Time spent with Mongolian nomads is both heart lightening and educational. From the start of the construction of the Great Wall, through the age of Great Mongolian Empire and 20th century communism, Mongolian nomads remained true to their traditions. Described as a culture “born on a horse back”, our journeys will take you to nomadic encampments to experience this lifestyle.
We invite you to join us on this exclusive departure to discover Mongolia with one of our expert national guides. With a focus on history, nomadic heritage, flora and fauna and geography, this is one of our most comprehensive quests for discovering Mongolia. Our trip begins with a flight north to Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia’s “mother ocean” which contains 1% of the world’s fresh water. The lake is considered to be the headwaters to Lake Baikal located not far away, in Siberia, and is one of the oldest lakes in the world. The journey then continues overland to the 13th century Mongolian capital site of Kharakhorum in Orhon Valley, then south to the Gobi desert where our trip concludes. This ambitious, off-the-beaten-path quest will take us through some of the most diverse ecosystems of Mongolia. We will examine ancient burial sites, historical landmarks, Buddhist monasteries, nomadic families and paleontological localities with a series of interesting talks provided by our expert national guide. You will also have the opportunity to fish, trek and ride horses and camels while enjoying meeting local nomads along the way.
It is impossible to visit Bhutan for only cultural or natural heritage aspects alone for both are intertwined with one another inseparably. We developed a unique itinerary featuring the both. Bhutan’s culture and heritage is full of mystic, shrouded in the mist of time. This itinerary offers a unique opportunity to glimpse the past and see how it remains entwined in every day life. We will walk in the beautiful landscape, hike to monasteries clinging to the cliff-face, explore the pristine forests looking for rare and endangered birds and mammal, visit dzong’s and be amazed how such buildings still stand without mortar or nails, understand a little of the history of Bhutan in the Ta Dzongs and museums and witness the heritage of this magical kingdom where ‘Gross National Happiness’ is ever present! Expected climate ranges from warm tropical to temperate and colder at higher altitudes.
“Mountains, Temples and Treasures” is one of our most comprehensive journeys. As one of the least industry affected regions left in the world, Mongolia is home to some of world’s most unique and diverse collections of wildlife. For centuries, explorers arranged quests to discover its wildlife and sought to traverse across its vast land on horse or camel. Our expedition begins in the remote Altai Mountains of western Mongolia, home to ethnic Kazakhs and Uriankhai people Our journey then continues across the Orkhon Valley down to the Gobi desert, which is home to the elusive snow leopard, the wild camels and world’s only desert bear, mazaalai. This expedition will take us through three distinctive ecosystems of Mongolia: The Altai Mountains, Orkhon Valley grassland and the Gobi Desert.
Mongolia is a place with rich cultural and natural heritage. It is believed that Buddhism came to Mongolia three times, starting from the times of Silk Road and early nomadic states (Xiong-nu and Uighur states, 1st-8th centuries CE), through the times of the Great Mongol Empire and lastly during Qing period (1644-1912). In 1578 during the third wave it came from Tibet when Altan Khan has proclaimed Sonam Gyatso, a leader of a rising Gelug School, a Dalai Lama (“Oceanic Teacher”). In return he himself was recognized as a manifestation of Vajrapani, a wrathful protector of Tibetan Buddhism.
Since then Buddhist monasteries have sprung around Mongolia in many numbers and by the early 20th century have reached 4000 in number. During the 300 years of history, Mongolian artisans have created thousands of masterpieces, established own school of Buddhist art and have been recognized throughout the world as a Buddhist nation with its own distinct style, iconography and themes. Join Dr. Uranchimeg Tsultem on this eye opening expedition through central Mongolia and learn about different forms of Buddhist art and Mongolian content. Visit ruins of ancient cities and monasteries once towering the steppes of Mongolia and Ulaanbaatar city. Meet the modern day nomads roaming the vast steppes of Mongolia, whose lives essentially have not changed for over several millennia.
Naadam means games. Naadam originally was a way to train men to the military skill: every soldier had to be able to ride fast, shoot arrows and wrestle with enemies during combat. In Mongolia, with its scarce population and nomadic ways, where individual herders live far apart from each other it was important to come together from time to time for training. That is why the Naadam often referred to as 3 manly sports: horse racing, archery and wrestling. As time passed it became a way to celebrate important events and not necessarily the same men were participating in all three sports. July 11 and 12th commemorate regaining of Mongolian independence in 1921.
During Naadam even a city dweller puts on his best traditional costume and joins everyone else to celebrate these games. In these games the fame and honor are more important than the prizes. There is no betting involved in any of the sports. Join us to witness this colorful festival where best of the athletes and archers, fastest of horses from around the country come together and compete for three days for the honor of being named the best of the best.
Every summer, Mongolians celebrate their age-old festival known asNaadam. One of the chief events of Naadam is horse racing. For the competition, nomads begin training their fastest horses several weeks in advance, daily ridden by their jockeys so that the horses get rid of the unnecessary weight. These jockeys are children aged between 8-16. During the training rides and the race itself, they shout a special war like song called Giingoo, and we call it the horse song. When Mongolians hear this song over the grassland, everyone is excited and humbled.
The journey begins at the Lake Hovsgol where you will have an opportunity to ride and camp under the starts. Then visit Central Mongolia to have an exclusive access to the horse trainers’ camps and learn how horses are trained for the Naadam Festival. The journey in the Gobi Desert, where the children can enjoy a camel riding experience and dinosaur fossil hunting at the legendary Flaming Cliffs.
Both the Gobi Desert and lake Baikal conjure images of remote yet beautiful and untamed lands far far away… Join us on this classic Quest which combines best of both Russia and Mongolia. Lake Baikal is the deepest and biggest by volume fresh water lake containing 20% of the worlds fresh water and reaching depths of over a mile!
Our trip begins with a flight north to Siberian city Irkutsk to visit mighty Lake Baikal. This is a mongolian word meaning Nature. Until Russian settlers came here in early 18th century this part of Siberia was inhabited by Buryat Mongols and Evenks only. After touring best of lake Baikal we take a train to Mongolia, riding for 2 days on a branch of the Trans-Siberian railway. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar commence on the next leg of this epic quest – the enigmatic Gobi desert. Visit Mongolian camel herder families and trek the highest dunes of Hongoryn els.
On this exciting journey, you will be able to imagine yourself being a part of a camel caravan crisscrossing the mighty Gobi Desert. You will ride horses along with descendants of Chinggis and Khubilai Khaan on their home turf. And as a bonus will have a chance to witness the famed Golden Eagle festival in the farwestern province of Bayan Olgii. The Golden Eagle Festival is one of the most anticipated cultural events of local Kazakhs. Every year, both the eagle and the hunter prepare for not only the hunting season but to compete in the annual festival. Winning the games is a prestigious and milestone event in the life of an eagle hunter. Some of the participants come from as far as 250 kms away. Join us on this epic journey to experience the best of Mongolian Panoramas!
The Golden Eagle Festival was co-founded by Mongolia Quest’s CEO Badral Yondon over 19 years ago. Every year, over 70 Kazakh hunters, who train Golden Eagles for hunting, gather in a valley of the Altai Mountains to celebrate the Golden Eagle Festival. There’s no age and gender restriction and in fact, the winner of the 2014 festival was a 13-year-old girl who was taught to hunt with her eagles by her grandfather. Passed down through the generations, the skill of hunting with eagles was only preserved among the Mongolian Kazakh community in Mongolia. Thanks to this festival, in the past 15 years this unique tradition is coming back. This trip is one of the best examples of sustainable tourism supporting the local community.
Our journey begins in the Gobi Desert, a diverse ecosystem of Mongolia where high mountains, dry basins and grasslands all co-exist together. Spend two full days at Gobi’s tallest sand dunes, the magnificent Hongoryn Els for various photo opportunities. Next, fly over the high mountains to the western most part of Mongolia, to participate in the annual Golden Eagle Festival. For two days, experienced hunters will compete with their eagles to test the eagles’ agility and hunting skills. Enjoy spending a private time with hunters for a close-up interaction with the hunters and their raptors.
As we all know Marco Polo went to China, becoming the first European to give a detailed description of the great Chinese civilization. But Marco Polo didn’t just go to China, he went to a China that was a part of the great Mongol empire, an empire that wiped clean the map of Eurasia in the thirteenth century, and inaugurated a new age. The Mongol dynasty in China reunified the north and south that had been divided for centuries, made Beijing the country’s capital , created the modern provinces of China, and introduced into the country religions and cultures—Muslim traders, Tibetan-style Buddhist lamas, and Mongol soldiers—that have formed part of China’s multi-ethnic nature to the present day. Modern China was made by the Mongol empire, and Marco Polo was there when it was being born, moving in elite circles where Mongol, Turkic, and Persian were more often spoken than Chinese. He praised the brilliance and abilities of the great Mongol Khan Kubilai, admired the hardiness of the Mongols, men and women alike, who had built the empire, and was dazzled by the wealth and sophistication he found among the Chinese inhabitants of “Taidu” and “Quinsai” (today’s Beijing and Hangzhou). Join us as we explore the world of Marco Polo and his legacy in China and Mongolia.