Tour Mongolia and discover two of the 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-Ulgii Province at the Golden Eagle Festival. Golden Eagles have been used in the everyday lifestyle of nomadic Kazakhs for millennia for the purposes of hunting; both the Berkut Association and the Golden Eagle Festival were founded by Nomadic Expeditions CEO Jalsa Urubshurow in 1999 to preserve this ancient tradition and protect this rare species. 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 Mongolian and Kazakh experience.
Continuing the Mongolian 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.
Day 1-2 Ulaanbaatar
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Spend the following day at Gandan Monastery, the recently renovated Chenrezi and Kalachakra Temples, as well as the magnificent statue of Migjid Janraisig, “the lord who looks in every direction”. In the afternoon visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Named in honor of Zanabazar, the renowned 17th century artist and politician, who was also the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia.
Day 3-4 Ulgii | Golden Eagle Festival
Fly to Ulgii and explore the local culture with visits to a museum, an eagle hunter’s family and a Kazakh musical performance. The following day features the eagle hunters’ parade, competitions and a Kazakh play.
Day 5 & 6 Tolbo Lake | Ulaanbaatar
Visit the crystal clear, Tolbo Lake before returning to Ulaanbaatar the following day.
Day 7 Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Drive a short distance to Gorkhi-Terelj National park, in the foothills of the Khentii Mountain Range, where you will embark on a hike to Aryabal Monastery, ride horses, and explore this magnificent landscape.
Day 8-10 Gobi Desert
Fly to the Gobi, and upon arrival drive to Moltsog Els, one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. Explore the sand dunes on foot or on back of a Bactrian camel.
In the upcoming days, continue exploring the diverse landscapes of the Gobi. Drive to the site of the Khavtsgait Petroglyphs, hundreds of stone carvings that date to the Bronze Age. Later, head to the legendary Flaming Cliffs, discovered by legendary adventurer Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews in 1923.
On your final day in the Gobi, visit Yol Valley. A remarkable landscape that is home to a wide range of wildlife, Yol Valley is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the desert. Drive to the Three Camel Lodge, our award-winning ecolodge located near Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park.
Day 11 Ulaanbaatar
Return to Ulaanbaatar. End your tour of Mongolia with a visit to the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan.