I’ve had the great fortune to travel with Mongol Khan Expeditions several times and am about to go off on another journey.  What start...

Naadam Festival

Duration
11 nights/12 days
Difficulty
Easy
Group size
2-11 people

Overview

In middle of July for 3 days Mongolians gather together and celebrate renowned Naadam festival. Naadam means game and that is true spirit of this event. It is most certainly not a sporting event but rather a biggest gathering of nomads who have very little time for such large gathering. There are 3 main events, horse race, wrestling and archery. Whole festival is celebrated in a very relaxed way. But this is perhaps what is different from other events, this is where people came to meet, hang out and chat. You will see colorful costumes, beautiful horses and nomad herders in their best outfit. 


Highlight

  • Colorful Naadam Festival with horse race, wrestling and archery.
  • Traveling to very different landscapes of Gobi and Northern Mongolia
  • Unique culture of reindeer herders and nomads of Mongolia
  • Adventure with good food and comfortable stay

Itinerary

  • expand_more Day 1: Arrive Ulaanbaatar, city sight seeing. Kempinski hotel
    Arrival in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia. You will be welcomed at the airport by your local guide and driver who will transfer you to the comfortable hotel in down town.  Depending on your flight we will have some optional sights to visit this day before resting for the night. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 2: Sightseeing day in Ulaanbaatar
    Sightseeing day in Ulaanbaatar. This morning after breakfast we will have a full day of city sightseeing through the major sites of Ulaanbaatar, including Sukhbaatar Square, National Museum, Gandan Monastery, Zaisan Memorial Hill and Bogd King’s Winter Palace Museum. In the evening before dinner we will be entertained with the folk music concert that presents very unique art of age-old Mongolian traditional singing, dancing and music. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 3: Fly to Murun drive to Huvsgul Lake. Ger camp stay
    Fly to Murun. Today we will catch a domestic flight for 1,20 min to north of Mongolia. Murun is the town we land but we will immediately head out further north to Lake Huvsgul. As we drive further you will come closer to Siberian taiga and it is not too hard to realize that you are in Taiga zone with lush green vegetation and carpets of flowers, larch tree forest and abundant rivers and small lakes. When we drive over the Jankhai Pass we will be welcomed by a cool fresh air arising from lake Huvsgul, deepest, cleanest fresh water lake that contains 2% of world’s fresh water. Also on top of the mountain we have very unique reindeer people, who are still herding reindeer and living in teepees in the high mountain forests. We will check in our gers and this afternoon we will take a small hike along the lake shore to get introduced with the area. Ger camp stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 4: Exploring the lake Huvsgul. Ger camp stay
    Exploring the lake area. We will spend the full day exploring this beautiful area of Lake Huvsgul. In the morning we will hike up to the mountain that gives us panoramic view over both Lake Huvsgul and also Horidol Saridag mountain range, a sharp jagged chain of mountain with white on the top due to phosphorus and lush green at the bottom part against Mongolian blue sky this reminds the Alps. On a clear day we even can look into Russia on the north edge of the lake. Road to the top is literally covered in wild flowers of many different colors and sizes. It is must do hike with incredible view. In the afternoon we will come back to our camp and here will be activities offered such as kayaking, canoeing, taking a short hike along the shore or swimming in the refreshing water of Lake Huvsgul. Ger camp stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 5-6: Naadam Festival days. Ger camp stay
    Naadam Festival. During these 2 days everyday after breakfast we will drive about 1 hour to small village called Hatgal at the tip of the lake. This small village is celebrating its Naadam festival for 2 days outdoors. But this is a Nomadic festival, so there won’t be happening anything until they all gathered which can be not until 10-11am. We will use this time to get there and take a ride near around the festival venue. It is perfect way to start the Naadam Festival. On a first day they start Naadam with opening ceremonies, couple of horse races, wrestling matches and archery. These competitions happen simultaneously and we will have plenty of time to walk in between them and watch what’s most interesting for each individual. But most interesting thing to watch on a festival like this is people watching. There will be Mongolian nomads dressed in their finest traditional clothing “Deel” and came with their best horses with best harnesses. It is very colorful sight with lot happening all around you. From small infant to elderly everybody comes and they all hang out in a very relaxed way. There also is food, sales of different items, games played with music going all the time. It is more like a county fair only it is very Mongolian with every aspect.  In the afternoon we will head back to our camp and evening is free to enjoy the lake side. Ger camp stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 7: Drive to Murun fly to Ulaanbaatar. Kempinski hotel
    Fly back to Ulaanbaatar. After very early breakfast we will drive to Murun to catch our domestic flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival we will check in the hotel and have optional sightseeing or shopping in town. Kempinski Hotel stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 8: Fly to Dalanzadgad, Yol Valley and Dinosaur cemetery. Ger Camp stay
    Domestic flight to Dalanzadgad. This morning we will catch 1,20 min domestic flight to Dalanzadgad a provincial center for South Gobi. Upon arrival we will meet our 4x4 vehicles that will take us to Yol Valley that is located short drive from airport. It is elevated location produces different flora and fauna to this region and there is refreshing hike through this very nice gorge with small bubbling river in the middle. After easy stroll down we will have a packed lunch in the canyon and will spend the afternoon exploring more. There is potential Ibex sighting, bird watching and flowers that doesn’t belong to Gobi grows here due to higher altitude and more precipitation. In the afternoon we will go to our cam and check in the gers. Ger camp stay.  /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 9: Drive to Khongor Sand dunes. Camel ride, dune climbing. Ger camp stay
    Drive to Khongor Sand dunes. After breakfast we will drive further west to tallest sand dunes in Mongolia called Khongor Sand dunes also known as Singing Sand dunes. 2 humped camel ride to the dune and climbing to the top is highly recommended. Any elevation you can get gives you an incredible panorama but one on top is simply breathtaking. Eroding sands in the high wind creates eerie jet engine like sound and vibration, which is why it earned the nickname of singing sand dunes. Return to ger camp and rest for the day. Ger camp stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 10: Drive back to Dalanzadgad. Local hotel
    Drive back to Bayanzag. After breakfast we will drive to Bayanzag, a world known dinosaur cemetery. We will arrive at the ger camp around lunch time and check in the gers. Having little rest before dinner and we will take a hike in the Mars like red soiled area looking for fossils. But sunset over this red cliff is something to remember and must do activity.  Ger camp stay. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 11: Fly back to Ulaanbaatar. Kempinski Hotel
    Fly back to Ulaanbaatar. This morning after early breakfast we will drive back to Dalanzadgad for our domestic flight to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival we have optional sightseeing or shopping before having farewell dinner. Kempinski Hotel. /B, L, D/
  • expand_more Day 12: International Departure
    International departure. Today you will be transferred to the airport for your international departures to your next destination. /Breakfast/

Inclusions

This price includes:
  • All accommodations based on twin share
  • All transportation including domestic flight
  • All meals in the city and out in the field
  • All local staff and field guides
  • Entertainments as shown in the itinerary
  • National Park and Protected Area fees
This price doesn’t include
  • International flight
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa processing
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature

Dates

Trip date:
5-16 Jul, 2019

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Testimonials

I have used Mongol Khan Expeditions three times and have been enormously pleased with their very personal service, quality, honesty, integrity, accommodations, transportation means, food and general ambiance. They go out of their way to make your needs fulfilled. I am an international travel photo/journalist based in L.A.. I have done all seven continents and eighty one countries so I do speak from experience. You can't go wrong with them.

Jered Barclay   Los Angeles, USA


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