Naadam Festival

Mongolia – Naadam Festival Tour – a 14 day Small Group Tour.

The internet is full of statistics claiming one in every two hundred men can trace their lineage to Genghis Khan. He was obviously a busy chap. Tales of 13th century Mongol hordes ready to storm the gates of Vienna suggest European civilisation only just escaped a barbarian apocalypse.

In fact, as the 20th century proved, Europe fomented its own apocalypse. Soviet purges destroyed the fabric Mongolian society, levelling monasteries, exiling and murdering citizens. Emerging from a Soviet ‘iron curtain’ first drawn by Stalin, Mongolia struggled hard to reassert itself. Since its Democratic Revolution in 1990 the tide has turned.

More significant than ever, the festival of Nadaam is a joyful manifestation of Mongolian identity and a fascinating fast track lesson in the nation’s proud cultural history. For some, Buddhism, big skies, expansive steppe landscapes, and nights spent in ger camps together kindle sparks of a nomadic ancestral memory, at least for one in every two hundred men…

Mongolia – its very name is synonymous with remote, with the outer edge of the world.

Sitting between two vast neighbours, Russia and China, Mongolia is characterised by unthinkably vast swathes of wilderness populated by thinly scattered groups of nomads following time-honoured traditions, eking out an existence in the never-ending steppe.

Once at the very forefront of world civilisations, when the armies of Genghis Khan swept across the Eurasian landmass in search of conquest and glory, Mongolia is now one of the least known and least visited countries in the world.

The extraordinary festival of Naadam is the highlight of the Mongolian summer, with celebrations taking place across the country. On this tour we will enjoy the festival with local families in a relaxed and friendly setting for a truly authentic experience.

Tour ratings.

  • Fitness
  • Off the beaten track 
  • Culture
  • History
  • Wildlife

Tour Pace


Tour style


Relaxed Pace

Relaxed tours are easy paced with plenty of leisure time built in. The tour will in all probability still be off the beaten track, with the occasional early start and there may still be occasional long drives. In general on a relaxed pace tour you can enjoy easy-going activities and experiences with opportunities to absorb the sights and immerse yourself in the local surroundings.

Moderate Pace

Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a tour experience that combines activities and experiences with some time to relax. Typically you will be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries. In general on a moderate paced tour there may be some long journeys involved but the tour is not an expedition or a road trip. On a moderate paced tour it will be necessary to have some early starts.

Busy Pace

A busy paced tour means that you can expect to be doing, seeing or experiencing something new almost every day, and moving on from place to place to pack in as much as possible. There may be early starts, long journeys and tiring days along the way, but you’ll return home feeling you’ve really experienced as much as you possibly could.

Pioneer Class Tours

On our Pioneer tours, you will be amongst an elite group of intrepid travellers and some of the first to explore a country that few have been privileged enough to discover. Of course, exploring such areas of the world will come with its challenges; it may mean several nights camping, long journeys by 4WD and the need to maintain a degree of flexibility for when carefully laid plans change. These are challenging tours in countries and areas that may have poor infrastructure, high levels of poverty and illiteracy. This can translate in to low standards in hotels, bad roads and poor driving standards among other issues. We try and smooth out as much of these issues as we can but you should be prepared to experience the bad with the good.

Traveller Class Tours

Our Traveller itineraries are at the core of our programme. These journeys are designed for travellers who still want to discover a land away from the tourist crowds but expect minimum standards. Accommodation will be primarily hotel based, although you could still find yourself camping, or the guest of a local family. Depending on the destination and itinerary, you’ll likely be travelling in a private vehicle, with occasional use of public transport. This is adventure travel with some of the rough edges smoothed out.


We arrive in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia’s capital where we are transferred from the airport to our hotel. Depending on the time of your arrival this evening you will be invited by your guide to a traditional folk concert. Overnight Bayangol Hotel or similar. (D)

(Total driving: 100km on tarmac road, 10km on dirt road approx. 2 hours)

This morning we 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 scattered remnants, 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. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 290km on tarmac road, approx. 4-5hrs.)

This morning after breakfast we drive to Kharkhorin town, the ancient capital of Chinggis Khan’s Mongolia in the13th century. We 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. Overnight at Urguu ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 100km on tarmac road, approx. 1-2hrs.)

After breakfast we drive to Mongolia’s sand dunes Elsen Tasarkhai, otherwise known as the Little Gobi, an 80km long beautiful stretch that is unlike anything else in this country. After a good walk in the sand dunes we ride a Mongolian two-hump camels for 1-2 hours in the fantastic scenery of Little Gobi (the camel ride can be skipped if you do not wish to do it). Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 335km on tarmac road to Chinggis Khan statue, approx. 5-6hrs. and 30km to Terelj National Park, approx. 40mins.)

After breakfast, we drive to the giant stainless-steel statue of Chinggis Khan, located 50km east of the capital. On our way there, we will have lunch at the capital. After visiting the statue complex, we continue driving to Terelj National Park, a granite rocky area, where we transfer to our ‘ger’ tented camp. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving:30 km on tarmac road in the area of Terelj National park, approx. 40 minutes.)

This day we will go and explore the park – an outstanding region of alpine scenery and unique granite rock formations such as the “Turtle stone”. After lunch we go on a short walk through the forest to the Aryabal meditation and initiation temple of the all-seeing Aryabal diety of compassion and mercy. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 65km on tarmac road to Gun Galuut, approx. 1 hour. )

This morning we will head into the Gun Galuut National reserve boasting its beautiful pristine nature which will give us the opportunity to walk in the famed grasslands and truly appreciate the beauty of this sparsely populated country. The Argali, listed as the very rare species of wild sheep, are the main inhabitants of the reserve. Those wishing to have a horse ride can do so while beginners are also able to have lessons (the activity can be skipped if you do not wish to do it). Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 30 km on tarmac road to Baganuur and back to our ger camp, approx. 40 minutes)

This morning we visit the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival and enjoy a full day watching various activities including archery, wrestling and horse racing. The colourful festival of Naadam is the highlight of the Mongolian summer, with celebrations taking place across the country. We are lucky to be out of the rush and heat of Ulaan Baatar, and able to enjoy the festival with local families in a relaxed and friendly place for a truly authentic experience. Everyone in town, as well as people from other provinces, arrive at Naadam in their best traditional suits, called a Deel. It is very colourful and Deels are worn everywhere, even when on horseback. Competition is fierce as men compete against one another to win titles for horse racing, archery and wrestling – ‘war games’ based on ancient Mongolian soldiers’ everyday exercises. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 30 km on tarmac road to Baganuur and back to our ger camp, approx. 40 minutes.)

This morning is spent enjoying the second day of the festival watching the horse racing. Horses have long played an important role in Mongolian history and this sport is greatly prized. The build-up and training for this event is vigorous and the crowd of onlookers are known to get quite vocal! Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 225km on tarmac road, approx. 5-6hrs.)

This morning we will go on a drive to Jargalant village where we visit the Aglag Creation Monastery. Visiting rock carvings of several deities of Buddhism, spirits of nature and unique rocky formations. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 35km on dirt road and 180km on tarmac road, approx. 4-5hrs.)

After breakfast we drive towards Amarbayasgalant Monastery; considered 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 we’ll have the chance walk up and visit the monastery. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 190km on dirt road and 205km on tarmac road, approx. 7hrs.)

This morning we drive to the beautiful steppe at Ogii Lake. It is a wonderful place for birdlife and a multitude of cranes and ducks migrate here, attracted by the rich fish-life that populates the lake. Overnight in ger camp. (BLD)

(Total driving: 350km, approx. 5-6hrs.)

This morning we return to Ulaan Baatar and transfer to our hotel. On our way we will have picnic lunch. In the late afternoon there will be an opportunity for shopping or to explore the city on your own, before our farewell dinner. Overnight Bayangol Hotel or similar. (BLD)

The tour finishes this morning after breakfast and a transfer to the airport will be provided to coincide with your departure (B)

Dates & Price.

Tour Notes

As our tour celebrates Naadam in a rural setting, the festival dates will not be confirmed until nearer the time, so the order of the itinerary may change. Therefore, please note that 2023 tour dates are still provisional and may change by a few days.

Single Supplement from £275.

Return flights from London to Ulaan Baatar start from £850 subject to availability and the route taken. Contact us for a quotation.

On the first day of the tour, you can arrive any time before 17:00.

Airport transfers are an additional £15 each way if you not arriving on the start/finish dates and are booking pre and/or post tour accommodation.

Extra night accommodation pre and/or post tour in Mongolia costs from £55 per person, per night sharing a twin/double room and £64 per person in a solo occupancy room.

Please note that the prices quoted above are for the category of accommodation and hotel used for this particular tour. Depending on the hotel eventually confirmed there may be some difference in the rate advertised by the hotel, and the prices available through Undiscovered Destinations. It should be noted we will not apply a surcharge should more expensive accommodation be used. At the same time in the event that a lower rate is available for the confirmed hotel we are unable to offer a refund.

If you do not wish to be part of a group tour then you can do the same tour on a private basis. Please contact us for prices.

Kindly note that we can also tailor a similar or totally different itinerary to meet your requirements. Please get in touch to start planning the perfect tailormade trip.

Mapped itinerary.

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Download the full tour dossier for this trip here.

For expert advice get in touch now with our passionate,
well-travelled team.

+44(0) 191 296 2674 from THE UK
1-800-614-2967 from THE US & CANADA
1-300-956-415 from AUSTRALIA

Tour inclusions.

  • Arrival and departure transfers
  • Transport throughout
  • All accommodation
  • Services of English speaking guide Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary

Tour exclusions.

  • International flights
  • Any airport taxes
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips (discretionary)

The tour was absolutely brilliant, as was our guide Itchko.


Graham and Jackie Horsewood, UK.

Tulga is amazing man. Superb guide. A shame that ‘Modern’ Gers are being built, rather than the traditional style ones. Bayra the other driver was excellent. Extremely satisfied with everything. Everything was excellent.

Anne Pavit, UK