Naadam Festival

Naadam Festival

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13 Days
From

$4307

$4189

Naadam Festival

13 Days Starting and ending in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Visiting: Ulaanbaatar, Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Jargalant, Sukhbaatar Street, Amarbayasgalant Monastery, Ugii Lake, Kharkhorin, Elsen tasarkhai Ger Camp, Hustai National Park

Tour operator:

Crooked Compass

Tour code:

8956

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

2 - 12

Physical rating:

Low

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Special Events

Activities:

Walking

From:
$4307
$4189 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $118

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Explore Terelj National ParkSpend time with nomad families as they prepare for the festivalExperience the Naadam FestivalWalk around remote monasteries and engage with monksSearch for birdlife at Ogii LakeSearch for the rare Takhi horse only found in Hustai National ParkFamed grasslands, nomad life, sweeping deserts and the Naadam Festival form the ultimate Mongolian journey. Join us as we take you into the heart and soul of nomad country and introduce you to some of the worlds most spectacular landscapes and one of the richest cultural festivals on the planet. The Naadam Festival is truly one of the world’s most exciting and colourful traditional festivals. Taking place across the country, these traditional games are so unique, they are listed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Crooked Compass offers a more intimate encounter by venturing to a remote town in the country's north, to embrace the Naadam festivities. Uncrowded and authentic, this immersive experience is the perfect event encompassing sport, tradition and history alongside the locals. Dating back to when Mongolia was ruled by warlords and emperors like Genghis Khan (and prior to that!), the event officially celebrates the Mongolian revolution and independence. Experience one of Mongolia's oldest spectacles focused on skill and strength whilst exploring the remote and dramatic lands.

Highlights

  • Explore Terelj National Park

  • Spend time with nomad families as they prepare for the festival

  • Experience the Naadam Festival

  • Walk around remote monasteries and engage with monks

  • Search for birdlife at Ogii Lake

  • Search for the rare Takhi horse only found in Hustai National Park

Itinerary

Expand All
Day 1 : Arrival Ulaanbaatar
Location: Ulaanbaatar
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Bayangol Hotel or similar
Meals Included: No Meals

Welcome to Mongolia! Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This afternoon following lunch, you will set out to explore the city. Start with exploring the city square, a short distance from your hotel. You will also visit the National Museum of Mongolia where you can learn about the history of this fascinating country through their collection of artefacts from Mongolia and Central Asia dating from the Stone Age to the present day. This evening, enjoy a traditional art performance and welcome dinner where you can get to know your fellow travellers.

Day 2 : Gyn Galuut National Park
Location: Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Ger Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you will drive to the world’s biggest statue of Genghis Khan! Here there will be the chance to climb to the top for unparalleled views out over the Mongolian steppe. Afterwards, you will head into the Gyn Galuut National Park where you will walk in the famed grasslands and truly appreciate the beauty of this sparsely populated country. Gyn Galuut National Park was founded in 2003 to protect endangered wildlife and their habitats. There is also a developing environmental friendly and community based tourism initiatives in this remote area.

Those wishing to have a horse ride can do so while beginners are also able to have lessons.

Day 3 : Terelj National Park
Location: Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Ger Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you will explore Terelj National Park. Walk through meadows carpeted with edelweiss and wildflowers, view fascinating rock formations against a backdrop of pine covered mountains and wander along the wooded banks of a mountain stream. You will also visit the Aryabal Meditation Temple. As you climb the 108 stairs to the temple (the number 108 holds great significance in Buddhism), stop and take time to read the Buddhist teachings that are on signs along the way. You will also find 108 prayer wheels and 108 small stupas at the temple. The 108 stairs leading up to the temple are said to symbolise an elephant’s trunk, the long path is designed for walking meditation and reflection.

The main temple hall has beautiful carvings on its wooden posts and beams, and the walls of the interior space are brightly decorated with paintings and stories depicting the lives of famous Arhats.

Day 4 : Jargalant Village
Location: Jargalant
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Ger Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you will drive to Jargalant village. This area is known for its joinery and carpentry, the making of the yurts and traditional furniture as well as saddlery and yak breeding. You will visit one of the beautiful granite rock formations as well as Aglag Buteeliin Temple in the mountains. This temple is a small rural Buddhist temple that is two-storey and pyramid shaped. It is surrounded by carved stones and mythical creatures. Enjoy a gentle hike in the surrounding area.

Day 5 : Sukhbaatar Village - Pre Naadam Day
Location: Sukhbaatar Street
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hotel 9 or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you will drive to Sukhbaatar town, the provincial capital of the Selenge province and located in close proximity to the Russian border. Here, you will visit a horse trainers camping area and taste Airag-fermented mare’s milk. Enjoy spending time with the locals as you learn about their incredible lifestyle. You will also meet with the young jockeys who are training their horses for this years Naadam Festival. Their skill, strength and power will blow you away.

Day 6 : Naadam Festival
Location: Sukhbaatar Street
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Hotel 9 or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today is the day of the Naadam Festival’s opening ceremony which starts with parade. The colour, passion and skill will capture your attention for hours. Enjoy witnessing the country’s traditional sports including archery and ankle bone shooting in the morning – the locals accuracy is mind boggling. There are performances of folk music and dance which will pulse through your veins throughout the day, as well as various rounds of Mongolian wrestling, a truly unique form of the sport. You then visit the horse racing field where you may witness racing, equestrian competitions and other horse skill related activities. Mingle with the locals and learn stories of their Naadam experiences over the years and their beliefs surrounding this historical event.

Day 7 : Naadam Festival In Sukhbaatar And Amarbayasgalant Monastery
Location: Sukhbaatar Street, Amarbayasgalant Monastery
Accommodation: Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy your second day at the festival. In the morning, enjoy further horse racing and possibly some more wrestling depending on the schedule, before you drive to Amarbayasgalant monastery complex. This monastery is considered to be the second most important in Mongolia (after Erdene Zuu Khiid in Kharkhorin) and the most intact architectural complex in Mongolia. The area is famed for its stunning scenery of steppe and grasslands, its national parks and wildlife. In the afternoon, you will have the chance walk up and visit the monastery.

Day 8 : Amarbayasgalant Monastery – Ogii Lake
Location: Amarbayasgalant Monastery, Ugii Lake
Accommodation: Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, drive to the beautiful steppe at Ogii Lake. It is a spectacular place for bird life and a multitude of cranes and ducks migrate here, attracted by the rich fish-life that populates the lake. Spend time relaxing on the shores, reflecting on your journey so far, or go for a gentle walk through the breathtaking surroundings.

Day 9 : Ogii Lake - Kharkhorin
Location: Ugii Lake, Kharkhorin
Accommodation: Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today you head to Kharkhorin town, the ancient capital of Genghis Khan’s Mongolia in the 13th century. You visit Erdene Zuu monastery, which was built from leftovers of Kharkhorin’s ruined city in the 16th century. Sadly, a communist purge destroyed almost everything but a few main monasteries. There are numerous unusual cultural and religious exhibits here as well as a Tibetan-style monastery still active in the Erdene Zuu and important to the area. Explore the monastery and chat to some of the monks. Learn about their fascinating lifestyle in this remote part of the country.

Day 10 : Kharkhorin - Elsen Tasarkhai (Little Gobi)
Location: Kharkhorin, Elsen tasarkhai Ger Camp
Accommodation: Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you will drive to Mongolia’s sand dunes, an 80km long beautiful stretch that is unlike anything else in this country. This is a unique combination of Mongolian mountains, forests and Gobi-type landscape in one location. Keep your eyes peeled for Maral stag (elk), wolves, deer and fox. The Elsen Tasarhai literally means “an isolated torn-off piece of sand” and it is a small section of real desert in the midst of the green Mongolian steppe. It feels like in the Gobi Desert, hence the name ‘Little Gobi’. For those keen to get active, time permitting, you may get to climb the sand dunes. Others may prefer to go for a camel ride or spend time with a local nomadic family.

Day 11 : Elsen Tasarkhai - Hustai National Park
Location: Elsen tasarkhai Ger Camp, Hustai National Park
Accommodation: Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, you drive to the Hustai National Park which is home to the only truly wild horses on earth; the Takhi horse. Several decades ago, wild horses had disappeared from Mongolia, victims of habitat loss and poaching. However, small numbers survived in European zoos and from these numbers, through a program of careful breeding and international cooperation, the wild population was rebuilt. Now, Hustai is home to some 250 wild horses, of which 130 were born in the wild.

Day 12 : Hustai National Park - Ulaanbaatar
Location: Hustai National Park, Ulaanbaatar
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Bayangol Hotel or similar
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, you return to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon, there will be an opportunity for last minute shopping and time at leisure before our farewell dinner.

Day 13 : Departure
Location: Ulaanbaatar
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is yours at leisure until it is time to depart for the airport for your flight to your onward destination.

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers

  • 12 nights accommodation

  • 12 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 12 Dinners

  • English speaking local certified Guide

  • Bottled water

  • Private transportation

  • Festival fee

  • Entrance fees

What's Not Included

  • International & domestic flights

  • Visas

  • Travel and medical insurance

  • All services, meals other than those indicated above

  • Personal porters

  • Any changes to the proposed and confirmed program

  • All items of a personal nature e.g. drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips etc

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the minimum group size?

    The min group size is 2 people.

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Entrance fees and festival fee are included.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, English speaking local guide on this tour.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International & domestic flights are not included.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, Return airport transfers is included.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in itinerary.

  • Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

    Yes, Single Supplement will be chargeable at AUD$ 676.00.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes. Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages. Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard.

  • What sort of transportation is used for your tours?

    Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Crooked Compass is firmly committed to the principles of ethical travel. Our comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Practices policy summarises our commitments and actions. Although the very basis of our ground operations lends itself to the ethos of sustainable tourism, this policy re-iterates our commitment to: Use locally owned hotels Use locally owned ground agents Use local guides and drivers Promote community tourism projects from homestays to craft shops Support charities that work within the destinations that we travel to Carbon offset our travels

  • Who runs your tours and are they experts in their fields?

    Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.

  • What can I expect from a Crooked Compass tour that I wouldn't get from travelling with an alternative company?

    Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world – we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty. Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers. Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists. Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.

  • Who do your tours cater for?

    Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for those who are well travelled seeking the what’s next and what’s new. Our travellers are curious minded soft adventurers who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist trail. Crooked Compass tours draw travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world. We call them Cultural Purists.

  • I am concerned about my impact on travelling through untouched regions. Can I offset?

    Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour’s carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more. If you’d like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit www.greenfleet.org.au

Reviews of this Operator

Jeff Rehn  

A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass

07-Apr-2022

A wonderful trip to Saudi Arabia organised by Crooked Compass. Considering the country is just opening up to tourism everything went very well - flights, trips, transfers, guides and accommodation - thank you CC - highly recommended

Tripadvisor
Pauline Mavis Rusby  

We were kept safe at all times.

09-May-2022

We were kept safe at all times. When unexpected hurdles appeared they were handled without fuss. Our tour was informative, picturesque and comfortable.

Tripadvisor
Tina Watts-Seale  

Family holiday to Vietnam

01-Aug-2022

We booked a family holiday to Vietnam with Crooked Compass and it was perfect. The booking process was easy and Lisa took all of our requests on board so that the trip was exactly what we wanted. All flights, transfers, accommodations, guides and activities were fantastic, with great communication throughout the whole trip. Would highly recommend, we will be booking again soon!

Tripadvisor

Dates & Availability

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Thursday - Tuesday

Jul 04, 2024 - Jul 16, 2024
$4307 $4189 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $118 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Wednesday

Jul 04, 2025 - Jul 16, 2025
$4522 $4398 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $124 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Crooked Compass requires a minimum deposit of 20% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of crooked compass charges.

    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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