Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (UB), tour briefing. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, transfer to a 4 star hotel in the center of Mongolia's sprawling capital that houses over a million inhabitants. The temperatures will be below zero and the city gives a distinct feeling of resistance and survival against the harsh climate of Central Asia. Nevertheless, atmosphere of vibrant changes and springing towards modernization is dominating. Late afternoon tour briefing and a show of traditional music, throat singing and contortion will be followed by a welcome dinner. Hotel. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Golden eagle festival in Terelj National Park. Kazakhs, the Islam worshiping minority of Mongolia has preserved the ancient traditions of hunting with Golden Eagles. Caught at the age of 2 or 3 the eagles are trained to catch foxes, hares and other minor mammals. For one day the Terelj NP east of UB marking the southern limit of the Siberian taiga will become the meeting point of the best falconers.
A short parade where all contestants ride on horseback with their birds on hand determines the best looking bird, horse harness and falconer outfit. Then comes time for real action: one after another the birds' speed and agility are tested. Depart in the morning from UB and return in the evening for an overnight in the hotel. Free evening. Hotel. Includes: (B, L).
Days 3-4: The Thousand Camel Festival. After breakfast transfer to UB airport for an hour and a half flight to the Gobi Desert. Your guide will accompany you on board. Gobi in winter is a particularly pretty but rough place. Its vast plains are pleasantly warm during daytime when it is still. With winds rising temperatures plummet to freezing levels.
Upon landing take a one hour transfer to the Three Camel Lodge - an island of luxury amidst desert. 370000 two humped or so-called "Bactrian" camels roam the vast spaces of the Gobi desert. They were domesticated thousands of years ago and are closely related to its endemic relative, the wild camel known in Mongolian as Khavtgai. For 2 days the festival unfolds around camel races, camel parade and a camel polo. Each day we take short trips to witness the festival's events returning to the lodge for meals and overnight. Lodge. Includes: (B, L, D).
Introduction to the Weeping Camel Story:
Have you ever seen The Story of the Weeping Camel or heard of it? It is an enchanting film that follows adventures of herders in Mongolia's Gobi desert who face a crisis when the mother camel rejects her newborn calf. Shot by a Mongolian and an Italian and nominated for Oscar for Best Documentary Feature the film has brought unique traditions of Mongolia's nomads to the world audience.
We invite you to experience this unique combination of reality, drama and magic on our new project named "The True Story of the Weeping Camel" and a deep insight into a different way of life and the universal terrain of the heart. This live "re-enactment" of the film's story is organized during March-May, just after the birth giving season of camels.
Day 5: Travel to herders' camp. End of the festival. After breakfast we drive to a camel herders' camp in the middle of nowhere. A felt covered traditional tent/ger will be your accommodation for the next 3 nights. Your first question would certainly be: "And where is the poor baby camel?" By nature camels happen to reject their babies quite often due to various reasons so you would definitely see a poor youngster tethered nearby grieving for his mother. Traditional lunch will be offered to those curious; a more common to your taste meal will also be available. We explore the surroundings and learn about the living and survival in desert. Ger. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Camel journey to bring a musician. In the Gobi there are no other means of effective communication but to physically travel if distances allow. Today you will be assigned a role of a messenger to fetch a fiddler from a tiny village in a day's travel distance from the camp. A camel will be selected for you and comprehensive instructions on riding given. You will ride across empty spaces heading towards distant mountain ranges. The oddly clear air shimmers with thousands of minute particles of frost.
We stop few times during our challenging journey for hot drinks and leg stretching. Tonight we will spend the only overnight of your lifetime in a winter desert. A warm tent will be set up during the night and a simple but nutritious dinner served. This will be one in a lifetime experience, without doubt. Tent. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Meet the musician and overnight in his village. Very early in the morning we ride for another hour to reach the village. Upon arrival we meet the fiddler in his home. A blue silken scarf, known as 'khadag' will be delivered to him together with the message. It symbolizes the clarity of your intentions. The remaining day we leisurely stroll around the village: possibly visit the local market, school etc. Ger. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8: Return motorbike ride to the camp and re-adoption ceremony. After breakfast together with the fiddler we travel back to the camp on Russian motorbikes or sidecars that serve as taxis among villagers. This will be another unique experience for you. Local riders will safely deliver you to the herders' camp.
On arrival in the early afternoon everybody gathers near the mother camel and her baby to witness a touching scene. The fiddler plays a sad melody to the mother camel as if persuading her to re-adopt the poor baby and give her love and milk. The final is classical: the mother camel cries with real tears and lets the baby drink her nutritional milk. We all gather to celebrate the happy end of our story of the weeping camel. Overnight in gers. Ger. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: Return flight to UB, optional shopping. This morning we say goodbye to the hosts and take a return flight to UB. On arrival transfer to your hotel. Optional shopping in the afternoon. Farewell dinner. Hotel. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: Departure transfer. Today you will be transferred for your journey home. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Mongolia Local Culture Festival Tours Film/Film History