Trip Summary

Every summer, Mongolians celebrate their age-old festival known as Naadam. One of the chief events of Naadam is horse racing. For the competition, nomads begin training their fastest horses several weeks in advance. The horses are ridden daily by their jockeys so that they can shed any unnecessary weight. These jockeys are children aged between 8-16. During the training rides and the race itself, they shout a special war-like song called Giingoo, known as the horse song. When Mongolians hear this song over the grassland, everyone is excited and humbled.

The journey begins at Lake Hovsgol, where you will have the opportunity to ride and camp under the stars. Then, visit Central Mongolia to gain exclusive access to the horse trainers’ camps and learn how horses are trained for the Naadam Festival. The journey continues in the Gobi Desert, where children can enjoy a camel riding experience and hunt for dinosaur fossils at the legendary Flaming Cliffs.

Trip Highlights


  • Experience the pristine beauty of one of Mongolia’s largest and most picturesque lakes;
  • Enjoy horseback riding and camping under the starlit sky, surrounded by stunning landscapes;
  • Visit horse trainers’ camps and witness firsthand the meticulous preparation for the Naadam Festival;
  • Discover the battlegrounds of the 1939 war with Japan known as the “Nomunkhan incident”;
  • Learn about the ancient art of horse training and the significance of the Giingoo horse song;
  • Experience the unique thrill of riding camels across the vast desert;
  • Explore the legendary Flaming Cliffs, renowned for their rich deposits of dinosaur fossils.


  • Adventure Seekers looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience filled with exciting outdoor activities and exploration.
  • Cultural Enthusiasts eager to learn about Mongolian traditions, particularly the Naadam Festival and the nomadic way of life.
  • Families with children will enjoy unique experiences tailored for younger travelers, such as camel riding and fossil hunting.
  • Nature Lovers who appreciate stunning landscapes, from the serene Lake Hovsgol to the dramatic expanses of the Gobi Desert.
  • History Enthusiasts interested in ancient history will be thrilled by the opportunity to hunt for dinosaur fossils and explore historical sites.

Trip Map & Itinerary

Day 1. July 2. Arrival

Upon arrival at Chinggis Khan International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. After a brief rest, embark on a city tour, including a visit to Zaisan Hill for a panoramic view of the city. This Soviet-era relic is a local hangout spot. Conclude your day with a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at Hotel Bayangol or a similar accommodation. (D)

Day 2. July 3. Ulaanbaatar / Lake Hovsgol

In the morning, we will transfer to the airport for our morning flight to Lake Hovsgol, Mongolia’s largest fresh water lake and the headwaters of Lake Baikal in Russia. Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to the lake. Overnight in gers. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 3. July 4. Horseback riding

After breakfast, enjoy a full day of horseback riding along the lakeshore. We will start riding south and return to the camp from its northern direction by making a large loop. There will be plenty of opportunities to stop and explore the local flora and fauna along the route. Overnight in gers. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 4-5, July 5-6: Bulgan Province/ Horse Breeder Family

Drive south to Bulgan province, celebrated for its horses and scenic forested mountains. Overnight in tents. Spend the day with a horse breeder family, immersing in their life and culture. Overnight in tents. (Tent Camp; B, L, D)

Day 6. July 7. Kharakhorum / Naadam Festival

In the morning, head south to Kharakhorum, the 13th-century capital of Mongolia. Visit Erdenezuu Monastery and nearby archaeological sites. The next day, immerse in the Naadam Festival, where Mongolians showcase archery, horse racing, and wrestling. The specific Naadam dates vary, ensuring participation in the most suitable games. Overnight in gers. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 7-9, July 8-10: Delgerkhangai soum

Drive southeast to Delgerkhangai soum and camp with a host herder family for the next several days. Observe their racehorse training daily and have the opportunity to ride. Overnight in tents. (Tent camp; B, L, D)

Day 10. July 11. Dalanzadgad city

Bid farewell to the host family and drive south to Dalanzadgad, the provincial capital of South Gobi province. In the afternoon, head to Yol Valley in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, known for its diverse wildlife. Stroll through the valley, enjoy a picnic lunch, and return to the ger camp in the evening. Overnight in gers. (Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 11. July 12. Havtsgait Petroglyphs / Flaming Cliffs

In the morning, explore the Havtsgait Petroglyphs, an amazing collection of early Bronze Age rock carvings located on the top of a mountain. Transfer to the ger camp near Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. In the evening, visit the Flaming Cliffs, known for dinosaur fossils. Paleontological expeditions from various countries have made significant discoveries here. Return to the ger camp in the evening. Overnight in gers. (Approx. 4 hours driving; Ger Camp; B, L, D)

Day 12. July 13. Ulaanbaatar

In the morning, we will transfer to the airport for our return flight back to Ulaanbaatar for our last day of exploration. Spend the remainder of the day for last- minute shopping and sightseeing. In the evening, enjoy a cultural performance featuring the khoomii or “throat” singing followed by a hearty farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. (Hotel Bayangol or similar; B, L, D)

Day 13. July 14. Departure ( Breakfast included)


2 participants; standard twin occupancy;
$3,840 per person
Optional single supplement: $400 per person; (including a single tent)
Domestic flight: $230 per person
3-5 participants; standard twin occupancy;
$3,650 per person
Optional single supplement: $400 per person; (including a single tent)
Domestic flight: $230 per person
6-9 participants; standard twin occupancy;
$3,250 per person
Optional single supplement: $400 per person; (including a single tent)
Domestic flight: $230 per person
  • Land transportation as indicated in the itinerary based on using a mini van;
  • Accommodation at hotel and standard ger camps throughout;
  • Airport arrival & departure transfers;
  • All meals indicated as B, L or D;
  • All entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary;
  • Camel and horse riding fees;
  • English speaking guide throughout your stay;
  • One soda per person per meal;
  • A bottled water per person per day.
  • Domestic flights; International airfare;
  • Personal laundry;
  • Drinks not mentioned in the itinerary;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Medical evacuation costs;
  • Excess baggage charges;
  • Visa fees;
  • Gratuities;
  • Photography and video fees;
  • Any other item not mentioned as included.

Photos & Review

I had the trip of my dreams with the incredible people at Mongolia Quest! I absolutely recommend them to anyone considering a trip to Mongolia without hesitation. I began planning my trip in late 2019, early 2020, but my plans were delayed until this June because of COVID. From the get go, the company’s amazing founder Gerel, carefully listened to my desired destinations and put together the most amazing itinerary for me; truly, the trip of a life time! Most importantly for me, he sent me a 30 page list of recommended books on Mongolia, its history, religions, and culture, with a brief synopsis for each!! He’s a learned man who loves his country and that makes a huge difference, in my opinion. He also paired me with my incredible travel mates, Temuu and Doghi, for a breath-taking experience that I will never forget. If you’re thinking about going to Mongolia, don’t think twice, go and go with Mongolia Quest! 
~ Asieh Nariman, USA


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