Naadam and the Nomadic Life

Every nation's celebration is a reflection of its culture and lifestyle. Naadam is Mongolia's most famous festival, which includes three manly games such as wrestling, horse racing and archery. It occurs at the height of summer, one of the best times to visit the country. In 2010, Naadam was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.

Route:

Ulaanbaatar – Central Mongolia – Southern Mongolia - Ulaanbaatar

Duration:

11 nights / 12 days

Price From:

US$ ***

Region:

Central and Southern Mongolia  

Tour highlights:

Naadam Festival - Terelj NP – Kharkhorin ancient capital – Khustai NP – Gobi Desert

The three-day Naadam Festival is Mongolia’s most famous festival, and occurs at the height of summer, one of the best times to visit the country.  It celebrates the three manly sports traditional Mongolian wrestling, archery and horse racing. It is celebrated across the country, with every town and village holding contests in the three sports.  The official opening ceremony of Naadam in Ulaanbaatar is a spectacular event.  Early in the morning of the first day, a ceremony is held in, in the center of the city, and riders dressed as Chinggis Khan’s entourage parade from the Square to the Central Stadium.  At the Stadium a huge procession is held, including hundreds of adults and children dressed in costumes representing Mongolia’s numerous ethnic groups.

  • Day 1. Ulaanbaatar. (B/L/D)
  • Day 2. Naadam Festival. (B/L/D)
  • Day 3. Terelj National Park. 80km (B/L/D)
  • Day 4. Kharkhorin ancient capital. 380km (B/L/D)
  • Day 5. Erdene-Zuu Monastery. (B/L/D)
  • Day 6. Elsen Tasarkhai. 100km (B/L/D)
  • Day 7. Khustai National Park. 300km (B/L/D)
  • Day 8. Ulaanbaatar. (B/L/D)
  • Day 9. Fly to Gobi desert. 50km (B/L/D)
  • Day 10. Bayan Zag – Flaming Cliffs. 70km (B/L/D)
  • Day 11. Ulaanbaatar. (B/L/D)
  • Day 12. Departure. (B)

Day 1. Ulaanbaatar. (B/L/D)

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. After lunch, city tour including a visit to the National History Museum, where you will see artifacts from Mongolia and Central Asia from the Stone Age to the present, and displays of the development of Mongolian arts and culture. Afterwards an excursion to the Zaisan Hill War Memorial to get your bearings with a panoramic view of the whole city.
Overnight at selected hotel

Day 2. Naadam Festival. (B/L/D)

Attend the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival at the Central Stadium in Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy competitions of the three manly sports, archery, wrestling and horse racing, along with Mongolian cultural performances. Afternoon tour: Watch the horse races taking place outside of the city. Naadam Gala dinner and a folk concert in the evening.
Overnight at selected hotel

Day 3. Terelj National Park. 80km (B/L/D)

After breakfast drive to Terelj national park, 80km north-east of city. Spend the day touring the area and enjoying the magnificent alpine scenery. There are great opportunities for hiking, rock climbing and horse riding. You can visit to nomad family and explore the unique lifestyle and horse riding. Return back to the hotel.
Overnight at selected hotel

Day 4. Karakorum ancient capital. 380km (B/L/D)

Transfer to Karakorum ancient capital (380km). Lunch on the way. Arrive in Karakorum late afternoon and have refreshments. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Overnight in tourist GER camp

Day 5. Erdene-Zuu Monastery. (B/L/D)

Visit the symbolic ruins of Karakorum, the 13th century imperial capital of the Mongol Empire and the Erdene-Zuu Monastery, once one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, which was almost destroyed in the communist purges of the 1930s. Tour of the monastery grounds and several chapels with excellent examples of Buddhist iconography dating from the 16th century. Lunch at the camp. Visit a family of nomads.
Overnight in tourist GER camp.

Day 6. Elsen Tasarkhai. 100km (B/L/D)

Drive to Bayangobi. Lunch in the Ger camp. Visit a horse-breeder’s family to see the making of the traditional Mongolian drink, airag (fermented mare’s milk). Horseback riding on Mongolian-style wooden saddles. Overnight in traditional ger dwellings at the Bayangobi camp.
Overnight in tourist GER camp

Day 7. Khustai National Park. 300km (B/L/D)

Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. On the way visit Hustain Nuruu (Pike Hustai) National Reserve to see the Przewalski wild horses, recently re-introduced back into Mongolia. Visit the park museum to learn about the history of the last pure wild horses in the world and the history of the area. Lunch. Arrive in Ulaanbaatar late afternoon. Dinner and a cultural performance.
Overnight at selected hotel

Day 8. Ulaanbaatar. (B/L/D)

Breakfast at the hotel. Tour to the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, which is one of the only monasteries in the country that was not damaged by communists. It was built for the brother of the Eighth Bogd Gegeen, Mongolia’s last Khan, and contains intact Buddhist religious items and artworks. It is an exact representation of a functioning monastery. In the afternoon, leisure time for individual plans and shopping. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Overnight at selected hotel

Day 9. Fly to Gobi desert. 50km (B/L/D)

After an early breakfast transfer to the airport for a flight to the Gobi base camp. Visit Yol Valley National Park (50km) for trekking and an opportunity to photograph the stunning landscape, the Gobi Glacier and the wildlife of the area. Picnic lunch in the National Park, and leisure hiking. En route back to base camp, visit a camel breeder’s family for photo opportunities, an optional camel-riding session and to experience the nomadic lifestyle. Enjoy a relaxing evening under the Gobi Desert skies.
Overnight in tourist GER camp

Day 10. Bayan Zag – Flaming Cliffs. 70km (B/L/D)

A day trip to Bayan Zag, the Flaming Cliffs (70km), to explore the Gobi Dinosaur Cemetery and to follow the historic trail of paleontologist / explorer Roy Chapman Andrews. Picnic Lunch. Return to base camp for dinner and overnight.
Overnight in tourist GER camp

Day 11. Ulaanbaatar. (B/L/D)

Late morning flight back to Ulaanbaatar. After lunch, tour the Gobi cashmere factory and shop for original and pure cashmere gifts and garments.
Overnight at selected hotel

Day 12. Departure. (B)

Transfer to the airport for departure.

Tour available dates:

10 July – 21 July

Include:

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • English speaking guide at all times.
  • In the countryside all lodging will be in ger camps.
  • All meals are provided as stated in the itinerary.
  • Ground transportation: in the countryside by a chauffeur driven 4WD jeep, bus in the city area.
  • Park entrance fees
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • 1 liter of drinking water per day per person

 Exclude:

  • Accommodation in a hotel or hostel in Ulaanbaatar
  • Hotel extras, such as telephone calls, bar bills and laundry services
  • Travel insurance, medical insurance
  • Visa application fees
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Personal expenses such as IDD call, internet, laundry, items of a personal nature
  • Gratuity to local guides and drivers
  • Airfare or train ticket
  • Airport taxes, excess baggage charges (over 44pound / 20kilo)
  • Changes of arrival/departure flights
  • Additional services
  • Any charges of major force beyond our control (e.g. imposition, quarantine restrictions, etc...)
  • Optional excursions unless stated in your itinerary, etc…

This is a suggested packing list, which you should feel free to adjust to suit your needs. Please refer to our travel guide for more detailed information.

  • backpack or soft bag
  • day pack
  • head lamp/flashlight
  • spare batteries/bulb
  • personal medications
  • hiking boots/shoes
  • rain jacket with hood
  • fleece jacket or wool jumper
  • cotton t-shirts
  • long sleeve shirts
  • lightweight trousers
  • shorts
  • warm hat
  • socks
  • underwear
  • sun hat
  • sandals
  • sun glasses
  • sun cream
  • spare glasses
  • insect repellent
  • plastic bags
  • binoculars/camera
  • wet tissues
  • watch/ alarm clock
  • money belt/ pouch
  • insurance confirmation copy
  • emergency contact number