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Mongolian Travel Info
Official State Naadam festival is held every year on July 11-12 in the capital Ulaanbaatar city.
State Naadam festival is celebrated for the anniversary of the establishment of Great Mongolian
State in 1206 and independence from China in 1921. Besides the State Naadam festival, every
regional administrative center (aymag and soum) celebrate their own small naadam in mid July.

Naadam has its origin in the military training of nomadic warriors. Naadam is known among
Mongolians the “Three Manly Games”. The games include traditional wrestling, horse racing and

Traditional wrestling is a contest between two men, in which a contester wins if he let the knee,
elbow, head and body of his competitor touch the ground by using tricks or force. The winner goes
on to the next stage of the competition and the loser leaves the game. Normally, 512 wrestlers
attend in the wrestling contest of the State Naadam festival and the final champion should have 9
wins. There is no weight, height and age classification of the wrestlers. Therefore, a wrestler how
weighs 70 kilo could be challenged by a wrestler who is 150 kilo. What is usually most exotic to
foreigners is the cloth that wrestlers wear in the contest.

Mongolian horse racing is completely different from western horse racing. Only male horses race in
the Naadam festival. Instead of racing in the stadium, the horses race in the open steppe in
distance of 10-25 kilometers. Therefore, spectators see only the end of the race. Distance of the
race depends on the age of the horses. For instance, two year old horses race in 10 kilometers
while horses that are 8 years old or above race in distance of 25 kilometers. It is hard to believe for
foreigners that the jockeys are generally 5-13 age children in Mongolian horse racing.

Archery is the only competition in which women take part in the Naadam festival. Archers shoot in
the distance of 50-100 meters with the same arches that had been used for thousands of years by
nomadic warriors. Their targets are laid on the ground instead of hanging out in the air. The targets
are made of cow hides.

We have short travel itinerary specially designed for seeing State Naadam festival in Ulaanbaatar
city. Besides, any of our travel itineraries can be scheduled to include naadam festival either in
Ulaanbaatar or any of aimag (province) or soum (town) centers. However, due to high demand for
these type of travels, our resource exhausts quickly during Naadam days. Please contact us about
availibility of iteneraries that include Naadam festival.
Historical sites
Temples and Monasteries
Naadam festival
Natural Parks

The capital of 13-14th century Mongolian empire, center of the silk road. Unfortunately, because of
constant warfare between Chinese and Mongolians and Mongolians among themselves, little has
survived from this magnificant city.  In 1586, Mongolia's first and largest monastery was built on
the land that was previously the city center.  

Prince Tsogt’s white house
This is a ruin of castle built and occupied by one of descendents of Chingis Khan named Prince
Tsogt in the 17th century. Tsogt was a leader of Mongolian aymags in and was keeping a rich
library of Mongolian written records in history, religion and literature. Unfortunately, the castle was
destroyed in the battle between Mongolians and Chinese. Tsogt’s house is at 25km from
Dashinchilen soum of Bulgan ayamag.

Khoshoo Tsaidam Monument
The monument was erected in 732 for Turkic king Bilge and his younger brother general Kultegin by
one of their relatives. The Turkic state was flourishing in current Mongolian territory in VI-VIII
century. The monument was registered in UNESCO’s world cultural heritage in 1996. Monument is
40 km north to Khar-Korin.

Khara-Bukha fortress ruin
The fortress was built in the 10th century by Mongolian-speaking Kidans. Mongolians built a stone
temple inside the fortress ruin in 17th century. The site is located close to Dashinchilen sum of
Bulgan Ayamag.
Lake Huvsgul
Known as blue pearl of Mongolia, Lake Huvsgul is one of the most popular destinations for
international and domestic tourists. The lake is located at 1645m above sea level and is 136 km long
36.5km wide and has an area of 2760km2. It is 262.4m deep at its deepest point and 138m deep on

Lake Huvsgul is the second largest freshwater lake in central Asia after Russia’s Lake Baikal. Huvsgul
water is crystal fresh and clear that you can drink the water and see points at as deep as 24.5m.
Lake Huvsgul feeds Lake Baikal through Eg river.

Entire lake is frozen from January to May. Lake Huvsgul inhabited by nine species offish including the
Siberian grayling and lenok. Fishing and sport fishing are becoming popular in the lake area. Taiga
fauna and flora, taiga forest dwellers, Tsaatan, practicing rain-deer breeding are the main attractions
for tourists.

The lake attracts over 200 species of birds such as Baikal teal, bar-headed goose, black syork and
Altai snowcock. The surrounding mountains are home to 68 species of mammal including musk deer,
brown bear, lynx, marten, beaver, elk, reindeer, moose, argali, ibex and wolf. This is a wonderful
place for walking and riding, fishing or simply sucking in the fresh air and spectacular views.

Gobi Gurvan Saikhan (three beauties of the Gobi)
Gobi Gurvan Saihan special protected area covers 2694737 hectare land of 9 soums from 2 aymags.
Landscape in the special protected is so varied that it includes high mountains, dry steppe, semi
desert and desert.

Valley of Vultures
This is main attraction in the Gobi Gurvan Saihan natural park. The canon valley is named after one of
its habitants-Vulture (Gypaetus garbatus). The site is located 62 km southwest to the Dalanzadgad
provincial center of South-Gobi aymag. The depth of the canon reaches 200m at its center. You will
see here 2-3meters ice cup if you come here before the end of July. The valley is home to some
endangered species such as wild mountain sheep and ibex. There is a small museum, which displays
dinosaur eggs, some bones and stuffed birds and leopards.

Hongor Sand Dune
The sand dune is located 100 km northwest to the Valley of Vultures. It is about 3-15km wide, 180km
long and 100-300m high. The peak of the dune is called “Singing Sand” for its sound of the wind
howling through the dunes. Climbing to the sand dune going down gives you both challenge and
enjoyment. If you see the dune from nearby mountains, you will find breathtaking view of the

Bayanzag (the Rich in Saxual)
The site is located near to Bulgan soum center of Sough Gobi aymag. Roy Chapman Andrews, an
American paleontologist and staff of the Museum of Natural History in New York first found 4-6 inches
dinosaur eggs here in 1922. The large dinosaur skeletons placed at the Museum of Natural History in
Ulaanbaatar was also found here by a Russian-Mongolian expedition. Bayanzag is referred as Flaming
Cliffs for its amazing colors and shape.

Baga Gazriin Chuluu
This is 1768m hight, 15km long, 10km wide rocky mountain located at the borderline of Adaatsag and
Delgertsogt soum of Middle Gobi aymag. You will see rocks and stones in unique shapes and buries of
Mongols from middle ages. There are also several buries of Bronze Age.

Khustai National Park
Khustai national park is located at 90 km west to Ulaanbaatar city. The national park covers 50620
hectare land. However, the main attraction here is the wild horses or Przewalski horses. The
Przewalski horses became extinct in Mongolia in the first half of 20th century. The horses greasing
around the national park were brought from Holland in early 1990s and successfully adapted to
Mongolian environment.

Khogno Khan Natural Park
Khogno Kan natural reserve is located in the territory of Gurvanbulag, Dashinchilen and Rashaant
soums of Bulgan aymag and covers 46990 hectare land. You will find here steppe and taiga flora at
the same place. Main part of the natural reserve is a beautiful, 1962m high Khogno Khan mountain,
where many rare wild animals such as boars, deers and roebucks inhabit.

Horgo volcano & Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake)
A dead volcano, situated close to Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake and Tariat soum of Arkhangai ayamag. The
volcano is 2240m high. There is a 100m deep hole created by volcanic eruption several thousand
years ago at the top of the volcano. You will find all around the Volcano solidified lava named “Basalt

Taikhar Rock
Taikhar rock is situated at the south bank of Tamir River in Arkhangai aymag. Originally the rock was
end of the long narrow rock coming from the north. Over the thousands of yeas the river water cut
split the rock in two, leaving Taikhar rock on the south bank. Ancient Turkic, Uighur, Chinese,
Tibetan, Manchurian and Mongolian scripts were written on the rock can be still seen.
Gandan Monastery
The largest operating monastery in Mongolia and the center of Mongolian Buddhists. The first temple
was built in 1809. Many temples were added next years and some of which were destroyed in 1938 by
communists. The surviving temples have Mongolian, Chinese and Tibetan style architecture and built
with wood, bricks and stones.

Erdene Zuu Monastery
Oldest Buddhist temple in Mongolia. It was constructed on the remains of XIII century Mongolian
capital Khara-Khorum and used the ruins and stones of the capital as building material. Construction
work started in 1586 and finished early 1800s. Monumental walls with 108 stupas, a symbolic number in
Buddhism and with 4 large gates, which represent 4 Kalkha Mongol ayamags at the time, surround the
monastery. Inside the wall are there 3 three large temples built in the way of padlocking woods without
using any nails. Temples themselves and god statues, pictures and other religious artworks inside them
are high embodiment of Mongolian craftsmen and artists in 16-19th centuries.

Amarbayasgalant monastery
One of the largest Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia. It was built between 1727 and 1736 in a memory
of Mongolia’s Buddhist leader Zanabazar. The temples were built inside 175m wide 207m long walls on
three-staged land. The monastery is located in the beautiful mountain East to Erdenet city.

Tuvkhun temple
This is a place where Zanabazar, first Buddhist leader of Mongolia, mediated and created his finest
work of arts for over 30years. Enjoy the stunning beauty of the High Mountain, where the temples are
built. Zanabazar called the place the Land of Happy solitude. There is a cave called Mother Belly,
which is said to acquit one’s all the sin and present rebirth if he/she comes in and out the cave.
Tuvkhun temple was built in 1654 northwest to current Hujirt soum center of Ovorkhangai aymag at
the top of 2312m high Ondor Ovoot Mountain. You will have to walk up to the mountain for about 5km
to reach the temple.

Manzushir Monastery
The Monastery is located at the splendid set of forests and rocks. The temple was built in 1758 and
was ruined by the communists in 1937-1939. Although most part of this old monastery is destroyed by
the communists, it is still one of popular tourist destinations. There is a small local museum that
introduces fauna and flora of Bogdkhan special protected area. You will see there a bronze caldron
made in 1726. It is 84.8 inch in diameter, 55 inch in height and 2 tons in weight. At the times of
monastery’s operation, two axes meat was cooked all at once in the caldron for the meal of about
1000 people.

Ongi Temple
Once a big temple, Ongi temple was destroyed by communists in 1937-1939. At the time of its
operation, more than 1000 monks constantly attended in the congregation. The site is located at the
two banks of Ongi River in the rocky mountain valley. Some stupas with Nepalian style architecture
have survived.

Gunj Temple
King of one of four Mongolian aymags in the 17th century, Dovdondorj was married to a princess of
Manchurian King Enkh-Amgalan in 1967. When the princess died after long happy marriage, Dovdondorj
king had special temple built at about 100km from current Ulaanbaatar and buried her under the
temple. The temple is valuable architectural and cultural heritage of 17th century Mongolia.
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