Western Mongolia – Far western part of Mongolia is the most beautiful, but the least travelled destination. It is home to the world rare wild species, numerous ethnic groups and snow capped majestic mountains. Kazakh people, famous for their hospitality and generosity, take pleasure in poetry and music. Over three hundred Mongolian Kazakhs now practice the art of eagle hunting, a sport that goes back two thousand years.
Highlights: Kazakh people, Eagle hunters, Golden Eagle festival, hiking and climbing at Mt Khuiten Peak.
Destination & Highlights
Bayan-Olgii & Kazakh Ethnic Group
Bayan-Olgii is a unique place in Mongolia, home of the Kazakh ethnic group. The Kazakhs have a rich culture, close extended families, and many traditions that are still practiced today that are centuries old. Kazakh is the language of everyday communication, with Mongolian used for inter-ethnic interactions and official communication. Islam is the primary religion of the Kazakhs.
Today, many Kazakhs in Bayan-Olgii maintain traditional semi-nomadic herding by moving with their animals several times a year, and living in a Kazakh style ger (larger and taller than a Mongolian ger) during the summer. All Kazakhs keep close ties to extended families. Tradition requires that one must not marry anyone related within 9 generations. As a result, upon meeting each other, Kazakhs always tell if and how they are related. This is not their only tradition, though.
Kazakhs are famous around the world for their intricately embroidered wall hangings (tuskies) used on ger (yurt) walls. A typical ger may have 5 to 7 wall hangings that can take 200 hours to hand stitch each. The curving designs of the wall hangings are patterned after goat horns which symbolize the primary source of wealth of the nomadic herder. This design is used for a wide variety of traditional clothes, home furnishings, and accessories. The Kazakhs are not only known for their artwork, but also for their incredible friendliness.
Golden Eagle Festival
Golden Eagle Festival – Every year Kazakh hunters from all over Bayan-Ulgii province gather in the heart of Altai Mountain to compete with their hunting Golden eagles based speed, agility, and accuracy of their magnificent birds. It is a rare opportunity for visitors to get a close-up Kazakh tradition and culture. The highlight of this fantastic trip is interacting with the Kazakhs and other ethnic groups and living with them for a couple of days to take part in the eagle training and get to know about the unique Kazakh culture.
Mt. Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is located on the Western most point of Mongolia in Bayan-Ulgii Province. This vast mountainous park borders China and Russia with views of Kazakhstan from the highest peak in Mongolia.
The snow-capped Kuiten Mountain, 4374 m (14,201 ft), is the highest of the five peaks of Tavan Bogd Mountains (literally ‘5 Saints’) that gives the park its name. It covers an area of 630,000 hectare and is home to three large freshwater lakes and 34 glaciers, plus several waterfalls. The largest, Pontuninii Glacier, covers 23 sq km. Tavan Bogd Mountains is considered sacred to local Kazakhs, Tuvans, and Mongolians. Also, there are over 10.000 of petroglyphs (Rock paintings) in 15 km of river valley which is registered in World Heritage Site, UNESCO.
Western Mongolia Wildlife
Western Mongolia Wildlife is offers Asia’s most beautiful and unspoiled wilderness, where the snow-capped Altai Mountains tower above remote forests, lakes, and rivers. Teeming with wildlife, including endangered snow leopards, ibexes and Argali wild sheep those are considered the biggest in body size in the world. This region contains the most impressive of Mongolia’s mountain scenery, and is a prime destination for adventurous climbers and hikers.