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FNI-NF - Mongolian Naadam Festival

Ancient medieval games still survive in Mongolia and are part of the Living Cultural Heritage of Mongolia. Wrestling, horse races and archery are still the most popular sports. In July, the National Naadam is held in Ulaanbaatar and all across the country. Herdsmen arrive on horseback from distant provinces, simultaneously training their horses. Such a journey lasts for anything between one to three months!

A giant nomadic camp is set up on the steppe area outside Ulaanbaatar during the night of July 9th. This program is a close encounter with the Mongol Three Manly Games of horseracing, wrestling and archery - skills required and practiced during the medieval times of Genghis Khan armies, and perhaps as way back as during the time of the Huns.

This tour combines with our other tours and adventures in Mongolia so that you can enjoy a full Mongolian experience.

Highlights

  • Watch an elaborate introduction ceremony in the National stadium, featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians
  • Be mesmerized by a close encounter with the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar and its immediate surroundings during bustling Naadam times
  • English speaking guides and all inclusive (food, accommodation during this busy period)

Inclusions

All internal ground transport
  • All meals.
  • All local transport and transfers.
  • Three or four star hotel in shared double. Accommodation can not be specified until a few weeks prior to arrival.
  • Local English speaking guide.
Tour Provider 50 Degrees North
Number of Days
4
Price From
AUD $1,053
Start Location
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
End Location
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Age Range
Avg. 55+
Group Size
1 to 20
Tour Style
Comfort
Tour Themes
Physical Rating
Easy
Incudes Flights
Yes
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
09 Jul 201912 Jul 2019Limited availabilityAUD $1,053
ItineraryExpand
Day 1 - Sunday 9th July - Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in the Mongolian capital by flight or join this program from any other of our trips. Transfer to the hotel. You may explore the city on your own for the rest of the day. Ulaanbaatar was a migrating ger city (yurt city) until 1778, when the town finally settled on the Tuul River where it stands today. Today more than half the population still lives in gers in the city. The minor archery competitions and trainings may have started already today. Especially different styles such as children's archery, Buryat style archery etc. Training sessions allow for good photography. In the evening the horse trainers move their horses with their mobile camps near to the city, and pitch camp at the steppe area at Hui Doloon Hudag, 60km away from the city and Sukhbaatar Square. We meet for a festive welcome dinner.

Day 2 - Monday 10th July - Ulaanbaatar

Today, one day before the National Naadam officially begins, we
will drive out of the city and attend smaller, more intimate
"country-style" Naadam festivals, usually held in three communities
some 50-60km away. This failing, the big horse races also
start on the Hui Doloon Hudag plains today. In the rural area you
have the chance to get up close to the horse races, and also to
the wrestling matches. Local people usually wear their finest traditional
dresses, adding to the colourful, festive atmosphere. We
have a picnic lunch nearby and head back to Ulaanbaatar in the
afternoon.

Day 3 - Tuesday 11th July - Ulaanbaatar - Naadam Opening Ceremony

This morning, Naadam is being opened officially by the President of Mongolia. Soldiers on horseback, sometimes dressed in Genghis Khan warrior regalia, will bring the nine white horsetail banners. They will get the banners at the Parliament where they are normally displayed and will then ride in procession through the city, later to be placed in the center of the Stadium, from where we will be viewing the Opening Ceremony. The first round of wrestling will start immediately thereafter. Usually 512 wrestlers from all across Mongolia will compete in the first round! But sometimes there are more than 700! No judges, no time limits and no weight limits! There is a chance to see the archery competitions (if not done the previous day) and later find our way out to the steppe area on the fringes of the city.

Visit the nomadic tented camps that have sprung up, and experience a concentration of nomadic Mongolia at one site! Herdsmen have come with their horses and all provisions for the festivities, which include airag ( koumiss; fermented mares' milk) for the merry making. Stroll around the area and you are likely to be invited in somewhere. You may also try your luck at the finals of the horse races, but prior instructions are necessary, since the coming of a full horserace of several hundred is a potentially hazardous situation.

Day 4 - Wednesday 12th July - Ulaanbaatar

Our services end after breakfast (and transfer to the airport if applicable), as we will have covered all aspects of Naadam earlier days. You may remain in the city with entrance tickets provided for the National Stadium and final rounds of wres-tling and awards, if not continuing on our trips further into the great Mongolian void. You need to be careful with hotel reservations and to advise us early if intending to stay beyond midday.