Mongolia: Golden Eagle Festival with Palani Mohan - A Limited Edition Small Group Journey (2020)

One of the last travel frontiers, Mongolia is vast, remote and hauntingly beautiful. Nomads still eke out a living on the steppe as they have for centuries passing from generation to generation age-old practices of horsemanship, herding and hunting.

Journey Overview

One of the last travel frontiers, Mongolia is vast, remote and hauntingly beautiful. Nomads still eke out a living on the steppe as they have for centuries passing down from generation to generation age-old practices of horsemanship, herding and hunting. On this rare visit you will spend two days at the thrilling Golden Eagle Festival in the far west of the country where Kazakh horsemen demonstrate their skills with the prized golden eagle in fierce competition. You’ll be honoured by the Mongol hospitality, bed down in a traditional ger, marvel at Buddhist monasteries and explore some of the wildest landscapes on the planet.

Your Guest Host

Indian born, Australian raised, and now living in Hong Kong, Palani Mohan is an award-winning freelance photographer and published author. He has produced five books and photographic essays and his work is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London. Exhibited widely around the globe, his images have been shown at the prestigious Visa Pour L’Image in Perpignan, France. He has travelled to Mongolia four times and his book, ‘Hunting With Eagles: In The Realm of the Mongolian Kazakhs’ is a rare and invaluable record of a vanishing culture.

Watch Palani Mohan's TedXSydney Talk - Hunting with Eagles on the Edge of the World

Watch Palani Mohan's recent TedXSydney Talk - Hunting with Eagles on the Edge of the World

Journey Highlights

  • Discover Ulaanbaatar’s vibrant textile heritage or visit Khustain Nuruu National Park to spot wild horses on a Design Your Day experience
  • Bed down in a traditional ger at a remarkable eco-lodge which celebrates Mongolia’s nomadic culture
  • Stargaze over the remote wilderness of the Gobi Desert
  • Explore sand dunes, ancient petroglyphs and the desert aglow at sunset
  • Hike through rugged canyons and gorges, ride a Bactrian camel
  • Marvel at the spectacular celebrations and events of the Golden Eagle Festival over two days including the opening ceremony
  • Meet with a Golden Eagle hunter in a memorable private encounter

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Ulaanbaatar.

A warm welcome to the Mongolian capital and transfer to your hotel in the heart of the city. Spend the rest of the day settling in.
Shangri-La Hotel

Day 2: Ulaanbaatar | National History Museum.

This morning join fellow travellers and your Guest Host for a briefing on the coming adventure before heading out on an exploration of the capital. Start off at Sukhbaatar square in the centre of town which honours Mongolia’s 1921 revolutionary hero and the country’s independence from China. Next stop, Gandantegchinlen Monastery, one of Mongolia’s most important, which was founded in 1809 and houses an impressive library of important Buddhist literature. At the National History Museum see fossilised skeletal remains, dinosaur eggs from the Gobi Desert, traditional costumes and 12th century Mongol relics. Time to freshen up before a welcome dinner this evening.
Shangri-La Hotel | Meals: BLD

Day 3: Ulaanbaatar – Design Your Day | Arts, Textiles & Fashion.

A day to immerse yourself in Mongolia’s alluring art and textile heritage. Choose one of these Design Your Day activities.

  • Explore the country’s rich textile heritage when you visit a couple of specially selected boutiques where Mongolian cashmere and felt is celebrated. At Made in Mongolia, admire beautiful hand crafted felt slippers, bags, pillow cases and other accessories before gaining special access to the Torgo Fashion Museum, which showcases intricate garments from Mongolia’s leading designers.
  • Visit Khustain Nuruu National Park for a chance to view a variety of birdlife and wildlife, including Mongolian wild horses. 

Shangri-La Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 4: Ulaanbaatar – Ölgii | Kazakh Traditions.

A flight to Ölgii in the far west of the country where you’ll notice a strong Muslim influence, more Central Asian than Buddhist. The town is predominantly Kazakh and more closely resembles Muslim influenced Central Asia than Buddhist Mongolia. Find yourself in this remote province for the impressive Golden Eagle Festival which is celebrated here each year. One of the oldest, most revered and spectacular celebrations of Mongolia’s Kazakh people, this is a tradition of hunting with specially trained eagles which is passed down from generation to generation. The festival brings together the best hunters and their eagles in an impressive display of showmanship testing speed, agility and accuracy. You spend two days at the festival with accommodation in a traditional ger where facilities are rustic but comfortable.
Ger | Meals: BLD

Day 5: Ölgii | Golden Eagle Festival Opening Ceremony.

Receive your privileged invitation to the opening ceremony of the Golden Eagle Festival which kicks off with a variety of spectacular displays. Marvel at Kazakh hunters riding in their traditional dark coats and scarlet hats with the golden eagles perched on their arms demonstrating the skills they have acquired since childhood. Eagle training competitions, dance performances and various Kazakh equestrian challenges are also part of this unforgettable event.
Ger | Meals: BLD

Day 6: Ölgii | Eagle Hunters Up Close.

Another opportunity today to experience this unique festival and meet some of the hunters with their eagles. Through your guide, you’ll be able to converse with them capturing some extraordinary photographs and understanding a little of the deep bonds which exist between hunter and eagle. The afternoon is at leisure before dinner.
Ger | Meals: BLD

Day 7: Ulaanbaatar | Mongolian Capital.

Return by air to Ulaanbaatar with the remainder of the day at leisure.
Shangri-La Hotel | Meals: BL

Day 8: South Gobi Desert | Dunes, Mountains and Rare Wildlife.

A flight south to Dalanzadgad, provincial capital of the South Gobi. You are met and driven northwest to the lush Yol Valley (also known as Eagle Canyon) in the foothills of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. Hike into the valley with its dramatic rocky cliffs and narrow canyons and keep an eye out for the indigenous lammergeier (bearded vulture). Continue to Three Camel Lodge, where your accommodation for the next three nights is in a typical felt-covered ger set against the dramatic backdrop of the remote Gobi Altai mountains.
Three Camel Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 9: South Gobi Desert | Traditional Ger.

This morning, your Bactrian camels await. Mount up for an adventure into the surreal and expansive sand dunes of Moltsog Els. Encounter local camel breeders and their families gaining unique insight to their way of life. The afternoon is at leisure back at the lodge, admiring the vast surrounding landscape and the herds of livestock which come and go or enjoying a massage in the spa ger.
Three Camel Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 10: South Gobi Desert | Flaming Cliffs.

Head out on a morning hike in the nearby Havsgait Valley where views are breathtaking. See the ancient rock petroglyphs left by early Gobi settlers 15,000 to 40,000 years ago. Return to camp for lunch and watch an historic documentary on palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews who, in 1923, discovered the first fossilised dinosaur eggs in an area he named the Flaming Cliffs for the particular way the desert glowed, particularly in the early evening light. Get this singular experience on a special sundowner outing this evening.
Three Camel Lodge | Meals: BLD

Day 11: Ulaanbaatar | Farewell Celebration.

A return flight to Ulaanbaatar for your final night in Mongolia. Celebrate your adventure with new friends at a farewell dinner this evening.
Shangri-La Hotel | Meals: BD

Day 12: Depart Ulaanbaatar.

Farewell Mongolia with a transfer to the airport for your departure flight.
Meals: B

Journey Details

Maximum Group Size: 24

Departures are guaranteed to operate with a minimum of 2 guests.

Tour Inclusions

All accommodation as detailed on a double/ twin share basis with private facilities (except in Ölgii where facilities are shared); meals as specified; bottled water during transfers and touring; airport welcome; assistance with luggage and group transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle in Ulan Bataar, and by Land Cruisers elsewhere; Services of English speaking Resident Tour Director & Guest Host (a second local host is added where traveller group size exceeds 19 people); economy flights only if specified as included in itinerary, all entrance fees, planning, handling, operational and communication charges, all tipping.

Tour Exclusions

International flights not specified as included, visas, insurance coverage of personal loss, injury, illness or damages incurred during your trip; items of a purely personal nature such as drinks, laundry, dry cleaning, internet, fax or phone charges; transfers, sightseeing or meals not specified in itinerary; excess baggage charges 

Tailor Made Travel with A&K

If scheduled departure dates don’t work for you, or you would prefer to travel privately, talk to your A&K travel specialist or your travel agent about creating the perfect bespoke journey for your, or a small group.

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Dates & Prices

Journey Dates & Prices

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy

Sep 29, 2020 - Oct 10, 2020
Price AU$17,250pp Single Supplement AU$3,890 Internal Air (From) Included Availability Available Book

Availability shown here is updated weekly and indicative only. Availability on any product or journey shown here is not specific to a category of travel and may not denote availability at the cheapest ‘From’ price. For real time availability, talk to your travel agent or call Abercrombie & Kent on 1300 851 800.


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