Festivals of Mongolia: 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 & Siberia Extensions

Living in the shadow of the majestic Altai Mountains, the nomadic 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.

Sandwiched between China and Russia, the far west of Mongolia is also an area of stunning natural beauty. With forested valleys, clear alpine lakes, expansive meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and spectacular snowcapped peaks (includingKhuiten Uul, the highest mountain in Mongolia), this area is a treasure of unspoiled wilderness—and until quite recently, it was virtually untouched by the outside world.

The Kazakhs in this region still practice an ancient tradition passed down from their Turkic forebears: the art of hunting with trained golden eagles. Eagle hunting has been practiced in Central Asia for thousands of years (Marco Polo, in fact, mentions trained eagles killing a wolf in his book Travels). 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. The competition tests not just the bird’s mettle and the hunter’s skill, but also the bond between hunter and bird.

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.