Golden Eagle Festival Ride, Mongolia - Horse Riding Holidays and Safaris

Golden Eagle Festival Ride, Mongolia

13 NightsIntermediate to AdvancedFrom $6,285 USD?Tour costs $6,285 USD which is approximately $9,329 AUD

Once you’ve ridden a valiant Mongol pony across the steppe, there’s no going back. The highlight of this ride is getting down and dirty with the locals and taking part in their local Eagle Festival.

Once you’ve ridden a valiant Mongolian horse across the steppe, there’s no going back. Mongolia will be etched in your heart forever. You’ll be dreaming of splashing through pristine alpine rivers, galloping across the infinite plains, feeling a crisp Siberian breeze urging you onwards, and connecting with some of the friendliest, most generous people on earth.

So it’s with immense excitement that we invite you on our exclusive Golden Eagle Festival Ride. We cherish the land of the nomad, the land of the shaman and the ger, where horses are not only the lifeblood of the people, but their heart and soul. The legendary Eagle Festival is celebrated by the Kazakhs in western Mongolia and showcases the ancient art of eagle hunting, alongside other traditional nomad games. Far from the tourist crowds of the larger festivals, we’ll be the honoured guests of a local eagle hunting family, and witnessing the only Eagle Festival to include the release of golden eagles back into the wild as part of its program, a truly lump-in-the-throat occasion. As Globetrotters, we’ll have the unique privilege of taking part in this very special festival. To not only ride into the festival, on their spirited native horses, manes flowing in the breeze, but to have the opportunity to take part IN the nomadic games…if this very act doesn’t leave a mark on your soul forever, nothing will. 

And we’re SO excited about partnering with a proven riding partner who has managed the logistics of the famed Mongol Derby. They literally have their fingers on the pulse in terms of shaping the perfect itinerary – that takes in every mood of Mongolia. So that when it is time to say goodbye to the steppe, you’ll have a deep understanding that you’ve lived and breathed this way of life – for a moment in time.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:Mongolian working horses between 13 to 14 hands high.
  • Pace:Variable depending on the terrain, with plenty of opportunities to trot and canter
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 100kg / 220lbs
  • Type of tack:Refurbished ex-Mongol Derby saddles. These are lightweight but with a rigid fibreglass tree, short-seated like a Mongolian saddle but with plenty of space for a Western-sized rider. They look like a stripped down Australian stock saddle - very secure and very comfortable. Custom made gel covers act as seat savers for extra cushioning.
  • Seasons:September
  • Group size:A minimum of 8 and a maximum of 11 guests
  • Time in Saddle:Anywhere between 4 to 8 hours on average per day, depending on the distance needed to travel to your next campsite.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for intermediate to advanced riders who are fit and have a sense of adventure. You must be confident riding at all paces.
    It’s actually a fantastic place to build confidence and have your first gallop, so if you are a confident beginner, and in great physical shape, please do get in touch and we will discuss suitability with you. Rider fitness is a MUST - camping at night and riding all day is strenuous.
     Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:The accommodation varies throughout the trip, with the majority of the nights spent camping in tents (one person per tent), but there will also be times you stay in Ger camps and hotels at the beginning and end of the ride. A Ger Camp is a Mongolian version of a motel with traditionally decorated gers for sleeping (usually shared rooms with 4 pax), separate dining hall and very basic facilities for shower and toilet.
  • Ride Length:14 days, 13 nights with 8 riding days in total, plus optional rides to/from the Festival with the Eagle Hunters.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes full board from arrival in UB until departure (NB: there is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets), some alcohol (but you’ll need to BYO should you wish to enjoy multiple drinks), regional flights, transfers to/from UB Airport and riding.

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include your international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), some alcohol, and staff tips.

    (NB: There is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets)

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

NEW! Secure your saddle seat NOW with a 10% deposit - as part of our 10x 10% payment plan!

While camping, you will be assigned 1x tent per person, but when staying at the hotel in UB the rate is priced for twin share. Should you wish to have your own room on the hotel nights an additional single supplement charge will apply.

NB: When staying at the ger camp in Olgii, sleeping arrangements will be 3-4 guests per ger.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes full board from arrival in UB until departure (NB: there is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets), some alcohol (but you’ll need to BYO should you wish to enjoy multiple drinks), regional flights, transfers to/from UB Airport and riding.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include your international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), some alcohol, and staff tips.

NB: There is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. Depending on the ride you choose to book and your country of residence, there will be a 1.2% to 2.9% surcharge.

Click HERE to read more about our fees and charges.
Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.
WHY IS THE PRICE QUOTED IN USD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

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Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.

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  • Day 1

    Fly into Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia (called ‘UB’ by locals and visitors alike). After passing through immigration and customs, you’ll be collected and whisked to the dependable luxury of the Holiday Inn hotel. Referred to as the ‘city of contrasts’, UB is a city where modern skyscrapers stand beside traditional dwellings and ancient monasteries. The population has almost reached 1.5 million, and it’s growing rapidly, with new developments popping up all around the place. We’ll be very conveniently located in downtown UB, within walking distance of Sukhbaatar Square, museums, theatres, and shops. Our local guide will give us a quick orientation tour before we head to a local concert and a welcome dinner.

  • Day 2

    EEEEP, the day has finally come! Today we’re catching a regional flight to Ulaangom, where we’ll bundle into one of Mongolia’s iconic Russian vans for an hour’s drive to Turgen soum, where we’ll have lunch with the amazing local crew who make our ride possible. Then it’s time to meet our Mongol steeds! Once we’ve been matched to our horses, we’ll explore our gorgeous surrounds in the saddle. Tonight’s campsite sits just below Ulaan Davaa, which translates to ‘Red Pass’, and you’ll soon see how it got its name! After the first of many scrumptious campfire dinners prepared by our amazing crew, we’ll settle into our tents and fall asleep to the soft sounds of our horses grazing – and maybe even the distant cry of a wolf. 

  • Days 3 to 9

    The following seven days will be spent travelling deep into the wilderness of Uvs Province, crossing the incredibly varied, heartachingly beautiful landscapes of the steppe. Savour the chance to switch your phone to flight mode and live in the present moment, globetrotters, because we will be totally, blissfully off-grid. We’ll slip into a daily routine of enjoying breakfast at camp, jumping on our horses, riding all day with stops to enjoy lunch and take in the sights, and finally arriving at our campsite for dinner, fireside stories and perhaps a dip in the river.

    Highlights will include riding along the shore of Uureg Lake, spotting herds of ibex and keeping a hopeful eye out for snow leopard tracks in the stunning Yamaat Valley, fording pristine rivers strewn with huge granite boulders and crossing dramatic, rocky passes.

    Finally, on day 9, we’ll arrive at the edge of the magnificent, azure-blue Achit Lake. This piece of eden is a cornucopia of fish and bird life, and the rock formations of the surrounding hills will take your breath away. If we still have some energy to burn, we can hike to the top of one of these formations to watch the sun set over the land we’ve just traversed. 

  • Day 10

    Today we’ll have breakfast on the lakeside, then pack our bags and bid a fond farewell to our faithful steeds. A half-day van trip brings us to to Olgii, where we’ll be accommodated in a traditional ger camp. Here we’ll have the luxury of a hot shower! There will also be a chance to visit the village market should we need any supplies for the upcoming weekend of festivities.

  • Day 11

    After breakfast at our ger camp, we’ll be transferred the remaining 40 kilometres to Ulaankhus, where the beautiful family who is hosting us for the Eagle Festival awaits our arrival. These are some of the last remaining Eagle Hunters in Mongolia, and we’ll have the immense privilege of riding into the festival with them. The whole afternoon will be spent lapping up the magic of the Games, with eagles soaring overhead and Mongol horses and riders thundering every which way across the plains. As dusk falls, our hosts will bring us to their riverside ger, where we’ll share stories together over a hearty dinner (and likely a few nips of vodka!) before resting up for another big day with the Eagle Hunters.

  • Day 12

    This morning there’s the option to ride or take a transfer to the site of the Games, where we’ll spend the whole day witnessing this rarest and most remarkable of events. Participation isn’t mandatory, but it’s definitely encouraged and will score you massive brownie points! You could try your hand at the whipping game, camel racing, or tug of war, or simply sit back with a glass of airag (fermented mares’ milk) and soak it all in. At last the time will come to give thanks to our hosts, wave goodbye to the Eagle Hunters and head back to our ger camp in Olgii. And yes, we can even have another shower! Talk about being spoilt. Then, bellies full, we’ll retire to our cosy gers, where the crackle of the fire will lull us into a deep sleep.

  • Day 13

    After an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience in one of the remotest corners of Mongolia, it’s time to head back to civilisation. Will we be ready for a plush bed and a hot bath? No doubt. But you can bet your bottom dollar we’ll be wishing for another week in the wilderness first! We’ll check in to the same hotel we stayed in at the beginning of our trip, so if you left any superfluous luggage with the concierge, you can collect it as soon as you like. After freshening up and luxuriating in the creature comforts of our rooms, we’ll regroup for one last celebratory feast, reminiscing over a journey we will never forget.

  • Day 14

    Today we’ll bid our fond farewells and take a transfer to the airport for onward travels.

  • Transfer Information

    Complimentary airport transfers are included upon arrival and departure in Ulaanbaatar. Please ensure you inform Globetrotting of your flight itinerary prior to departure so that these can be arranged.

    You can arrive into Ulaanbaatar anytime on day 1, and depart anytime on the final day.

    Your regional flights are included in the ride price.

The Golden Eagle Festival, Mongolia, Globetrotting Horse Riding Holidays.

Mary Holmes

‘I absolutely loved the 8 days of riding in western Mongolia, covering over 180km, climbing to 3000 metres and crossing 3 mountain passes. To describe this journey as an adventure would be an understatement. The scenery, the culture, and the camaraderie with the Mongol team that guided and looked after us were truly exceptional. A special mention to the Mongolian horses who carried us so kindly over the rocky terrain, barefoot and, remarkably, fed only on available pasture. The ride two days at a regional eagle festival were absolutely fabulous. I will never forget watching people riding to the festival on their horses and the occasional motorbike, just casually carrying an eagle on their arm. The competitions were fab – I will never forget watching the eagles launching from the hilltop and soaring down over the arena. It was brilliant! The kindness and patience of the eagle hunters in sharing their time and knowledge and answering endless questions will always be remembered.’

Sue Mclaren

‘If you are looking for a trip of a lifetime, where time is of no importance and your cellphones are no use, then the vast and beautiful country of Mongolia is for you. Camping out under the stars where you are fed very very well, you will get to meet some amazing people, see amazing landscapes, climb through many mountain passes, and hold an eagle – how incredible is that?! Mongolian people don’t have a lot, but they will always welcome you into their ger.’

Stacey West

‘The Golden Eagle ride through western Mongolia will fill your eyeballs with joy and your heart with love for the country, the horses, and the people. You’ll want to cry a little bit, because nothing will ever be as beautiful again. Except for when you reach that next mountain pass. Or when you dismount beside that fresh, clear lake. Or when you race up and down desert-like dunes. Or when that first snowflake sticks to your eyelashes. Yes, you have to poop in a hole. Yes, you have to sleep in a tent. But honestly, I could have stayed another week. Or maybe forever.’

Kathy Davies

‘Best ride, so exciting! The ride suited me to a tee. I enjoyed the beautiful horses who knew their job and carried us safely, no matter what conditions were thrown at them. The vast landscape was breathtaking, so far from civilization, except for the occasional family with little children. They were all living in a Ger, raising cashmere goats and making goat curd. Participating in the Golden Eagle Festival was a highlight of my trip! The friendly fur-clad locals even let us join in on fun horseback games with them. This ride exceeded all of my expectations.’

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