Mongolian Naadam Festival 2021

Mongolian Naadam Festival

Mongolia

  • Summer
12 Days
1 Flights
Child friendly

Once a year Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital city, is putting everything on hold as the country's top wrestlers, horse trainers and archers, are gathering from all corners of Mongolia to compete over the most prestigious titles for the Nadaam Festival. Join us on this special trip that would not only take you to each of these competitions, but would venture off to some of the country's most beautiful natural sites, to meet the Mongolian nomads that preserve their ancient traditions to these days.

Not interested in the Naadam Festival? Or you can't travel during this time of the year? Click here for a similar trip we run between May and September.

Gallery


Itinerary

DAY 1, 8 JULY 2021 ARRIVAL IN ULAANBAATAR

  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital city. At the airport, meet the local guide and head to the city center. The short drive passes through the shanty town inhabited by those who were once nomads, but have neglected their traditional lifestyle in the hope of finding a little fortune in the city, which not too long ago has seen some rapid development. The urban landscape quickly changes into expansive shopping malls and brand-new residential complexes, shifting again to the scenes of the city center, where modern high-rises are quickly built amidst soviet-era buildings. Arrive in the hotel, and check-in to recuperate from the long flight to Mongolia (note: check-in at 14:00. Early check-in is subject to room availability or supplemental fees). If time permit, depending on time of arrival in the city, take an orientation tour around town, beginning with Sukhbaatar Square, the city’s main square. Right at the heart of the square, see the figure of D. Sukhbaatar, one of the heroes of the communist revolution of 1920’s, boldly raising his arm towards the statue of Chinggis Khan, whose name wasn’t allowed to be mentioned during the 70-year communist reign. Then visit the National History Museum, which holds a permanent exhibition on the different civilizations that have inhabited the territory of Mongolia from prehistoric times to the present. This exhibition includes a significant display of objects from the era of the Great Mongol Empire. From here take a short walk to the drama theater to attend an impressive folk concert, featuring some traditional Mongolian art forms. After a welcome dinner, drive back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

DAY 2, 9 JULY 2021. KHUSTAI NURUU STRICTLY PROTECTED AREA

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today drive back in time, to a place that recreates the lives of Mongolian nomads at the beginning of the 20th century. This was when Mongolia gained its independence from the Qing Dynasty and established itself as a reemerging nation under a living god-king. Here attend a demonstration of how the nomads lived their lives during this era, and learn about some traditions that are carried on to this very day. After lunch in the camp arrive at Khustai Nuruu Strictly Protected Area (SPA). The SPA was established as part of a unique project to reintroduce the world’s last surviving wild horses back to their natural environment. On the brink of extinction during the last century, only a very few Takhi or Przewalski’s horses were left in zoos around Europe. This graceful steppe horse was returned to Mongolia, and today, thanks to this special project, two herds again roam the Mongolian steppes. Take a hike through the protected area, and learn about the tremendous efforts being put to preserve some of Mongolia’s rarest flora and fauna. End the hike in a vantage point watching the herds of horses sprinting from the mountain tops to the narrow river valley, where they come to drink as the temperatures in the low-lands cool down. Overnight in a ger camp- the cozy yet simple, Mongolian version of a lodge, consisting of traditional felt-made dwellings the nomads of Central Asia often refer to as yurt.

DAY 3, 10 JULY 2021 TO KHARKHORIN- THE ANCIENT CAPITAL OF THE MONGOL EMPIRE

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Leave Khustai Nuruu to take the approximately four-hour drive west to the Elsiin Tasarkhai sand dune. Marking the northern edge of the great Gobi Desert, Elsen Tasarkhai stretches over 130 km north into the heart of Central Mongolia. Arrive at the dune and take a hike for a marvelous view over the dune, that seems as if it’s locked between two mighty mountain ranges. If lucky, get to see plethora of waterfowl in the small seasonal lake by the dune. After lunch continue for another 1-hour’s drive to Kharkhorin. Built by Chinggis Khan about 800 years ago, Kharkhorin, better known as Karakorum, was famed throughout Asia as the capital of the Mongol Empire. Within the walls of this spectacular city kings were chosen, laws made and the fate of the next city to be conquered were determined. In the afternoon visit the Japanese funded museum. This museum holds a permanent display on the various archeological diggings and finding, and compiles a picture of how the city looked like during the reign of the Mongol empire. Then ascend to a small hill overlooking town, to visit the Monument of Empires, erected to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the coronation of Chinggis Khan as the king of all kings of the steppes. Explore the site depicting the stories of three of the largest empires that were first formed here, at the Orkhon River Valley, and enjoy the marvelous view of the sun setting over this sacred valley, before setting in the camp for the night.

DAY 4, 11 JUL 2021. NAADAM AT TSENKHER AND NIGHT BY THE HOT SPRINGS

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Leave Kharkhorin for a three hours’ drive to Tsenkher Soum. Soum, often referred to as village, is an administrative center, providing civil services to those nomadic families living in its vicinity. This system was established during the communist era, when the central regime needed to have tighter control over the population, in a manner so typical for these centralized regimes that spent much of their efforts to stabilize their power over the people. Arrive in Tsenkher Soum in time to join hundreds of locals, some inhabit the soum, and some are nomads who live nearby, as they come to celebrate the biggest event in the Mongolian calendar- the Naadam Festival. The festival is celebrated all throughout the country, from remote soums (and even bags- the smaller administrative unit) through provincial capital cities and all the way to the events in Ulaanbaatar. Here attend the wrestling tournament, watch the traditional horse races which are considered to be some of the toughest in the world, and join the overall country-fair ambience, with locals selling homemade traditional food, booths filled with cheap toys, and the elders gathering to exchange important pieces of information and a lot of gossip. As the festivities wind down, hop back on the vehicle for a short drive to Tsenkher Hot Springs for a pleasant dip in the open-air pools fed from the natural thermal spring which is said to have therapeutic qualities to it.

DAY 5, 12 JULY 2021. CROSSING ARKHANGAI PROVINCE

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Drive out of the hot springs and pass through Tsetserleg, the provincial capital. Here take an easy walk to the 7-meter tall statue of Lord Buddha, and enjoy from here the view over the town that is commonly known as the most charming all throughout the country. Continuing west, pause by Taikhar Chuluu, a massive rock which is connected to local mythology. In the afternoon arrive at the hundred-branches-tree. Despite the fact this strange-looking tree has been burnt in recent years during shamanic ceremony, the site still is considered holy, and is worshipped by local people. The thousands of Khatag, silk-made pray scarfs hanging on the tress in the forest are a vivid testimony to the significance of the site. From here take a short walk to a good observation point for the Chuluut Canyon before taking another short drive to the camp for the night.

DAY 6, 13 JULY 2021. CLIMBING KHORGO VOLCANO

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Spend the first part of the day hiking to the top of Khorgo Volcano, for a view over its perfect crater. Continue hiking from the top of the volcano through basalt fields studded with pine trees. En route stop at the Yellow Dog Cave, an interesting volcanic phenomenon, and end the hike at a pilgrimage site on the shores of Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. Late in the afternoon drive north on one of Mongolia's most beautiful trails, crossing high mountain passes, vast grasslands, and small creeks. End the day in a camp not far from Jargalant Soum, to enjoy once again a relaxing evening in the open-air pools fed from a nearby thermal spring.

DAY 7, 14 JULY 2021. THE BEAUTIFUL DRIVE TO MURUN

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Continue driving along the breathtaking road crossing the Tarvagtiin Mountain Range separating Arkhangai and Khuvsgul provinces. From time to time stop for a walk through carpets of flowers, or stop for a visit with one of the many nomadic families setting their gers along the crystal clear streams in the middle of the fertile meadows, a perfect place to graze their large herds. Pause at Dzun Lake, a beautiful alpine lake before arriving in Murun, the capital of Khuvsgul Province. If time permit, visit the local market before setting in the simple yet cozy hotel for the night.

DAY 8, 15 JULY 2021. BY LAKE KHUVSGUL

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

From Murun drive to Erkhil Lake. This is where a wide variety of waterfowl stop on their long journey from the Siberian tundra to the warm countries of southern Europe and Africa. Take a hike along the lake’s shores to watch the birds, and indulge in the serenity of this little known site before taking to an ancient burial site of a civilization that inhabited these plains back in the Bronze Age. The unique tombs they have left behind are beautifully carved with reindeer motifs and other symbolic objects the dead would take with them on their journey to their next life. Board the vehicle and continue the ride to Lake Khuvsgul, arriving at the camp on the lake’s shores at the afternoon. Set in the camp, and if time permit, take a first easy hike through the thick forest and along the beautiful lake.

DAY 9, 16 JULY 2021. HORSEBACK RIDE AND HIKE TO KHYASAA

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

From the camp drive to the end of the road for a beautiful (and rather challenging) three hours' hike to the top of Khyasaa. At the end of the one-and-a-half hours’ steep climb, arrive at Khyasaa (Mongolian for “steep cliff”) for an unparalleled view over the lake. The trail passes through pine forest, grasslands and beautiful carpets of flowers. At trek’s end, back by the lakeside, enjoy a picnic lunch before driving back to the camp for an afternoon horseback riding trip to the foot of the massive mountains surrounding the lake. In the evening revert to the camp for a second night by the lake.

DAY 10, 17 JULY 2021. FLY TO ULAANBAATAR AND A VISIT TO TERELJ NATIONAL PARK

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, take the approximately three-hours’ drive back to Murun. Here board the flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Once back in the Mongolian capital, board the vehicle for the one-and-a-half hours’ drive to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. The park is famous for its unique rock formations, rolling grasslands and the mighty Terelj River that runs through it. Upon arrival in the park stop by the Turtle Rock, a symbol of wisdom and longevity to the Mongolians. Take another short drive to the trailhead for an easy hike through beautiful forest and a long a clear stream to the entrance to Ariabal Buddhist Retreat. After visiting the temple head to the camp in the park’s vicinity.

DAY 11, 18 JULY 2021. THE GREAT CHINGGIS KHAN STATUE

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Begin the day with a half-day hike through the park, ascending to a beautiful vantage point for a view over the park, its rock formation and deep valleys. Arrive back in the camp for lunch before leaving the park and drive to the newly constructed Chinggis Khan Monument. Rising 40 meters in height over the surrounding steppes, this impressive structure plays a major symbol to the renewing Mongolian nation, after more than 300 years of foreign sovereignty over its people and territory. At the afternoon drive back to Ulaanbaatar, and after some time to refresh, enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the city’s best restaurants before climbing to the top of Zaisan Hill to visit the monument dedicated to the friendship between the Mongolian and Russian people, and for a view over the city at night. Then drive to the hotel for a last night in Mongolia.

DAY 12, 19 JULY 2021. DEPATURE FROM MONGOLIA

  • Breakfast

After breakfast drive to Chinggis Khan Airport for the international flight out of Mongolia.

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Dates & Pricing

Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above.

[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

Prices are based on twin share occupancy.

Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers and above:
4 travelers- US$2246/ person
6 travelers- US$1961/ person
8 travelers- US$1912/ person

  • Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.

8th July, 2021–19th July, 2021

  • $2,548 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $364 Single Room Supplement

Additional Information


Inclusions
  • Accommodation as per program (hotel in Ulaanbaatar, Ger Camps out of the city)
  • Domestic flight Murun/Ulaanbaatar
  • Meals as indicated in the program (full board basis)
  • Private A/C 4WD vehicle
  • Drinking water
  • Local English speaking guide
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • All transfers
  • Naadam Festival entrance tickets

Exclusions
  • Travel expenses to/from Mongolia
  • Travel Insurance
  • Mongolian tourist visa
  • Excess Luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
  • Anything not clearly mentioned in the program

Testimonials

Julia-and-James

Julia and James Grant, England

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