A Quick Summary

  • Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

  • Day 2: Ger District and Downtown Ulaanbaatar

  • Day 3: Gorkhi Terelj National Park

  • Day 4: Ulgii Town, Bayan-Ulgii

  • Day 5: Golden Eagle Hunters Festival Day 1

  • Day 6: Golden Eagle Hunters Festival Day 2

  • Day 7: Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar

  • Day 8: Departure

Your Itinerary

Welcome to Mongolia

Upon landing at New Ulaanbaatar International Airport, your WildMongolia guide will meet you in the arrivals hall with your private vehicle on standby, ready to take you to your hotel for check-in.

First Stop: Ulaanbaatar

Mongolia’s capital city of Ulaanbaatar is a contrast of nomadic felt gers, modern coffee chains, Soviet-era apartments, and thousands of ruggedized Toyota Priuses. It’s a testament to the pace of modernization and the abilities of urbanization. On a stroll through, the city seems at paradox with itself, both old and young simultaneously: resident English-speaking entrepreneurs mingle in trendy cafes and cosmopolitan jazz bars, sharing the same street beside Buddhist temples and history museums.

Gandantegchinlen Monastery

Locally referred to as Gandan, this is the main monastery of Ulaanbaatar, with a history dating back to the early 19th century. Spared by the Communist purge that saw the mass demolition of hundreds of monasteries and temples across the country, the restored Gandantegchinlen was, for a time, the only functioning Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Gandan is one of the core landmarks of Ulaanbaatar’s identity. While wandering the complex, do not miss the awe-inspiring Megjid Janraisag Temple. The original temple was melted down by the communists during World War II to make bullets for the war but was rebuilt in the mid-1990s with financial and metal donations (gold and silver).

Chinggis Khaan Museum

Unveil the epic story of Mongolia at the Chinggis Khaan Museum. Explore over 10,000 original artifacts, spanning from the legendary Modun Shanyu to treasured possessions of past royalty. Step inside and let history come alive.

Ulaanbaatar: Ger district visit with Gerhub

Get an insider’s view of the real Ulaanbaatar, a city of nomads recently urbanized with the majority of the population still living in the felt gers in the suburbs. Gerhub, the host for the visit, is a social enterprise committed to sustainable development and innovation in Ulaanbaatar’s suburban community.

Tumen Ekh Ensemble

Established in 1991, the Tumen Ekh Ensemble has since become one of the most renowned performing arts groups in the country featuring a variety of traditional Mongolian musical instruments, including the morin khuur (horse-head fiddle), the yatga (zither), and various percussion instruments. The group’s music incorporates both vocal and instrumental pieces and is inspired by traditional Mongolian folk songs, as well as contemporary interpretations of Mongolian music. In addition to music, the Tumen Ekh Ensemble is also known for its vibrant and colorful Tsam dance performances and costumes.

Drive to Gorkhi Terelj National Park

The closest national park located within the borders of Ulaanbaatar, Gorkhi Terelj National Park is located an hour and a half’s drive away from the city center, depending on the traffic.

Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Statue

Explore a tribute to Chinghis Khaan, celebrated as the man of the millennium, embodied in a majestic 40-meter-tall statue adorned with 250 tons of stainless steel on the Tuul River banks. This statue holds the record of being the tallest equestrian statue in the world. Walk in, take the elevator up, and take the final few steps to find yourself face-to-face with the conqueror. The viewing deck located on the horse’s head allows for a panoramic view of the surrounding hills that transport you back to the bygone era.

Lunch at Bayangol Resort Restaurant

Experience an authentic yet refined Mongolian lunch with added comfort at Bayangol Resort, where traditional dishes like khuushuur, buuz, and tsuivan await. Mongolian cuisine is a rustic confluence of various culinary heritages, ranging from Central Asian to Chinese to Russian, itself a delicious testament to the melting pot of cultures that the Mongol Empire once was.

Hiking Aryapala Meditation Center

Enjoy a post-lunch two-hour leisurely hike through the woods to the Aryapala Meditation Center, nestled deep inside the national park. The final test will be the 108 stairs leading up to the entrance of Aryapala. At the top, a Buddhist monk will lead the ensuing meditation, an opportunity to embrace the power of mindfulness against the breathtakingly beautiful Terelj mountains.

Gorkhi-Terelj: Trailblazer Horseback Riding Adventure

Explore Bugat Resort’s stunning scenery on horseback led by experienced local instructors. This horseback riding adventure is perfect for both beginners and experienced riders. Create lasting memories by connecting with nature at Bugat Resort. Saddle up and ride!

Drive: Gorkhi Terelj National Park to Ulaanbaatar

The drive from Terelj National Park back to Ulaanbaatar will take around 1.5 hours.

Ulaanbaatar to Bayan-Ulgii

Catch a morning flight for 3.5 hours to Mongolia’s western outskirts. Touch down in Ulgii city, the capital of Bayan-Ulgii province and the residence of Mongolia’s Kazakh ethnic group, arriving in the afternoon.

Ulgii Town, Bayan-Ulgii Aimag

Ulgii, the capital of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag in western Mongolia, is situated at an altitude of 1,710 meters (5,610 feet) and is home to 28,496 people, primarily of Kazakh descent. Kazakh is the predominant language spoken in this culturally rich city, with Islam widely practiced as the religion of choice. Among Mongolia’s 21 provinces (aimags), Bayan-Ulgii is the sole Kazakh-majority province. The Kazakhs migrated to this western edge of Mongolia in the mid-19th century and have since called it their home. The region’s remoteness has safeguarded Kazakh culture, preserving it in a relatively unchanged state over the centuries, unaffected by external influences. As a result, Mongolian Kazakhs have become ambassadors of Kazakh language and culture.

Lunch at Pamukalle Restaurant, Ulgii city

Savor the rich flavors of authentic Turkish cuisine at Pamukalle, a well-established eatery in town. Known for its delectable kebabs and local delights, including airag (fermented horse’s milk), this spot offers a genuine taste of Turkish and Mongolian culinary traditions. For an afternoon boost, enjoy their delicious Turkish coffee from the Pamuk coffee shop on the 2nd floor of the building.

Day tour in Ulgii town

In Ulgii town, visit the local Muslim Mosque—a blend of intricate design and muted colors, a testament to faith and craftsmanship. Next, explore the nearby open market with a vibrant atmosphere, where vendors showcase spices, food, and handcrafted items. Have fun negotiating deals while browsing stalls of textiles, jewelry, and local handicrafts. A visit to the museum reveals artifacts and exhibits narrating the region’s cultural evolution, offering moments of contemplation and appreciation. Allocate time for shopping local art, each piece reflecting the artisans’ skill and dedication.

Drive to Golden Eagle Festival

In the early morning, we will head to the Golden Eagle Festival venue, located approximately 7 to 14 km outside of Ulgii town (a 30-minute drive).

Golden Eagle Festival – Opening Ceremony

Explore the heart of the Eagle Festival with a curated one-day adventure featuring rich traditions and exhilarating competitions. The day begins with the impressive Morning Parade, where well-dressed Eagle hunters ride horses, showcasing their majestic eagles. Witness the strong bond between these skilled hunters and their magnificent eagles.

Eagle Hunter Competitions – Day 1

Throughout the day, engage in the Eagle Hunter Competitions, evaluating different aspects of this unique partnership. The Bond Assessment judges the deep connection between eagles and handlers. The Cultural Showcase allows you to admire traditional clothing and horse ornaments, highlighting the Eagle Hunters’ cultural heritage. Watch as eagles showcase their agility in the gripping Agility Challenges, dragging stuffed baits by horses and recognizing their trainers’ calls.

Special lunch Besbarmak

Besbarmak, meaning “Five Fingers,” is more than a meal; it’s a communal celebration. Friends and family gather around a shared dish, eager hands reaching for the flavorful bounty. At the heart is a rich stew of tender mutton, simmered to perfection with aromatic spices passed down through generations. Horsemeat sausages add a unique flavor, while freshly harvested vegetables—carrots, potatoes, and onions—complement the hearty meats. Homemade noodles, delicately crafted, soak up the savory broth, providing a comforting texture. Adorned with parsley and diced onions, the dish is a vibrant masterpiece.

Evening Kazakh Concert in the Cultural Centre

As the sun sets, enjoy the Evening Concert, featuring the vibrant music of the Kazakhs. Experience the Eagle Festival’s cultural richness and thrilling competitions in this unforgettable one-day adventure!

Eagle Hunter Competitions – Day 2

On the second day of Adventure, choose from exciting activities such as Camel or Horse Races, Coin Grabbing on Horseback, and the lively Kyz Kuar-Women Chasing Game. The day concludes with the grand finale, Kykbar, a Tug of War played on horseback with goat skins, showcasing strength and teamwork.

Spending a day with Kazakh nomads

Close to the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park entrance, we’ll stay in our comfortable ger provided by WildMongolia. It’s surrounded by picturesque mountains, rivers, and local nomadic families. Spend the day with nomads experiencing their daily life: milk cows, ride with Kazakh herdsmen, observe how they care for animals, and assist in making dairy products.

Meet our Eagle master – Bekbolat and his family

Bekbolat, a prominent Eagle master, is 70 years old and has been actively involved in training and hunting with an eagle tradition for the past 30 years, possessing great experience. Despite their advanced age, Kazakh individuals often live within close-knit communities where the youngest and the eldest coexist, nurturing the values of their tribe. The youngest members of the community hold a significant role in preserving the heritage and unity of the tribe. Esentai represents the future of his community, being the youngest member responsible for upholding the tribe’s values and traditions.

Evening with Kazakh Hospitality – Syrne Dinner

After a day of challenging trekking or horseback riding, your hard work deserves a special reward. Return to the Kazakh Family’s home, where your accomplishment will be celebrated with a delightful Syrne traditional meal. Experience the warmth of Kazakh hospitality as they share this special dinner with you, creating a memorable and rewarding conclusion to your day of adventure.

Bayan-Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar

The flight from Ulgii to Ulaanbaatar takes approximately 2.5 hours. Arrive back at the hotel and put your feet up. Enjoy dinner at Shangri-la or talk to your WildMongolia guide for dining recommendations around the city.

Day at your leisure

Enjoy the day at your leisure (option to add in a WildMongolia guide and itinerary if interested).

Exclusive Dinner at last Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace

Experience an exclusive farewell dinner at Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace, an iconic symbol of Mongolia’s rich heritage. Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace, located in the southern edge of Ulaanbaatar, near the Tuul river banks, stands as a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage and regal history. Originally built in the late 19th century as the residence of Mongolia’s eighth Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, also known as Bogd Khan, the palace serves as a captivating glimpse into the life of Mongolia’s spiritual and political leader. Indulge in a sumptuous feast curated with the finest Mongolian delicacies and international flavors and toast to unforgettable memories in the regal ambiance of this historic landmark.

Your WildMongolia guide will escort you to the airport and help you check in for your flight home.

Your Accommodations

Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar

Shangri-La Ulaanbaatar is located right in the heart of the city centre. It is an ideal base for both business and leisure travelers and within walking distance of the famous Government House, Great Chinggis Khaan Square and main offices and embassies. The hotel features 290 elegant and spacious guestrooms with a minimum of 42 sqm and contemporary and indigenous fusion design.

All guest rooms and suites overlook either Nairamdal Park to the south or Great Chinggis Khaan Square and panoramic vistas of the city to the north.

Terelj Star Resort

Located in one of the most scenic areas within Terelj National Park 52 kilometers outside of Ulaanbaatar city, Terelj Star Resort is a ger camp complex that operates throughout the four seasons of the year. The camp is conveniently located near the main attractions of the Park including Turtle Rock and 100 lamas’ Cave. During the winter seasons, the gers are kept warm with adjustable electrical floor heating, providing an eco-friendly alternative to wood-fired stoves. The deluxe gers are equipped with bathrooms and hot water.  The complex offers Western and Mongolian cuisine in their main large ger.

Address: Nalaikh district, 6th khoroo, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, 52 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar city.
Хотын төвөөс 52 км-ийн зайд, Налайх дүүрэг, Тэрэлж Байгалийн Цогцолбор газар.

Phone: +976 77279090

Homestay in Bayan-Ulgii

As many a seasoned traveler knows well, there's no better way to immerse in local culture than by staying with the locals, and tonight's stay is no exception. Tucked away in a western Kazakh family, this local family has opened their home to weary travelers looking for a place to lay their heads. Set your expectations in advance though, as this is a 100% no-frills stay. The bathroom is the same one that the family uses - an outdoor outhouse (your guide will have toilet paper and hand sanitizer for you to use). Prepare to get down to the basics in this quaint homestay and see how local Kazakhs really live.

Mediana Hotel, Bayan-Ulgii Province

Being situated in the heart of Ulgii town, especially on the 9th floor of the only skyscraper, the Mediana Hotel must offer breathtaking views of the entire town and its surroundings. The central square location likely provides guests with a vibrant scene, capturing the hustle and bustle of daily life in Ulgii.

Additional Details

Recommended Seasons

  • Autumn

  • Summer

What’s Included

  • WildMongolia English speaking guide

  • Private on the ground transportation with a 4X4

  • All accommodation costs, as noted in the itinerary, breakfast included
  • All admission fees and expenses, as noted in the itinerary
  • Meals highlighting local cuisine and as mentioned in itinerary
  • Bottled water and local snacks between meals

What’s Excluded

  • International and domestic flights, domestic trains, plus relevant taxes
  • Mongolian tourist visa, if requiered
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • Other meals, apart from those included in the itinerary, and alcohol

  • Expenses of a personal nature
  • Excursions and activities not included in the itinerary
  • Discretionary gratuities for guides and drivers

Book this journey

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