The Naadam Festival of Mongolia

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    Naadam means games. Naadam originally was a way to train men to the military skill: every soldier had to be able to ride fast, shoot arrows and wrestle with enemies during combat. In Mongolia, with its scarce population and nomadic ways, where individual herders live far apart from each other it was important to come together from time to time for training. That is why the Naadam often referred to as 3 manly sports: horse racing, archery and wrestling. As time passed it became a way to celebrate important events and not necessarily the same men were participating in all three sports. July 11 and 12th commemorate regaining of Mongolian independence in 1921.

    During Naadam even a city dweller puts on his best traditional costume and joins everyone else to celebrate these games. In these games the fame and honor are more important than the prizes. There is no betting involved in any of the sports. Join us to witness this colorful festival where best of the athletes and archers, fastest of horses from around the country come together and compete for three days for the honor of being named the best of the best.

    Brief Daily Itinerary

    Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

    Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at hotel.

    Day 2. Hustai Nuruu National Park

    Begin the day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Here, you will learn about Mongolia’s Buddhist heritage. Next, drive to the Hustai Nuruu National Park to explore world’s only true wild horse, takhi. Overnight in gers.

    Day 3. Hustai Nuruu / Lake Hovsgol

    In the morning, we will transfer to the airport for our morning flight to the Lake Hovsgol. Upon arrival, meet your guide and transfer to the lake. Overnight in gers.

    Day 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. Overnight in gers.

    Day 5. Lake Hovsgol / Ulaanbaatar

    In the morning, we will begin our journey driving back to Ulaanbaatar. Overnight at hotel.

    Day 6 – 7. Naadam Festival

    Enjoy two full days in the city, attending the Naadam festival games, consisting of wrestling, archery and horse racing. Overnight at hotel.

    Day 8. Ulaanbaatar / Gobi Desert

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure south to the Gobi desert. In the afternoon, drive to the Yol Valley located in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Overnight in gers.

    Day 9. 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. In the evening, we will drive to the Flaming Cliffs, red sandstone bluffs stretching about 3 km in wide, where hundreds of dinosaur fossils have been found. Overnight in gers.

    Day 10. Ulaanbaatar

    In the morning, we will transfer to the airport for our return flight back to Ulaanbaatar for our last day of exploration. Overnight at hotel.

    Day 11. Departure

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure.

    Trip Highlights:

    • Explore Lake Hovsgol, the mid-western Mongolia and Gobi desert;
    • Visit ethnic Mongolians along the way;
    • Explore the national parks of Mongolia;
    • Enjoy hiking in the mountains and the desert, in search of cultural heritage and wildlife;
    • Attend the Naadam Festival upclose and personal;
    • Experience and share Mongolia’s most popular holiday.


    Trip Date:

    July 6 – 16, 2023

    2-5 travelers:

     $3,450 per person, double occupancy

    6-9 travelers:

    $3,250 per person, double occupancy

    Based on 10 and more travelers:

    $3,200 per person, double occupancy

    Domestic flight:

    $490 per person.

    Optional single supplement:

    $550 per person.



    Hotel Shangri-La Ulaanbaatar

    Hotel Shangri-La Ulaanbaatar is conveniently located in downtown Ulaanbaatar and is a 5 start hotel with a friendly staff. All major atractions of UB are located with a walking distance of the hotel.


    Ger camps

    Throughout the most part of your itinerary, you will stay at tourist standard ger camp, rustic, eco lodges. Most past travelers said ger camp experiences are pleasant and one of the most memorable part of the travelers.


    Land Transportation:

    Land transportation is provided by Toyota Land Cruiser jeeps seating  3 passangers per vehicle. Some roads can be bumby and hard but our drivers are some of the most experienced and reliable in the country.