Mongolia should be at the top of your list! Every once in a while we run a tour that as much as we can hope to explain in words and images, it must simply be experienced for yourself! Mongolia is that tour.
Camels, Yaks and more!
Mongolia has recently been voted as one of the top 10 places to experience in travel by several leading travel publications and organizations. This year we have 2 sold-out tours and with a good reason.
We have just concluded our first tour to Mongolia and there are no words to truly express what this tour, the landscape and the people are like. This is why we are already planning for a new return tour in July 2020 for Naadam and The Great Eagle Hunters! Here you can ride a camel, yak or both!
Naadam and Ulaanbaatar
Most typical tours to Mongolia end up in the large city of Ulaanbaatar for the Naadam, Festival which is the annual festival honoring the people and traditions of Mongolia. While the festival itself is filled with pageantry and traditions, most visitors never visit outside of the city and tend to stay in the comforts of their hotel. While this may be nice in many aspects, it is not truly fully visiting this incredible country.
Although we love Naadam in the city and the incredible celebration that goes with it, as well as the wonderful hotel we stay at, this should not be your entire Mongolia experience. Experiencing Mongolia without a doubt should also be outside the city! Each village holds their own Naadam festival with wrestling, archery and ankle-bone playing. But beyond that, there is so much more to Mongolia to experience and Naadam is just one facet of Mongolia. The rural villages have absolutely incredible culture, scenery and tradition!
Ger Camps and way of living
A Ger is a traditional Mongolian home that is still used today throughout the country. Each location we travel to outside of the main city of Ulaanbaatar, we stay in traditional Ger camps. This is still the traditional way for most non city people. However, we do have electricity to charge our batteries, cell phones and laptops if desired.
Each Ger is simple yet accommodating and comes with two beds, a table and in some cases a small sink. They are comfortable and a unique experience in and of its own! Although the camps can seem primitive in nature to keep things authentic, our select camps also have toilets and showers, which is a nice benefit! In addition, a special dining Ger is set up as a gathering place, where we receive wonderful authentic meals and drinks! Special dietary needs such as vegetarian can be met as well.
The Mongolian people are made up of over 30 ethnic groups spread throughout the country. Each has their own traditions and history, they are fascinating! The people of Mongolia are some of the most beautiful, sincere, genuine and welcoming you will ever meet. Everywhere we visit you will be warmly welcomed with smiles and invited to sit down in the family Ger! Truly a beautiful cultural exchange taking place with each family or location we visit!
The Great Eagle Hunters!
If you have not yet watched the documentary 'The Eagle Huntress' about Aisholpan, the young girl who is the first woman to compete in the ancient Eagle Festival, we recommend it, it is a must! With the popularity of the film, Aisholpan has become quite famous and the film along with other publications have ignited an interest in the Famous Eagle Hunters of Mongolia!
For the few that make the trip to Western Mongolia to visit with an Eagle Hunter, most offer that you may get to visit with 1-2 Eagle Hunter families. However, with our guide Oso and his knowledge and connections, we are not only able to visit, but we are able to do incredible EXCLUSIVE photography sessions with 8-10 Hunters! No, that is not a typo. We are the only group that has ever been able to arrange this! This without a doubt has been one of the top highlights of any photographic tour and life experiences we have ever had, and it will be for you as well!
Each of our guests are also usually able to hold and have a photo taken with a Golden Eagle. You can too! Although we cannot for many reason guarantee to meet Aisholpan, our guide knows her family and we may be able to arrange a personal meeting with her on this particular tour!
As we have built a relationship with these amazing Eagle Hunters, we are now able to work with them with future tours in a way no one else can! This is something that no one has been able to do. As I was talking to another guide at the airport, his eyes got big and he said, you were able to photograph 10 Eagle Hunters privately? No one gets to do this!
We are incredibly excited about our return!
It is important to note that because we have established this relationship with the Eagle Hunters, we need to return sooner rather than later to guarantee the experience with them as things are changing quickly in this country! The outside world is moving in and we have a relationship now that we can work with them in this way. This is why we are returning a year from now. We do not know how long we will continue to get this unique opportunity and want to guarantee it now!