Join us for an unforgettable journey to the 18th annual 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. The Golden Eagle Festival is one of the many unique experiences you will have while touring Mongolia.
This annual Mongolian 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 Golden Eagles for hunting; both the Berkut Association and the Golden Eagle Festival were founded by Nomadic Expeditions CEO Jalsa Urubshurow in 1999 to preserve their proud tradition and protect the Golden Eagle, known in Mongolian as 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.
Day 1-2 Ulaanbaatar
Begin touring Mongolia by exploring Ulaanbaatar at the Zaisan Memorial, located on a hill overlooking the city. Visit the Gandan Monastery, the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum and National History Museum the following day.
Day 3 Hustain Nuruu National Park
Hustain Nuruu National Park, home to the last remaining species of wild horse, the takhi – commonly known as Przewalski’s horse. Twenty-five years after becoming extinct in the wild, the takhi was reintroduced to the Mongolian steppe from zoo populations by the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of the Przewalski’s Horse.
Day 4-6 Bayan-Ulgii | Opening Ceremonies | Competition | Awards Ceremony
Fly to Ulgii, capital of Bayan-Ulgii in western Mongolia. Visit the local History Museum, craftwork, and a Kazakh family. For two unforgettable days, experience the Golden Eagle Festival’s colorful parades and thrilling competitions. Attend the official opening and awards ceremonies, the celebration dinner and a Kazakh play. After the festivities have completed, spend the day riding horses with the Eagle Hunters and getting to know the local area.
Day 7 Bayan-Ulgii | Ulaanbaatar
Head back to Ulaanbaatar and visit the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, the Mongolia’s former spiritual leader.