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Naadam Festival - Mongolia (11-13 July)

Mongolia no longer has aspirations to bring the world’s citizenry under its control, though it is determined to entice as many of them as possible to its sumptuous realm, where the Central Asian steppe, taiga forests, blue lakes, the Altai mountains and the Gobi Desert meet in a high landlocked plateau between Russian Siberia and northern China’s plains. 

Of the mighty array of attractions there is none more potent than the Naadam Festival, one of the most dramatic and exhilarating events of its kind in the world. A summer festival believed to have existed in some fashion for centuries, it is a Grand Final of sorts, a summit playoff of horse racing, archery and wrestling events (the ‘Three Manly Sports’) staged during the year throughout a country the size of Alaska peopled by only two and a half million. But more importantly it is an affirmation of the Mongolian spirit. 

To witness ranks of riders surging into the central stadium of Ulaanbaatar for the Naadam Festival on the same compact, sprightly horses that the great Genghis Khan rode into battle – surrounded by athletes, monks, dancers, soldiers, musicians and nomad herders – is to glimpse the grandeur of a civilisation that shaped the world as we now know it. Then to see horses race, at ferocious pace, in their hundreds through vast valleys, while tens of thousands cheer them on; and to observe rotund but almost balletic wrestlers trounce an opponent and then prance across an arena in a traditional victor’s Eagle Dance, is to be enveloped in a culture of extraordinary strength.

Sundowners Overland offers a number of journeys that feature Mongolia's Naadam Festival:
If you have somewhere specific in Mongolia that you'd like to explore for Naadam Festival celebrations, we'd enjoy working with you to put together an itinerary. Contact us to start your journey today.