Mongolia Naadam Festival tour
Description of Mongolia Naadam Festival tour
Mongolia – its very name conjures up images of a mysterious land at the outer edge of the world. Set between two vast neighbours, Russia and China, Mongolia is characterised by sweeping wild panoramas roamed by hardy nomads following time-honoured traditions – which you'll experience through the fantastic Naadam summer festival as well as visits to local homes. But you'll also delve a stirring history, from the empire-forging warrior Genghis Khan to dramatic remote monasteries.
From the capital Ulaan Bataar, take in the giant statue of Genghis Khan en route to the rocky alpine scenery of Terelj National Park. You'll also spend time discovering the dramatically different nature and wildlife of Mongolia's sand dune desert, the yak country of the Tsagaan Sym River Valley wetlands, the bird mecca of Ogii Lake plus the Hustai National Park – home to arguably the world's only true wild horses.
Alongside Mongolia's natural marvels, the colourful festival of Naadam offers one of Asia's greatest experiences – a summer festival that lets you experience pulse-quickening traditional tests of skill and bravery including horse-racing and Mongolian wrestling. It's also a great chance to mingle with local families, many dressed up to the nines in traditional outfits called Deels.
In Kharkhorin, discover the ancient capital of Genghis Khan from where he led his armies to capture much of Europe in the 13th century. You'll also visit Mongolia's two finest monasteries at Amarbayasgalant and Erdene Zuu Khiid. The trip reaches its finale in the dramatic central uplands around the craft centre of Buglan, where Buzzards and Steppe Eagles soar.
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PlanetOur very small groups and limited departures in Mongolia means that our impact – both cultural and environmental – on the areas that we visit is small and truly sustainable. We are investing in the future, in the belief that along with our local colleagues we can create sustainable social benefits. All of the guides we use are local, and most have been working with our local team in a full time role for a number of years, rather than just as seasonal jobs.
This tour travels through some very remote and often pristine environments, and outside of Ulaan Baatar all nights are spent camping in traditional 'ger' (yurt) tented camps . We make a point of ensuring that we do not leave any permanent traces of our stay behind, making sure that we take all litter with us.
We work with our local suppliers to highlight best practice in terms of environmental issues, an important effort in a country where the environment is often taken for granted and green thinking is only just emerging. This also includes working with suppliers to reduce water usage and waste.
Our groups average only six clients, and many tours operate on a private basis with just two travellers. This has much less impact when travelling through rural areas, reducing our environmental and social affects. Finally to emphasise our commitment to Responsible Tourism all clients will receive our Travellers Code of Conduct with their travel documents.
PeopleAll of our trips include visits to local markets, craft shops and fairs. As well as being good for the local economy this gives travellers to the country a real feel for the life and culture of Mongolia. When visiting a festival such as at Naadam, the Mongolians are generally tolerant of Westerners and don’t expect that they will necessarily follow, or understand, local customs, so they are not quick to take offence, but we aim to have as little impact as possible and inform all our clients of the correct dress code.
We do everything possible to reduce our waste while travelling; clients are advised to bring their own water bottles rather than purchase plastic for example. We use only locally run cafes and restaurants and we work extremely closely with our locally owned suppliers to inform and educate their staff about a range of issues, including litter and waste disposal, and the recycling of material.
Where possible we buy supplies along the way, and although our groups are small this can make a significant input into the local economy of villages which otherwise have little opportunity to trade.
We believe tourism is a double edged sword that needs to be wielded very carefully. Our philosophy is to have limited departures - usually between one and three a year - for each of our itineraries. By limiting our presence in areas where local culture can be quite fragile, we hope to avoid as much as possible the phenomenon whereby an area changes in character due to repeated and prolonged exposure to tourism. We want to visit an area as friends, not intruders, and to ensure that what we will see will also be there for others to enjoy for many years to come.
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