Mongolia's Golden Eagle Festival

  • Visit with one of the last enduring horse-based nomadic cultures in the world
  • Witness the Golden Eagle Festival in Olgii, set amidst the Altai Mountains
  • Enjoy traditional Kazakh music and dance at a folklore concert near the festival
Mongolia Golden Eagle
Trip Type: Scheduled Departure
Trip Length: 11 Days
Activity type(s): Cultural Tour
Trip Extensions: Mongolia Extensions

Living in the shadow of the majestic Altai Mountains, the Kazakhs of western Mongolia survive much as they have for centuries. They move seasonally in search of good pasture for their animals, maintaining one of the last enduring horse-based nomadic cultures in the world, and they hunt with trained golden eagles, an ancient tradition passed down from their Turkic forebears.

Although the practice is rapidly disappearing in other centers of Kazakh culture, in Mongolia the tradition is alive and well. Every year, just as the winter hunting season is getting underway, eagle hunters gather from all corners of Bayan Olgii province to celebrate the enduring tradition and to pit their birds against all comers. On this trip, we join them at their festival to watch the thrilling competition that tests not just the bird's mettle and the hunter's skill, but also the bond between hunter and bird. Beforehand, we accompany Kazakh friends on a hunt with their eagles. And later we get a taste of the region's stunning natural beauty—forested valleys, clear alpine lakes, expansive meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and spectacular snowcapped peaks—which until quite recently, was virtually untouched by the outside world.

Festivals of Mongolia - Golden Eagle Festival

Itinerary at a Glance

  • Day 1: arrive in Ulaanbaatar
  • Day 2: Ulaanbaatar
  • Day 3: fly to Olgii
  • Days 4 & 5: hunt with eagles
  • Days 6 & 7: Golden Eagle Festival
  • Day 8: excursion from Olgii
  • Day 9: fly to Ulaanbataar
  • Day 10: Gorkhi Terelj National Park
  • Day 11: depart Mongolia.