5 Mongolia Eagle Hunters Tips

We get many enquiries about visiting Mongolia Eagle Hunters, so I want  to share with you a list of things that you should know before embarking on a private Mongolia tour to Bayan-Olgii.

Eagle Hunter at Golden Eagle Festival, Naadam. Mongolia

Eagle Hunter at Golden Eagle Festival, Mongolia

Preparations and Transportation for the Eagle Hunters Festival.

  • The eagle hunting season, lasts approximately from the beginning of October to the mid-March. Thus plan your Mongolia Eagle Hunters tours around those dates.
  • Every year there several smaller and larger scale festivals take place in Bayan-Olgii in Western Mongolia to promote the tradition of hunting with eagles. 
  • Booking flights to the Eagle Festival ahead of time is usually very crucial as the seats are very limited. It can be quite difficult to book, especially if you are not in Mongolia. 
  • You'll need assistance in booking the tickets since the airlines don't have a set-up date of releasing the tickets. The process must be closely controlled as once the tickets are available on the market, they tend to sell out quickly.  
  • Leave your extra luggage in Ulaanbaatar, as the local flight luggage limit is 10 kgs and the carry-on limit is 5 kgs only!
  • The only alternative is to drive to Bayan-Olgii from Ulaanbaatar which although an absolutely breathtaking experience, also takes 2-3 days.  

RELATED: My favourite hidden restaurants in Mongolia for tour groups, who want to book a farewell meal at a restaurant, on their final night in Mongolia.

If you plan a Mongolia Eagle Hunters tour, you should definitely consider participating in one of local eagle festivals

Kazakh Eagle Hunters in full gear

Accommodation at the Eagle Festivals

  • There are several Eagle Hunters Festivals across the year. The most popular, The Golden Eagle Festival one takes place on the first weekend of October. Another large-scale event - the Sagsai Eagle Festival occurs in September. 
  • Eagle festivals usually take place close to the capital of the Bayan-Olgii Province, Olgii. Thus, the vast majority of people, stay in town hotels and tourists ger camps there.
  • Beware however, It is really difficult to book any hotel or guest house bookings on dates close to the larger eagle festivals, since the events are highly popular. 
  • There are people who opt to do camping around Ulgii, but according to locals, you may encounter some unwanted attention on top of the extreme weather conditions. Camping is therefore not usually a recommendable option.
  • Homestay with Kazakh nomads is a great alternative to staying in the city. But this experience must as well be booked in advanced with a reputable tour company to ensure the quality and safety of the stay.
Eagle at Golden Eagle Hunters Festival, Mongolia.

Eagle at Golden Eagle Hunters Festival, Mongolia.

Restaurants in Ulgii, Mongolia.

  • Although the dining scene is Ulgii is slowly improving there is still only a handful restaurants in the town. 
  • One of the restaurants recommended, is the Pamukale Restaurant which offers relatively wide varied menu. Even better dining venue you will find in the recently opened Makhsum Hotel. But since it a new and highly-popular establishment, you may not always find a table there. 
  • At the festival there is usually a small barbeque stand serving mouth-watering grilled lamb that you can enjoy as a biting. However, that is the only real meal option you will encounter at the festival, unless you travel with a well-established tour company. Those tend to hire local staff to cook for their Clients on site. 
  • There are luckily, a couple of supermarkets in town where you can pick up snacks.

Hiring a good Guide/Driver in Mongolia to visit the Eagle Hunters Festival.

  • If you happen to have hired a good local driver, he can double up as a guide for the festival. However, having a guide is pretty essential, as they can explain everything that is going on at the festival. The drivers tend to have only very basic language skills, although some speak Russian well. 
  • It is also advisable to hire a driver for the days you will be attending the festival so as to have the freedom of movement and leave whenever you want and arrive early to get a good viewing spot and perfect for taking pictures.
  • Due to high demand a car for hire with a driver can cost up to $100 per day during the festival.  But the price is not fixed, so negotiate. If you can get people to share the car and split the cost it becomes even more cheaper.

Changing Weather In Mongolia

  • The weather throughout Mongolia can change drastically and therefore it is advisable to dress warm and in layers.
  • Be prepared for anything because the area is famously known for its very strong winds. Bring your warm winter clothing.
  • The festival being an out-door activity, sitting or standing around it can get chilly quickly because this time of the year (during the festival) it tends to be very cold up north. Gloves and a hat are a must.
  • Being a long day of standing around, it is recommendable to buy a camping chair if your tour company don’t provide chairs. The supermarkets in Ulgii do sell them!