Nauryz is a very important holiday for Kazakhs, which marks the beginning of a new year. It is celebrated several days starting on the 21st of March, the day of the spring equinox. Nauryz means ‘new day’; it is celebrated in the Great Steppes since ancient times.
Nauryz is a holiday celebrating spring. Each family spreads out the dastarkhan, or food spread, and serves the visitors with Nauriz-koje, a soup.
Although there are many kinds of food and drinks, every guest has to eat the soup, even if he or she is absolutely full.
This is a sign that you will have a prosperous year full of food and drinks. During the holiday, the families put aside food for those elderly people who could not come and visit. No alcoholic drinks are taken, and no presents are exchanged. During ancient times, in the evening when the sun would set, people made a fire, sang and danced to songs about national folklore, and played traditional games.
This is called Alatau, or the tradition of becoming clean with fire, during which everybody climbs a mountain nearby and meets the New Year sun at sunrise.
Arrive to the airport in UB where you will be met by our guide. Transfer to your hotel. Our plan for today is exploring Ulaanbaatar city. In the city, you can visit Gandan Monastery, a Buddhist center, Zanabazar Museum, Chojin Lama Temple, the Winter Palace of Bogd Khaan, the Buddha Big Statue on the Hill, Zaisan Mountain, and the central market.
Lunch and dinner will be at a local restaurant. Typical folkloric Mongol performance (songs and dances) at the restaurant, during dinner time (optional).
Overnight at the hotel.
Fly to Olgiy, the capital city of Bayan-Olgiy aimag in western Mongolia. At the airport you will meet your tour crew and a 4X4 van loaded with tour supplies. Now we’ll head to the east to a village called Altantsogts sum where you will meet a Kazakh eagle hunter’s family.
Today, our eagle hunter will tell and show you about eagle hunting. This is a good chance to improve knowledge about eagle hunting and to get acquainted with nomadic life. The rest of the day you will be able to enjoy taking photos, and if you are not used to riding a horse, a little practicing today will be in your favour. You will have your own room and bed at the hunter’s house.
Overnight in the house, (Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner).
Every nomad morning starts with milk tea and the family gathers around the table to have morning tea and breakfast. It is said that one who doesn’t have morning tea or breakfast will have an unsuccessful day.
Today we will be riding for 4-5 hours, including a lunch break. Lunch will be on top of the mountains during hunting.
Mongolian horses are good horses and they can go anywhere. Keep alert, during hunting you will go up hills!
Overnight in the house, (B-L-D).
Today, we will drive to Sagsai sum to visit an eagle hunter’s family. Sagsai sum is famed for its veteran and titled eagle hunters. This is the only sum or village where you will see so many eagle hunters living close to each other.
Horse ride, visiting to neighbors and relatives, and celebrating Nauriz with families will be the plan for today.
You will have a private room and bed at the hunter’s house.
Overnight in the house, (B-L-D).
Today we will drive to Khovd aimag via Tsambagarav Uul (4208m), one of the most beautiful mountains in the Altai. It is permanently snowcapped and sits on the border of three provinces, Bayan-Ulgii, Uvs and Hovd.
The national park here was established in the year 2000 and has a notable population of snow- leopards.