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Mongolia And the Nadaam Festival


  • Monastery Gandan Khiid in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  • Sunny day in Terelj National Park, Mongolia
  • Gobi Desert
Day 1

Depart Your Hometown

Day 2

Enroute to Mongolia

Meal Plan Dinner
Day 3

Arrive Ulaan Baatar

Today we set out to explore the capital city of Mongolia. We begin at the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, one of Mongolia's most revered religious sites and home to more than 100 Buddhist monks, beautiful chapels, courtyards and a 75-foot gold Buddha statue. The Monastery dates back to the 18th century, and is but one of a mere few Mongolian monasteries that survived the destruction of the communist movement in the 1930s. We will also stop at the Natural History Museum and view exhibits from the Bronze Age, traditional costumes, sacred relics and items indicative of the Mongolian's Nomadic lifestyle.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 5

Ulaan Baatar to Terelj National Park

This morning we’ll travel east into the Mongolian countryside. Our destination is Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, a nature reserve set in a deep valley between forested hillsides, granite boulders, and mountain streams. Nomads roam the surrounding hills, which are home to some 250 different bird species, rare brown bears, and a wealth of scenic hiking trails. On the way, we explore the 100 Lamas cave, where 100 Lamas hide from the soviets repression. After a short drive—in which we’ll pass by the park’s famous Turtle Rock—we’ll enjoy a hike to Aryabal, a scenic meditation temple.

Later, we will return to our camp for lunch before meeting a local nomadic family. With the family’s help, we’ll milk their cows and learn how to turn the milk into cheese. Tonight, we’ll have dinner together at our Ger camp.

Welcome dinner, taste a real Mongolian stone roast lamb barbeque "Khorkhog". Tonight will be spent in a tourist Ger camp. Enjoy the stars of the vast Mongolian night sky.

Our rural camp offers traditional Ger tents, with private facilities in each Ger. We’ll also enjoy authentic Mongolian cuisine in the large communal dining Ger.

Accommodation: TERELJ GURU Ger camp

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Day 6

Full Day of Activities

MEDITATION WITH THE MONKS, VISIT NOMADIC HORSE BREEDERS, GIANT GENGHIS KHAN STATUE

This morning visit the Giant 40 meter Statue of Genghis or Chinggis Khan.

Today we’ll drive to the Nalaikh mining town to visit the Sain Nomun Monastery, where local monks will be waiting to show us how to practice meditation.

After returning to our camp for lunch, we’ll visit a nomadic horse-breeding family to better our understanding of the nomadic lifestyle. This will be a rare opportunity to experience modern Mongolian life firsthand. Nomads learn to ride horses as soon as they can walk, and spend much of their lives in search of stray animals—for there are almost no fences in the entire country. After a demonstration of horse-catching techniques, there is time allowed for either camel, yak or horseback riding (additional cost) to enjoy this amazing scenery of wide-open steppe with rolling hills.

Later return to our camp for a lesson on how to build a traditional Mongolian Ger. We’ll have dinner together at our camp this evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 7

Ulaan Baatar & Nadaam Festival

We journey by road back to Ulaan Baatar.

This morning we attend the festivities of Mongolia's annual Nadaam Festival with a local guide. We get to observe the elaborate opening ceremony which consists of local dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians, before watching the national horse race. The three manly games that are referred to are archery, horseracing and wrestling, these three feats being considered the most important to a Mongolian warrior.

Later, enjoy an authentic cultural performance of Mongolia's national song and traditional mask dance among other highlights, including a concert performed in Mongolia's unique throat singing style – a bizarre treat in which the performer manipulates the resonance of his or her voice to create the illusion of multiple voices singing in harmony.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights
Day 8

Nadaam Festival & Horse Race

This morning we head out to see the finish line of the Naadam horse race.

Horse racing—in a tradition that dates to the days of Genghis Khan, Mongolian horseback races during Naadam can last two hours or more — and cover distances of up to 18 miles. Up to 1,000 horses from various corners of Mongolia may be chosen to participate in the races. The horses are ridden by children ranging in age from 5 to 13 — and while the jockey’s skill is important, the primary goal of the competition is to test the skill of the Mongolian horses.

The afternoon is free to continue exploring Ulaanbaatar. In the evening we will meet again to attend the Festival Closing Ceremony and to enjoy a farewell dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 9

Nadaam City Sightseeing & Black Market

Visit a local orphanage house or local school for an opportunity to visit with the children.
Lunch together at a local restaurant in Ulaanbaatar before visiting Naran Tuul, sometimes called the Black Market. In browsing its labyrinth of stalls, you’ll find clothing, bags, leather boots, Mongolian antiques, saddles, a variety of local foods, and much more.

Visit the Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum, the former residence of Bodg Jabzan Damba Hutagt VIII – Mongolia's last theocrat, believed by many to be the 8th Living Buddha.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Fly Ulaan Baatar to Gobi Desert

Transfer to the airport for your flight to the Gobi Dessert. Upon arrival, your guide will take you for a drive to the Gurvansaikhan National Park. En route, visit the Natural Museum of History for an introduction to the fauna and flora of this unique area.

For the next few nights, you will stay in a traditional Ger Camp. Built in traditional Mongolian Buddhist style, the deluxe tented accommodations provides breathtaking views of the Gobi-Altai

mountain ranges. During your visit to this region you may encounter Mongolia's unusual wildlife such as Argali sheep, Siberian ibex, the Gobi camel, and possibly, the elusive snow leopard – an endangered species of which only a few thousand remain.

Accommodation: Gobi Tour Camp or similar (Shared washing facilities)

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration3 Nights
Day 11

Changer Sand Dunes

This morning take a ride in a 4-wheel vehicle to the "Singing Sand Dunes". The shifting sand blowing around resonates to create unusual humming sounds, hence the name "Singing Sand Dunes". Near the northern end of the sand dunes you will see a green oasis. This fertile patch of land is created from the flood waters that overflow from the Khongor River.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 12

Flaming Cliffs

After breakfast you will be transferred to Bayanzag, 70 million years ago so many Paleontological finds were recorded it was named Flaming Cliffs by an American explorer in 1922. For two years he searched the Mongolian Desert and found dinosaur fossils and eggs. Explore the land of the dinosaurs.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 13

Fly Gobi Desert to Ulaan Baatar/Home

Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Ulaanbaatar to connect with your flights home.

NOTE: To include the annual Nadaam Festival, travel must commence in July (firm dates to be determined each year)

Meal Plan Breakfast

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