Trip Type: Festivals
Adventure Mongolia, Bhutan: Gangtey Trek, Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon, Classic Mongolian Odyssey: The Naadam Festival, Golden Eagle Festival, Hidden Treasures of Tibet, Winter Festivals of Mongolia, In Search of Dragons and Eagles
Attending local festivals provides a unique opportunity for inquisitive travelers to look into the culture and mind-set of the people, and experience the genuine joy and celebration of their traditions. Explorers joining our Adventure Mongolia and Classic Mongolian Odyssey trips are welcomed to join in the celebration of the Naadam Festival, and observe traditional wrestling, horse racing and archery competitions. As we will attend the Naadam Festival in provincial towns or village centers rather than in the city, travelers will enjoy genuine interaction with festival participants and be able to appreciate the festivities in their true traditional form.
The extraordinary Golden Eagle Festival, held amidst the formidable peaks of Western Mongolia, is an awe-inspiring event, where Kazakh eagle hunters gather each year to honor and preserve the ancient tradition of hunting with golden eagles. Travelers joining the October departures of Golden Eagle Festival and In Search of Dragons and Eagles will witness exciting competitions, as the hunters’ eagles are judged on speed and agility.
The peaceful yet colorful aura of spiritual festivals in Bhutan and Tibet are not to be missed. Together with local celebrators, visitors attend the Yak-Choe festival in Bhutan each May to commemorate the local guardian deity Yak Nagpo, while travelers to Tibet in November join the Jambay Lhakhang festival, which celebrates the birthday of Guru Rimpoche, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Another of Tibet’s remarkable festivals is the Saga Dawa festival; held to celebrate the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha, Saga Dawa is one of the largest celebrations in Tibet.
Explore the wonders of Mongolia’s scenic and cultural treasures on foot and horseback, atop a Bactrian camel or in four-wheel-drive vehicles. Adventure Mongolia! is an active trip designed for enthusiastic explorers who want to travel off the beaten track, from the meadows and pine-forested mountains of the Central Mongolian countryside to the dramatic landscapes of the legendary Gobi Desert.
This adventurous journey begins in the Orkhon Valley, the cradle of Mongolian civilization, and continues to Erdene Zuu Monastery, erected from the ruins of Kharakhorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire. Travel to the hot springs and summer ger camps of nomadic Mongolian herders before heading south to the Gobi’s towering sand dunes and red sandstone cliffs.
Those participating in our July departure will have the opportunity to experience the celebration of the famed Naadam Festival, and observe the incredible feats of strength and skill on display in traditional wrestling, archery, and horse racing competitions.
Bhutan is a fascinating and little-visited kingdom where the preservation of culture and traditions, as well as the stunning natural beauty of the Himalayas, has created a travel destination like no other. Our expedition into the heart of Bhutan reveals an unforgettable landscape of forests, valleys, and snowy peaks where the last Tibetan Buddhist kingdom reveals its riches to the intrepid traveler.
This journey is specially timed to coincide with the Jambay Lhakhang Festival, one of the country's many colorful Buddhist celebrations. A whirling spectacle of color, music, and dancing, the festival is held to commemorate the birthday of Guru Rimpoche, acknowledged as the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, and showcases the brilliance of the teschu mask and sword dances. Also enjoy a trip to the holy valley of Bumthang, explore Thimphu, the charming capital city, and visit some of Bhutan's gorgeous temples and impressive dzongs, large citadels that feature beautifully painted wooden architecture.
Designed as a fascinating introduction to the people and culture of Mongolia, the Classic Mongolian Odyssey includes visits to traditional nomadic ger camps, exploration of the grasslands, and the chance to join in the excitement and celebration surrounding Naadam, Mongolia's National Games.
For an intimate and genuine cultural experience, we will attend the Naadam games in the Gobi, away from the increasing crowds of tourists who attend the games in Ulaanbaatar. Wrestling, horseracing, and archery are the three age-old competitions traditionally used to measure the courage and strength of nomads and warriors. Contemporary Naadam games showcase the abilities of local men, women, boys, and girls, and are also a time when family and friends get together to celebrate the short, joyful summer season.
Well-known travel journalist and writer Patricia Schultz has joined the first Naadam departure as our host. Patricia is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller "1000 Places to See Before You Die" which features the Naadam Games as high on her Bucket List. She has written for guidebooks such as Frommer’s and Berlitz and periodicals including The Wall Street Journal, O(prah) Magazine and Travel Weekly. She also executive produced a Travel Channel television program based on 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Please note: The first Naadam departure has sold out. We are still accepting applications for our second departure, which features a different tour leader. Please call for availability.
Join us for an unforgettable journey to the Golden Eagle Festival in Bayan-Ulgii Province, located in the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia. Each year Kazakh hunters from near and far attend the festival with their Golden Eagles, known as berkut, to enter them into competitions testing speed, agility, and accuracy. Ceremonies, dance performances, a parade in the provincial capital's city square, and a Kazakh play in honor of the hunters and their eagles are all a part of this unique experience.
This annual festival, which celebrates the Golden Eagle as well as the hunters' traditional culture, is arranged by the local Kazakh community and members of the Berkut Association, a community-based conservation organization. Historically, nomadic Kazakhs have depended on the Golden Eagles for hunting, and the Berkut Association was founded by Nomadic Expeditions CEO Jalsa Urubshurow to preserve this proud tradition and protect the berkut. All proceeds from the festival's ticket sales ($30 per person for two days of competitions) will benefit the Berkut Association, which will use these funds to further the organization's goals, including arranging the Golden Eagle Festival each year. This expedition into the rugged Altai Mountains also includes opportunities to ride on horseback alongside the hunters, as well as visits to a local mosque, town market, provincial museum, and archaeological site.
Join us on a journey to the "Roof of the World" and experience the spiritual, cultural, and artistic riches of Tibet. Explore the holiest sites of Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, before embarking on an overland adventure to some of the world's most stunning temples and monasteries.
Highlights include the tombs of Tibet's first kings in the Yarlung Valley and the temples and stupas of Gyantse and Shigatse. Beginning and ending in Beijing, this journey is ideal for those who wish to experience some of the most spectacular and historically important destinations in Tibet and China. While in Tibet, we will attend the Saga Dawa Festival. Taking place on the full moon day, this festival celebrates Shakyamuni Buddha's enlightenment and often involves tsam dancing and the displaying of giant thangka paintings.
Discover two of Mongolia's most fascinating regions, the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia, where Kazakh hunters celebrate their traditional culture and magnificent Golden Eagles, and the diverse ecosystems of the Gobi Desert.
The journey begins in Bayan-Uglii Province at the Golden Eagle Festival. Each year the region's Kazakh hunters attend the festival with their Golden Eagles, known as berkut, entering them in competitions testing speed, agility, and accuracy. Ceremonies, dance performances, a parade in the provincial capital's city square, and a Kazakh play in honor of the hunters and their eagles are among the highlights of this unique experience.
Continuing the expedition in the vast and dramatic Gobi, explore an incredible array of unforgettable landscapes, including the sand dunes of Hongoryn Els and the deep desert valley of Yol Valley National Park. Visit the Flaming Cliffs, the legendary site where the first nest of dinosaur eggs was discovered, and Tugregiin Shiree, where paleontologists unearthed the "Fighting Dinosaurs" fossil.
An exploration of Mongolia's dramatic winter landscapes, this journey is a unique opportunity to attend a festival held on the frozen surface of Lake Hovsgol, and join a celebration in honor of the Gobi's Bactrian camel.
The Thousand Camel Festival, held amidst the dazzling scenery of the Gobi Desert, is a celebration of the endangered Bactrian camel and the important role it plays in the lives of the Gobi's nomads. Camel races and polo competitions, as well as performances of traditional Mongolian music and dance, are among the highlights of this annual event. Lake Hovsgol, located in the pristine alpine forests and mountains of Mongolia's northernmost province, is the site of the Ice Festival, featuring horse and sled races and traditional games. Spending the night in a ger amidst the lake's winter scenery is just one of this expedition's unforgettable experiences.