This is an unparalleled off-the-path cultural adventure that highlights the social, cultural and geographic diversity and wealth that Mongolia possesses! Hidden in valleys beyond the snow-capped western mountain ranges are kazakh families that still to this day carry-on the ancient socio-cultural and traditional practices of their ancestors. Kazakh men continue the training of Eagles from an early age for both sport and hunting practices, while the elderly women pass-on the ancient traditional arts & crafts, such as the age old embroidery skills to their daughters. Kazakh Gers a well-known for their elaborate & decorative nomadic dwellings furnished with beautiful wall-hangings which adds to the warmth of the family’s environment. In these truly special geographic environs, you will greatly enjoy learning all the elements that makes up their unique and very traditional lifestyle.
On this truly unique cultural adventure, you will lear the basic techniques and equipments associated in the training of Eagles. Afterwards you will learn how to communicate and how to feed and eagle as well as how to put on and take out the hood and then how to carry the Eagle on your hand while you are riding a horse with the assistance of a Kazakh nomad. Once you have gained some mastery over this truly unique and majestic animal, you will have a unique opportunity to learn how to hunt with an Eagle. In addition to this, you will also have plenty of opportunities to experience the daily routines of Kazakh nomadism that includes milking cow, making cheese, preparing the Kazakh food etc.
Community Fee: $448 USD for 8 days/ 7 nights
Additional In-Country Travel Expenses
Taxi fair between airport and guest house (2 ways - 2 to 4 persons): $8.70 USD
UB to Bayan Olgii Bus: $51USD
UB to Bayan Olgii Airplane - Round Trip: $452USD
Rural jeep to first ger and pickup (2-4paxs): $242 USD
Note: Jeep cost can be divided by number of persons
Booking & travel orientation w/ handbook: $25 USD
Day One - Authentic Turkish Dinner and Overnight in Bayan Olgii (D): Whether by air or by land, the arrival to Bayan Olgii is stunning, surrounded by mountains the town has a flowing river bending through it bringing it an element of uniqueness to other villages throughout Mongolia. Upon arrival, our local facilitator will welcome you for reception dinner at the local Turkish restaurant after check-in at local hotel (5 kilometers from the airport). After delightful evening dinner, you will retire for the night - Bayan Olgii hotels are generally equipped with hot showers and good basic facilities, this is great opportunity to refresh yourself before your start your cultural adventure.
Day Two - Overland Travel across Stunning Mountain Landscapes to the remotely located Kazakh Family; well-known Eagle Trainer (D): Enjoy the hot morning shower and last hot western breakfast if you wish! Soon afterwards, the rural driver will pick you up from hotel and you will begin your unforgettable 160 kilometer journey across some most picturesque mountain landscapes to Mr. Shaimurat’s family. Along the way, you will see a monument called “Hasbaatar” on the top of the hill - Mr. Hasbaatar was an army officer with great military capabilities during the people’s revolution. In the summer of 1941, he successfully led his soldiers and fought bravely against the larger White Russian forces for 42 days at Tolbo Lake. The monument was dedicated to all soldiers who died defending the country. In addition, you will continue your overland travel along the scenic bank of Huvd River which is home to amazing rock formations as well as two stone statues known as “Zagtiin Am” and “Tsagaan Khoshoot” which was formed some 1,300 years ago.
This late afternoon you will have an enjoyable time with your Kazakh family over dinner - who knows maybe even get an opportunity to take some photos with the eagle at sunset (best light for stylistic photography). No worries, Mr. Shaimurat will teach you how to hold the eagle with the “biyalai” or “glove” and even show you how to feed it as well as taking on and off the eagle’s hood that covers the eyes and head.
Day Three - Techniques of Hooding and Unhooding Eagles (B,L,D): After a wonderful Kazkah breakfast, you will start to hone your ability of how to properly hold an eagle before you learn the techniques of hooding and unhooding an eagle. Once you feel confident the next step in your training involves traveling with your eagle by horseback as Kazakhs do. In the afternoon, you will have your lunch with your host family that will be followed by more training on how to call the eagle from a distance and mount your hand. Upon learning these basics, Mr. Shaimurat will show you how to hunt with an eagle while you are traveling by horseback on a 10 kilometer journey (roundtrip) to a hill top that is commonly used as a vantage point for hunting small prey. Before your communal dinner with the family, you will have plenty of time to experience the day to day lifestyle of Kazkakh nomads and assist in the milking of cows, goats and sheep. After dinner, Mr. Shaimurat will share interesting eagle stories of his past experiences as well as the history of falconry before you retire in your tent for the night.
Day Four - Hunting with an Eagle (B,L,D): After breakfast, you will travel by a long distance by horseback with the eagle (Note: Eagle hunting season is only permitted from October to April) to the top of a mountain with with Mr. Shaimurat. At the top during your afternoon lunch, Mr. Shaimurat will explain the techniques of hunting - this is a brilliant photo opportunity so make sure that you packed your camera as the unforgettable panoramic landscapes are great backgrounds for portrait shots. Later you will return to Mr. Shaimurat’s family to which they will prepare and serve you with a wonderful evening dinner followed by a delightful night of traditional Kazakh songs, dance and opportunity to listen to the traditional Kazakh Dombra before retiring for the night.
Day Five - Training the Eagle - From Wild to Intimate Companion (B,L,D): After breakfast, Mr. Arlbai will show you the techniques on preparing an eagle for hunting; not providing food for one whole day. Later you will learn the how the Kazakhs acquire new eagle for hunting from the surrounding mountains. Once Kazakhs have their new eagle, they have to begin the training process of domestication to foster the young eagle to become an intimate companion. After your lunch with the family, you will continue to learn how Kazakhs choose good eagles that involves the examination of its gender, the wings and eyes. Later you will continue your training in the usage of equipments that are employed towards the making of eagle tools and preparing of raw materials needed etc. In the evening, you will have communal dinner followed by a night of playing chest and “Togiz Kumalak” (Kazakh traditional game) with the family before retiring for the night in your tent.
Day Six - Horseback Journey with the Eagle (B,L,D): After breakfast, you and Mr. Shaimurat will have a 15 kilometer roundtrip horseback journey to a nearby mountain where you will have an opportunity to showcase your mastery of the various techniques that you learned the past several days form this panoramic vantage point. Today you will have another great scenic lunch with Mr. Shaimurat where he will assist you during your practice with the eagle before returning to his home for your evening communal dinner with the family and overnight in your tent.
Day Seven - Return to Olgii Town and Visit the Local Highlights (B): After breakfast, you will start you 160 kilometers overland jeep journey back to Bayan Olgii. Along the way, you will have a chance to pull out your camera and have a great day taking shots of “Bayan Nuur” Lake and some other small lakes. Upon arrival to Olgii Town, you will check into your hotel and have plenty of time in the afternoon to visit the local museum, the local mosque which was built in 1992, Kazakh Handicraft Cooperative where you can learn the process of making embroideries (bags, wall hanging, items for eagles, Kazakh silver belt, hats and other garments). On this day feel free to bring a little extra cash to purchase souvenirs from the handicraft shop as well as anything else you would like to get from the local shops before returning to your hotel for the evening.
Day Eight - Departure back to Ulaanbaatar: In the morning, our driver will take you to the bus station or airport before you part your ways and say farewell to one another.
According to Kazakh tradition, when you have meals with the families, you will only have your meals with the elders on one table, the young people and children will have their meal separately.
The herder usually says his prayer before eat while the meals are on the table, please wait until his whisper few sentences and then will take his both hands to his face. After that, you can have your meal.
Travelers are encouraged to visit the Mosque, but are asked to dress appropriate and you need take off your shoe before you enter the prayer hall.
All traditional Kazakh breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
English speaking guide
Reception dinner at the Turkish restaurant
Two overnights at local hotel
Local museum fee
National park fee
Boiled water on route
Training an Eagle activities according to itinerary
Jeep and bus ticket arrangement services
Camping equipments /sleeping bag, mattress and tent/
Transportation costs which stated in additional expenses
Orientation lesson fee