1 612 869 8502 

Mongolia Gobi Desert and Naadam Festival


10 days 9 nights

Code MGDN-1

Category Mongolia Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-16 Persons
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Trip Starts From Ulaanbaatar
  • Trip Ends At Ulaanbaatar
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Ulaanbaatar Yol Valley Hongoryn Els Bayanzag Gorkhi Terelj NP Hustai National Park
Dates & Prices

Overview

9-20 July 2022

For many, Mongolia is the land of Chinggis Khan, but it's much more than that. Bordered by Russia in the north and by China from all three remaining sides, Mongolia is the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. Mongolia is an exotic destination for travelers with minimal arable land but vast grasslands with snow-capped mountains in the north and the west and the west and the famous Gobi Desert to the south. Still, more than 30% of the population live a nomadic or semi-nomadic life in the ger camps and ride horses. The majority of the people are of Mongol ethnicity and practice Tibetan Buddhism.

The Naadam Festival and the Gobi desert are the highlights of this trip. First, we explore the local attractions of Ulaanbaatar and join the Naadam festival for two days (11th and 12th July). Naadam festival of Ulaanbaatar is the largest festival in Mongolia. Naadam means 'game', and the festival showcases three popular traditional sports of Mongolia: wrestling, horse racing, and archery. There will be an elaborate opening ceremony on the first day (11th Jul), followed by wrestling, archery, and horse racing. The horse racing field is on the outskirt of the city.

After the festival, we travel to the Gobi desert-a dream destination for many travelers! We have three days to explore the vast Gobi desert. We hike the granite mountain faces and cliffs polished by erosion over thousands of years, massive dunes, and the majestic 'flaming cliffs' where many dinosaurs' eggs and skeletons were found, and experience the nomadic lifestyle. We will also have an opportunity to meet the local nomadic families and experience their hospitality. The trip also offers the opportunity for optional activities such as double-hump camel riding and horse riding. 

We will take a flight back to Ulaanbaatar and visit the Terelj National Park with forested alpine mountains and gigantic rock formations. We also see the large Chinggis Khan Statue complex and the 13th Century Camp-the two latest addition to tourist attractions of Mongolia not to be missed. The final destination is the Hustai National Park where we see the wild-horses.

Trip Cost (Land+ Internal Air)

US$ 2999 per person  on double sharing 
US$  680 private room/ger supplement.

Trip cost does not include international airfare.

Trip Date

9-18 Jul 2022

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Meet the group today

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar on your own. Let us know if you need any help with international airfare booking. After clearing immigration and custom, meet your guide and driver at the arrival gate and transfer to the hotel in the city (11 miles, 35 minutes).

Take rest to recover travel fatigue. If you arrive in time, join the group over dinner at 6 p.m.

Overnight: Blue Sky Tower Hotel
Meals : Dinner
Day 02~Sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast, your guide and driver will take you for sightseeing of Ulaanbaatar. The first stop will be at the Gandan Monastery that is the largest and most famous functioning monastery in Mongolia; here you may experience the monks in worship and see the impressive Golden Buddha Statue of Migjid Janraisig.

Next, visit the Chinggis Khan Square, in the central square of the city. The center of the square has an equestrian statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar, one of the leaders of Mongolia's 1921 revolution and actually, the square was named after him from 2013 to 2016. The square also features monuments of Chinggis Khan, as well as to Ögedei Khan, and Kublai Khan in the square's north side and in front of the government palace called Saaral Ordon.

Now, visit the National Museum of Mongolia, located on the west side of the palace. The museum exhibits prehistory, pre-Mongol empire history, Mongol empire, Mongolia during Qing rule, ethnography and traditional life, and the twentieth-century history of Mongolia 

The other two attractions nearby are Bogd Khan Palace Museum and Zaisan Memorial. The Bogd Khan Palace Museum is one of the few Ulaanbaatar historical attractions not destroyed by the Soviet and Mongolian communists. It used to be a winter residence of the last Bogd Khaan of Mongolia, Javzandamba. Among the museum's exhibits are sculptures by Mongolia's first Bogd Khaan Zanabazar, the famous Taras. The museum has 21 invaluable sculptures of Taras.

In the evening, enjoy Deeltei Mongol Festival in Chinggis Khan Square that comprises the folk art concert, parade-show by people in the traditional dresses, circus performance, ankle-bone shooting contest and fair of Mongolian national clothes, Mongolian ger - domestic dwelling, handcrafts, and carvings.

Overnight: Blue Sky Tower Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Join the Naadam Festival

Today we spend a full day at the Naadam Festival Opening Ceremony. We get to observe the elaborate opening ceremony which consists of local dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians. The festival celebrates Mongolia's independence and its rich cultural heritage with a celebration of sports and entertainment in Ulaanbaatar. The distinctly Mongolian feel and flair of the Naadam Festival make it a magnificent spectacle, a joyous time, and an unusual cultural event. Colorful ceremonies and parading soldiers kick off the celebrations.There also will be the first round of wrestling, archery, and ankle bone shooting competitions. Until now, wrestlers are only men, but you can see both male and female archers.

Later in the afternoon, the crowd shifts to Khui Doloo-where the horse racing tournament takes place. The horse racing is cross-country type, and the race course is 10 to 20 miles long, and the horse completes the course based on their age. The youngest horse runs the shortest distance. Interestingly, the jockeys are children and youths between 5 to 13 years old. There is a lot of singing and music during the race.

Overnight: Ramada Hotel or similar 4*
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~ By flight to South Gobi

This morning, we fly over the vast steppe to the Gobi Desert, Mongolia’s southernmost province of semi-arid desert. Meet your local guide and driver upon arrival and then transfer by a 4WD vehicle to the Yol Valley in Gurvansaikhan National Park, situated in the lap of the Altai Mountains. On the way to the lodge, you will stop to visit the local Natural History Museum for an insight into flora and fauna of the area.

This valley is nestled deep within the hills and is a haven to get away from the desert heat. Some areas of the valley are in the shade, and so the iceblocks don't melt away until summer, sometimes. It is vast at the entrance and narrows gradually into a remarkable gorge. You will get to see wild animals such as ibex and wild sheep and the vulture. You can hike on foot or go horseback or camel riding around the area to the gorge. (Horseback ride costs US$ 8-10 with the lead).

Check into your ger tent accommodation. Today and the next two days, we will explore the vast Gobi. It is the habitat of the Bactrian Camels, Argali mountain sheep, Golden Eagles, Jerboas- which resembles the Kangaroo rats, Saker Falcons, and more. You may also take a scenic hike through the valley to discover the habitat of the indigenous vulture-like Lammergeyers, Altai snow cocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep

Overnight: Dream Gobi Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~The Singing Sand Dunes of Khongoryn Els

After breakfast, we proceed on a scenic drive to Khongoryn Els (125 miles, four hours) with an occasional stop for photography.

You will have time to settle into your yurt and take rest before you proceed for the exploration of the dunes. If you are not exhausted from a long drive, you can attempt climbing the dune wall. The view from the top is rewarding!

Khongoryn Els or Khongor Sand Dunes are some of the largest and most spectacular dunes in Mongolia. Also known as the Duut Mankhan (Singing Dunes – from the sound they make when the wind moves the sand ), they are up to 984 ft high 7.5 miles wide and about 62.5 long. The largest dune is at the northwestern corner of the range. From afar, the dunes look painted on the southern horizon in front of those gorgeous granite mountains. There is also a beautiful green oasis known as Seruun Bulag near the Khongor River.

Next, we visit a nearby nomadic family and take a look inside their traditional dwelling. The family treats us with camel cheese and yak milk tea. You can rent a camel and explore the area around it. Each summer, they bring their livestock to graze on a pasture close to the Khongoryn River and offer camel rides. Visiting such a family provides unique insights into the local way of life. (Camel ride costs $7 or $8, not included in the trip cost).

Overnight: Gobi Erdene Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~The Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag

After breakfast, we leave for Bayanzag. It's a long day drive today and can take up to 5 hours, but it's a scenic drive through the vast land. We will occasionally stop for photography and to watch the birds and the animals of the area.

We check in our camp, wash, and change, and after lunch, we drive to visit the Flaming Cliff. The place was named as 'Flaming Cliffs' by Roy Chapman Andrews, an American explorer who searched throughout the Mongolian Gobi Desert and found dinosaur skeleton and eggs for the first time in Asia. The red cliff gleams with sunlight and is visible from far away. We will take a short walk on the ridge of the cliff and look for the pieces of Dinosaur Bones. We will drive a little further to see the saxaul trees that contributed to the name Bayanzag. Bayanzag means rich in saxaul.

Overnight: Dream Gobi Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~ By flight to Ulaanbaatar and Gorkhi Terelj National Park

After early morning breakfast, we take a flight to Dalanzadgad airport in South Gobi. The airport is 75 miles, and we should allow about 2-hours from the camp.

Upon arrival at the Ulaanbaatar airport, meet your driver and then proceed on a scenic drive to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. This unforgettable excursion will take you to features such as unique rock formations, beautiful valleys, a winding river, and restful groves of trees. Many nomads live in the park itself, where they find lush grazing land for their animals. You will take a tour in the park and visit the notable rocks called "The Turtle rock," and "Monk reading a book."

You will visit the Aryabal meditation center located inside the mountains to learn more about Mongolian Buddhism. Check in your ger camp and tour to Terelj National park on foot or rent a horse which costs less than $ 10/hour.

Overnight: Terelj Lodge Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Chinggis Khan Statue and the wild horses

After breakfast, we bid farewell to our camp and leave for Hustai National Park. First, we take a detour of Chinggis Khan statue. The 40 m ( 131 feet) tall statue is an iconic landmark of the area and is visible from far away. Late afternoon, we continue our travel to Hustai National Park (96 miles) renowned for the successful reintroduction of the wild horses.

After we settle into our yurt, our guide and driver will take us for a short ride in the park to explore the wildlife. Of course, the only main attraction here are the herds of wild horses, called Przewalski's horses (Equus przewalskii). Locals call them "Takhi." It became extinct in the wild in 1969 and, since 1992, has been successfully re-introduced in Hustai NP from zoos around the world. It has been an international effort monitored by The Foundation for the Przewalskii Horse, based in the Netherlands and MACNE (Mongolian Association for Conservation of Nature and the Environment).

The national park boasts rolling steppe mountains with rather large patches of birch and aspen forests. There are also visible remains of Neolithic graves. Also, red deer (Cervus elaphus) and the wolf (Canis lupus) have increased quite a bit during the last few years, as well as Mongolian gazelle. Species existing in Hustai but rarely seen include Lynx, Argali Sheep, and Roe Deer.

Overnight: Mongol Nomadic Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 09~ A free day in Ulaanbaatar

After a leisurely morning breakfast, we retrace our drive to Ulaanbaatar (1.5 hour). Check in hotel and rest of the day is free for shopping or other personal interests.

Overnight: Ramada Hotel or similar 4*
Meals : Breakfast
Day 10~ Depart Ulaanbaaar

Transfer to the airport in time for the flight back home or extend your trip.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Four nights four-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
  • Five nights in traditional ger camp with en suite gers.
  • Three meals a day, as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All entrance fees.
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Transportation by 4WD vehicle.
  • Internal airfare roundrip(Ulanbaatar-South Gobi-Ulaanbaatar).
  • English speaking local tour guide.
  • Daily supply of drinking water.

Trip Does Not Include

  • International airfare.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone, internet usage, and other personal expenses.  
  • Extra expenses due to nature and unforeseen events such as flight cancellation, delays, inclement weather, personal health, etc.
  • Optional additional activity cost.
  • Excess baggage charge, airport taxes, and fee.

Trip Difficulty Level

This trip is a moderate adventure and so travelers with an average health condition can join this trip but must be prepared for the long drive on unpaved or gravel roads. We use 4WD vehicles for all transfers and tours, and there will be occasional stops on a long day drive. The trip offers some optional activities such as camel riding, horseback riding, dune hiking, etc. 

Although no extreme adventures are involved, this is also not a luxury trip. You should be willing to walk, hike, and prepared for long drives on different road conditions. Outside Ulaanbaatar, roads are unpaved, so they are bumpy and can be dusty as well. Please bring the pollution mask to protect your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling the dust.

Although the trip is not challenging, you will enjoy the journey if you are fit. If you do not lead an active life, please start some exercises several weeks before the trip. Engage yourself in hiking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or aerobics for 25-30 minutes a day.

Transportation

In Ulaanbaatar, we will use a well-conditioned minibus, which is usually Hyundai County or Toyota Coaster or similar. In South Gobi and other areas where roads are mostly unpaved, we use 4WD vehicles such as Mitsubishi Delica or Land Cruisers.

Vehicles

  • Mitshubishi Delica
  • Toyota Landcruiser
  • Coaster Bus

Guide:

Our tours are led by experienced local guides who are proficient in English and have good knowledge of history, culture, and religion of Mongolia. Guides in different cities can be different persons.

Climate and weather

The weather is mild, generally dry throughout the central and southern areas. It can be still cold in the northern mountainous regions. The temperature in the steppe averages around 66°F, and may fall to 50°F, or below, at night. In the Gobi, temperatures in summer average 85-95°F; however, the nights can get quite chilly. In the mountains, temperatures will be lower with the increase of the altitude. July and August receive rains in the northern and southern areas, but it is brief and shouldn't affect the tours.
The winter begins in October and lasts through April and is not the best time to travel to the north.

Passport and Visa:

The remaining validity of your passport must be at least six months on the last day of the tour. Please, also make sure you are not running out of blank visa pages for entry and departure seals. American citizens don't need a visa for Mongolia for up to 30 days.

Booking and payment schedule

We request a deposit of US$ 300 along with a completed application and a passport scan to secure your place on the trip. You can pay the deposit by check or credit card. The balance payment is due 90 days before departure. The payment schedule may vary with customized and private trips on case to case basis. Balance payment by credit card attracts an additional 3 to 3.5% fee. A credit card holder also must be the traveler.

Cancellation and refund

If you need to withdraw from the trip, please, notify us in writing by email or fax. Below is the cancellation policy of Far & High. 

Ninety days before departure: US$ 150 (Administrative Fee).
Sixty-Eighty-nine days before departure: US$ 250 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
Forty-five days to Fifty-nine days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
Thirty days to Forty-four days before departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
Less than Thirty days: 100%.

If the airfare cancellation fee is subject to the airline policies.

Accomodation

Your accommodation in Ulaanbaatar City will be at Ramada Hotel or similar four start hotel which is centrally located and ensures all modern amenities and comfort. Outside Ulaanbaatar, your accommodation will be in traditional style ger camps with en suite gers. The gers are made of latticed wood and covered with felt and canvas layers. The gers are well furnished with colorful wood framed furniture and heated by the wood stove. Dining hall and western style toilet are located in the main building. Hot water may be available only certain hours of the day as they are heated in a tank.

The ger camps offers an experience of the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle.

Ramada Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

  • ramada ub
  • ramada ub2
  • ramada ub3

Ger Camp Accommodations

  • Ger Camp
  • A typical Mongolian Ger
  • Ger accommodation

Add Ons

Khuvsgul Lake 3 Nights / 4 Days

US$ 1,290

Khuvsgul Lake

Khuvsgul Lake is situated high at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountains in the northwest of Mongolia near the Russian border. 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. Its watershed is relatively small, and it only has small tributaries. It gets drained at the south end by the Egiin Gol, which connects to the Selenge and ultimately into Lake Baikal.

The lake area is abundant with argali sheep, ibex, bear, sable, moose and wolves. Khuvsgul lake area is the home to Darkhad, Buriat and Tsaatan people who herd reindeer and practice Shamanism. Travelers who visited Khuvsgul Lake have highly recommended trip to the Khuvsgul Lake.

Trip Cost US$ 1290 includes accommodation on double occupancy basis, return airfare from Ulaanbaatar, ger camp accommodation, 3 meals a day, car with driver, English speaking local guide and sightseeing excursions.

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 1 612 869 8502

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