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Golden Eagle Festival Tour

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 10 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 9 people
Destination(s): Mongolia  
Specialty Categories: Festival Tours  
Season: September - October
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: Yes
Minimum Per Person Price: 1455 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 2410 US Dollar (USD)

2017 Tour Departures:

Available: September 24 - October 03

Overview:

The Altai mountain range in the far west of the country is home to Mongolia’s largest national minority, the Kazakhs who came to settle here almost 200 years ago. It is here that they have preserved the ancient tradition of hunting with golden eagles. Every autumn this fascinating trade is celebrated during “The Golden Eagle Festival”. On the backcloth of majestic mountains and snowy peaks Golden eagles demonstrate their speed and agility under the command of their proud masters. You will also experience true wilderness and authentic nomadic culture during a few days of trekking in Tavan Bogd national park where Mongolia’s highest peaks mark the border with both China and Russia.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival in Mongolia, guided sightseeing of Ulaanbaatar city. Arrive in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital of Mongolia and transfer to a 4 star hotel in city centre. In the afternoon take a guided city tour to highlights of the city: Gandan Temple - city's main Buddhist center, the central city square with a grand statue of Genghis Khan and the Zaisan Memorial, an elevated hill on the city's edge providing a panoramic view of UB. Also you can visit some of UB museums: National Museum introducing Mongolia's history from early humans to modern era, Dinosaur Museum with a unique collection of dinosaur fossils, Choijin Lama or State Oracle Residence-museum displaying best samples of Buddhist artwork and religious masks. Winter palace of the last Mongolian Khan showcasing rare statues of Buddhist deities and items of his personal use is also worth considering. An evening folk show of music, throat singing and contortion will be followed by a welcome dinner. (Dinner, hotel)

Day 2: Flight to western Mongolia and travel to Tavan Bogd national park. This morning we transfer to UB airport and take a 3 hour flight to Ulgy town in western Mongolia. On arrival we load in 4WD Russian vans and travel to Tavan Bogd NP. We drive across a desert plain with rugged mountains alongside and then along V-shaped mountain valleys before arriving to the national park gate and setting up a tent camp. 2-3 person tents are provided on twin share basis. A cozy mess tent is used for meals and socials. This evening 2 camel drivers will arrive with their pack camels in order to transport our luggage the next day. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

Day 3: Trek to Tavan Bogd base camp (BC). Today we trek for about 15km. 2 thirds of the way is a continuous but gradual ascent on a high mountain terrain with some bogs and a few streams to cross. Camel drivers and cook(s) load the camels and soon overtake us and carry ahead to BC to prepare camp and dinner. Trekkers carry only their day pack and lunch boxes. An impressive view of the highest peaks of Mongolia and of the Potanin glacier opens from our camp site at 2900 m above sea level. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

Day 4: Climb Malchin peak (4051 m). A return trip takes at least 7 hours. We first hike along the Potanin glacier moraine for an hour before stepping on the mountain. Although entirely on scree the trail is well established. Once at the top you can enjoy spectacular bird's eye views of glaciers beneath and of the Russian territory as the ridge overlaps with the border line. Only trekking poles are required for the Malchin climb. Alternatively, you can take a less demanding option of hiking up to a lower ridge and glance into Russia too. This evening we prepare climbing equipment and rations to take to high camp next morning. Local porters will arrive in the evening too and get ready to carry loads next day. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

Day 5: Trek out to lower gate of Tavan Bogd NP. This time it is an easy stroll downhill although interrupted by a couple of bogs and slightly longer than the way up. Again loads are carried by camels. The White river valley serves as the summer grazing ground used by a small community of Tuvan herders whose ancestry ascends to ancient Turkic people. Tonight we taste local hospitality by visiting one our camel drivers. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

Day 6: Return drive to Ulgy town. Our trekking adventure is over and we head back to civilization. In Ulgy we settle in a cozy local hotel before gathering for a traditional Kazakh dinner. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hotel)

Day 7: Eagle festival day 1. Today there will be a parade of falconers on horseback with their eagles. Each hunter will demonstrate how well his bird listens to his commands. Eagles are placed on a cliff nearby and are called from below by the owners. In the afternoon there will be a race of amblers – an exciting scene. In the evening watch a Kazakh concert consisting of traditional songs and dances. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hotel)

Day 8: Eagle festival day 2. Golden eagles display their speed and agility: each bird has to land as soon as possible onto a fox skin dragged by a horse. Participate in the excitement of some traditional Kazakh games, such as ‘aitis,’ a poetry duel, ‘kyzkuar,’ a dating game played on horseback and ‘kokpar,’ a wild game played on horseback with a goatskin. (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hotel)

Day 9: Return flight to Ulaanbaatar. Transfer to Ulgy airport and fly back to UB. On arrival we transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at your own disposal. In the evening gather for a farewell dinner. (Breakfast, dinner, hotel)

Day 10: Departure. You will be transferred to airport for your return flight home (Breakfast)

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

Price Includes:
- All accommodation: hotel (5 nights), tent (4 nights)
- Complete camping & cooking equipment
- Sleeping mattresses
- Indicated meals & drinking water
- All visits, sightseeing, national park and permit fees
- Overland transport
- Domestic airfare and airport transfers
- English speaking guide
- Expedition cook(s)
- Local guides (pack animal drivers)
- Pack animals
- Satellite phone for emergencies

Price Excludes:
- Travel insurance
- Excess baggage fee on domestic air travel
- Sleeping bags
- Meals not indicated
- Drinks & Alcohol
- Gratuities