14 days Mongol Naadam Festival Tour

Naadam Festival Tour

14 days Mongol Naadam Festival Tour

Naadam is a colorful and widely celebrated festival in Mongolia. Locals wear traditional costumes made of bright silk and feast for nearly a whole month. The rich history of this tradition - steeped festival goes back to the time of Chinggis Khaan but today Naadam marks the Independence day of Mongolia. The main celebration is held in Ulaanbaatar from 11-13th July with three days of games, wrestling, archery and horse racing. The Naadam festival tour includes an expedition to central and southern Mongolia to visit well known locations such as Kharkhorin, the Ongi monastery and the Gobi desert. Watch sunset over the flaming cliffs as they light up in a stunning display of colour and enjoy the warm hospitality of Mongolian nomads who have been living in the same way for centuries.

Dates: 29th June - 12th July
Length: 14 days / 13 nights
Price: from $3450 per person
Transport: comfortable 4x4 vehicles
Difficulty: Moderate: No hard physical requirements.

Travel itinerary: MSH complex – Amarbayasgalant – Uran Togoo – Ugii lake –– Tsenkher hot spring - Kharkhorum/Erdenezuu – Ongi monastery – Bayanzag/ Flaming cliffs – Yol Valley  – Ulaanbaatar – Naadam Festival

Day 1 Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Upon arriving in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, you will be welcomed by your personal guide and your driver. Ulaanbaatar is an unique city with mixture of old and new, and a half of the total population live in here. Along with modern high rising buildings the outskirt of the city is filled with traditional nomadic gers and coal burning little houses. Once you are settled in your hotel your guide will take you on a mini tour of Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon. Overnight stay in a 4 star hotel.

Ulaanbaatar city

Day 2 Stay with local herders at Noyon Mountain

Today you will be taken on the short journey north to the Mongolian Secret History Travel complex where you will spend the night. Depending on the time of your arrival we will organize a full or half day tour of the area taking in stunning scenery, a visit to a local nomadic family and a short hike to a sacred shaman site where you will be able to participate in a simple ritual to bring you luck on the rest of your journey. Mongolian nomadic herders have been living in the same way for thousands of years and you will learn their traditional customs and games, spend time with the family and be invited to participate in all of their daily work and play including milking, singing, wrestling and riding. We recommend staying overnight at the Mongolian Secret History Complex but, if you prefer, then we are happy to arrange for you to spend the night with a local nomadic family who will be delighted that you chose to stay with them and will provide you with a unique and unforgettable experience.

Nomadic family in Mongolia

Day 3 Amarbayasgalant monastery

The following morning you will start your journey to Amarbayasgalant monastery, one of the most beautiful cultural heritage in Mongolia. Your personal guide will help you to explore the grounds of the monastery and will teach you about Mongolia's unique Lamaist religion. In the evening you will be taken to a nearby ger camp where you will eat and spend the night.

Amarbayasgalant monastery

Day 4 Uran togoo

After breakfast your driver will take you on the short journey to Uran Togoo, an extinct volcano in Bulgan province. The drive will take in some of Mongolia’s most beautiful pastureland with rolling green hills, meadows filled with wildflowers and fragrant sage all beneath an endless blue sky. At the mountain you will have the option to go horse riding, hike on the volcano with a guide, or simply relax in this stunning location. You will spend your 3rd night in a local ger camp within view of the mountain where you will enjoy a beautiful sunset and traditional Mongolian hospitality.

Uran togoo

Day 5 Ugii Lake

On this day you will drive to the crystal clear Ugii Lake in Arkhangai province. This lake is the setting for the annual Mongolian triathlon and is an excellent location for swimming. It is also situated directly in the path of a major migratory flight path for wild birds so is a bird watcher’s paradise. You will spend the day here before retiring for the night to a ger camp right on the shore of the lake.

Ugii lake

Day 6 Tsenkher hot spring

In the morning you will drive to Tsenkher hot springs, a popular holiday spot for Mongolians who come here for the reputed health benefits and for its spiritual significance. Spend the day relaxing in this natural spa and strolling in the surrounding forest. Please do not forget to pack your swimsuit for this day. Optional massage and beauty services are available. The spa can also be enjoyed during sunset for an unforgettable experience. Lunch, dinner and overnight stay in a ger camp.

Tsenkher hot spring

Day 7 Ancient capital of Mongolia - Kharkhorum and Erdenzuu

After breakfast you will drive to Karakorum, the 13th century capital of Chinggis Khaan's Mongolian Empire. The ruins of this ancient city are still clearly visible and you will be able to walk around the site with your guide explaining some of the history attached to the city. This is also the site of Erdene Zuu Monastery, the first and formerly one of the largest in Mongolia. Unfortunately much of the temple was destroyed under the socialist government in the previous century but significant sections still stand and are home to practicing Lamas. You will visit the remaining complex and enjoy a guided tour throughout its picturesque courtyards and small temples where you will see unique 16th Century Mongolian Buddhist art and icons. Afterwards you will be taken to the Kharkhorum museum before retiring to a nearby ger camp for the evening.

Kharkhoring and erdenezuu

Day 8 & 9 Ongi monastery

Today you will be visiting the ancient Ongi Monastery in the Gobi Desert. This was formerly the largest University for Lamas in Mongolia with up to 800 students at any one time but was razed to the ground between 1937/ 38 by the socialist General Choibbalsan with all of its lamas either executed or conscripted into the army. The temple is now in the process of being rebuilt and there are 5 lamas resident in the new temple building working to restore the monastery’s former glory and international standing. We will visit the site, walk throughout the haunting ruins, visit a monument to the fallen lamas and talk with the monks in the new building. Following on from this you will have the chance to relax and enjoy a range of activities and services including a full body massage at our award winning Secret of Ongi Tourist camp at the foot of the hill beneath the complex. Supper and overnight stay in the camp. On day 9 you will visit several local sites of interest including ancient stone paintings (petrogram), caves used in the past by monks for their meditation, extraordinary natural rock formations, the ruins of the 13th century Porcelain City, ancient graveyards and tombs. You will also have the option to go camel riding. Lunch, dinner and overnight stay in a ger camp.

Ongi monastery and Secret of Ongi camp

Day 10 Bayanzag/ Flaming Cliffs

After breakfast you will be driven to the world famous Flaming Cliffs or Bayanzag in the heart of the Gobi desert. Explore the site of the first paleontological discoveries in Mongolia following in the footsteps of the famous Roy Chapman Andrews. Visit a nomadic camel herding family and experience the warm hospitality of Mongolian Gobi nomads.

Bayanzag- Flaming Clif

Day 11 Yol Valley

Start the day with an excursion to Yoliin Am National Park for hiking and sightseeing in the stunning surroundings. Yol valley means vulture's valley and the the area is covered in ice for almost all year round. You will have a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon hiking and relaxing. Dinner and overnight stay in a ger camp.

Yol valley

Day 12 Fly back to Ulaanbaatar

Early in the morning fly back to Ulaanbaatar. Half a day of city tour. 

Day 13 Naadam festival - wrestling and archery

On this day you will be driven to the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival in the main stadium of Ulaanbaatar. Naadam is one of the most ancient festivals in Mongolia and is celebrated for nearly a month all over the country with each region holding theirs on different dates. The three manly games of Naadam are wrestling, horse racing and arching and were originally practised to test the stamina and strength of nomads. The horses race for 15-30 km in six separate age groups and are always ridden by children. After the opening ceremony you will attend the Naadam gala dinner and folk concert. Overnight stay in a hotel.

Naadam festival

Day 14 Khustai national park - Horse racing

On the second day of the Naadam festival, you will drive to Hui Doloon Hudag to see a regional horse race. Afterwards you will travel to Khustai National Park where Mongolian wild horses graze. Overnight stay in Ulaanbaatar hotel.

Horse racing

Included in the price: All of your Mongolian accommodation in hotels and ger camps; all breakfast, lunches and dinners whilst in Mongolia; safe drinking water is also provided throughout the tour; Mongolian local transport, personal guide, translator, driver and entrance to all museums, attractions and concerts mentioned in the itinerary.

Not included in the price:
International flights, train tickets, travel insurance, international phone calls, alcoholic drinks, laundry service, souvenir shopping.

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