Naadam Festival Grand tour /14 DAYS/

Short description

This trip offers you most beautiful natural, historical, and cultural places of Mongolia, such as legendary Gobi desert, ancient capital of Mongol Empire Karakorum, first and largest Buddhist monastery Erdene Zuu and many more.  One of the main highlights of this trip is Great Naadam festival. Naadam is one of the most important public holidays or ceremonies of Mongolia and annually celebrated on the 11-13th of July. In Mongolian Naadam means the Three Manly Games. The Three Manly Games include wrestling, archery and horse racing, which are the sports of wisdom, courage and strength. 

Every year 512 wrestlers compete in the National Naadam. The Nachin or “Falcon” title is given to a wrestler who wins 5 rounds, Zaan or ‘Elephant” is a winner of 7 rounds. The wrestler who wins all nine rounds becomes the national wrestling champion and bestowed with the title Arslan or “Lion”. A wrestler who has been “Arslan” twice, is honored with the title of Avarga or “Champion”. 

There are normally six categories of horse racing, depending on the age of horses: for example, a two-year-old horse, called a daaga, will race for 15km, while six and seven-year-old azraga and ikh nas horses race for up to 30km. Jockeys -boys and girls aged between 6 and 11 years old – prepare for months for special races, particularly at Naadam. Horses are fed a special diet for weeks beforehand. The first 5 horses to finish a race are called “Airagdakh” which means that the horses are sprinkled with airag. The title “Tumnii Ekh”  is given to the winning horse.

Archery is another Naadam game in which many best archers from all over the country compete. The winner is given a title “Erkhiin Mergen Kharvaach” that means “Archer of Greatest Wisdom”.

Tour itinerary
  • Day 1/July 2/ - Ulaanbaatar capital city of Mongolia
    Pick you up our driver and guide from Chinggis Khan international airport. Drive to Your hotel. Visit local outdoor market /bazaar/, Gandan Monastery and Mongolia national museum. Evening Leisure day in Ulaanbaatar city. Over night at Hotel
  • Day 2/July 3/ - Baga Gazar stone
    In the morning, we will pick you up from your accommodation and start our tour directly driving to Baga Gazriin Chuluu or known as Earth stone. Before we leave the city we will pass some shops and then drive around 280 km through steppe by overview of land-sea and grandiose formation of rocks and basalts of Baga Gazriin Chuluu. Baga Gazriin Chuluu is a 15km long and 10 km wide stone massif, and this stone massif is also part of the Mongolian granite stone zone. Wild sheep, ibex and marmot inhabit here, Surtiin am is one of many beautiful places in Baga Gazriin stone massif. This is a narrow canyon with asp, birch, white wicker and elm trees, as well the ruin of a stone temple and the site of 2 Gers where monks lived and meditated since the seventieth century. There is a 20 m long cave near to the Surtiin Am. Crystals can be found around the cave. Also, there is a spring water which comes from under source is good for eye illness. You will arrive at Baga Gazriin Chuluu in the afternoon, and rest of the day you will spend hiking around the area. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 3/July 4/ - Yol valley
    Continue tour to Gobi Desert. Gobi desert gives you an exotic view of the desert with boundless view of horizons, rare species of mammals and plants. Visit to Vulture valley well known as Yolyn Am that located in Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. The area is beautiful picturesque place with ice fields even in summer, and surrounded by sheer rocky walls, forming incredible canyons. It is end of the Altai Mountain ranges and chances are to see wild animals such as wild sheep, ibex, golden eagle and of course vultures. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 4/July 5/ - Khongor sand dunes
    Known as Singing dunes, the Khongor sand dune has an extraordinary length of 180 kilometers and 15 – 20 meters wide and lies on the Northern part of the Mountains of Sevrei and Zuulen. There is an Oasis near Khongor sand dune at the Northern edge of the sand dune. Name of the Singing sand dunes comes from the sound produced by the masses of moving sand can be heard from afar, and when it occurs, it is said that it can be mistaken for the sound of an aero plane. Arrive at the camp and after some relaxation we will hike through the Golden sand dunes, explore the surrounding nature and if you wish you can climb up to the highest point of the sand dunes which will reach about 200 meters. Camel riding is one of the main fun activities you can do while you are in the Gobi. Our camel man will take to the sand dunes and the two humped camels are very comfortable to ride, as the walk slowly and gently you will be supported by the humps, sitting comfortably between them. In the evening back to the camp and after dinner it will be free time. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 5/July 6/ - Bayanzag Flaming cliffs
    After breakfast, we will continue our way driving to Bayanzag. Known as Flaming cliffs, where American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews found cemetery of dinosaurs and the first dinosaur eggs ever discovered in the world. We will have some hiking through the cliffs and see the Gobi tree grove named “Bayanzag”. Bayanzag, literally means “rich in saxual trees”. This tree only grows in central Asian Gobi. See the short documentary about 1920-s American excavation. After dinner return to the Bayanzag to see the sunset, find out why area is called Flaming Cliffs. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 6/July 7/ - Ongi Monastery
    Today we will drive to Ongi Monastery ruins through the great steppe which is called Ongi steppe, continues extraordinary 100 km long. Ongi monastery was one of the Mongolian biggest 7 monasteries. There are 2 temple ruins which were built up in 1780s. During repression in 1930s’ these two temples destroyed and many lamas were executed and imprisoned. On the way to Ongi temple ruins we will visit to nomad family and introduced the nomadic life in the Gobi. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 7/July 8/ - Karakorum city and Erdene Zuu monastery
    Our today’s tour takes place on the transition zone from the Gobi desert to mountain steppes. Kharkhorin, formerly known as Karakorum, once was a capital of Chingghis Khaan’s Great Mongol Empire in the 13th century. After the move of Mongolian capital to Beijing, and the fall of the empire, Karakorum was abandoned and then destroyed by Chinese soldiers in 1388. Today, in the wide valley of the Orkhon River, ancient monastery Erdene Zuu coexists with Kharkhorin town. The monastery was built in 1586 by a Mongolian king called Abtai Sain Khaan, and not a single nail used in the construction of the ornate temples. We will visit to newly opened Kharkhorin museum which displays artifacts mostly of Great Mongolian Empire time and Erdene Zuu Monastery complex museum respectively. Dinner will be Mongolian barbecue Khorkhog. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 8/July 9/ - Tsetserleg city and Taikhar rock
    Drive to Tsetserleg town. Short city tour: visit of Zaya Gegeen monastery and the ethnographic museum. Further, drive to Taikhar Rock at the bank of Tamir river and visit of “Deer stones” at Mt. Bulgan. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 9/July 10/ - Tsetserleg city and Naadam festival
    Today we will celebrate the Naadam festival together with local nomads, enjoying three manly competitions: wrestling, archery and horse racing. Naadam festival is celebrated across the country, in all provinces, towns and villages. Naadam represents a great excuse for all Mongolians to put on their traditional dresses and get into traditional festivity acts like singing, dancing, eating and drinking. In the evenings, meals are accompanied with ancient songs, legends and stories about great horses, strong man and their deeds, just like the third day of the festival, mostly reserved to merry-making. And pointing on this, the meals served during the festival are also a good reason to head there. You’ll be able to taste Khuushuur a delicious kind of fried meat dumpling; Mongolian-style meat, bread and dried curds, among other traditional food, all accompanied with tea and bowls of the traditional Airag – Mongolian alcoholic drink made from fermented mare’s milk. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 10/July 11/ - Khorgo and Terkh national park
    Drive to Khorgo-Terkh National Park. This day Naadam continues and on the way we will have the chance to see the nomads celebrating the festivities. After arriving at Khorgo –Terkh National Park, climb up to the top of extinct volcano Khorgo, the top view is amazing. The Khorgo crater, situated at an altitude of 2.210 meters with a diameter of 20 meters and depth of 70 to 80 meters, approximately 8000 years ago volcanic lava flooded the valleys nearby which are covered today with small forests of Siberian larch and a great variety of berries and flowers. Terkh White Lake is an astonishingly beautiful lake with crystal clear fresh water and surrounded by spectacular scenery of plants, forests, mountains, and fauna. Area offers fun activities such as hiking, horse riding, mountain climbing, fishing and swimming. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 11/July 12/ - Khorgo and Terkh national park
    First half of day we will spend exploring the surroundings, hiking around the lake shore and photographing. Second half of day is devoted to horse riding. Mongolia is definitely the greatest place to ride horse. With a less than 1.6 m shoulder height, Mongolian horses might look like ponies by Westerners. However, Mongol horses are very strong with amazing stamina that make them the best horse breed perfectly suites harsh weather and nomadic way of life. This horse riding tour takes you to an inspiring part of the country, letting you to gallop freely through the breathtakingly beautiful National Park’s area and our horse riding activity suitable from beginners to advanced riders. You will meet your local horse-guide and horses at the White lake where they will give helpful guidance for your riding adventure. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 12/July 13/ - Ugii lake
    Today we will drive to Ogii Lake, which covers 27 sq.km areas, average depth is 6.64m and has length of 23.5m. The lake is abundant in various types of fish and birds, which create an incredible natural beauty. Ogii Lake is known as the one of the best lakes for fishing and delicate sand, whetstone coast and the soft waves makes very pleasant for boat adventure. Stay overnight in Ger camp.
  • Day 13/July 14/ - Khustai nuruu national park
    Drive to Khustai National Park – is the site of re-introduction scheme of Przewalski’s horse, by Mongolian’s called Tahki. It became extinct in the wild in the 1960’s, and since 1992 has been successfully re – introduced to Hustai and other parts of Mongolia, from zoos around the world. Arrive at the Hustai National Park, visit Takhi’s small museum and leisure hiking in the surrounding mountains while you searching to see wild horse Tahki. Continue our way to Nomad family, which they live just outside of the National Park. Arrive at nomad family, meet the family members, and you will be welcomed lunch and tea. Then rest of the day you will spend to learn and to experience nomad people’s daily lifestyle and duties, including milking cows and sheeps, bringing the herds from pasture, producing dairy products, helping & cooking Mongolian authentic dish with help of hostess etc. Stay overnight in the Nomad family Ger.
  • Day 14/July 15/ - Ulaanbaatar city capital city of Mongolia
    In the morning after breakfast, drive to Ulaanbaatar. Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, and you will be transferred to your accommodation. End of tour.
  • Day 15/July 16/ - Home sweet home
    Leave Ulaanbaatar. Our driver drop off to Chinggis Khan international airport. Thank you for visiting our country
Essentials
Tour route
  • Day 1 - Ulaanbaatar
    Distance: n/a
    Time: n/a
  • Day 2 - Ulaanbaatar > Baga Gazar
    Distance: 300km
    Time: 4 hours
  • Day 3 - Baga Gazar > Yol valley
    Distance: 460km
    Time: 6 hours
  • Day 4 - Yol valley > Khongor sand dunes
    Distance: 200km
    Time: 5 hours
  • Day 5 - Khongor sand dunes > Bayanzag
    Distance: 180km
    Time: 4 hours
  • Day 6 - Bayanzag > Ongi monastery
    Distance: 140km
    Time: 3 hours
  • Day 7 - Ongi monastery > Karakorum
    Distance: 280km
    Time: 6 hours
  • Day 8 - Karakorum > Taikhar rock
    Distance: 150km
    Time: 3 hours
  • Day 8 - Karakorum > Tsesterleg
    Distance: 30km
    Time: 30 minute
  • Day 9 - Naadam festival
    Distance: n/a
    Time: n/a
  • Day 10 - Tsetserleg > Khorgo and Terkh
    Distance: 170km
    Time: 3 hours
  • Day 11 -Horse riding
    Distance: n/a
    Time: n/a
  • Day 12 - Khorgo and Terkh > Ugii lake
    Distance: 300km
    Time: 5 hours
  • Day 13 - Ugii lake > Khustai nuruu
    Distance: 260km
    Time: 5 hours
  • Day 14 - Khustai nuruu > Ulaanbaatar
    Distance: 100km
    Time: 2 hours
  • Day 15 - Home sweet home
    Distance: n/a
    Time: n/a
Photos
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