Get an insider's look at Mongolia through one of the country's most anticipated annual events—October's Golden Eagle Festival. Start in Ulaanbaatar to sample local delights at Narantuul Market and delve into local history at the National Museum of Mongolia, then fly to Ölgii to meet the Kazakh eagle hunters. Spend the next two days watching the hunters and their birds of prey compete, then end back in the capital to shop for cashmere and watch a performance from the Tumen-Ekh ensemble.


  • Explore Gandan Monastery, one of the largest monasteries in the country
  • Climb to the top of the enormous statue of Genghis Khan outside Ulaanbaatar
  • Meet the eagle hunters in Sagsai and experience the annual Golden Eagle Festival 
  • Return to the capital and visit Zaisan Memorial Hill to see the Soviet monument

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the Mongolian Capital Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Full-Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar  Ulaanbaatar
Day 3 Fly to Ölgii, Meet the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Sagsai Village Sagsai
Day 4 Transfer to Tolbo Lake, Experience the Eagle Festival Tolbo
Day 5 Full Day at the Golden Eagle Festival Ulgii
Day 6 Fly to Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour, Folklore Performance Ulaanbaatar
Day 7 Depart Ulaanbaatar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the Mongolian Capital

Visit Narantuul Market and sample the local steamed dumplings

Welcome to Mongolia's bustling capital, Ulaanbaatar! Meet your driver at the airport and transfer to your hotel, where you can stay to relax and fight off jet lag, or venture out to explore the area on your own. A good place to start is Narantuul Market, one of the largest markets in the city. Navigate the labyrinthine alleys and discover the treasure trove of Mongolian culture, as vendors sell a mix of traditional clothing, intricately crafted jewelry, and handmade goods.

You can also find delicious street food here, like huushuur, a deep-fried meat pie, or buuz, steamed dumplings filled with lamb or beef, onion, and garlic. In the evening, visit one of the city's rooftop bars to unwind with a cocktail or beer and enjoy panoramic cityscape views. If you're up for it, there are plenty of clubs in the city as well, so you can dance the night away before returning to your hotel. 

Day 2: Full-Day Tour of Ulaanbaatar

Visit the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex and snag views from the top

Get ready for a full day of exploring Mongolia's capital, starting at the impressive Gandan Monastery, one of the largest and most important Buddhist monasteries in the country. Admire the 85-foot (26 m) tall gilded statue of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, then enter the complex to discover the serene environment. Listen to the rhythmic chant of the praying monks as you stroll through each richly decorated temple, all adorned with religious artifacts. Next, head to the National Museum of Mongolia to learn more about the country's culture, history, and heritage.

Browse the exhibits and array of artifacts, from finely crafted traditional clothing and ceremonial objects to ancient tools and weapons. In the afternoon, enjoy a stroll through Sükhbaatar Square before sitting down for lunch at a traditional Mongolian restaurant. After refueling, transfer one hour out of the city to the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex to see the massive equestrian statue dedicated to the former ruler of the Mongol Empire. Admire the 131-foot (40 m) statue, then climb up to its head for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside to end the action-packed tour.

Day 3: Fly to Ölgii, Meet the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Sagsai Village

Meet the Kazakh eagle hunters and their golden eagles in Sagsai 

This morning, you'll trade the capital of the country for the capital of Mongolia's Bayan-Ölgii Aimag province, called Ölgii. After the one-hour flight, meet your driver at the airport and head to the town center to pick up the necessary provisions. After a delicious lunch, continue to the village of Sagsai, home to the Kazakh eagle hunters. Meet these skilled hunters and their majestic golden eagles to learn about the centuries-old tradition of training eagles to hunt small mammals like hares, rabbits, and foxes.

Witness the profound bond between the hunters and their eagles as the birds show off their unique skills while their handlers follow along on horseback. In the evening, explore the village and meet the other nomadic families known for their hospitality. When darkness falls, sit down to share a traditional meal with the locals and listen as they share stories about their culture.

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Day 4: Transfer to Tolbo Lake, Experience the Eagle Festival

Watch the Kazakh eagle hunters and their golden eagles compete at this annual festival

The long-awaited day is here: the annual Golden Eagle Festival starts this morning. Wake up early for the two-hour drive to Tolbo Lake to see the incredible skills of the Kazakh eagle hunters and their flying partners. As you approach the festival grounds, you'll be greeted by hundreds of people wearing vibrant traditional attire, adding a burst of color to the natural landscape. Watch over 50 hunters parade their golden eagles around and demonstrate their mastery in controlling these birds of prey as they move through a variety of competitions, including eagle speed and accuracy contests. 

Beyond the competitions, you have the opportunity to interact more with the eagle hunters, gaining insight into their techniques and the deep cultural significance of eagle hunting in Mongolia. End the first day of the festival with a captivating Kazakh folk concert, watching as the dancers, adorned in elaborate costumes, dance to the rhythmic beat. Then, return to your nearby campsite to rest for the night.

Day 5: Full Day at the Golden Eagle Festival

Watch horse and camel races on your second day at the Golden Eagle Festival 

Wake up early for your second day at the Golden Eagle Festival. Enjoy breakfast at the camp, then head to the festival grounds to discover the vibrant program of events. Today, you can watch the thrilling horse and camel races, where nomadic riders demonstrate exceptional control and mastery of their steeds. Then, enjoy the thrilling archery competitions as the eagle hunters shoot at faraway targets on horseback. This isn't the only activity on horseback, as you can watch the hunters compete in the highly entertaining bushkashi, a game of tug of war atop a horse. 

If you're feeling up to it, get in on the action by participating in traditional games with the hunters. The festival ends with a closing ceremony, where the hunters receive awards for excelling in different competitions, including a best-dressed award. In the evening, return to Ölgii for the night. 

Day 6: Fly to Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour, Folklore Performance

Climb up to Zaisan Hill to see the Soviet memorial and enjoy views of Ulaanbaatar

Catch a one-hour flight back to the capital this morning, where a driver will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel. After refreshing, venture out on a short tour, starting at a Mongolian cashmere store. Learn how the coveted material is made and browse the array of cashmere clothing and accessories you can take home to remember your trip. Visit Zaisan Memorial Hill next, on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, for panoramic city views. Admire the monument dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who fought alongside the Mongolian forces during World War II.

The day will end with a folk performance by the Tumen-Ekh ensemble, one of the most well-known musical groups in the country. As the ensemble takes the stage, listen to the rhythmic beats of traditional instruments resonating through the venue. Watch the dancers, adorned in elaborate costumes inspired by Mongolian history and nature, move with grace and precision, depicting stories of nomadic life, heroic tales, and spiritual rituals. Following the performance, enjoy a delicious farewell dinner of traditional Mongolian cuisine, then say goodbye to your guide and return to your hotel.

Day 7: Depart Ulaanbaatar

Until next time, Ulaanbaatar!

Your October adventure in Mongolia comes to a close today. If you have some time before your flight, check out the city's vibrant art scene with a visit to the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, situated in the heart of the city. Browse the gallery's diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations, all exploring themes deeply rooted in Mongolian culture. Keep an eye on the clock, as a driver will meet you back at the hotel to take you to the airport for your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Experience Mongolia's Capital & the Golden Eagle Festival - 7 Days
Map of Experience Mongolia's Capital & the Golden Eagle Festival - 7 Days