meditation Temple and Turtle Rock. Travel for 22mi to the Statue Complex of Chinggis Khaan, situated in Tsonjin Boldog. Visit the site and enjoy taking pictures from the top deck.
Day 13: Depart Ulanbaatar
Transfer to airport.