Explore the different opportunities and experiences that await you with Jolaush Travel. Browse the different categories that you can design your own trip around - while discovering the details that you can choose to truly make your Altai Adventure unique and unforgettable
Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
Highest point in Mongolia, complete with 3 lakes, 5 peaks, and a glacier
Among the Tavan Bogd Mountain Range
A days drive from the city, a 5 hour hike will follow a night of camping at the Ranger Base Camp (this camp is the furthest location vehicles can reach). An afternoon of trekking to the glacier will be followed by a night of camping at the Glacier Base Camp. The following day, or days, can be spent exploring the glacier itself, the 'white river' that runs off it, or climbing over 4000 m (13,200 ft) to one of the highest points in Mongolia, with a breathtaking view of Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.
Climbing Malchin Mountain
4,050 m (13,287 ft)
Once at the Glacier Base Camp, a 3 to 4 hour climb will find you at one of the highest points in Mongolia. While no ropes or climbing gear is necessary, this tough climb is more than rewarding with the best views possible of the Altai Tavan Bogd mountain range. Easily making this one of the top highlights in not only western Mongolia, but all of Mongolia. Simply add an extra day of camping at the Glacier Base Camp to achieve this bragging right.
Khurgan and Khoton Nuur
The Two Largest Lakes of the Park
Located south of the glacier, about a 5 hour drive, these are two of the longest lakes in Bayan-Olgii. A trip to these lakes offers countless opportunities; such as fishing, visiting with Kazakh families, herding animals, visiting petroglyphs, seeing the stone men, rock paintings, and other countryside activities. There are several archaeological sites around the lakes that makes it one of the best destinations in western Mongolia. See these ancient paintings and rock sculptures that date back thousands of years, a must see. Make this trip by itself, or after hiking to see the glacier in the northern part of the national park.
Visit with Eagle Hunters
Stay with Kazakh families in the countryside
Get out of the city and into the countryside to experience the nomadic lifestyle of herder families that has changed little over hundreds of years. The addition of golden eagles used for hunting foxes makes these nomadic Kazakhs the most unique in all of Mongolia. Stay with local families that will greet you with open arms and the worlds best hospitality. Simply chat with herders and hunters over milk tea and baursak, or join in on the daily activities such as herding, harvesting cashmere in the spring, milking goats, collecting dung, and making fires. Spend the night with a family, or simply stop by for tea and pictures with their eagles on the way to or from Altai Tavan Bogd National Park.
Other Altai Park Activities:
Camel and Horseback Riding
Visit the Stone Men and Cave/Rock Paintings
Exploring the Glacier and White River
Kazakh Eagle Hunting
One of the most unique and exciting cultures in the world
Olgii City and Sagsai Eagle Festivals
Kazakh Hunter Showcases
Celebrated in early October, the Bayan-Olgii Eagle Festival is the peak of tourism in Western Mongolia. Kazakh golden eagle hunters from all over the region demonstrate the skills of their eagles through various competitions over a two day period. From an opening ceremony parade, to an actual live wolf hunt, this festival is a must see. Over the weekend, you can also see other uniquely Kazakh games that can only be found in the western part of Mongolia. A smaller and more intimate eagle festival takes place in Sagsai Village, a 30 minute drive from Olgii. This festival is usually scheduled for late September, and while much smaller in scale, will allow you greater access to the hunters and their families.
This Kazakh traditional game starts with a goat's hide. Two contestants on horseback will each hold onto the hide, while trying to take it away from the other rider. A winner is declared when one of the contestants has full possession of the goat hide. This is a very exciting festival game that is also very dangerous. Both the rider himself, and his horse, must be very strong to compete and win. A local favorite, Kokpar creates an electric atmosphere that always delivers action and drama.
Horse Racing with a Twist
More than just a simple horse race, this Kazakh traditional game is a race against the clock. Riders compete against each other for the fastest times, while having to pick up objects on the ground while riding at full speed. Traditionally, riders had to pick up coins, but it has transitioned to different objects, such as scarves, in modern competitions. The rider must have strength and courage to ride at full speed while hanging off the horse to pick up the items, while also having trained their horse not to buck when they hang off of either side. This is a fast paced game that often results with a rider or two ending up on the ground.
Traditional Hand Made Crafts
Other Eagle Festival Activities:
Available at the Eagle Festivals, or at various locations in Olgii, Kazakh embroideries are among the most colorful and unique hand made crafts in the world. These techniques and designs, that are handed down and taught from generation to generation, remain in high demand from both locals and tourists. From larger wall hangings (as pictured), to smaller items such as hand bags and wallets, your friends and family will love these traditional embroideries. The design at the top this webpage is another example of a remarkable Kazakh wall hanging. Eagle Hunting merchandise and clothing is also available, such as authentic fox fur hunter hats.
Traditional Kazakh and Mongolian Food
Horse and Camel Racing
Visiting Individual Eagle Hunter Families
Western Mongolian Festivals
Celebrating what makes Bayan-Olgii Distinctly Mongolian and Kazakh
Kazakh New Year
Falling in late March (usually around the 22nd or 23rd), this holiday celebrates the Kazakh New Year. It is the Spring Equinox, where night and day occur for the same amount of time in a 24 hour period. Nauryz is celebrated with the years largest parade in the center of Olgii. Following the morning festivities, you will spend the day visiting families in their homes while eating traditional Kazakh meat plates and drinking Koje (a broth based soup that contains either rice or wheat). Unlike Tsagaan Sar (which is celebrated in the rest of Buddhist Mongolia), Nauryz is a Muslim cultural festival that is only celebrated in western Mongolia and in Kazakh families. During this holiday, you can also see traditional Kazakh games, as described above.
Mongolian Sports Festival
Taking place in mid-July (often landing around the 11th), Naadam is celebrated all over Mongolia as a summer long sports festival. The three "manly sports" - horse racing, wrestling, and archery - are carried out over 2 days in Olgii. It is also possible to travel to smaller Naadam festivities located in villages around western Mongolia. Spend your time relaxing in the warm summer weather watching the games while drinking koumis (fermented mare's milk that has slight alcohol in it). This is also another festival where not only Mongolian sports and customs can be seen, but also Kazakh traditional games, such as Tiyn ilu, Kokpar, and eagles.
Naadam Wrestling Kazakh Horse Racing
During the warm summer months and long winter season
Warm Weather Fishing
On the Lakes and Rivers of Olgii
Jolaush Travel specializes in our Mongolian fishing trips. With over 15 years of experience, our company founder, Sabit, has superior knowledge of the best fishing spots and techniques. The summer fishing season starts in April and lasts until late October, depending on weather. Come and enjoy a few days fishing, or simply spend time fishing while on one of our other adventures. No equipment is necessary, as we have all the poles, lures, bait, and accessories that you will need; however, for the experienced fishermen, please feel free to bring any of your own tools and equipment. Travel throughout the entire region fishing on the most beautiful lakes and rivers that can be found throughout the region. Catch trout that can often grow up to 60 cm.
Winter Ice Fishing
Worth the Cold Reward
If you are brave enough to travel in the winter, you can experience what "real" Mongolia is. Once the rivers and lakes have frozen over (usually in late December), the fish are plentiful until the ice starts to melt again in March. For these three months, the fishing in Mongolia is at its best level - often catching hundreds of fish in one trip. Stay with local families in the countryside as you spend all of your daylight hours on the ice fishing. The weather may reach frigid temperatures, but as Sabit (company founder) likes to say, "As long as you are catching fish, you are never cold!"