The Thousand Camel & Eagle Festival
(10 days)

About Us
Camel Festival
Camel Festival Goers

Detailed description

The Thousand Camel Festival, held in Gobi Desert, is a celebration of the endangered two-humped camel (Bactrian camel) and the role it plays in the lives of Gobi’s nomads. Bactrian camels were domesticated thousands of years ago to carry goods and people across Asia. Adapted for desert conditions, the camels can carry 200 kg on long journeys, withstand +40 degree summers and -40 degree winters and when nourished, can go without eating and drinking for weeks. Their humps act as fat reserves for energy. In 2016, the festival assembled over 1,100 camels and broke a Guinness World Record for largest camel festival. The festival has been organized for nearly 20 years by local herding communities under the purpose of protecting two humped Bactrian camels and increase income and productivity of local nomads through tourism and raise awareness of Mongolian younger generation to their own unique culture and heritage and being proud of it and pass down to generation.

The festival attracts foreign and local travelers, culture lovers and adventure seekers in glittering frozen winter land.

Camel races, polo competitions on camel, as well as performances of traditional Mongolian music and dance, are among the highlights of this annual event.

Travelers on this tour will be given the opportunity to purchase traditional clothes and boots. The temperature in March can be below freezing and travelers will need to bring heavy winter jackets, gloves and hats to keep warm, dressing in layers is highly recommended.

Camel Festival
Camel Festival
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Arrival (March 2)

Our crew will greet you upon your arrival at the airport. We will transport you to a convenient, centrally located hotel. A city tour can be arranged depending on your arrival time. Ulaanbaatar is a fast-growing modern city with more than 1.3 million habitants. City sightseeing includes Bogd Khan’s Winter & Summer Palace, a series of beautiful traditional buildings in which the eighth Living Buddha and the last king lived. It is now a museum displaying fascinating artefacts and costumes associated with the last king as well as his collection of stuffed animals.

We will stop at the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. It is the largest and most important monastery of Mongolia. We will scroll through the different monasteries and see the magnificent statue of Migjid Janraisig, an 82-foot high statue gilded in gold and covered with silk cloth.

We will finish the city tour with Zaisan hill to have a view of the whole Ulaanbaatar. The city sightseeing tour takes about 4 – 5 hours.

(Hotel D)

Gobi Mountain
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Eagle festival (March 3)

This is the third largest eagle hunting festival which takes place not far from Ulaanbaatar. The aim is to bring this beautiful cultural heritage closer to the capital city and make attendance more accessible to the local population. The other 2 eagle festivals take place in September and October in a remote region of 3 hours’ plane flight. The proud eagle hunters dressed in thick fur and traditional attire celebrate their heritage and compete to catch small animals such as foxes and hares with specially trained golden eagles, showing off the skills of both the birds and their trainers. (Nowadays hunting live animals is not practiced, instead eagles chase fox skin dragged by its owner on horseback).  Prizes are awarded for speed, agility and accuracy. Festivities which incorporate an opening ceremony, impressive parade, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations and handcraft followed by sporting activities and competitions. Dressed in full eagle hunting outfits and mounted on groomed decorated horses, the hunters compete for the different awards of best-looking eagle and owner, best hunting eagle, best eagle locating its owner from distance etc…

(Hotel B, L, D)


Eagle Festival
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Eagle Festival – Drive to Gobi Desert (March 4)

After breakfast in our hotel we will have a short drive out of Ulaanbaatar and see more of the eagle festival. The hunters come especially from Western Mongolia, Olgii province with their birds to compete. It is a spectacular view.

After early lunch we will drive to Dalanzadgad, southern Gobi province capital. The Gobi Desert measures over 1,610 km from southwest to northeast and 800 km from north to south and stretches over Mongolia and China. It occupies an arc of land 1,295,000 km2 in area, making it fifth largest in the world and Asia’s largest. Much of the Gobi is not sandy but is covered with bare rock.

The Gobi is a cold desert, with frost snow on its dunes during the winter months. Besides being quite far north, it is also located on a plateau roughly 910–1,520 meters above sea level, which further contributes to its low temperatures. An average of approximately 194 millimetres of rain falls per year in the Gobi. Additional moisture reaches parts of the Gobi in winter as snow is blown by the wind from the Siberian Steppes. These winds cause the Gobi to reach extremes of temperature ranging from –40°C in winter to +50°C in summer. We will arrive in Dalanzadgad late evening and check in to local hotel.

(Hotel B, L, D)

Riders Mongolia
Nomads Mongolia
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Bayanzag, Flaming cliff (March 5)

Today’s drive will take us to Bayanzag, also known as the “Flaming Cliffs,” the world-famous site where palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur bones and eggs. The local scenery is a lovely blend of rocks, red sand, and scrubs. Spend some time exploring the cliffs while you’re here. We will be welcomed by our host family in Bulgan village. You will see and experience the excitement as the entire village prepares for two days of celebrations, with nomads arriving majestically on camels with their families dressed in winter clothing. Fur clothing made of wolf, fox, marmot, and hare can be found in abundance. Enjoy an evening by the fire with hot drinks and a few shots of vodka, as the locals do, and watch the hot topic of who will win the camel race, etc…

(Family stay B, L, D)

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Camel Festival (March 6)

After breakfast, we’ll head to the opening ceremony in front of the village administration building, where camel herders will assemble and the festival will be kicked off by the village mayor. Camels appear from all directions, carrying riders bundled up between their two humps.  The festival is dedicated to the camel, which has played a vital role in desert herders’ traditional lifestyle for centuries. Herders sell handcrafts and camel wool items in village schools, which are mainly run by nomad women. Local foods and beverages (fermented camel milk) are also must-tries. The ideal location for purchasing souvenirs to take home memories of the camel festival and Mongolia. 

(Family stay B, L, D)

Camel Festival Goers
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Camel Festival (March 7)

Today’s activities and competitions include a 15-kilometer camel race, camel polo, and various tasks that put herders and camels to the test, such as loading and unloading the entire Ger on camels. Camel riders with prior experience will compete in lassoing young male camels. Once the camels are lassoed, the contestant will ride and train them. The interesting and thrilling part is watching men try to stay on while angry, wild camels try to throw the rider off. Awards will be given to the most beautiful decorated couple with utensils and jewels, as well as the most beautiful lavishly bedecked camel. The village schoolchildren will perform a concert for guests in the evening. 

(Family stay B, L, D)

Camel Race
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Khongoryn Els (March 8)

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll travel 150 kilometers west to the Khongoryn Els. Mongolia’s biggest sand dunes can be found here. The dunes, which can reach a height of 275 meters in some areas, extend for more than 100 kilometers from East to West. The sands have appealing curves that end in a sharp point, resulting in wave patterns on the sand. The impressive black rocky mass of Sevrey Mountain can be seen behind the sand dunes. The Gobi Desert is the world’s coldest desert, with cold winds blowing almost the whole autumn, winter, and spring without any shelter uncovered in the plains, necessitating extreme survival methods of living. Gobi nomads are well-known in Mongolia for their dedication to hard work. Now is the time to try camel milk products. Spend the evening with our guests, sampling fermented camel milk and locally brewed camel milk vodka while learning about their amazing lives. 

(Family stay B, L, D)

Gobi Desert in Winter
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Drive to Dalanzadgad (March 9)

We’ll spend some time riding camels along the dunes after breakfast, once the morning chill has passed.

After that we will be driving to the South Gobi province town Dalanzadgad. We’ll take a trip through the majestic Altai Mountain Range’s breath-taking gorges. The Yolyn Am located in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, will be visited. Those green valleys were carved by ancient rivers.

Wild Argali sheep, Ibex, desert gazelles, and Golden Eagles are also possible sightings. We’ll also pay a visit to the park’s small museum, which houses a collection of dinosaur bones as well as local flora and fauna.

(Hotel B, L, D)

Yoyn Am in Winter
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Drive to Ulaanbaatar (March 10)

The time has come to leave and drive back to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. In the evening we will share memories of our trip over a final farewell dinner at one of the city’s best restaurants.

(Hotel B, L, D)

Driving in Winter

Departure (March 11)

You may depart anytime. Time to say final goodbye to the land of blue sky. Or extend your stay to nearby national parks such as Gorkhi Terelj National Park and Khustai National park.


Monastery in Snow


March 2024