Naadam Festival Tour

Naadam, Three Manly Sports Festival

Mongolia

  • FAMILY HOLIDAYS
  • SUMMER TOURS
14 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 Naadam Festival. Join us on this special Naadam Festival Tour 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.

The official state Naadam is held from July 11 to13 in Ulaanbaatar. But don’t worry! Those are not the only days Mongolians celebrate their famed festival. Many of the 21 provinces and its small administrative units of Mongolia celebrate the Naadam Festival on earlier or later dates in July, depending on local anniversaries and pasture or herd conditions. Not interested in the Naadam Festival Tour? Or you can't travel during this time of the year? Click here for a similar trip we run between May and September.

Itinerary

DAY 1, 10 JULY 2022. ARRIVAL TO ULAANBAATAR

  • 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 permits, depending on the 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, 11 JULY 2022. NAADAM DAY IN ULAANBAATAR

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

In the morning, take to the national stadium for a ceremonial beginning of the Naadam Festival Tour with the Naadam opening ceremony, a colorful spectacle of the traditional costumes, dancing, and singing. Immediately after the Mongolian traditional wrestling tournament starts in the stadium, and the archery contest begins just outside. During Naadam the national stadium grounds, deserted for the better part of the year, turn into a lively ger city, where food, toys, and traditional and other items are sold. Enjoy some free time to wander around, while joining the Mongolians in their enjoyment of their biggest celebration of the year.

DAY 3, 12 JULY 2022. ULAANBAATAR – NAADAM HORSE RACING – KHUSTAI NURUU

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Begin the day early in the morning, heading out of the city to Dolon Khudag (Seven Wells) to attend one of the world’s most challenging horse races. Horses run in different age groups, and only male horses compete in races that may stretch over 30 kilometers. Once a proving ground for warriors, the Naadam races are now reserved mainly for children. Jockeys are both girls and boys, usually aged between 6 and 13, so the horses carry a lighter burden. After lunch, continue driving to 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. Stop by the visitor center, to learn about the project before driving into the preserve. Arrive at 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 4, 13 JULY 2022. KHUSTAI NURUU – KHARKHORIN

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Leave Khustai Nuruu, and take the approximately four-hour drive west to the Elsiin Tasarkhai sand dune. Marking the northern edge of the great Gobi Desert, Elsiin Tasarkhai stretches for 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 a plethora of waterfowl in the small seasonal lake by the dune. After lunch, continue for another one-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 was determined. In the afternoon, visit the Karakorum Museum. This museum holds a permanent display of various archeological findings and compiles a picture of how the city looked like during the reign of the Mongol empire. Then ascend to a hill overlooking the small 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, and enjoy the marvelous view of the sun setting over this sacred valley before setting in the camp for the night.

DAY 5, 14 JULY 2022. KHARKHORIN - TSENKHER HOT SPRINGS

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

In the morning, visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of Mongolia's oldest monasteries. Begin with a visit to the old museum dedicated to the plethora of gods, demi-gods, and figures related to the Mongolian branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Then, go to the main temple where the morning Puje, a prayer in the form of chanting Tibetan scripts, takes place. Early in the afternoon leave Kharkhorin and drive on to the region the Mongolians often refer to as the 'horse herders' paradise' for its lush grasses and open valleys. Drive through thick pine forests to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at about 80°C (176°F). After setting in the camp for the night, enjoy a relaxing soak at the open hot-water pools under the Mongolian million-star sky!

DAY 6, 15 July 2022. HIKING AROUND TSENKHER

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast at the camp, take a short drive to the trailhead to embark on the day's hike. The hike is a truly enchanting walk up a stream, hopping from one boulder to another to the top of a hill for an amazing view of the surrounding valleys. Away from most travelers' route, this little-known trail runs through a pristine pine forest, with its floor covered with wildflowers of all shapes and colors. At the hike's end, enjoy a picnic lunch before driving back to the camp to enjoy another night of soaking in hot water pools.

DAY 7, 16 JULY 2022. TSENKHER HOT SPRINGS – TSETSERLEG – CHULUUT CANYON – NARIIN GECHGIIN RIVER

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Drive out of the hot springs and pass through Tsetserleg, the provincial capital. Here, take an easy walk to the seven-meter tall statue of Lord Buddha, and enjoy the view over the town that is commonly known as the most charming of all towns throughout the country. Continuing west, pause by Taikhar Chuluu, a massive rock that 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 a shamanic ceremony, the site is still considered holy and is worshiped by local people. The thousands of Khatag, silk-made pray scarves hanging on the trees in the forest, are a vivid testimony to the site's religious significance. 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 8, 17 JULY 2022. HIKING TO KHORGO VOLCANO AND THE WHITE LAKE – JARGALANT HOT SPRINGS

  • 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. 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. Early in the evening arrive at 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 9. 18 JULY 2022. JARGALANT HOT SPRINGS – MURUN

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Continue driving along the breathtaking road crossing the Tarvagtiin Mountain Range, separating Arkhangai and Khovsgol 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 by the crystal clear streams in the midst of the fertile meadows, a perfect place to graze their large livestock herds. Pause at Dzun Nuur, a beautiful alpine lake, before arriving in Murun, the capital of Khovsgol Province. If time permits, visit the local market before setting in the simple yet cozy hotel for the night.

DAY 10, 19 JULY 2022. MURUN – LAKE ERKHIL – LAKE KHOVSGOL

  • 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 walk to watch the birds, and submerge in the serenity of this little-known lake. From here, take a short drive 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 ceremonial objects the dead would take with them on their journey to their next life. Board the vehicle and continue the ride to Lake Khovsgol, arriving at the camp by the lake's shores in the afternoon. Set in the camp, and if time permits, take a first easy hike through the thick forest and along the beautiful lake.

DAY 11, 20 JULY 2022. HIKE TO KHYASAA AND HORSE RIDING BY LAKE KHOVSGOL

  • 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 a 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.

DAY 12, 21 JULY 2022. FLIGHT BACK TO ULAANBAATAR

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, take the approximately three-hour drive back to Murun. Here board the flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Once back in the Mongolian capital, head to the city center. The short drive passes through the shantytown inhabited by those who were once nomads but have neglected their traditional lifestyle in the hope of finding a little fortune in the city. The cityscape 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 blocks. Check in the hotel and take a tour of the city center. Begin with 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. Then take a walk through the central square. Right at the heart of the square see the figure of D. Sukhbaatar, one of the heroes of the communist revolution of the 1920s, boldly raising his arm towards the statue of Chinggis Khan, the nation's forefather whose name was not allowed to be mentioned during the 70-year communist reign. From here, it is a short walk to the drama theater to attend an impressive folk concert featuring some traditional Mongolian art forms. After a farewell dinner, drive back to the hotel for the last night in Mongolia.

DAY 13, 22 JULY 2022. DEPARTURE FROM ULAANBAATAR

  • Breakfast

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

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Dates & Pricing


10th July, 2022–22nd July, 2021

  • $2,262 Per Person (For a group of 6 or more)
  • $288 Single Room Supplement

All prices for Mongolia Naadam Festival Tour 2022 are in US dollars and per person based on twin share occupancy

Rates for private tours:
2 travelers – USD3067/ person
4 travelers – USD2675/ person

  • Prices valid for payment by wire transfers. Payment facilitated by credit cards would incur a supplement of 3.8%.
  • Mongolian Ways Ltd. reserves the right to change the Mongolian Naadam Festival Tour tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

Upgrades for twin share (for an ensuite ger- some would have toilets and shower, some just toilets within the ger; limited availability). More information on accommodation in Mongolia.

Kharkhorin: Deluxe Ger [email protected] | +USD44/ [email protected] occupancy (1 night)
Tsenkher Hot Springs
: Wooden Hotel +USD108 / [email protected] share | +USD183/ [email protected] occupancy (2 nights)
Lake Khuvsgul
: Wooden Hotel +USD135/ [email protected] share | +USD194/ [email protected] occupancy (2nights)
Ulaanbaatar: Best Western Premier 5-stars +USD123/ [email protected] share | +USD198/ [email protected] occupancy (3 night)


Additional Information


Inclusions
  • Accommodation as per program
  • Domestic flight Murun/Ulaanbaatar
  • Meals as indicated in the program (full board basis)
  • Private 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 visa
  • Excess Luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
  • Anything not clearly mentioned in the program

Accomodation
  • 3 nights in 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar
  • 10 nights in ger camp

Note: The listed hotels on the Naadam Festival Tour are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.


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