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Mongolia 1000 Mile Journeys

Every October Kazakh eagle-hunters from all over Bayan-Ulgii gather in the heart of the Altais for a competition to test the speed, agility, accuracy, and training of their magnificent eagles.  It is a rare opportunity for visitors to get up-close and personal with such a wonderful Kazakh tradition.

DAY 1: Ulgii

  • Catch an early flight to Ulgii from Ulaanbaatar
  • Visit the local outdoor market (bazaar) and museum
  • If arranged in advance, visit a local Tuvan shaman
  • Sample local restaurants for lunch and dinner
  • Stay in a nearby ger camp

DAY 2: Visit an Eagle-Hunter

  • Drive to the village of Altantsogts (45km from Ulgii) to visit Sailau, one of the most experience eagle-hunters in the region
  • Sailau and his son were recently featured in the BBC television series “Human Planet”
  • Visit nearby Oni Mountain to view nesting place of wild eagles
  • Enjoy Kazakh hospitality and experience the nomadic lifestyle

DAY 3: More Time with Eagle-Hunters

  • Before attending the festival, watch as the hunters conduct final trainings with their eagles
  • They practice calling their eagles from vast distances to attack animal skins drug by horses

DAYS 4 & 5:  Go to Festival with Eagle-Hunters on Horseback

  • Side-by-side with eagle-hunters, ride to the festival on horseback
  • Mongolian horses may be small, but they are tough
  • The hunters may even spy a chance to catch a fox, rabbit, or wild cat
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch to enjoy the remote mountain country
  • Excellent photo opportunity to hold the birds for yourself
  • Camp in the village of Sagsai on the bank of the Khovd River

DAYS 6 & 7: Altai Golden Eagle Festival

  • Ride to the festival with the eagle-hunters
  • Approximately 50-60 eagle-hunters participate in the festival
  • Festival also features traditional Kazakh horse games including “bushkushi” (horseback tug-a-war using an animal skin), “horseback-kiss-a-woman,” and “pick-up coins from the ground on horseback”
  • The festival is full of vendors selling Kazakh tapestries, clothing, and embroideries
  • In the evening enjoy a traditional Kazakh concert

DAY 8: Back to UB

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1000 Mile Journeys arrange to have an Ulaanbaatar-based guide meet you at the airport/train station upon your arrival in Mongolia. The guide can help you navigate Ulaanbaatar, can travel with you to your accommodation, and can show you some of the city’s sights. Furthermore 1000 Mile Journeys can also help you explore more of Mongolia than just the West. We are more than happy to help extend your sightseeing of our beautiful country with additional journeys before or after your trip out West.

 

  • Includes: English-speaking guide, cook, land transportation, accommodations, camping equipment, three meals a day with snacks in between, pack animals, camel guides, and national park tickets
  • Excludes: Domestic flights, alcohol, discretionary horse/camel rides, and laundry

Eagle Hunting

Authentic eagle-hunting is only done during the winter months when the snow covers helps the birds spot fleeing prey – it also when the prey have thick winter coats that are used to make warm clothing.  After the first snow, the hunters ride out in search of game on horseback, wandering amidst the rugged landscape holding their eagles on their arms.  The hunters usually take young boys with them to help flush out the game.

As soon as an escaping fox or marmot is sighted, the hunter sends his eagle into the air in pursuit of the quarry.  The bird then sizes up the target before swooping down in one long but swift strike, falling right on the spine of the escaping animal.  The bird catches the prey with steel talons and waits for the hunter to finish the animal off.

While such hunting does result in wonderfully thick furs to make warm clothing, the hunt is not done for financial gain.  Hunters take great pride in having clever, quick, and valiant eagles.

During this traveling adventure, you will get to experience the thrill of the hunt alongside these Kazakh nomads and their magnificent golden eagles.  This journey will lead you far into the mountainous landscape of Bayan-Ulgii where you will witness firsthand a unique tradition that has survived for centuries in this remote corner of Central Asia, all while experiencing wonderful Kazakh hospitality.

DAY 1: Ulgii

  • Catch an early flight to Ulgii from Ulaanbaatar
  • Visit local outdoor market (bazaar) and museum
  • If arranged in advance, visit a local Tuvan shaman
  • Sample local restaurants for lunch and dinner
  • Stay in a nearby ger camp or hotel

DAYS 2-5: Hunting

  • Drive to the village of Altantsogts to stay with an eagle-hunter and his family
  • Go hunting everday, riding horseback along with the hunter as he explores the mountains in every direction in search of prey
  • Visit with Sailau, one of the most famous and experience eagle-hunters in the region
  • Sailau has been hunting for more than 25 years and now he focuses on passing the craft onto the next generation of hunters
  • He and his son were recently featured in the BBC television series “Human Planet”
  • You can watch a YouTube clip of the episode here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y3Dl0BGFfw

DAY 6: Back to Ulgii

  • Drive back to Ulgii through the Khovd River Valley, making stops to investigate ancient deer stones and Turkic stone men (balbals)
  • Stay in ger camp outside of Ulgii and enjoy a traditional Kazakh concert and “beshbarmak,” the Kazakh national dish

DAY 7: Back to UB

————

1000 Mile Journeys will arrange to have an Ulaanbaatar-based guide meet you at the airport/train station upon your arrival in Mongolia. The guide can help you navigate Ulaanbaatar, can travel with you to your accommodation, and can show you some of the city’s sights. Furthermore, 1000 Mile Journeys can also help you explore more of Mongolia than just the West. We are more than happy to help extend your sightseeing of our beautiful country with additional journeys before or after your trip out West.

 

  • Includes: English-speaking guide, cook, land transportation, accommodations, camping equipment, three meals a day with snacks in between, pack animals, camel guides, and national park tickets
  • Excludes: Domestic flights, alcohol, discretionary horse/camel rides, and laundry