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Naadam Adventure

Departing: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - 10 days
Countries visited: Mongolia

Celebrate the Naadam Festival with the locals as remote Mongolia relives its finest traditions dating from the days of Genghis Khan and his ferocious nomadic warriors. Witness skilful displays of archery and wrestling, and colourful horse racing events during the nations most important festival.

  

 

Itinerary

Day 1 Ulaanbaatar
We begin our adventure in Ulaanbaatar and on the first evening we are treated to a wonderful show of traditional arts, music and song, including the unforgettable 'that-singing' as a welcome to Mongolia. Ulaanbaatar, meaning 'Red Hero', became the capital of Mongolia when it was proclaimed an independent state in 1924. Tonight we meet our fellow group members and Tour Leader.

Days 2-4 Naadam Festival
We make our way with the crowds to the Naadam stadium for the spectacular opening ceremony. Taking our place for the procession, we see not only the athletes, but monks, officials and local celebrities. The first rounds of wrestling and archery begin with horse racing the focus on the second day. These races are the domain of younger children, who compete for the title 'tumin ekh'('Leader of Ten Thousand'). Join the crowds in cheering the winners, serenading the losers and mingling with the locals - often taking as much pleasure from watching the audience as observing the competitors! 

Day 5 Bayangobi
Naadam festivities continue outside of the city. This morning we make our way to to the Khui Doloon Khudag Valley for the Horse Trainers Festival before continuing to the unique landscapes of Bayangobi. After our busy days at the Naadam, we enjoy tranquil surroundings of this pristine wilderness. 

Day 6 Mongolia's ancient capital & Erdene Zuu
Today we journey to Kharkhorin, the capital of Mongolia in the 13th century during the rule of Genghis Khan. The main attraction is Erdene Zuu Khiid Monastery, built in 1586, the largest monastery and first Buddhist centre in Mongolia. Over 100 temples were constructed, but most were destroyed during the Soviet era, nevertheless, Erdene Zuu Khiid retains much of its former glory, and is a remarkable sight to visit. We spend the night here in traditional Mongolian gers.

Day 7 Hustai National Park
We break our return journey at the Khustai National Park. Here Przewalski horses, known locally as 'takhi', were reintroduced after previously becoming extinct in their native land. We visit the research centre to learn about the breeding program here before entering the park to see if we can spot these rare animals in their native environment. We spend another night in gers, with plenty of time to relax before continuing to Terelj National Park.

Day 8 Terelj National Park
Leaving Khustai National Park we journey to the alpine scenery of Terelj National Park to spend a night again in a traditional ger. Here we visit  a local family to experience their nomadic lifestyle firsthand. During our stay here there are ample opportunities for hiking or simply relaxing and enjoying the scenery. 

Days 9-10 Ulaanbaatar
Our time in the countryside comes to an end and we return to the capital, visiting Gaandan Khiid Monastery and Zaisan Memorial en route. On Day 10 we say our goodbyes to the city and its inhabitants recover from the festivities as our journey concludes. 
 

Essentials

Group Size 
24 maximum, plus Tour Leader.

Accommodation
Hotels - 5 nights (twin share).
Gers  - 4 nights (multi-share).

Meals
11 in total. 9 Breakfasts, 2 lunches & 4 dinners  

Sightseeing
Scheduled Sightseeing is part of the itinerary and includes all transport, entrance fees and English speaking local guide.

Ulaanbaatar: City tour, Gandan Khiid Monastery and the Museum of National History. Folk concert.
Kharkhorin: Erdene Zuu Monastery.
Khustai: Entrance to research centre. 
Terelj National Park: Visit a local family & Turtle Rock.
Naadam Festival: Tickets to opening ceremony.

Visas
Required for Mongolia. Sundowners Overland will provide all required invitation letters and full visa support including detailed visa guidelines.