Nomadic Traditions of the Steppe & Gobi

On the rocky ridges overlooking Mongolia’s remote, westernmost province, Bayan-Ulgii, a dwindling number of ethnic Kazakhs carry on a 6,000-year-old traditionhunting with magnificent golden eagles, one of the world’s largest predatory birds. Attend the annual Golden Eagle Festival, where the eagle hunters display their birds’ speed, skill and training, as well as the deep bond that forms between bird and human. Along the way, explore Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, with its Buddhist and nomadic heritage, and the fabled Gobi Desert

2020 DepartureOur 2020 departure of this tour will feature special host Michel Behar, who has traveled and led more than 100 tours to every corner of MIR’s realm since 1998. 

12 Day Trip

  • Small Group
    Limited to 16 passengers
  • Travels to:
  • Cultural Series:
    Ulaanbaatar, the South Gobi and Ulgii

Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Experiences on this Tour
  • Meet the Golden Eagle hunters
    Meet Kazakh nomads in western Mongolia who in the winter months hunt with trained Golden Eagles, a tradition passed down from their Turkic ancestors....
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  • Gaze upon the dazzling Flaming Cliffs
    Admire the Flaming Cliffs, named for their red-gold luminescence in the rays of the setting sun, where the first nest of dinosaur eggs was discovered....
    Read More
  • Sip tea in a ger in the Gobi
    Sip tea in the doorway of a traditional nomadic ger as you watch the sun set over the vast expanse of the Gobi Desert...
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  • Discover the eerie sound of throat-singing
    Enjoy a performance of other-worldly Mongolian throat-singing...
    Read More
Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over two decades of Mongolia travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Princeton and Dartmouth have chosen MIR to guide them to Mongolia
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers whom clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-2: Ulaanbaatar

Begin in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia, where the centuries-old Buddhist heritage is still vital. Pay a visit to the Gandan Monastery, the “Great Place of Complete Joy,” and explore the National History Museum.


  • Ulaanbaatar, capital and most important city in Mongolia
  • Gandan Monastery, with the 20-ton gilded statue of “the Lord Who Looks in Every Direction”
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Days 3-5: South Gobi

Fly to the remote South Gobi Desert to discover the Flaming Cliffs and the green Yolyn Am Canyon, and to climb the sand dunes at Moltsog Els. Explore the habitat of the lammergeier, the huge bearded vulture. Along the way, encounter the nomads who call this formidable environment home.


  • Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia’s premier ger camp in the Gobi
  • Moltsog Els, one of the Gobi’s rare regions of sand dunes
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Day 6: Ulaanbaatar

Fly back to the capital for a day, visiting the Bogd Khaan Winter Palace, with its six remaining temples and ceremonial gate.


  • Bogd Khaan Winter Palace, former home of Mongolia’s Last Living Buddha

Days 7-9: Ulgii, Golden Eagle Festival

Fly to Bayan-Ulgii, westernmost province of Mongolia and remote home of Kazakh nomads who hunt with golden eagles. Attend the opening ceremony of the Golden Eagle Festival, when participants parade on horseback with their eagles, displaying their elaborate and beautiful hunting outfits and accessories. During competitions, the golden eagles are evaluated for their speed and agility, skill at hitting a target, diving speed and gripping technique. Visit with Kazakh families around Tolbo (Frog) Lake, hearing about their way of life in the Mongolian outback.


  • Golden Eagle Opening Ceremony procession of mounted eagle hunters carrying their eagles
  • Competitions in speed, agility, and hunting technique
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Days 10-12: Ulaanbaatar, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

Fly back to the capital and enjoy a performance of Mongolian throat-singing, the eerie-sounding musical tradition of Mongolia. Take a day trip to beautiful alpine Gorkhi-Terelj National Park to get a feel for the huge distances and enormous sky that nomads have contended with for eons. Return to Ulaanbaatar for a festive farewell dinner to toast your adventure on the high steppe of Mongolia.


  • Cultural performance of traditional throat-singing
  • Sweeping alpine landscape of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

Download Detailed Itinerary
Tour Dates & Prices
Trip Length: 12 Days

Land Tour Price, Per Person
based on double occupancy

  • 6-16 Travelers $7,995
  • Plus Internal Air $1,350
  • Single Supplement $1,950
  • Partial Single Supplement $1,450

2020 Dates

  • September 26-October 7 - SOLD OUT!! Waitlist is available. We are also accepting reservations for the trip in 2021! Call for details.
  • $7,995
  • Max 16 Travelers

Group Size

Small Groups – Never More than 16 Travelers. Guaranteed!

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in a superior tourist class hotel in Ulaanbaatar and in ger camps with shared facilities outside of the capital.
  • 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 10 dinners, per the itinerary.
  • Restaurant tips for included meals.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end city.
  • Ground transportation throughout the itinerary by jeeps or minivans (type and number of vehicles depends on group size and terrain).
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.
  • Baggage handling where available.
  • Gratuities to local guides and drivers.
  • Golden Eagle Festival entrance fees.

Before Your Tour

  • Complete pre-departure information, including detailed packing list, reading list, insurance information.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international air fare is not included in the land tour cost).
  • Final document packet, including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
Download Detailed Itinerary
Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

More Info

Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

More Info


Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can extend your stay with a train ride over the border into Siberia to explore Lake Baikal, or perhaps consider traveling to China before or after the trip to visit Tibet, Xi’an, Shanghai, or Hong Kong. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program. Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of these suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

This Cultural Series program, by nature, is designed to be adventurous, but also as comfortable as is possible for rustic travel in this region. Accommodations will vary from a superior tourist class hotel in Ulaanbaatar to simple and basic accommodation in ger camps outside the capital. The 3 nights in Ulgii are spent in a temporary ger camp with shared pit toilets and no running water.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour are explained in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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