Our active tours in Mongolia will bring you tears of joy
Mongolia was by no means my first international adventure, but the memory of my many tours in Mongolia still brings tears of joy to my eyes.
Travelling to Mongolia brought me delight like no other foreign trip.
The Kazakh Eagle Hunters of Mongolia
- These people are amazingly cool. With an exception of the annual Ulaanbaatar Winter Festival, you can meet them only in Bayan - Olgii Province in Western Mongolia.
- Eagle hunters or berkutchi belong to a Kazakh ethnic minority. There is only around 200 of them.
- Eagle hunters take young eagles from their nests, when the eaglets are around 2 years old, and train them to hunt foxes and rabbits, marmots, sometimes even wolves.
- Hunters pick up female eaglets since their are bigger and stronger than males. The training takes 3-4 years.
- Eagles can live for thirty or forty years. But the hunters keep the birds one for only about ten year, Then they release them to live out its last years in the wild.
Staying in a ger with the nomadic families, on tours in Mongolia.
- This is a purely authentic experience. Nomads in Mongolia still largely follow traditional way of life migrating seasonally with their whole households.
- The nomads live in felt-covered yurts called ger in Mongolian. Some of them stay in very remote areas, hundreds of miles away from any form of civilization.
- The main possession of nomads in Mongolia are their herds that can reach up to several thousand animals. Every nomad has a horse. Usually, they also own a motorbike. Wealthier families posses also a car or two.
- They not only survive, they thrive. The nomadic families in Mongolia make usage of the modern technology - mobile phones, solar panels, satellite TVs - to make their life easier and work more efficient.
- The nomads stick to the rules of the traditional hospitality always ready to share their resources with you, even if that means allowing you to sleep on their floor.
- They are among some of the kindest, most hospitable people you will even meet.
Riding camels through the Gobi Desert, in Mongolia.
- The camels in Mongolia are not your every-day kind of camel. Two-humped Bactrians are used to living in some of the harshest environment in the World.They have developed high tolerance to cold, drought, and high altitudes, which allowed them to easily traverse the Silk Road.
- Native to the steppes of Central Asia Bactrians have served as packed animals for centuries.
- Today Bactrian population is around two million, with most of them inhabiting Mongolia.
- When riding a Bactrian camel, you comfortably sit between its two large humps. A blanket or two are often the only things that serves as a saddle.
- You will bump into herds of wild camels freely roaming the desert. The Mongolian camels are really big and funny looking creatures and if you get too close to them, they spit on you! Be warned!
- You can also see camels in some areas of Central and Western Mongolia.
- This is however a memorable experience to always remember.
The Singing Sand Dunes Hike in the Gobi Desert.
- Contrary to Sakhara and many other deserts, Gobi is mostly covered with gravel. Here and there however are special areas where sand dunes rise over the flat landscape.
- Some of the largest, most spectacular sites are Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes know also Duut Mankhan or the Singing Dunes.
- Khongoryn Els stretch in the Gurvan Saikhan National Park in the Omnogobi Province.
- The dunes are some 100 km long and can rise up to 300 meter in height.
- The sand here is so fine that when the wind blows, it rises in the air making loud, whistling noise.
- If you are in a good shape climbing the highest dunes will take you anything between 45 minutes and 1 hour. Often, you will have to go on all fours.
- But the view at the top is quite rewarding and makes the climb worth the effort.
Walking the same steps as the greatest World conqueror in history – Genghis Khan.
- Chinngis Khan ruled the largest empire in history stretching out 12.74 Million Miles or 22% of the World’s landmass.
- In other parts of the world he is considered a warmonger but in Mongolia, he is the father of the nation! There is a monument in his honour and it’s actually the World’s tallest horse statue.
- Khentii Province in Eastern Mongolia, was his homeland where he lived and rose to power before establishing the Mongol Empire in 1206.
- Kharkhorin in Central Mongolia was where his son, Ogodei, built his capital, and from where he ruled over the empire.
- While travelling across Mongolia, you will find the traces of Chinngis Khan and his family on every step; from the name of the international airport to names given to Mongolian children.
Mongolian drinks on tours of Mongolia
- Sitting in a circle around the fire stove in a ger, the nomads will pull out some interesting drinks to keep you entertained.
- Traditionally the guests are greeted with suutei tasai or milk tea which contains much more milk and butter than tea.
- In terms of alcohol, usually, you get to drink airag or fermented mares milk. Occasionally, you will be served arkhi of local moonshine.
- You may also find other types of milk beverages based on milk of cattle or camels (sometimes sheep or goats).
- Sometimes the nomads will indulge you in games just to keep the interaction interesting. Extremely popular is playing with shagai or anklebones of sheep or goat. There are numerous games involving tossing anklebones like dice, flicked them like marbles, throwing, shooting with fingertips, or rolling like a die.
- This really adds to the fun on our tours of Mongolia.