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9 Days/8 Nights
Availability : February 29 - March 8
Min Age : 12+
Max People : 18

Winter Festival

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Tour Overview:

Have you ever imagined living in a winter wonderland, walking through sculptures of ice on a lake that looks as if it was made of the purest glass? If this is your dream, then come and join us in March 2024 for the world-famous Lake Khuvsgul Ice festival. When Mongolia’s biggest lake world freezes over it is truly a spectacle! Join in the ice competitions, witness the spectacular traditional dress and take in all the natural beauty of this breathtaking frozen wonderland!

Bactrian (Two Hump) Camels are some of the most unique and truly remarkable domesticated creatures in the world. Mongolia is famous for its use of these two humped beasts, using them for transport, wool and milk. Once each year, in the wilds of the Gobi Desert, the camel herders of Mongolia come together to show of the best of the best. Join us to watch the annual Gobi Camel Festival; experience camel races, camel polo, feats of agility and control as well as the beauty of Mongolian culture. You will see the care and attention these men and women give these animals as they are crucial to life out in the desert. You will also get to witness the beautiful simplicity of Mongolian herder culture; the slow and melodic beat of the desert dictates the day to day actions of these incredible people. Traditional costumes, food, music, and tradition will be at your fingertips! Join us and come on this adventure of a lifetime to one of the most unique festivals in the entire world.

The Kazakh minority in the west of Mongolia still practice the ancient tradition of hunting with Golden Eagles. Each winter, Ulaanbaatar hosts the Eagle Hunters in a spectacular one day festival. Watch as Eagles land on their master’s arm while he is riding a horse at full speed, and other incredible competitions.

Essential Information:

  • Location: Gobi Desert, Lake Khuvsgul & Ulaanbaatar
  • Group size: Min 1 -18 people
  • Tour Style: Adventure/Comfort
  • Service Level: Standard
  • Distance covered: 800km Overland

Highlights:

  • Lake Khuvsgul Ice Festival
  • Thousand Camel Festival
  • Eagle Festival
  • Ulaanbaatar City Tour
  • Camel Riding in the Gobi Desert
  • Horse riding at Khuvsgul Lake
  • Ger stay & cultural experiences
  • Meeting Nomadic people as well as Reindeer herding Tsaatan tribe

Accommodation:

Traditional Ger Camps & family guesthouses.

During your time in Ulaanbaatar you will stay at Meg’s Guesthouse in dorm room and double and single room accommodation. Meg’s Guesthouse is located centrally in Ulaanbaatar, walking distance from many attractions and amenities. As a Mongolian company we prefer to support Nomadic families financially and help support their livelihoods.

We are sure this resonates with our travelers who enjoy engaging with their culture on The Steppe. It is therefore our preference to stay with these families if they have an extra Ger. As well as directly supporting local herders, you can experience this rich traditional way of life first hand.

Transport:

  • Domestic Flights
  • Russian Van: Steel Russian vans with seats facing each other, ideal for adventure seeking travelers (max 6 people)

Departure Time & Place:

Tour departs at 8 am on the morning of departure is recommended. The driver and guide can pick you up from the airport, train station, or your accommodation to suit your requirements.

Tour Price Per Person:

  • 1-person US$ 2570 per person
  • 2-people US$ 2200 per person
  • 3-4-people US$ 1800 per person
  • 5-people or more US$ 1520 per person

Price Included:

  • Transport (Tour Distance covered - 800 km)
  • Domestic flights / Airport transfers
  • Tour Guide (English speaking)
  • Accommodation at family run guest house and nomadic family Gers (8 nights)
  • 3 Meals a day (Breakfast-9, Lunch-8, Dinner-7)
  • Entrance Fees/Local Taxes
  • Horse & camel riding 1 hour each
  • Mineral water/Tea/coffee

Not Included:

  • Travel insurance
  • International flights
  • Alcoholic & soft drinks
  • Any other personal expenses or additional services

Meals during the tour:

Most of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price. All included meals will be prepared from fresh local produce. The majority of the shopping for food will be done before the trip departs, and fresh goods, such as meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, will be bought en-route during the trip from supermarkets, local shops and markets. Breakfasts will generally consist of breads and cereals, if time allows a warm breakfast may be prepared. Many lunches will be provided en-route and will be light meals such as sandwiches and/or salads or local restaurants. All evening meals will be freshly-prepared hot meals, and will consist of a variety of continental and local dishes. Our GUIDE will organize the meal preparation and lead the way here. Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements can be catered for but need to be specified prior to arrival.

Some recommendations:

Winter in Mongolia typically spans from late November to early March. The Mongolian winters are cold and dry, with temperatures often dropping well below freezing. It’s essential to be prepared for the harsh winter conditions, including snowfall and icy winds. So be prepared for all weather conditions.

What to bring:

Winter gear (we can provide winter gear if your luggage is full), thermal sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, cold-weather sunscreen, insulated hat, thermal long underwear, insulated pants, warm and waterproof footwear, lip balm, thermal hand wipes, UV-protective sunglasses, prescription medications (if needed), snow-resistant outerwear, sturdy winter boots, hand warmers, and a reliable flashlight.

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

We will organize a driver to meet you the airport and drive you back to Meg’s Guest House in central Ulaanbaatar where you will spend your first night in dorm room accommodation. You can spend the day doing as you wish; recovering from your flight or doing some exploring around central Ulaanbaatar.

No meals included on this day.

Day 2 - Flight to Khuvsgul Lake

After Breakfast, transport to airport for domestic flight. Flight takes 1.5 hours.

Khuvsgul Lake- is known as the Dark Blue Pearl among beautiful mountains. This is the perfect place to have a vacation, kayaking, canoeing, hiking and horse trekking. Located in the northernmost province, it is the largest tributary stream of Lake Baikal in Russia – 96 rivers and streams flow out of the lake, among them the Egiin River, which then joins the Selenge along its eventual path to Lake Baikal.

Lake Khuvsgul is 136km long, 36 km wide, 262 meters deep and is located at an altitude of 1645 meters above sea level. Taiga Fauna and Flora, and the Tsaatan, reindeer herders are the main attractions. The lake is the important migration route for birds from Siberia, thus facilitating marvelous opportunities for bird watching.

Day 3 - Ice Festival

After an hearty breakfast, start the Ice Festival, short drive across the frozen lake. The festival is held at Khar-Us on Khovsgol Lake, Organized yearly on the frozen Khuvsgul Lake by National Park rangers and local residents. A respite from the confinement of the winter months. Just like the other festivals, it starts with Opening ceremony of the Ice Festival. The event schedules include skating marathon, ankle bone game ( shagain harvaa) and other traditional games. Camp fire after dinner, enjoying the bright stars in the night sky.

Day 4 - Ice Festival

The festival features a gathering of local residents and nomadic reindeer herders, and performances by shamans, musicians, and sportsmen. Competitions include ice sumo, a horse-drawn sleigh race, ice skating races, tug-of- war between local teams, and a Russian Jeep race on the ice. Many traditional games are played on the sidelines, and this is an ideal venue for visitors to join in the fun and games with local people.

Day 5 - Eagle Festival

Early morning flight to Ulaanbaatar. Have breakfast in the town’s finest breakfast place.

Eagle Hunting starts at 11am and is one of the most noble and awe- inspiring unions of beast and man. Get an inside look at this truly ancient and wonderful art. Kazakhs have a tradition of hunting on horseback with trained steppe eagles. The trainer wears a heavy padded glove on the right arm on which a hooded eagle perches, until its little leather hood (tomega) is removed and it sees its quarry, a fox or squirrel, and within moments it plummets and seizes it. A well-trained eagle flies back to his master’s saddle when other horses approach.

Accommodation at Meg’s Guesthouse.

Day 6 - Gobi Desert - Camel Festival

After Breakfast, transport to airport for domestic flight. Flight takes 1.5 hours.

Attend the opening ceremony of the festival and parade of camel riders. The day’s competitions include “best looking couple on camelback” and “most adorable male and female camels,” as well as a camel polo match that takes place in the central square. There’s also an exhibition of paintings by local children who participate in the drawing contest called “Camel– My Friend”

After the festival, drive to Tugrugiin Shire, a steep valley with rock formations and dinosaur bones visible on the walls. Rare remains such as baby dinosaurs’ skeletons in fossilized eggs and dinosaurs’ skeletons that died in combat were found in Tugrugiin Shiee by explorers.

Day 7 - Gobi Desert - Camel Festival

The competition begins with a race of mature camels followed by the racing of the two-year-old camels. For your own enjoyment, you may place bets on the camels. The first three camels in each group are awarded the gold, silver and bronze medals. In the afternoon, one of the most awaited competitions begins. This is called “The Camel Relay”, a competition consisting of catching, taming, training and, finally, loading a camel with an actual ger. There are several groups with five members, each of which have different roles in the contest. The closing ceremony takes place late in the afternoon when the winners will be presented with their trophies.

Visit Bayanzag “Flaming Cliffs”, famous for its dinosaur fossils, eggs and the special Gobi tree, the “saxaul”. In 1922 American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews found the first dinosaur eggs as well as numerous fossil skeletons of dinosaurs that lived 70-80 million years ago.

Day 8 - Flight back to Ulaanbaatar- City Tour

After early breakfast, head to Dalanzadgad airport to depart for UB. Exploring the wonderful city of Ulaanbaatar and the surrounding area unique to Ulaanbaatar.

You will visit following places:

– Gandan Monastery
– Sukhabaatar Square
– National History Museum

Tour Guide will take you to the Mongolia Traditional food restaurant which is included in the tour price. You will visit Bogd Khaan Winter Palace,Zaisan Memorial, Gobi Cashmere Factory, and the Ger district (informal urban settlement). Your city tour will finish around 6pm. We suggest you also attend the National Music and Dance Ensemble which starts at 6pm.

You will spend the night at Meg’s Guesthouse Breakfast and lunch included on this day.

Day 9 - Depart Ulaanbaatar

We can organize a driver to pick you up from Meg’s Guesthouse and drop you off at the airport or train station in time for your departing flight or train.

Breakfast included.

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