Mongolia and the Naadam Festival
From $10,130 - 24 Days, Fully Inclusive from selected Australian cities
The great Khans of Mongolia created the largest land empire the world has ever known. The most famous of all was Genghis Khan, the relentless warrior who forever marked his birthplace on the map. Remote and stunning, Mongolia is still relatively unexplored by modern day travellers and its charm lies firmly in that fact. The country is blessed with endless plains with beautiful backdrops, warm-hearted people with simplistic views of the world and a fascinating history.
One of the special features you will encounter on this tour is experiencing first-hand the annual Naadam Festival, a local celebration of the Mongolian people and culture. The festivals, origins can be traced to the Mongol Army with horseracing, wrestling and archery competitions favoured by the locals and visitors alike.
This tour is also available in reverse – please click here for the reverse itinerary.
DAYS 1-2: AUSTRALIA TO ULAANBAATARFly overnight with Cathay Pacific Airways and Mongolian Airlines to Ulaanbaatar for an overnight stay. Brisbane passengers may depart on Day 2.
DAYS 3-4: ULAANBAATAR TO YOLYN AMFly to Dalanzadgad, located on the edge of the Gobi Desert. Begin your 4WD journey heading to Yolyn Am, a gorge in the Gobi National Park. Marvel at the mountains and vast sand dunes.
DAY 5: YOLYN AM TO KHONGORYN ELSContinue to Khongoryn Els, the location of Mongolia’s largest sand dunes, also known as the ‘singing sand dunes’.
DAY 6: KHONGORYN ELS TO BAYANZAGLeave Khongoryn Els and drive to Bayanzag, also known as ‘Flaming Cliffs’. Visit the Gobi dinosaur cemetery and trace the footsteps of palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews.
DAY 7: BAYANZAG TO ONGIITravel to Ongii, viewing the ruins of the famed monastic complex Ongiin Khiid.
DAY 8: ONGII TO MT. KHOGNO KHANContinue to Mt. Khogno Khan. Explore the remains of the Uvgun Khiid Monastery located at the foot of the mountain.
DAY 9: MT. KHOGNO KHAN TO KHARKHORINDrive to the ancient capital of Kharkhorin, situated on the Orkhon River. Later you will visit the Erdene-Zuu Monastery.
DAY 10: KHARKHORIN TO TSENKHER JIGUUR HOT SPRINGSTravel to Tsenkher Jiguur Hot Springs and enjoy free time to relax in the hot springs and take in the surrounding scenery.
DAY 11: TSENKHER JIGUUR HOT SPRINGS TO GREAT WHITE LAKEContinue to Great White Lake in the Khangai Mountains. Hike to Khorgo Volcano situated 900m above the lake.
DAY 12: GREAT WHITE LAKE TO JARGAL JIGUURThis morning leave Great White Lake and travel to Jargal Jiguur
DAYS 13-14: JARGAL JIGUUR TO LAKE KHOVSGOLTravel to Lake Khovsgol, known as the ‘dark blue pearl’. Surrounded by forests and meadows, your two days here are free to enjoy the amazing scenery.
DAY 15: LAKE KHOVSGOL TO MÔRONContinue your journey as you travel to Môron, which translates as ‘river’.
DAY 16: MÔRON TO ULAANBAATARFly back to Ulaanbaatar for the Naadam Festival, the biggest annual festival in Mongolia.
DAYS 17-18: ULAANBAATAROver the next two and a half days, join the annual festivities of the Naadam Festival, which dates back to the Genghis Khan period. The festival is awash with colours and traditional costumes. Witness events such as wrestling, horse racing and archery locally known as; ‘the three manly games’.
DAY 19: ULAANBAATAR TO TERELJ NATIONAL PARKThis morning view the costumes on display in the Central Square. Drive to Terelj National Park. Explore Turtle Rock and enjoy a light hike to Aryabal Monastery. Visit a local nomadic family. Stay overnight in a Ger camp.
DAY 20: TERELJ NATIONAL PARK TO ULAANBAATARDrive back to Ulaanbaatar for a three night stay, visiting the Genghis Khaan Statue Complex en route to the capital.
DAY 21: ULAANBAATARVisit the 19th-century-built Gandan Monastery, followed by Sukhbaatar Square where a statue stands of Damdin Sughbaatar, who led the Mongolian Revolution. Next, visit the National Museum of Mongolian History and the Museum of Natural History
DAY 22: ULAANBAATAREnjoy a leisurely day visiting Zaisan Memorial Hill for views of the city and Buddha’s Park. This evening enjoy a folklore performance.
DAY 23: DEPART ULAANBAATAREarly this morning you will be transferred to Ulaanbaatar airport to board your overnight flight to Australia.
DAY 24: ARRIVE AUSTRALIAArrive home today.
TOUR ITINERARY (IN REVERSE)
Days 1-2: Australia to Ulaanbaatar
Flight overnight with Cathay Pacific Airways and Mongolian Airlines to Ulaanbaatar for a seven night stay.
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar
Visit Sukhbaatar Square where a statue stands of Damdin Sughbaatar, who led the Mongolian Revolution. Next visit the National Museum of Mongolian History. Later, see the Museum of Natural History, which features exhibitions of Mongolia’s geography, flora and fauna and dinosaur fossils.
Day 4: Ulaanbaatar
This morning visit the 19th-century-built Gandan Monastery, the largest and most significant monastery in the Mongolia. Later, visit the local markets, Zaisan Memorial Hill and Buddha's Park. This evening enjoy a folklore performance.
Day 5: Ulaanbaatar - Terelj National Park
Drive to Terelj National Park. Explore Turtle Rock and hike to Aryabal Monastery. Visit a local nomadic family and learn about how they prepare dairy products. This afternoon return to Ulaanbaatar.
Days 6-8 - Ulaanbaatar
Over the next three days join the annual festivities of the Naadam Festival, which dates back to the Genghis Khan period. Witness events such as wrestling, horse racing and archery; 'the three manly games'.
Day 9: Ulaanbaatar to Môron
Fly to Môron. Visit Murun Local History Museum, Central Square and a local Buddhist temple.
Days 10-11: Môron to Lake Khovsgol
Travel to Lake Khovsgol, known as the 'dark blue pearl'. Surrounded by forests and meadows, your two nights here are free to enjoy the amazing scenery.
Day 12: Lake Khovsgol to Jargal Jiguur
After lunch, drive to Jargal Jiguur for an overnight stay.
Day 13: Jargal Jiguur to Great White Lake
Travel onwards to serene Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (Great White Lake) in the Khangai Mountains. Hike to Khorgo Volcano situated 900m above the lake.
Day 14: Great White Lake to Tsenkher Jiguur Hot Springs
Continue to Tsenkher Jiguur Hot Springs and enjoy some free time to relax in the hot springs and take in the surrounding scenery.
Day 15: Tsenkher Jiguur Hot Springs to Kharkhorin
Drive to the ancient capital of Kharkhorin, situated on the Orkhon River. Later you will visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery, the first Buddhist-built monastery in Mongolia.
Day 16: Kharkhorin to Mt. Khogno Khan
Continue to Mt. Khogno Khan. Explore the remains of the Uvgun Khiid Monastery located at the foot of the mountain.
Day 17: Mt. Khogno Khan to Ongii
Travel onwards to the banks of the Ongii River, viewing the ruins of the famed monastic complex Ongiin Khiid.
Day 18: Ongii to Bayanzag
Drive to Bayanzag, also known as ‘Flaming Cliffs’. Visit the Gobi dinosaurs cemetery and trace the footsteps of palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews.
Day 19: Bayanzag to Khongoryn Els
Travel to Khongoryn Els, the location of Mongolia's largest sand dunes, also known as the 'singing sand dunes'.
Days 20-21: Khongoryn Els to Yolyn Am
Travel to the edge of the Gobi Desert to Yolyn Am, a gorge in the Gobi National Park for a two night stay. Marvel at the scenery, including mountains and vast sand dunes.
Day 22: Yolym Am to Ulaanbaatar
Travel to Dalanzadgad airport and fly back to Ulaanbaatar for the final night of your journey. This evening enjoy a traditional Mongolian performance, which includes the renowned ‘throat singing’.
Day 23: Depart Ulaanbaatar
Early this morning you will be transferred to Ulaanbaatar airport to board your overnight flight to Australia.
Day 24: Arrive Australia
Arrive home today.
Wendy Wu Tours Review:
"I thoroughly enjoyed the Mongolia & The Naadam Festival tour. The scenery throughout the tour was magnificent. The tour was action packed with a variety of activities.
Donna, the national guide, was superb. She was very informative and had a great English vocabulary. Donna also made strategic amendments to the itinerary due to weather and travel conditions which enabled us to see everything under favourable circumstances.
Dobbo and Hurlee, the drivers, were professional in their approach to navigating over rough terrain in the 4WD vehicles. At mealtimes there was plenty of food on the plate and the meals were served individually, unlike China where they are shared dishes. The meals were similar to what we would eat in Australia.
I would recommend this tour."
Stephen Taylor, Victoria - July 2012
Wendy Wu Tours Review:
"Donna our guide kept it running smoothly and efficiently as well as being a lovely young lady. Our 6 drivers knew their job and their vehicles and drove us safely over 2000km of tracks, most of which required total concentration. They all did a mighty job as well as being such nice people. Vehicles well maintained and kept very clean, were very comfortable.
Enjoyed the gers; these were comfortable and clean and the stoves much appreciated. The tour was fast paced and as active as one wanted to make it. The scenery was outstanding, the food was good and more than required. The Naadam Festival was an amazing experience. The colour in the opening ceremony with children, horsemen, warriors, archers, musicians, bands and people from each district marching in their costumes was so memorable. The following day we attended horse racing in the country side. To be part of this picnic of thousands of people spread over a huge area of grasslands; just to watch the finish of a 30k horserace, the riders under 10 years old, this race, plus serious wrestling and archery in the stadiums in Ulaanbaatar is the tradition of the Naadam Festival.
Bill and I want to thank Wendy Wu Tours for having these destinations made so easy for us to experience and to meet fellow travellers who also want an adventure holiday such as we have had. With the excellent agents in these countries we leave home knowing we will be well looked after."
Mr and Mrs W Howland, Queensland - June 2011
Important Note: Above prices include Fuel surcharges and tipping of $426 (correct as at Jul 2014 and subject to change). Please note the Tipping amount of USD100 (AUD109) is payable on arrival in Mongolia.
# Itinerary will operate in the reverse direction.
Though status is regularly updated, availability above is indicative only, not live and hence does not guarantee that space is available on your selected tour when you or your agent calls Wendy Wu Tours to book. Booking early is the only way to ensure availability of your selected departure date.