Adventure vacations in Mongolia

Mongolian Classic with Naadam Festival


This horse riding trek in Mongolia combines the lush beauty of the Blue Khentii Mountain, the austere landscape of the Gobi Desert, and the colorful Naadam Festival.

The mountains of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park are breathtaking; lush green forests, crystal-clear lakes, mountain streams, waterfalls and spectacular mountain scenery. The wild flowers, which carpet the meadows and hillsides in profusion are quite beautiful and occasionally one glimpses elusive wildlife including mountain elk, wildcat, bears, Argali sheep, foxes and wolves.

After several days of riding and hiking at the mountain camp, drive back to Ulaanbaatar for Naadam Festival, the most colorful and enjoyable of all Mongolian celebrations. It is a time when all the country celebrates the three national sports of horse racing, archery and wrestling.

Then fly south to explore the historical, cultural and natural sights of the Gobi Desert which are enthralling but rarely visited. This dramatic and varied landscape has attracted several generations of explorers and adventurers from around the world. Mongolian Classic Treks are scheduled at times other than in conjunction with the Naadam Festival. That itinerary is the same at the mountain camp and in the Gobi Desert, but does not include the festival.

Accommodations range from a 4 star hotel in the city, standard twin-share ger accommodations in countryside, tented accommodation while on riding.

In general, the food will be simple and healthy to ensure a balanced diet. Most of the provisions will be locally produced and the menus will be based on the best possible harvest available.

  • Overview:
    The horses used are supplied by local nomad horseman, and although small are tough and responsive. They are adept at negotiating sand dunes, open steppes and rocky mountains. Their owners have no objection to impromptu races, and you will be surprised at the speed and agility of these tough little horses. Mongolian horses are usually unshod except in very rocky areas of the country. Mongolian tack generally comprises a head collar (halter) and lead rope, which is never removed from the horse, a bridle with a simple steel snaffle, hobbles and either a Russian steel- framed or an Australian Stock saddle.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Mongolian horses
  • Trip Pace:
  • Tack:
    English, Mongolian, Russian
  • Weight limit:
    200 lbs

Non-riders can be accommodated, typically more successfully on bespoke trekking, walking, fishing and camping holidays, which we can arrange on request.

Quick Reference for Naadam festival itinerary: Day 1 Arrive Ulaanbaatar, sightseeing. Day 2-6 Camping in the Khentii Mountains. Day 7-8 Naadam Festival in UB. Day 9 Fly to Gobi and visit Eagle Valley. Day 10 Drive to Khongoriin Els. Day 11 Drive back to Dalanzadgad. Day 12 Fly to Ulaanbaatar, sightseeing and shopping. Day 13 Depart Mongolia.


Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to the hotel. Today will be a day of guided sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, including the Gandan Monastery, the Bogd Khan Palace, which is a series of beautiful traditional buildings in which the last religious King of Mongolia resided, and the Fine Arts Museum. Lunch will be at the Ulaanbaatar Hotel and dinner at the Ger Restaurant with traditional Mongolian food and entertainment.

Day 2

Days 2-6: After breakfast at the hotel you will depart for the Khentii Mountains. The drive will take you into the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and past the small township of Terelj. Cross the Terelj river, past nomadic family gers to meet the local horsemen. After a light lunch the journey will continue, either on horseback or yak cart, into the Baga Khentii Mountains which are the smaller sisters of the Khentii Mountains to the north. You will spend 4 nights in tents in the mountains. You will be accompanied by local horsemen, your guide and cooking staff. There will be a ger for dining and social time in the evening. During the day there will be hiking, horse riding, or yak cart riding in the mountains and valleys. A small river flows past one of the camps, which is deep enough for a dip in the cool waters or to do some fishing with the locals. The wildlife is varied and includes musk deer and moose, brown bear, roe deer and elk. It is also a paradise for bird lovers who may be lucky enough to spot whooper swans, spoonbills, great white egrets and numerous raptors. On your last day in the mountains you will visit your local horseman’s ger and sample some traditional Mongolian food. From here you will return to Ulaanbaatar in the vehicles for dinner at a local restaurant followed by overnight at the hotel.

Day 7

Days 7-8: Spend two days at the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar. In the morning we will see the Flag Ceremony on the main square, then we go to the stadium to see the opening ceremony, the wrestling and archery competitions. The evening program would be the performance of Mongolian folk song and dance. You will be accompanied by a guide and vehicle at all times. Breakfast and lunch will be at the hotel and dinner will be at a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Today you’ll be driven to the Hui Doloon Khudag, which is in the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar to watch the horse racing competition. The tradition is said to date back to the Bronze Age, and is considered one of the three traditional skills of the Mongolian young men, where good horses and skillful horse-riders race one another. Therefore, racing has been a favorite sport of the herdsmen in Mongolia. The horses are categorized according to age; the distance of the race is determined by the age of the horse and may range between 15-35 km.

Day 9

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your morning flight to Dalanzadgad. The flight from Ulaanbaatar to the capital of the South Gobi Aimag takes one and half hours, and you will be accompanied by your guide. On arrival at the airstrip in the Gobi you will be met by a driver and jeep and taken to the ger camp. After lunch we will visit Yolyn Am, or Eagle Valley. This is about 40km from your ger camp and is about one hour’s drive. The valley is about 10km long and is completely shaded from the sun in some parts by the high cliff walls. It is possible to walk through the valley and out the other side. You may be lucky enough to spot wild sheep and goats grazing high on the cliff walls. The valley is also full of soaring eagles hunting for prey. At the opening of the valley is a local Natural History Museum displaying interesting information about the animals of the area. Return to your ger camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 10

Today we drive west along the Altai Mountain range until we reach Khongoriin Els. Reaching heights of 800m, these are Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. Locally they are called the ‘singing dunes’ because of the tons of sand which shift in the wind, making a strange sound similar to that of distant aircraft. The drive is about 4 hours long. We will stay overnight in a ger camp close to the dunes.

Day 11

This morning we will have the opportunity to use a different type of transport. We will be riding on camels today to explore these massive sand dunes. The two-humped camels are very comfortable to ride, as they walk slowly and gently and we will be well supported by the humps, sitting comfortably between them. Our camel man will take us to the sand dunes. After lunch at the ger camp we will drive back to a ger camp in the Bayanzag area for dinner and overnight.

Day 12

After breakfast you will be driven to the desert airstrip with your guide for your return flight to Ulaanbaatar. At the airport in Ulaanbaatar you will be met by our vehicle and transferred to your hotel. After lunch at the hotel you can go sightseeing, including a visit to the Natural History Museum.

Day 13

Transfer to the airport in time for your departure.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guides' discretion due to unforeseen circumstances. Flight schedules are subject to alteration with little or no advance notice. The guide will make every effort to provide the itinerary as presented, but your patience and understanding are appreciated if the itinerary should change.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

There are other trips in May and August without Naadam.
Additional Pricing Information:
Deposit amount is $1,300 for this ride. Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.

Book Now

Tell us more about your riding experience and trip preferences below so we may find the perfect options to meet your needs. We will research availability and get back to you with a booking confirmation detailing suggested departure, cost and extended ride itinerary.

Tell us more about yourself

* Indicates required fields

(country code)     (phone number)
Email Phone

Yes No
Yes No

Preferred Trip Dates

Mongolian Classic with Naadam Festival
June 22, 2024
January 1, 1970
January 1, 1970

Group Information

Ability Level

* Please answer the equation: 6 + 3 =

Processing Booking...

Do you have questions about this ride itinerary? Do you want to make sure that this it is the right ride for you? Or are you ready to book? Please call or email our experienced and friendly ride consultants for more detailed information. With first-hand knowledge of the exciting tours we offer, the ride consultants at Equitours look forward to answering any questions you might have

Call us

Speak with our reservation team directly.


Customize this Trip

Our reservation team would be happy to customize this trip to meet your groups needs. Customize your trip.

Email this Trip Consultant

The Spirit of the Reindeer Herders Ride was our 5th Equitours trip overseas and they have all been amazing! This year in Mongolia was so far our most exotic adventure and once again far exceeded our expectations. Equitours does a great job of contracting with excellent tour companies and makes it so... Read more  

Jeannie Bunt, 2012