“When’s the best time to visit?” is one question we hear a lot when arranging our Trans-Siberian trips of a lifetime. Travellers going to or through Mongolia may be wary of travelling during the winter months, with temperatures of between 15°C in the south and -35°C in the north sending shivers down the spines of many.
Whilst travelling to Mongolia during winter will no doubt be cold, a winter trip (particularly to western Mongolia) offers a truly unique and memorable experience. Travellers can experience winter at its most incredible by adventuring to western Mongolia, and enjoy the following highlights.
Hunt with golden eagles
Horses are an integral part of Mongolian culture, everyone knows that. But one majestic creature takes precedence over the nation’s most treasured animal during the winter time, especially in western Mongolia. The golden eagle hunters of Mongolia are famed around the world, and in western Mongolia during the autumn and winter months you can see them in action.
This traditional form of falconry has been practised by nomadic people since 936 AD. It was the Kazakhs, an ethnic group who fled to Mongolia, who brought the ancient practice to the Altai Mountains.
Indy Guide reveals more about the eagle hunters that inhabit western Mongolia in the present day:
“There are about 250 eagle hunter in Western Mongolia around Bayan-Ölgii. Winter is the primary hunting season, which starts off with the famous golden eagle festivals in September and October. It is possible to visit eagle hunters and their families and enjoy this UNESCO-listed tradition first hand. It is even possible to be part of a hunt or hold the eagle by yourself.”
Explore the Altai Mountains
We can’t mention winter in western Mongolia, without giving a nod to the Altai Mountains. The Altai Mountain range spans central and east Asia, with mountains in Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan.
Whilst it’s no easy feat exploring the Altai Mountains of Mongolia during winter, it becomes a wonderland courtesy of the season’s freezing temperatures.
The Altai region of western Mongolia is a stunning hiking spot. Its extreme climate may be home to little vegetation, yet legions of wild animals, including the snow leopard, ibex, argali, wolf, and many bird species, live here. The region’s towering mountains and picturesque, snow-capped mountain lined lakes and rivers make it one of the most beautiful places on earth.
In addition, the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is a must-visit. The park is home to five of the highest Altai peaks as well as the Potanin Glacier, which is the longest glacier in the country.
Mongolia’s western wonder
Exploring Mongolia’s western wonder at any time of the year, including winter, is easy when travelling via the Trans-Siberian Express. We urge all our travellers to delve a little deeper into the region and fill their trip with experiences that will make their time in Mongolia extra epic.
Start planning your trip to Mongolia today by getting in touch with our team, or browsing our destinations online.