Travel to Mongolia and discover the iconic Naadam Festival.
The ancient Greeks may have the Olympics but the Mongols have Naadam. Mongolia’s annual circus-like Naadam Festival is a centuries-old tradition that dates back to the era of the great Khans and their dynasties. Wrestling, archery and horse racing — the three skills that Genghis Khan considered essential for any Mongol warrior — are showcased at the country’s largest celebration of the “three manly sports”. Come behind the scenes as we meet the competitors in the lead up to the festival and discover some of Mongolia’s wild outback, visiting ruined monasteries, flaming cliffs and historic cities.
Why you’ll love this trip
- Go behind the scenes of Mongolia’s Naadam Festival and visit the athlete’s training camps as they prepare to compete in the Naadam Festival.
- Live the nomad life with a family stay at a horse breeder’s camp.
- Experience the phenomenal landscapes of central Mongolia.
- Attend the Naadam Opening Ceremony and watch athletes compete for glory in wrestling, horse racing and archery.
- Encounter Mongolia’s stunning natural landscape with visits to places such as the Flaming Cliffs and sand dunes of Khongoriin.
Day 1: Ulaanbaatar
Day 2: Archery Training Camp
Mongolia’s annual Naadam Festival is a centuries-old tradition that dates back to the era of the great Khans and their dynasties. Wrestling, archery and horse racing — the three skills that Genghis Khan considered essential for any Mongol warrior — are showcased today at the country’s largest celebration of the “three manly sports”. We will get a special insight into each of these sports with visits to the training camps that take place in preparation for the festival.
Today drive approximately 3 hours to an archery training camp, where you will observe Mongolian archers lining up their shots. Learn how precision and technique play a key role in successful archery and have a go at using the traditional bow and arrow yourself. At the end of the day, drive back to our tourist ger camp. A ger is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by nomads on the steppes of Mongolia and Central Asia. Spend your first night in a ger tonight.
Day 3: Wrestling Training Camp
Take a two hour drive to a wrestling camp and spend the day watching the athletes practice. Your leader will explain the rules of Mongolia wrestling and the various techniques and tricks. Some of these wrestlers are huge national celebrities! Learn to cook a Mongolian BBQ and share it with the wrestlers for lunch or dinner.
Tonight we drive to another camp where the horse trainers and riders live during their Naadam preparations. This is truly authentic experience and we will be staying with locals in their gers. The conditions will be basic, but you will get a very real insight into local Mongolian life. Bed down early tonight to rise at dawn with the trainers and riders tomorrow morning.
Day 4: Horse Racing Training Camp
Day 5: Baga Gazriin Chuluu
Day 6: Tsagaan Suvarga
Day 7: Vulture Canyon/Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
Day 8: Khongoriin Sand Dunes
Day 9: Khongoriin Sand Dunes
Day 10: Ongiin Khiid
Day 11: Karakorum
Day 12: Ulaanbaatar
Day 13: Naadam Festival – Opening Ceremony & Archery Events
Day 14: Naadam Festival – Wrestling & Horse Racing Events
After a big day at the festival head out for an optional final night dinner with your group.
Day 15: Ulaanbaatar
INT – CBSOS
Images Courtesy of Intrepid Group