Mongolia’s Golden Eagle Festival

13 Days
from AUD$ 6,983


  • Explore the Gobi Desert including the Singing Sand Dunes
  • Examine ancient petroglyphs
  • Walk through the Flaming Cliffs
  • Experience the Golden Eagle Festival
  • Witness traditional Kazakh games
  • Spend time with an Eagle Master Family

Join us for Mongolia’s Eagle festival, or Golden Eagle festival, an annual traditional festival where Kazakh eagle hunters (Burkitshi) celebrate their heritage and compete to catch small animals such as foxes and hares with specially trained golden eagles, showing off the skills both of the birds and their trainers.

Prizes are awarded for speed, agility and accuracy, as well as for the best traditional Kazakh dress, and more. We visit are smaller more local Eagle Festival, allowing our travellers a more intimate experience with the Kazakh eagle hunters.

Combine this fascinating festival with exploring the fascinating Gobi Desert. Travel through the rocky mountainous terrain as well as Mongolia’s highest peaks and largest glaciers. Mingle with nomads as you learn their way of life and the challenges of living off the land.

Journey map

Fitness level



Day 1 - Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

Welcome to Mongolia! Upon arrival, you will be met at Chinggis Khaan International Airport and transferred to your hotel in the centre of Ulaanbaatar (which the locals call “UB”), the capital of Mongolia. Visit the Gandan Monastery which is home to a huge gold plated Buddha, a symbol of Mongolian national pride and cultural revival. This evening you will enjoy a welcome dinner where you’ll meet your fellow travellers and your guide will give a briefing on the adventures to come. Enjoy witnessing an incredible folklore concert this evening – a great introduction to Mongolian culture. (D)

Overnight Best Western Premier Tuushin or similar    

Day 2 - Yol Gorge

This morning, transfer to the airport for your 1 hour flight to the incredible Gobi.

This valley is nestled deep within the hills and is a safe haven to get away from the desert heat. Some areas of the valley are continually sheltered from the hot sun and house huge, blocks of ice that gradually melt away during the summer. It is very wide at the entrance and narrows gradually into a remarkable gorge. You will get to see wild animals such as ibex and wild sheep, and the vulture. Enjoy a gentle walk through the gorge where you have the opportunity to observe the Lammergeier vulture. This vulture is also known as the ‘bearded vulture’. (B,D)

Overnight Gobi Oasis camp or similar

Day 3 - Khongor Sand Dunes

After breakfast, drive through Gobi and at the end of the Altay mountain range is West Beauty Mountain. Arrive at your ger camp in time for lunch.

After taking a rest, you will drive on to the Khongor Sand Dunes, home to the ‘Singing Sands’. These spectacular dunes obtained their name from the noise made by the shifting sand in the wind. Feel the breeze in your hair as you ride a camel across the dunes before returning to the ger camp. Isolated from the rest of the country, the Singing Sands were a best kept secret for thousands of years. Take an easy camel ride in this area for 1 hour and take a walk amongst the sand dunes.  Return to your ger camp in the evening. (B,L,D)

Distance: 6 hour drive to Khongor Sand Dunes 

Overnight Gobi Erdene Ger Camp or similar

Day 4 - Gobi - Bayanzag, Flaming Cliffs

This morning, drive to Khavtsgait mountain where you will see petroglyphs dating back 3000-500 years (elevation-1800m). Continue driving to Bayanzag, Flaming Cliffs. Many paleontological findings have been discovered here. The place is known as ‘Flaming Cliffs’ and was named by Roy Chapman Andrews, an American explorer who had visited Mongolia in 1922 and over the course of two years he searched throughout the Mongolian Gobi Desert and found dinosaur fossils and dinosaur eggs about 10-15 cm. It was the first discovery of its scale and kind in the world that had been made at the time. Transfer to a local ger camp here and enjoy a good walk in the Flaming Cliffs. Sunsets are great in here, in the Gobi. Dinner at your ger camp (elevation -1300m). (B,L,D)

Distance: 3-4hour drive to Petroglyphs. Then 1 hour to ger camp. From ger camp 40 min drive to Bayanzag cliffs

Overnight Gobi Oasis 2 Ger Camp or similar

Day 5 - Ongi Ruined Monastery - Arvaikheer town

After breakfast, drive to Ongi Ruined Monastery. Ongi ruined monastery used to be home to 1000 lamas and once housed four universities. Anti-religious communists destroyed them in 1937. Only a single temple was renovated in 1992 (elevation 1300m).

After a picnic lunch, continue driving to Arvaikheer provincial capital town of Overkhangai province (elevation1650m). (B,L)

Distance: 3.5hour drive to ger camp to Ongi and 3hour drive to Arvaikheer town

 Overnight Arvaikheer hotel or similar

Day 6 - Arvaikheer/Kharkhorin town

After breakfast, drive through the central part of Mongolia. You will notice the scenery change with more livestock and yaks in this region. Continue driving to Kharkhorin town. It is a collecting town for wheat, sea buck thorn mostly. This town used to be ancient capital of Mongols in the 13th century. Khubilai khaan moved his capital to Daidy (Beijing today) in 1270, it had lost importance and was destroyed twice. One of Mongol kings, Altan Khan decided to build a Buddhist Monastery complex on top of the ruins to stop robbing of the ancient capital ruins. This is Erdene Zuu monastery complex. Many of its parts were destroyed by anti-religious communists in the 1937. There are main temples and Tibetan temple (elevation 1500m). (B,L)

Distance: 3hour drive to Kharkhorin

 Overnight Ikh Khorum hotel or similar

Day 7 - Kharkhorin town/Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast, head back to Ulaanbaatar. Drive through bareback mountains and sand dunes. Lunch will be taken on the way. Arrive at Ulaanbaatar and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.  (B,L,D)

 Distance: 5-6hour drive

Overnight Best Western Premier Tuushin or similar

Day 8 - Ulaanbaatar/Ulgii town /Altai town

Today you’ll take a three-hour flight to Bayan-Olgii Province, where 90% of the population is Muslim Kazakh. This is the western most province in Mongolia and it has the feel of a wild west frontier town. Meet your support crew for the next leg of your Mongolian adventure before enjoying lunch in a Turkish restaurant.

Continue to drive out to Altai town. On arrival, you will transfer to your ger camp.  Tomorrow is festival day. Dinner and overnight ger (elevation 2100m). (B,L,D)

Distance: 3.5hour flight and 3 hour drive to Altai town

3 nights Altai Ger Camp or similar

Day 9 - Eagle Festival

After breakfast, you will start the day by visiting a local horse race. Mingle with the locals who have come to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.

Witness Kazakh hunters in all their glory, and see a parade of falconers on horseback, their prized eagles perched on their arms. After the parade, each hunter will demonstrate how well their bird obeys his commands by placing his eagle on a nearby cliff edge and calling it from below. It’s a spectacular sight to see these birds of prey soar down to their owners and alight on their arms.

The festival provides a unique opportunity to be up-close and be part of the festivity and to capture some incredible photographic opportunities.

The competition begins with a parade by eagle hunters with their hunting outfits and accessories. The most elaborate and beautiful adornments receive the highest marks. It’s followed by thrilling competitions. The Golden Eagles are evaluated for their speed, agility and accuracy. The festival provides a unique opportunity to be up-close and be part of the festivity and to take many incredible photographs.  Return to your Ger camp. (Elevation 2100m). (B,L,D)

Distance: 40 min drive to Horse racing field

Day 10 - Eagle Festival

This morning after breakfast you will head out for another fascinating day at the Eagle Festival. Today you will witness trained golden eagles display their speed and agility. To test their eagles’ skills, hunters drag a fox skin behind their horse, and the fastest eagle to land on the skin is considered the best hunter.

Witness traditional Kazakh games, such as aitis, a poetry duel; kyzkuar, a dating game played on horseback; and kokpar, a team sport played on horseback with a goatskin – some of you may know it as ‘goat polo’, the national sport of Afghanistan! We invite our Golden Eagle masters to join us at dinner (elevation 2100m). (B,L,D)

Day 11 - Altai- Ulgii town

This morning you will take it easy before setting off to visit a local Golden Eagle Master’s family and  join them in their home for lunch. Then you drive out to Ulgii town in the afternoon. Transfer to local ger camp (elevation 1650m). (B,L,D)

Distance: Less than 1hour drive to Local Eagle Master family. 3hour drive to Ulgii town.

 Overnight Altay ger camp in Ulgii or similar

Day 12 - Ulaanbaatar

Following breakfast, we take a flight back to Ulaanbaatar city and transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure until your farewell dinner this evening. (B,L,D)

Distance: 3.5hour flight and 1hour drive to hotel.

Overnight Best Western Premier Tuushin or similar

Day 13 - Departure

Today is at leisure until it is time to transfer to the airport for your onward departure. (B)

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What’s included

  • Return airport transfers
  • 12 nights accommodation
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • English speaking local certified Guide
  • Bottled water
  • Private transportation
  • Entrance fees
  • Domestic flights (15kg luggage allowance)
  • Eagle Festival fee
  • International flights
  • Visas
  • Travel and medical insurance
  • All services, meals other than those indicated above
  • Personal porters
  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program.
  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

**Please note that this tour can be organised on request for private departures.

* Pricing is subject to change at anytime until full payment has been received.

* A minimum of 2 adults is required to guarantee this departure.

A non-refundable deposit of $1000 AUD per person is required to secure your place. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Travel insurance is mandatory for travelling with Crooked Compass. For full terms and conditions, please click here.



Start Date
End Date
Start Date
30th Aug 2024
End Date
11th Sep 2024
13 Days
$6,983 AUD
Start Date
05th Sep 2025
End Date
17th Sep 2025
13 Days
$7,332 AUD

What our adventurers are saying

Crooked Compass was wonderful! I wanted to go to one of Mongolia’s golden eagle festivals but had some serious time constraints & they made it happen. They were quick to respond by email and phone, extremely helpful and always enthusiastic. It was a pleasure working with them!


Every day I was blown away with new scenery and experiences not expected. Great company, lots of laughs, special care and constant assistance from guides and drivers. Excellent accommodation

and food – I would do it all again in a heartbeat. VERY happy to promote Mongolia as a ‘must see’ country with wonderful hospitality and delightful and very different experiences every

day. Now my friends understand that it was NOT a crazy idea to go travelling on my own to a remote and foreign country. Our photos tell the whole story!

Shevauneen Geiger – Mongolia

My recent journey to Mongolia with Crooked Compass was nothing short of exceptional! I loved going off the beaten path, discovering remote and untouched landscapes that most tourists miss.

What truly set Crooked Compass apart was their professional and caring ground team. They were the backbone of a seamless and safe journey. Lisa went above and beyond to create the perfect itinerary that far exceeded my expectations. The support didn’t stop there; their pre-trip assistance was equally good. Their attention to detail and personalisation really made this trip a one in a million.

Crooked Compass gave me the life-changing experience in Mongolia that I had always dreamed of. If you’re seeking extraordinary adventures and unforgettable cultural encounters, I wholeheartedly recommend them. Kudos for making my dream Mongolia trip a reality! Now I’m searching your website for my next trip.

Veronica Jane – Mongolia