1 612 869 8502 

Mongolia Gobi Desert with Naadam Festival

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Camel Ride
based on 1 review(s)

12 days 11 nights

Code MCT164-2

Category Mongolia Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-16 Person
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Trip Starts From Ulaanbaatar
  • Trip Ends At Ulaanbaatar
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Ulaanbaatar Hustai National Park Baga Gazariin Chuluu Tsagaan Suvarga Yol Valley Hongoryn Els Bayanzag Gorkhi Terelj NP 13th Century Complex
Dates & Prices
Please, contact us for the price and the dates for this trip


9 Jul 2021

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. With minimal arable land but vast grasslands with snow-capped mountains in the north and the west and the famous Gobi Desert to the south, Mongolia is an exotic destination for the travelers. 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). The Naadam festival of Ulaanbaatar is the largest in Mongolia. Naadam means 'game', and the festival showcases three favorite 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 visit Hustai National Park, where the major attractions are the wild horses called Przewalski horses or takhi by locals. Now, we travel overland to the Gobi desert- a dream destination for many travelers! We spend five days exploring the vast Gobi desert. We will hike the granite mountain rock faces and cliffs polished by erosion over thousands of years and massive dunes. And also, walk to the majestic 'flaming cliffs' where many dinosaur eggs and skeleton were found and experience the nomadic lifestyle. We will have the opportunity to meet the local nomadic families and experience their hospitality. The trip also offers the chance 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 make an excursion to the massive Chinggis Khan Statue complex and the 13th Century Camp- the two latest addition to tourist attractions of Mongolia not to be missed.

Trip Cost 

US$ 2950 per person on double occupancy basis.
US$ 590 single room supplement.
Price does not include international airfare.

Trip Date

9-20 Jul 2021

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. This monastery 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 the square was named after him from 2013 to 2016. The place 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 the Qing rule. The museum also exhibits 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 statues of Taras.

The Zaisan memorial lies in the foothills to the south of Ulaanbaatar. The Russians built the monument to commemorate Soviet soldiers fallen in World War Two. A tiled mural lies within the solid ring, which is raised about 5 m above the ground. Zaisan is a popular tourist attraction and one of the highlights of Ulan Bator due to the fantastic views it offers over the city. 

In the evening, enjoy the 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 opening ceremony of Naadam Festival Celebration

Today is the opening day of the three-day-long Naadam festival. After breakfast, we join the Naadam Festival opening ceremony in the National Stadium. Naadam means 'sport,' and the festival showcases three popular traditional sports of Mongolia: wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Naadam is a Mongolian national day-celebrated throughout the country, but the Naadam in Ulaanbaatar is the largest one. Soldiers on horseback, usually dressed in Chinggis Khan warriors’ regalia, with nine white horsetail banners, ride in procession through the city to the center of the National Stadium. It's a thrilling moment as a massive procession, including hundreds of adults and children dressed in traditional costumes representing Mongolia’s different ethnic groups, march into the stadium.

The festival celebrates Mongolia's independence and its rich cultural heritage. The festival has distinctly Mongolian feel and flair, making it a magnificent spectacle, a joyous time, and an unusual cultural event. After the opening ceremony, there 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.

Overnight: Blue Sky Tower Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~ Horse racing in Khoi Doolo and Hustai National Park

Following breakfast, we check out the hotel as we travel to Khui Doloo to see the horse racing, and then we go to Hustai National Park for an overnight stay.

Khui Doloo is the site for horse racing, which is the major part of the Naadam Festival. The horse racing is cross-country type, and the racecourse 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.

Afternoon, we travel to Hustai National Park (40 miles). 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: Moltsog Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~Baga Gazarrin Chuluu

Your Gobi adventure begins today. We have a long day road trip to Baga Gazriin Chuluu (150 miles-5 hours)- a picturesque mountain at an elevation of 5, 743 ft. in the Granite Belt of Mongolia. The erosion polished the rock faces of the cliffs over thousands of years. Some of the lateral entries of the canyon are not very accessible, but most of them offer lovely hiking trails in this rocky maze. 

The area is abundant with wild sheep, ibexes, and rare rodents. Visit Surtiin Am- a narrow canyon with varieties trees, asp, birch, white wicker, and elm trees, as well as the ruin of stone temple and site of two yurts where Buddhist monks lived and meditated since the 17th century.  

Depending on available time and interest, you may visit Bolort Cave with rock images, petroglyphs, and burial mounds. There are also ruins of the 17th-century Choir monastery where monks used to research religious scriptures, ancient medicines, translate Tibetan Buddhist scriptures and publish. The stone inscriptions by the monks who lived here in the 19th century are still intact here.

Overnight: Erdene Ukhaa Ger camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Tsagan Suvarga

Continue travel to Tsagaan Suvarga (131 miles, 5 hours). This stunning area has 198 ft high and 1312 ft long white limestone formation created over thousands of years by natural wind.

You can spend one or two hours hiking around. It is well worth the climb to the top as it provides you with excellent views of the beautiful rock formations created by the wind.

If you have time, visit an impressive 230 ft long cave-  Khevtee Bosoo Agui (Lime and Stand Cave). Another attraction nearby is Del uul (Back Mountain) for seeing rock drawings of Bronze Age, which are claimed to be the largest site of Rock drawings in Central Asia.

Overnight: Tsagaan suvarga Ger camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Yol Valley

After breakfast, we leave for Yol Valley in South Gobi (168 miles, 6 hours). Nestled between the beautiful peaks of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountain in the foothills of the Altai Mountains, Yol Valley is a popular destination in South Gobi. An ancient river carved this surprisingly green valley, and its remnant streams create ice formations at the base of the valley that we can sometimes see until as late as July. 

We will take a hike through the valley that leads to the habitat of indigenous vulture-like Lammergeiers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep. You can also rent a horse for $7 or $8 (includes the lead) if you do not want to walk.

The balance of the day is at leisure.

Overnight: Gobi Mirage Tourist Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Hongoryn Els (The Singing Sand Dunes)

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 09~Bayanzag- the Flaming Cliffs

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: Mongolian Gobi Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Gorkhi Terelj National Park

After early morning breakfast, leave for the airport in Dalanzadgad (75 miles, 2 hrs.).Upon arrival at Ulaanbaatar, 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, picturesque valleys, a winding river, and quiet 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 that costs less than $10/hour.

Overnight: Terelj Lodge Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11~Chinggis Khan Statue and 13th Century Camp

After a leisurely morning breakfast, we retrace our drive back to UB.

On the way, we will stop to visit the giant statue of Chinggis Khan, which stands 40 m high. The icon is the landmark of the area and is visible from far away. Next is the 13th Century Camp- a living museum that gives you a glimpse of life as an ancient Mongol during the time of Chinggis Khan. It has into six camps, each showcasing critical cultural aspects of 13th Century life in Mongolia.

Now, we drive back to Ulaanbaatar. The balance of the day is free for your interests. 

Overnight: Blue Sky Tower Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12~ 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.
  • Seven nights traditional ger camp accommodation with shared toilet and shower (Upgrade to en suite ger for five nights is available for an additional $150 on double occupancy and $ 210 on sole private basis).
  • Three meals a day, as indicated in the itinerary.
  • All entrance fees.
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Transportation by 4WD vehicle.
  • Internal airfare (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.

You have four nights' deluxe hotel accommodation and seven nights traditional Mongolian ger (tent) accommodation with shared toilet and shower. On additional payment ($250 on double sharing and $350 private single), you can request an upgrade to en suite ger for five nights only. There are also limited choices of foods once you are outside Ulaanbaatar.

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.


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.


  • Mitshubishi Delica
  • Toyota Landcruiser
  • Coaster Bus


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.


Your accommodation in Ulaanbaatar City will be in Blue Sky Tower which is centrally located and ensures all modern amenities and comfort. Rest of the places, we sleep in nomadic style ger camps with basic facilities. The gers are made of a 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.

At least for five nights, you can request for upgrade to en suite ger (Cost $150 on double occupancy basis and $210 private single ger). Two places in middle Govi, there are no en suite gers. 

Staying in ger camps gives an experience of the lifestyle of Mongolian nomadic culture.

Blue Sky Tower, Ulaanbaatar

  • Blue Sky Tower, Ulaabaatar
  • Blue Sky Tower Guest Room
  • Blue Sky Tower Swimming pool

Ger Camp Accommodations

  • Ger Camp
  • A typical Mongolian Ger
  • Ger accommodation


Average Rating Score 5star based on 1 review(s)

  • "Working with Far & High was very good"

    I took this tour in Jul 2018. Working with Far & High was very good. Postak answered all my questions quickly and provided me with all the information that I needed to make this tour work for me. The tour itself (Mongolia / Naadam Festival), arranged by Far & High with a local company in Mongolia, was excellent. As a single traveller it is often difficult to find a company that I can work with, so I appreciated this as well.

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