Take a trip to Mongolia to join the Naadam festival in two different locations (Ulaanbaatar and the countryside), which the best way to experience Mongolian culture, tradition, arts, music, and lifestyle. Mongolian Naadam Festival is a national holiday and is so traditional, colorful, and thrilling event, held in July, annually all over the country.
This our Special Naadam Tour, you have an opportunity to arrange private photography sessions, give you a great chance to capture Mongolia's unique Naadam festival and portraits of well-dressed Mongolians along with enjoying local and city Naadam on the same trip. Visit the grand opening ceremony of official Naadam and other cultural events in Ulaanbaatar and then jump to the country road to reach the local Naadam festival which is smaller but not too touristic and crowded so it gives you the chance to explore this unique event at your own pace. You will not only experience the cultural heritage of Mongolia but also enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the country and it is one of the most scenic objects for photographers.
- Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar
- Mini Naadam Festival in the countryside
- Private Photographic Sessions
Take a city tour depending on your arrival time. Ulaanbaatar, the contemporary city, surrounded by four holy mountains. Keeps some of the historical aspects from nomadic dwelling districts and centuries-old Buddhist temples to modern constructions. Visit the Gandan Monastery, the National Museum of Mongolia, which represents Mongolian Culture starting from the Stone Age to the 21st century, and Buddhism, Sukhbaatar Square (also known as Chingis Khaan Square). In Gandan Monastery, you can take photos of local prayers, monks, the biggest standing indoor Buddha statue, and temples' own figure. (B/L/D)
Drive to Lake Ugii to visit and photograph nomadic people. We arrange and prepare everything ready for your photographs deep inside of Mongolia nomadic life and especially with a combination of your request, the interest of classic portraits, showing the nomad’s costume and heritages which all give a real sense of their unique and unchanged lives for thousand years. Stay overnight in tourist ger camp. (B/L/D)
Heading to Kharkhorin village, the next shooting spot is Orkhon Valley listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. You and your team find your own style of photography for Kharkhorin–the ancient capital city of the Mongol Empire, oldest surviving monastery Erdene-Zuu, and other historically and naturally iconic landscape locations. All these places can be good practice, composition, and exposure lighting for historical shots, architecture shots, and great landscapes. Stay overnight in tourist ger camp.(B/L/D)
Today we will have the first experience of the Naadam festival in Kharkhorin with locals. It is a great chance to enjoy three classic Mongolian sports, horse racing, wrestling, and archery. Spending the time to see and capture photographs of the festival and people. Take pictures of portraits of local nomads in colorful national costumes. (B/L/D)
Leave early in the morning to photograph horse racing on the way to Ulaanbaatar.
Start the Naadam festival in the central stadium to watch the Grand Opening Ceremony which begins with the nine white banner-delivering into the central stadium from the Government palace of Mongolia on the nine magnificent horses. Other festivity performances continued with arts and music stars, monks, soldiers, horses, and much more…
After the ceremony, the national wrestling competition will begin. Archery competition also starts outside the stadium, where female and male archers compete. Enjoying and walking around the stadium to celebrate the festival like locals.
Naadam festival, biggest national holiday Mongolia. Enjoy festival colors and tradition: famed wrestlers, horse racers, and archery athletes will compete for best titles. Naadam festival brings together the country’s sporting men and women from the remotest regions to compete at the national level in the capital city. It is also a celebration of common people - herders who ride into town and urbanities who leave their flats and offices to watch the games- gathering where they have the opportunity to participate in the events, to barter, mix, sing and enjoy life to the full.
Horse racing: The most impressive spectacle is surely the horse racing. The horses cover different distances according to their age. Azarga (stallions) 28km, Ikh nas (horses more than 5 years old) 30km, Soyolon (5-year olds) 25km, Khyazaalan (4-year olds) 22km, Shudlen (3-year olds) 20km and Daaga (colts to 2 years old) 15km. There are no limits on the number of horses participating; usually 200-600 horses in each race. The five winning horses are honored with a cup of mare’s milk (airag) on their neck, a khadag (respectful blue scarf), and a medal.
Wrestling: The 512 wrestlers fight in the stadium, for the prestigious title “State Titan”. Both the “Titan” himself and the trainers have the opportunity to choose partners during the first few rounds, thus reducing the number of less experienced wrestlers early on and creating more excitement for the final matches on the second day. The rules are very simple: The wrestling area is unrestricted; there are no weight-classes and the one who touches the ground any part of the body, other than the feet, has lost. The winner continues to the next round. The loser has to stand under the wings of the proud winner. The wrestlers wear tight pants and a small vest with arms across the shoulders, which barely cover their well-trained bodies.
Archery: Mongols are almost born with archery skills, an integral part of the nomad’s lifestyle. From very childhood, such qualities as perfect eyesight, measurement, patience, and strength are nourished to develop a good archer. Mongolian bows are very tight ones so that it requires pure strength to stretch it out. As a rule, several teams of archers compete. Each team of 5-7 archers should hit 33 leather cylinders from a distance of 75 meters.
Transfer to Chinggis Khaan International Airport or Train station and depart Mongolia. (B)
Prices & Inclusions
|Group size||Price/Per person|
Accommodation: Hotel****,* ger camp
Guiding and interpreting service
Full board meals
Transport: 4x4 vehicle or minivan
Entrance fees to protected areas and national parks
Tickets to Naadam Festival (opening ceremony & horse racing)
Museums and cultural performance
Single room supplement
Travel and Health Insurance
The extra cost for photography in museums