Top 5 Things To Do in Mongolia
From the sands of Gobi desert to the thick Siberian pine forests of north, from Great eastern steppe to western highlands of Altai, Mongolia offers variety of things to do. Like other great countries, there are plenty of activities and experiences that an avid traveler can have in Mongolia. We are presenting you only five of them but actually there are lots more to show you.
Overland vehicle tour
Mongolia has a vast territory covering 1.5 million sq.km and presents many different great natural zones such as vast Gobi desert, enormous sand dunes, spotless plains, inspiring mountains and snowcapped peaks. Overland traveling by a vehicle is the best opportunity to witness these natural wonders, vastness, wilderness and limitlessness. In countryside, mountains after mountains, steppe after steppe, you see no single building and construction except a few cattle and a ger. You can be showered by heavy rain while you see the sun shining on the other part of the steppe. After a lengthy driving, relaxing in a comfortable ger at a tourist camp will be one of the nicest moments you ever had. This is unique in Mongolia and every traveler who had an overland tour returns to his or her home with a deep inspiration about what he or she saw in Mongolia.
Visiting a nomadic family, meeting with local people
Mongolia is a country of nomadic people and culture. Visiting a nomadic family en route a tour is a something warm, friendly and hospitable for the travelers who are ‘lost’ in the emptiness and wilderness of nature. There is a saying that a Mongolian man has a wide heart like a vast steppe. Traditionally, the husband looks after the animals and hand crafts everyday use accessories while the wife concentrates on house affairs and raises the children. Love, respect, assisting each other, friendship and collective work are the fundament of a nomadic family life. This tradition passed on from generation to generation. The ger itself is the magnificent dwelling of nomadic people that it has hardly changed since ancient time. Easy to assemble and disassemble, made of felt and wood, a ger is inseparable part of nomadic culture. Tasting milk products (especially, butter and airag or fermented mare’s milk) and sleeping in a ger is something special and interesting for travelers.
Walking, hiking, trekking are the most common activities you can check out while visiting Mongolia. Mongolia is a country of different terrains where you can have different types of fantastic activities. Walking and hiking trips can be organized in the modest hills of Central Mongolia, even just outside of the capital city Ulaanbaatar. More challenging hiking trips can be organized in the gorgeous mountains of Western Mongolia while modest trips are organized in the sands of Gobi desert. Mongolia is a country of horses, so horse riding activities and trekking are also very popular in almost all regions of the country. Some camel riding and trekking can be organized in the Gobi and Central Mongolia. If you want a short riding, why you don’t do it in Terelj National Park which is only around 50 km from the capital city?
For more on horse riding in Mongolia click here.
Naadam Festival is unarguably Mongolia’s biggest festival event officially held in July 11 – 12 each year. Consisting of three types of games or sports (wrestling, horse racing, archery), the festival is held throughout the country and is a spiritual celebration of all Mongols. The main ceremony is held in Ulaanbaatar city. The festival kicks off with banner celebration which is a tradition to move the great state 9 banners from the Government building to the Central Stadium on horseback. The opening ceremony and wrestling competition are held in the stadium while archery and ankle bone flicking competitions are held outside the stadium. The most interesting part of the game is of course the horse racing held in Khui Doloon Khudag Valley which is around 40 km from the city. For foreigners and tourists, the main attraction there is actually the scene of crowd, horsemen and nomadic people in a high festive mood.
For more on Naadam Festival click here.
One of the best things you do in Mongolia is to buy your ticket, go to a theatre and watch Mongolian folk song and dance performances. Mongolian folk performances are great, rhythmic and melodious and are deeply appreciated by foreigners and tourists. Mongolia is a home to khoomii or throat singing and ‘urtiin duu’ (‘long song’) which inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO. In Ulaanbaatar city, there are several places to watch these performances such as The Drama Theatre, The Opera House as well such private theatres as “Moon Stone”, “Tumen Ekh”, “Mandakh Nar” ensembles and many more.
A new trend of Mongolian music has been emerging in the last few years. That is folk-pop or folk-rock type. This fantastic type of music has been a hit among many fans. Most notorious bands are “Altan Urag”, “Altain Orgil”, “Khosogton” etc. You can see these bands on various concerts or even you can see them performing in popular pubs and restaurants in Ulaanbaatar city such as Grand Khaan Irish Pub and Ikh Mongol Pub. Please check our Events list.