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Witness the pageantry of the Naadam Festival, cheering on the participants alongside the crowds of locals, as they compete in the traditional ‘Three Manly Skills’ – wrestling, archery and horsemanship. Amongst the dramatic landscapes of Mongolia’s steppe, receive a warm welcome from a Mongolian family as they show you around their ger camp home and introduce you to their nomadic life as livestock herders. Immerse yourself in fascinating culture as you enjoy a Mongolian folklore show, featuring old musical traditions such as throat-singing and horsehead fiddles, dancing and performing arts.
- Experience the Naadam Festival
- Explore at the Gobi Desert
- Visit Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
- Venture to the Singing Sand Dunes
- See Erdene Zuu Monastery
- Admire the steppe grasslands
- 13 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 13 dinners
- International flights and current taxes
- Domestic transportation
- 4 star accommodation, plus ger camps
- Touring with guides and entrance fees
- Visa fees for UK & EU passport holder
Days 1-2: Fly to Ulaanbaatar
Fly overnight to Mongolia’s chaotic and cosmopolitan capital, Ulaanbaatar. Depending on your time of arrival the rest of the day is yours to start soaking up the local culture.
Day 3: Discover Ulaanbaatar
Start your explorations with a visit to the 19th-century Gandan, Mongolia’s largest and most important monastery, before exploring the National Museum of Mongolia, Genghis Khan Square and the Zaisan Hill Memorial. Tonight, enjoy a Mongolian barbeque accompanied by a cultural performance that includes traditional throat and ‘long song’ singers.
Day 4: Visit a true Mongolian Wrestling Camp
Travel to a training camp to learn all about an essential element of Mongolian culture and one of the ‘Three Manly Skills’ (the skills Genghis Khan believed essential for any Mongol warrior) – wrestling. Watch the athletes practicing and pick up some of the various tricks and techniques! Continue to an archery training camp, the second of the ‘Three Manly Skills’ and observe the archers hard at work with their bows and arrows. This evening, learn the art of cooking a Mongolian barbeque, sitting down to dine on the results with local wrestlers before spending the night in a ger, a traditonal nommadic camp.
Day 5: Explore the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Head to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and soak up the beautiful alpine scenery, visiting the Genghis Khan statue complex en route. Explore Turtle Rock and take an easy hike up to the Aryabal Monastery, perched on the mountainside. Also visit a local family to get a glimpse of their nomadic lifestyle. Spend the night in a ger camp.
Day 6: Enjoy the unique Nadaam Festival
As the preparations for the Naadam Festival reach their climax, visit Hui Doloon Khudag (horse racing field) for a glimpse at the third of the ‘Three Manly Skills’, horsemanship. Return to Ulaanbaatar where, in the Central Square, you can view the colourful Naadam costumes that are on display. In the afternoon explore the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan and enjoy some free time to do some shopping for local handicrafts.
Day 7:Witness the Nadaam Festival Opening Ceremony
Mix with the locals and nomads alike to witness the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival. Watch the procession of the athletes, officials and monks in their extravagant costumes, all accompanied by traditional music and dancing. This is a festival like no other and no doubt, one of the main highlights of the trip! Cheer on the competitors in the first rounds on the wrestling and archery this afternoon, before an evening at the Naadam Traditional Folk Gala Show.
Day 8: Nadaam Festival Highlights
Travel to Khustain National Park for a thrilling morning of cross-country horseracing. Watch the events alongside the locals and revel in the carnival-like atmosphere. In the early afternoon head to the exciting wrestling events where over 1,000 wrestlers meet in a single elimination tournament that lasts nine or ten rounds. Spend the night in a ger in Khustain National Park.
Day 9: Head off on a wildlife expedition
Head off in 4WD vehicles at dawn for a wildlife spotting expedition, keeping an eye out for Mongolia’s famous wild horses as well as deer, gazelles and birds. Return to the ger camp for breakfast before travelling on to Kharkhorin. Mongolia’s former capital is situated on the Orkhon River, a spot handpicked by Ganghis Khan in 1220. The city remained Mongolia’s political, cultural and economic hub for only 40 years before power was transferred to Khanbaliq – now Beijing. After the collapse of the Mongolian Empire, the city was abandoned to the elements and destroyed by roving soldiers until its remains were used to build Erdene Zuu Khiid – which we visit today. The area around tonight’s ger camp is known for its scenic valley surrounds and horse-trekking.
Day 10: Travel to Ongiin Khiid
Travel through wild, grassy steppe to Ongiin Khiid and explore the atmospheric ruins of Barlim Khiid and Khutagt Khiid. Your guides will set up your ger camp close to the peaceful Ongii River whilst you visit a nearby Mongolian family to learn about their lifestyle and taste the delicious products made from their livestock’s milk.
Day 11: Adventure to the Khongoryn Els Dunes
Embark on a 4WD adventure to Khongoryn Els and explore Mongolia’s largest sand dunes, also known as the ‘Singing Sand Dunes’. Enjoy the beauty of these stark landscapes and for those who are feeling adventurous, climb to the top for fantastic views, which will be well worth it! There’s also the chance to ride a two-humped camel through the dunes – a true Mongolian desert experience.
Day 12: Visit the Flaming Clffs
Enjoy a leisurely morning before transferring to Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Immerse yourself in natural beauty of jagged mountains, undulating sand dunes and a valley that is snow-capped for most of the year and hike through the magnificent Yolyn Am Gorge. Continue by 4WD to Bayanzag, more commonly known as the ‘Flaming Cliffs’, an area made up of peaks and canyons in a striking fiery red and orange sandstone.
Day 13: Visit a true dinosaur cemetery
This morning, visit the dinosaur cemetery, a small part of an area of palaeontological importance thanks to the vast number of dinosaur fossils that have been found here – even the amateur eye can spot them as you wander through the canyon. Hike a little further into the spectacular landscapes before travelling on to Baga Gazriin Chuluu, a series of granite formations in the Middle Gobi region.
Day 14: Explore the mystic Tsorjiin Khureenii Monastery
Travel back to Ulaanbaatar, stopping off to discover the atmospheric ruins of Tsorjiin Khureenii in its magnificent setting. This evening, enjoy a traditional folklore performance and a farewell dinner.
Day 15: Fly back to UKFly to the UK, arriving home later the same day
Journey through the less-discovered land of Genghis Khan, traversing endless plains and seeing sights of immeasurable beauty. Including three exciting days at the Naadam Festival, expect many long drives.
Please note, prices listed are guide prices only and are based on 2 people sharing and don't include any additional supplements. Holiday prices are fluid and dynamic and may be changed at a moment's notice, prior to booking, at which point they are confirmed. Please call the team free on 0800 707 6229 for more departure dates available and a quote.
32 Years experience
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