Day 1. 17 March - Ulgii
Today you will fly into Ulgii, the main Kazakh town in Western Mongolia. You will be met at the airport by your guide and translator. You will be taken for lunch and then shown around the town: visiting the local museum, bazaar, Mosque and handicraft shops. In the evening you will stay at local family’s home.
Day 2. 18 March. Visit Nomads
Today, following breakfast, we will drive south-east, past the beautiful Lake Tolbo, to visit a nomadic family and learn about their nomadic lifestyle. The journey will take approximately four hours. On the way you will have the opportunity to take many photographs of this stunning wilderness landscape. There will be plenty of time to arrive before the evening meal, so you will get the opportunity to meet with your host family before settling down with them to enjoy a traditional Kazakh nomadic meal.
Day 3. 19 March. Visit an Eagle Hunter
Today is an opportunity to explore your environment in greater detail with a short hike to Mount Tsair before returning to visit an Eagle Hunter’s family. You will learn about this ancient Kazakh tradition of hunting by using a trained Golden Eagle to catch local game such as: marmots, foxes, rabbits and other small animals; but they have been known to even challenge a wolf. You will prepare yourself for a hunt the following day.
Day 4. 20 March. The Hunt!
Today you will ride (on a Mongolian horse) with the Eagle Hunter on a hunting trip into the magnificent steppe and mountain country of Western Mongolia. Here is home to many rare animal species like: the Snow Leopard, Lynxx, Ibex amd wolverine. But you will be hunting for common foxes, marmots, rabbit and other abundant small animals. Following the hunt you will get to celebrate with a family in traditional style by eating Besbarmak, which means ‘five fingers,’ as the meal is eaten by hand. This delicious meal, made of mutton, sausage, mixed vegetable and noodles, can be washed down, if one is so inclined, with a bottle or two of local vodka.
Day 5. 21 March. Return to Ulgii
Today we will return to Ulgii via Tsambagarav Mountain. We will do a short hike to see the waterfall and to go onto the glacier. Then we will commence the journey back to Ulgii.
Day 6-7. 22-23 March. Celebrate Nauryz
Today we will celebrate the Kazakh New Year in Ulgii. We will see the main parade in the Central Square and you will enjoy the spectacle of traditional games: Bush Gashy (kissing women from horseback) and many other activities. You will be amazed at the colour and excitement of this event. The Kazakh people are renowned for their hospitality and you will be welcome to join in with the celebrations. On day 7 we will hike to Mount ‘Friendship,’ just outside Ulgii, to see the wonderful setting of this unique town. You will also get the opportunity to see inside a traditional Kazakh felt Ger.
Day 8. 24 March. Return to Ulaanbaatar
Following breakfast you will be taken to the airport for your return flight to Ulaanbaatar.
The Kazakh New Year, known as Nauryz (the new day) has been celebrated for thousands of years and dates back to ancient Persia. Kazakh people have celebrated this spring festival for hundreds of years. In Mongolia, the Kazakh ethnic minority have their own unique culture and religion, which is Sunni Muslim. Unlike the rest of Mongolia, which celebrate Tsagaan Sar as their new year, the Kazakh people celebrate their New Year from 22 March. So come to Western Mongolia and experience a unique celebration of the coming year, with traditional games, music and costumes.