Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

In Search of Dragons and Eagles (12 days)

Nomadic Expeditions

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia To Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Valid for Departures: 03 Oct 2018 - 14 Oct 2018

In Search of Dragons and Eagles (12 days)

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
03 Oct 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar None

The contrast between ancient traditions and a 21st-century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries sit side by side with modern high-rises. Upon arrival at the airport you are welcomed by your Mongolian guide and transferred to a centrally located hotel within walking distance of various museums and shops.

Day 2
04 Oct 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Although Buddhist monasteries were either destroyed or converted into museums during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, Gandan Monastery continued to operate as a showpiece for government of cials. However, in spite of the government’s efforts to suppress Buddhism and other religious beliefs, Mongolia’s spirituality persisted and a signi cant resurgence of Buddhism began in 1990 when Mongolia became a democracy. Monastery doors across the country are again open to worshippers, and the few lamas who survived the purges are training a new generation.

Strolling through the monastery grounds, hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras, the teachings of the Buddha. Also visit the recently renovated Chenrezi and Kalachakra Temples, as well as the magnificent statue of Migjid Janraisig, “the lord who looks in every direction.” This 82-foot high statue, gilded in pure gold and clothed in silk and precious stones, completely lls the largest of Gandan’s temples.

After visiting the temples, drive through downtown Ulaanbaatar to the National History Museum for an excellent overview of Mongolia’s history and culture. The newly remodeled museum displays traditional implements of daily nomadic life including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, sacred religious relics, and agricultural, shing, and hunting equipment.

Following lunch, visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Named in honor of Zanabazar, the renowned 17th century artist and politician, who was also the rst Buddhist leader of Mongolia, the museum contains one of the best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts in the world, including any of Zanabazar’s original works. Overnight at hotel.

Day 3
05 Oct 2018
Ulgii , Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

FLY TO BAYAN-ULGII | TOLBO LAKE

Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Ulgii (3.5 hours), capital of Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s westernmost province. Ninety percent of the population of Bayan-Ulgii is Kazakh, Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority. The isolation of the Altai Mountains has preserved the language and traditions of the Kazakhs, who live amongst some of the most spectacular scenery in Mongolia.

Drive to crystal-clear Tolbo Lake, which mirrors the dramatic Khunguin Mountains. This saline lake attracts numerous birds such as swans and gulls, and is home to over eight different types of fish. Spend the day trekking along the eastern shore of the lake, visiting Kazakh families along the way

Day 4
06 Oct 2018
Ulgii, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

COMPETITION | OPENING CEREMONY

The official opening ceremony commences with the participants parading in on horseback with their eagles. The competition begins with each Kazakh hunter displaying his hunting outfit and accessories, the most elaborate and beautiful of which receive the highest points. In the afternoon, the golden eagles will be evaluated for their speed and agility. The eagles will be released from a cliff while their owners stand below, signaling for them to land upon their arms, as they do while hunting. Those with the fastest times and best technique will be awarded the highest scores. After dinner, attend a special performance of traditional Kazakh dance, song, and music organized in honor of the competitors. Overnight in gers.

Day 5
07 Oct 2018
Ulgii, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

COMPETITION | AWARDS CEREMONY

In today’s competition, the golden eagles will be released from a cliff to attack fox skins dragged by their owners on horseback. The eagles will be judged on speed, gripping technique, and success in grabbing the fox. As the points for the competitions are tallied, the Kazakh hunters will compete in a traditional game called kukbar, a tug-of-war on horseback that tests horse-riding skills, strength, and agility. There will also be two horse races and displays of various traditional horseback Kazakh games, including Tenge Ilu, which involves picking money up from the ground in a full gallop, and Kyzguar, which young men and women play as a way to getting to know each other better. In the late afternoon, the winners of the festival will be announced at the awards ceremony. Enjoy a celebration dinner in the evening.

Day 6
08 Oct 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Transfer to the airport for a return flight to Ulaanbaatar. Check in to your hotel upon arrival and spend the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and khoomi throat singers, followed by dinner at a fine local restaurant.

Day 7
09 Oct 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch

GORKHI-TERELJ NATIONAL PARK

After breakfast, drive to nearby Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (1 hour). Comprised of the southern Khentii mountain range, this mountain, forest, and steppe region serves as a habitat for a variety of bird and plant life. Also sheltered in this protected area are endangered musk deer and moose, brown bear, roe, elk, wolf, fox, and badger. Upon arrival, embark on an adventurous hike towards the Aryabal Monastery. A hike up along a steep road leads to a wooden suspended bridge known as “The bridge that leads to wisdom.” After crossing the bridge, trek up 108 steps to finally arrive at the temple. Along the way, the path is lined with signboards displaying Buddha’s teachings. The monastery is special for its spectacular views of the surrounding green valley.

Spend the rest of the day exploring the national park on foot or on horseback. Return to Ulaanbaatar and en route stop to visit the Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Statue.

Day 8
10 Oct 2018
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch

GOBI | MOLTSOG ELS SAND DUNES

In the morning, transfer to the airport for a flight to the Gobi (1.5 hours) Contrary to the sameness that the word ‘desert’ suggests, the Gobi is a fascinating and diverse region, and includes sites of some of the most important paleontological discoveries of the 20th century. For the next few days, explore the stunning landscape of the Gobi, habitat for Bactrian camels, Argali mountain sheep, goitered gazelle, golden eagles, saker falcons, jerboas (similar to kangaroo rats), and many endemic reptiles. The Gobi is also home to some of the Northern Hemisphere’s most rare and elusive mammals, such as the dhole, snow leopard, Gobi bear, and the wild Bactrian camel.

Upon arrival, drive to the Three Camel Lodge, Nomadic Expeditions’ luxury ger camp located near Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. After lunch, drive to Moltsog Els, one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. Explore the sand dunes on foot or atop a Bactrian camel. You will also have the opportunity to visit a local camel herding family and experience their hospitality and way of living.

Day 9
11 Oct 2018
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

HAVSGAIT PETROGLYPHS | FLAMING CLIFFS

In the morning, drive to the Havsgait petroglyph site. Hike up the side of a local mountain to a site home to hundreds of stone carvings from the Bronze Age. After lunch, visit one of the local families for a display of nomadic culture, including the making of dairy products, daily chores of tending animals, and work around the ger. Later this afternoon, continue driving to the legendary Flaming Cliffs, named for the orange glow of the rock at sunset. It was here in 1923 that Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the rst nest of dinosaur eggs the world had ever seen. Although not obvious to the untrained eye, the red sandstone of the Flaming Cliffs is rich with dinosaur fossils, and paleontological expeditions continue to make significant discoveries at this site. In the evening, return to the Three Camel Lodge for an overnight stay.

Day 10
12 Oct 2018
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

YOL VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

Upon arrival, drive to Yol Valley National Park (2.5 hours). Located in the northern part of the Gobi in the foothills of the Altai Mountains, this surprisingly green valley was carved by an ancient river. Its remnant streams now create ice formations at the base of the valley that sometimes persist as late as July. Hiking through this deep canyon leads to the habitat of indigenous Lammergeiers, vulture-like birds that feast mostly on the carcasses of dead animals.

Day 11
13 Oct 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight to Ulaanbaatar (1.5-2 hours). In the afternoon, visit Bogd Khan Winter Palace museum, home of Mongolia’s last theocrat, Bogd Jabzan Damba Hutagt VIII. The museum displays elaborate ceremonial robes and other personal effects of “Mongolia’s 8th Living Buddha.” Enjoy a farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 12
14 Oct 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
None Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

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Description

Join us in the mountains of western Mongolia for the annual Golden Eagle Festival before traveling to the legendary fossil beds of the Gobi on this unique and exciting adventure.

Experience the wild scenery and traditional cultures of the Altai Mountains, where Kazakh nomads celebrate their magni cent hunting eagles in a thrilling two-day festival. Continue to the canyons and sand dunes of the Gobi, explore the Flaming Cliffs and Yol Valley, two of the desert’s most scenic and fascinating destinations, as well as the towering sand dunes at Hongoryn Els.

Nomadic Expeditions’ Founder and CEO Jalsa Urubshurow founded the Berkut Association and the Golden Eagle Festival as a way to promote conservation of the Golden Eagle and preserve the traditional cultural heritage of Kazakh hunters. All proceeds from the festival’s ticket sales go to the Berkut Association, a community-based association consisting of local Kazakhs. They use the funds to further the goals of the organization, including the annual Golden Eagle Festival.

About Us

Nomadic Expeditions is an award-winning tour operator that has been crafting trips of a lifetime to Mongolia, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Siberia, Sri Lanka, and India for 25 years. Founded by Mongolian-American Jalsa Urubshurow, Nomadic Expeditions pioneered luxury adventure travel to Mongolia shortly after its democratization in 1990. As developers and owners of the Three Camel Lodge, Nomadic Expeditions continues its commitment to providing exceptional experiences coupled with sustainability in this hidden corner of the world.

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Terms & Conditions

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to Nomadic Expeditions. Cancellation charges are based on the number of days from the date we receive the written cancellation notice until the main trip departure date.

Cancellation charges:

  • 90 days or more Full Deposit
  • 89-60 days 25% of land
  • 59-30 days 50% of land
  • 29-0 days No refund
  • After trip departs - No refund

In addition, any unrecoverable charges or fees imposed by suppliers or vendors on advance payments will be assessed. Airfares are refundable in accordance with the policy of the airline carrier being used, subject to a $50 handling charge. If full payment is not received 90 days prior to departure, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to consider this a cancellation. A Late Payment Fee will apply to all payments made less than 90 days prior to departure. Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to cancel or postpone any travel services prior to departure for any reason, including insufficient number of participants. In the event that a trip cannot depart on the dates specified due to unforeseeable events that render the itinerary inoperable or inadvisable, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to postpone services until such time as it is deemed appropriate by Nomadic Expeditions. Trip payments will be held by Nomadic Expeditions, and subject to the same conditions as for the original scheduled trip. Nomadic Expeditions is not responsible for any unrecoverable expenses incurred by trip participants due to trip cancellation or postponement, including non-refundable airline tickets, medical expenses and visa fees, or additional arrangements, made either through Nomadic Expeditions or another provider, purchased to coincide with this scheduled departure. This trip is subject to the cancellation, refund, and other policies set forth on our Departure Guide. We urge you to read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions.



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By: CW


Reviewed on: 02 May 2014

The tour group offered helpful advice about Mongolia and organized a VIP immigration service on arrival in Ulaanbaatar. The guide was experienced and very friendly and worked hard to get me to see all the sights I wanted to see (quite a feat as I tend to want to see everything).
Travel Advisor:  Ilana Valo