Naadam Festival 2019 with Highlights of Mongolia 15 Days - The Great Mongolian Adventures

Naadam Festival 2019 with Highlights of Mongolia 15 Days

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Mongolian Traditional Festival

      The Mongolian Naadam has known also as Eriin Gurvan Naadam (or Three Manly Games). Has a long history and been celebrated with respects among Mongolian ethnic groups for centuries. Mongolian Naadam is inseparably connected to the nomadic civilization of the Mongols, who have long practiced pastoralism on Central Asia's vast steppe. Oral traditions, performing arts, national cuisine, craftsmanship, and cultural forms such as the long song, Khuumei overtone singing, Bie Biyelgee dance, and Morin khuur fiddle also feature prominently during Naadam. The Mongolian Naadam is a national festival consisting of three sporting games of Wrestling, Horse race, and Archery, each of them has unique features of folk ritual, oral traditions, folk performing arts, social practices, traditional knowledge, and craftsmanship.
Mongolians follow special rituals and practices inherited from ancient times while they wear unique costumes, use distinctive attires and gears, and sing special praise songs and rhymes. Moreover, winning wrestlers, archers and racehorses are praised with praise songs and rewarded special titles. Mongolian Naadam was originated among Mongols and it is confined to the Mongolian nationality. Thus, Mongolian traditional festival is very unique and doesn’t exist in other nations and ethnic people.

Wrestling: During Naadam there are more than 800 wrestlers compete every year. There are 9 rounds of matches in Naadam, only winning wrestlers will compete in the next round. From the fourth round winning wrestlers starting to earn titles, starting from Hawk - Falcon - Elephant - Garuda and Lion to Champion. The champion title requires winning at least 2 years of Naadam festival. Wrestlers will try to make the competitor fall on the ground with his elbows, knees or buttocks touch to the ground. They practice strength, techniques, tricks, and tactics.

Wrestling requires special customs including a hat, zodog( or shirt without a front side), shuudag (or shorts) and Boots. Every ritual, wrestlers info, and traditions will be explained by our guide.
Archery: Mongolian traditional archery is Extremely ancient heritage. Bows and arrows were used originally as hunting implements, later military weapons and more recently as kind of a sport. More than 3 hundred archers will compete at Naadam, to shoot targets from 75 meters (Men) women from 65 meters.  Who won the Naadam will award the title of Mergen (or Sharp sited). Mongolian traditional Bows are made from birch as the main part lined with horn stripes.

Horse racing: Rituals and traditions of organizing horse race competition during Naadam have unique features and orders. Horse trainers choose potential racehorses among horse herds. Train with techniques and tactics every day for a year. Horses have age-specific categories, such as stallions, adults, 4 years old,  3 years old,  2 years old and 1-year-old, that they race in different distance categories. The horse race has a distant ritual oral heritage as urology praising the winning horse's Racehorse title singing.

After enjoying the three manly sports we will start our central Mongolian highlight tour which will include must-see places of Gobi desert 
Khangai mountains - highlighted places such as Kharkhorin town (Karakorum), Tsenkher hot springs, Taikhar rock, Bulgan mountain, Khorgo Terkhi National Park.
At Khuvsgul lake - we will spend 1 whole day and visit the highlighted places and featured activities like visiting reindeer herders and lake cruise tour.
On the road, we will visit as many as 7 nomadic families and look into how they live and get in-depth cultural experiences.
Half of the road and long distance days will be on asphalt road.
Lastly, we added Mongolian shaman meeting into our itinerary for it is very unique, and truly magical experience that you can only experience in Mongolia.

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Day 1. 10th of July 
Arrival day + Naadam events

Distance: 30 km
Main attractions: Naadam's eve events
We will greet you at the airport and take you to the Ulaanbaatar city for Naadam's eve events on the main square and accommodation, Today in the capital city Ulaanbaatar will hold some epic events on the main square called "Sukhbaatar square". The must-watch events will be the "Mongolian Deel festival" at 19:00, "State Banner ceremony" at 21:00 and Mongolian most famous opera called "Uchirtai Gurvan Tolgoi" will play at 22:00. depending on your arrival time we will have dinner and watch some great eye-catching events on the main square then accommodate at the hotel. 

Accommodation: Blue Sky hotel or Kempinski hotel

Day 2. 11th of July 

The Naadam Festival
Distance: 120 km
Main attractions: Opening ceremony of Naadam, the first round of Wrestling, Archery competition, Horse racing, State Morin Khuur ensemble concert, UB night show, Firework show

The Naadam Festival begins today and the group will get the opportunity to witness the opening ceremony, which features extravagantly costumed parades, traditional music, dance, and historical reenactments. Truly a sight to behold!
Opening ceremony will start at 10:00 am, the state banner will enter the stadium and the president of Mongolia will address the crowd and the opening parade will begin at 11:20 am to 12:00 pm then the wrestling matches will begin in the stadium, we will enjoy the wrestling until 13:30 and go watch the archery competition in the nearby archery field. Then we will head to the Khui Doloon Khudag the horse racing field and enjoy the horse racing event then watch as the Ikh Nas 7 years old horses coming to the finish line. Today we will follow the Naadam tradition and eat traditional Mongolian foods such as Khuushuur, Buuz and drink milk tea, Airag for the whole day. After we enjoy the horse racing event we will head back to the city and watch the State MorinKhuur ensemble's special concert called Beautiful Mongolia at 19:00 for it is only played today. After the concert, we will be greeted with the UB night show and fireworks at the Sukhbaatar square. We will enjoy the night show then go to the hotel and prepare for the countryside tour.

Day 3. 12th of July
Ulaanbaatar to Baga Gazriin Chuluu

Distance: 280 km
Main attractions: Baga Gazriin Chuluu mountain

Baga Gazriin Chuluu:
Dundgobi province, Delgertsogt soum’s area. Surrounded by the vast grassy plains 1768m a.s.l. Tall granite area and it is 300 sq km big.
In the mountain passes and valleys, there are a lot of springs plants. Ancient petroglyphs, remains, monuments are there to explore. There are Sudut gorge, Jargalant cave, Eye’s holy water, offering valley, Ger rock, Huns era burials, etc. many interesting places that we will visit.

Activities: Monastery ruin visit, Eye’s springs
Accommodation: Erdene Ukhaa "tourist camp"
Day 4. 13th of July
Baga Gazriin Chuluu to Dalanzadgad city via Tsagaan Suvarga(White Stupa) 

Distance: 380 km
Main attractions: Tsagaan Suvarga and Dalanzadgad city
Tsagaan Suvarga:
Dundgobi province, Luus soum’s area nature’s unique formation - arch-shaped huge abrupt cliff looks like ancient buildings or a town from distance.
Cliff’s height is 60m and it’s 400m long. After the rain, water falling from Tsagaan Suvarga makes a huge waterfall. Around the cliff, there are many domes like shaped colorful hills that you can explore.

Dalanzadgad city:
Dalanzadgad city is the capital of Southgobi province.
We will accommodate in tourist camp outside of Dalanzadgad city.

Activities: Mandal Gobi city, Food shopping, Dalanzadgad city
Accommodation: Gobi Oasis - "Tourist camp"
Day 5. 14th of July
Dalanzadgad to Khongoryn Els sand dunes via Yolyn am valley

Distance: 200 km
Main attractions: Yolyn am, Khongoryn Els

Today we are entering Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park
In the morning we will ride 20 km to enter the park and visit the famous Yolyn am and Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes.

Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park (Gobi Three Beauty Mountains), Yolyn am gorge:
Umnugobi province’s West, Middle, and East Beauty, 3 separate mountains make 100km long Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park at nearly 27,000 square kilometers, is the largest National Park in Mongolia. The tallest peak is located near Dalanzadgad city 2800 m a.s.l.  In East Beauty mountain. Here lies the famous Yolyn am gorge. Mountain brook breaks the Mountain in half, with its narrow cliff used to always had ice in between. Now global warming is melting the ice in August until the end of September since 2010. Three Beauty mountain has almost all kinds of animals and plants of gobi that you can discover.

Khongoryn Els:
Umnugobi province’s Sevrei soum, Gobi Three Beauty protected area, north side of Grand Sevrey Mountain and Zuulun mountain, in front of Bayan bor mountain the Khongoryn Els sand dune stands northwest to southeast 130 km long, depth is around 3-5 km and some area reaches 20+ km. It’s Mongolian longest sand dune. The highest peak is 195 m. West side of the dune is the tallest, and when the sand shifts, dune makes an airplane like sound, and locals named the peak “Singing dune”. Right beside the dune, there is a river called Khongor. Khongor river is 10 km long, and have 2 branches. The river is surrounded by green grasses, animals, and plants. Echo pond, grazing animals, and amazing sands will give you the perfect Oasis experience.

Activities: Hiking in Yolyn Am valley. Trekking on sand dunes.
Accommodation: Gobi Erdene - “Tourist camp”

Day 6. 15th of July
Khongoryn els to Ongi monastery via Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs)

Distance: 330 km
Main attractions: Bayanzag(flaming cliffs), and Ongi monastery

Bayanzag is a very special place for the world’s natural history, archaeology, and science. People have discovered and still discovering Important remains, remnants and fossil findings that are very good preserved for millions of years. Importance of Bayanzag is limitless to many sectors, for that, it is named considered one of the Mongolian 7 wonders. About 40,000+ years old people’s remnants, stone and bronze age equipment are still being found by visitors.
American adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews’ team found the world’s first Dinosaur egg in Bayanzag. American natural history museum’s 2 main big dinosaurs came from Bayanzag. Mongolian rarest birds live around this area. Such as Henderson's ground-Jay, Great bustard and Desert Warbler(white throat), etc.

Activities: Photograph, Hiking, Paleontology research, Wildlife observation

Ongi monastery:
Dundgobi province, Saikhan-Ovoo soum’s area, Ongi river’s east bank, on Saikhan-Ovoo mountain’s slope there are remains of a Monastic city Ongi, founded in 1660. it was once a town that populated one thousand monks.
Bases of the buildings were built on mini-cliffs. Buildings were the true art of sculptures. It was devastated by the Soviet purges of the 1930s. Only a few traces remain in the mini-museum. Not to mention the Buddhist monasteries are built on the most energetic places on earth. Here you can see the remnants of the artistic walls equipment, and reconstructed tiny bit of an actual Ongi Monastery.

Activities: Flaming cliffs hike, Ongi monastery ruins exploration, swimming in Ongi river
Accommodation: Gobi Energy - “Tourist camp”
Day 7. 16th of July
Ongi monastery to Kharkhorin town (Karakorum) via Shankh monastery

Distance: 300 km
Main attractions: Khangai mountains, Shankh Monastery, Orkhon river valley

Kharkhorin (Karakorum):
Located in Kharkhorin soum, Uvurkhangai province. Founded by Chinggis Khaan in 1200, became Mongol empire’s capital in 1220 by Ugudei Khaan son of Chinggis Khaan. Every religion in the world existed together for centuries in the Karakorum. Historically and archaeologically important place in the world. Kharkhorin is a UNESCO world heritage site. Here is the famous Erdenezuu the Buddhist monastery is open to the public. Surrounding 108 stupas create one magnificent big fence, inside there are 3 remaining ancient monastery buildings which are now a big Buddha's museum. Museum staffs are famous for their good education on the details of the exhibits. West side of the museum actual working monastery is open to Buddhist deeds. Famous Karakorum’s Turtle rock and Phallic rock are located around Erdenezuu monastery.

Activities: Shankh Monastery visit, Erdenezuu monastery exploration
Accommodation: “Tourist Camp” by the Orkhon river
Day 8. 17th of July
Kharkhorin to Tsenkher Hot Springs

Distance: 120 km
Main attractions:  Erdene zuu monastery, Karakorum Turtle rock, Hot Springs

Tsenkher Hot Springs:
Tsenkher soum of Arkhangai province. The second hottest hot springs, used by Mongolians for it's medical and health purposes. 1860 m above sea level underneath the mountain full of forest area, it pumps the hot spring for 10 liters in 1 second. Scientists believed it formed in the 4th-period era. It doesn't get mixed with soil water and evaporates 86 Celsius degrees hot.
It contains hydrosulfuric acid and silica combination. It's used to treat having rheumatism, neuralgia, cramp, rheumatics, and pulpous injuries.

Activities: Erdene zuu monastery museum, hiking on Bulgan mountain, swimming in the springs pool, (massage)
Accommodation: Shiveet Mankhan - “Tourist camp”
​​​​​​Day 9. 18th of July
Tsenkher Hot Springs to Khorgo Terkhi National Park via Tsetserleg town, Taikhar Rock, Chuluut river

Distance: 200 km
Main attractions: Taikhar rock, Tsetserleg town, Chuluut river, Khorgo volcano, Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake),

Tsetserleg town:
Is the capital of Arkhangai province. North side of the town, there is the famous Bulgan mountain, with Zaya Bandida- one of the 4 state’s saint’s monastery which is now a Museum of Arkhangai just next to it the Zaya Bandida’s actual working monastery we will explore. At the Bulgan mountain, there is a big Buddha statue and throughout the mountain, there are numbers of drawings of gods it is a good place to hike the ferocious mountain.

Taikhar rock:
On a bank of Khoid Tamir River in Ikhtamir Soum, Arkhangai province. Taikhar rock is 18 m high a cliff of granite. Which has a lot of myths and challenges to be found? Over 150 inscriptions in various scripts including Turkic, Uyghur, Mongolian, Tibetan, Manchu, and Chinese were engraved on the rock. The surrounding area is all about the beautiful scenery. Truly a place to visit.

Chuluut canyon:
Chuluut canyon is located in Tariat and Undur-Ulaan soum’s area, Arkhangai province. Surrounded by huge canyon depth reaches 200m from the river at some point. On the bank of the river, there is a famous Mother tree which is the Mongolian people's worshipping tree.

Khorgo volcano:
Khorgo volcano crater is 200 m wide and 80 m deep situated at an altitude of 2,210 meters a.s.l. Erupted around 8,000 years ago. Near the crater, there are dozens of small caverns with stalactites hanging from their ceiling and walls. Because of the volcanic eruption, interesting Ger shaped caves formed. One of them is a deep ground cave with ice inside, which is called "Yellow dog's hell". The ice is at present even on the hottest summer days. Some of 13 stone shelters reach 1.7 m high. Plenty to see and explore.

Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake):
As known as the White Lake is located in Tariat soum, Arkhangai province. Very beautiful lake with a variety of birds, nomadic families and sand beaches this is the most heavenly place that you can visit in the world. Khorgo Terkhi national park is considered one of the Mongolian Seven Wonders. It is a UNESCO world heritage site. Terkhiin Tsagaan is 16 km long. 6 km wide, 20m deep and 61 sq km of pure water lake.

Activities: Khorgo volcano trekking, Swimming in White Lake, (horse riding)
Accommodation: Ikh Khorgo “Tourist camp” by the lake
Day 10. 19th of July
Khorgo Terkhi National Park to Jargal Hot spring

Distance: 100 km
Driving duration: 3 hours

Jargal hot spring:
Jargal Hot spring is located in Khuvsgul province Jargalant soum. Spring is surrounded by natural beauties and this Hot spring is the medicinal purposes.
On our way to Jargal Hot Spring, we will drive through Orookh's pass one of the famous difficult mountain passes.
This region is the home of yaks and you can visit yak herder family in here.

Activities: Swimming, Hiking, visit yak herders, fishing
Accommodation: Tourist camp (Jargalant)
Day 11. 20th of July
Jargalant hot springs to Khatgal village via Murun city
Distance: 230 km
Main attractions: Orookh pass, Zuulun pass, Murun city, Khatgal village

Murun city:
Murun is the capital of Khuvsgul province.
We will stop in the city and collect some foods and snacks.

Khuvsgul lake:
This lake is very clean and pure, you can even drink from it straight away. Khuvsgul lake is located in the northwest of Mongolia near the Russian border, at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountains. It is at 1,645 m. a.s.l., 136 km long and 262 m deep, Mongolia’s deepest lake. It is the second-most voluminous freshwater lake in Asia and holds almost 70% of Mongolia's fresh water and 0.4% of all the fresh-water in the world. Mongolians call lake Khuvsgul the Ocean Mother.
We will come to the place where lake Khuvsgul’s southern edge Hatgal village for today.

Activities: Beautiful sceneries, Murun city, Khuvsgul lake, Jankhai beach
Accommodation: Nature’s door - “Tourist camp”

Day 12. 21st of July
Khuvsgul lake

Distance: 20 km
Main attractions: Tsaatan people village

Jankhai is the best beach of Lake Khuvsgul. Today we will travel in and around lake Khuvsgul. We will cruise around Khuvsgul lake on the biggest cruise called Sukhbaatar ship. Hike around the lake and horse riding visiting the famous shamans is our today's purpose.

Activities: Boat trips, Horse riding, hiking, mountain biking, (Shaman counsel)
Accommodation: Nature’s door - “Tourist camp”

Day 13. 22nd of July
Jankhai beach(Khuvsgul lake) to Uran Togoo volcano

Distance: 300 km
Main attractions: Ikh Uul mountain, Uran Togoo volcano

Uran Togoo:
The area is situated in the Khutag-Öndör district of Bulgan Province. A smaller area was initially protected in 1965 Again in 1995, it was designated as a Natural Monument with an area of 5,800 hectares. The peak over 1686 m, form a circle-shaped ridge about 500 m across that contains a crater lake at about 20 m wide and 1.5 m deep. The Uran and surrounding others are considered to be the remnant of an extinct stratovolcano which formed between about 20-25 thousand years ago.
Also, Uran's highest point provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the volcanic field, distant blue mountains, and valleys filled by sheep herd like threw pearls on the green carpet. Uran Volcano also offers visitors excellent opportunities for observing and understanding volcanic formation. The large volcanic field surrounding the monument contains recognizable volcanoes such as Tulga, means "Tripod", Jalavch - "pot", Togoo - "cauldron" which are located 12 km south of the Uran mountain.

Activities: Hiking, exploring the volcano 
Accommodation: Uran Togoo tourist camp

Day 14. 23rd of July
Uran Togoo to Ulaanbaatar city

Distance: 400 km
Main attractions: Road to Ulaanbaatar

Activities: Beautiful sceneries, Farewell Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 15. 24th of July

Distance: 20 km
Activities: Hotel to Chinggis Khaan International Airport


Price includes:
All meals B L D for 15 days.
4WD SUV or Minivan
English speaking guide at all times
15 nights accommodation
3 nights at “4-5 star” hotel
12 nights at handpicked tourist camps
National park and Attraction complex tickets according to the itinerary
Farewell dinner
Visa invitation letter, if required
Included all taxes

Not included in the Price:
International flights & visa fee
Travel & medical insurance
Daily personal expenses


  1. Ulan Bator
  2. MN
  3. Dalanzadgad
  4. Yolin Am Ice Field
  5. Khongoryn els
  6. Flaming Cliffs
  7. Saikhan-Ovoo
  8. Kharkhorin
  9. Altan-Ovoo
  10. Tsetserleg
  11. Jargalant
  12. Khorgo Mountain
  13. Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
  14. Murun
  15. Khuvsgul Lake
  16. Uran Togoo & Tulga
  17. Ulaanbaatar