Naadam Festival - Family Mt Biking in the Mongolian Steppe

8 Days, 7 Nights

From the larger-than-life statue of the world’s greatest conqueror, Genghis Khan, to the untamed beauty of Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, explore the heart of Mongolia and Genghis Khan’s ancestral homeland—all on two wheels! Bike across vast landscapes that mark the southernmost tip of Siberia, camping each night and soaking in the sights, sounds and habits of nomadic life on the steppe. Finish the trip off with a two day visit to the traditional Naadam festival, where you'll witness ancient ceremonies and Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery tournaments.

Trip Highlights

    Price
    $1950 USD adult /
    $1750 USD under 12
    Trip Activities
    Cycling
    Trip Length
    8 Days, 7 Nights
    Physical Level
    Casual
    Start/End
    Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
    Accommodation
    Hotel (2 nights)
    Yurt (3 nights)
    Age
    Minimum 12 years of age
    Meals not included
    Lunch, Breakfast Day 1
    Dinner Day 5
    Lunch, Dinner Day 8
    Flights Included
    None

    Day-by-day Itinerary

    Expand All
    Day 1
    Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (UB), Guided City Tour
    Activities
    None
    Transfers
    • Van: 0.5
    Description

    Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. We’ll meet you at the airport and bring you to your 4-star hotel. After you’ve settled in and taken a little time to relax, you can choose to join us for a guided city tour of Ulaanbaatar, called “UB” by locals. If not, feel free to go on your own family exploration of the capital city and join us later at dinner. Over dinner, we’ll meet our fellow travel-ers and brief you on your coming adventures.

    Meals
    • Dinner
    Accommodation
    Day 2
    Bike to Tuul River
    Activities
    • Cycling: 47 km
    Transfers
    • Van: 1.5
    Description

    After breakfast, we head out on our first cycling adventure. We’ll drive 1.5 hours east of Ulaanbaa-tar to a massive statue of Genghis Khan, marking the gateway to his ancestral homeland. While your bikes are being prepared, climb to the top of the 40-meter-tall statue and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding steppe from an observation deck built into the head of the horse.

    We’ll mount up and start our ride along the Tuul River, a major waterway that empties into Lake Baikal in Russia. We’ll cycle across rolling hills and lush meadows with some wooded mountains as a backdrop. Our road will be smooth, packed-dirt car tracks, which might be slightly sandy or muddy at times depending on recent weather. As you bike, you’ll catch glimpses of nomadic Mon-golian life, a lifestyle that has remained largely unchanged over hundreds of years. You’ll pass herds of yaks, sheep and goats roaming the area, as well as the white, circular tents of local herders—we know these tents as “yurts” but they’re called ger in Mongolian.

    The morning part of our ride will be a great warm-up with just a few small uphill segments. After lunch, we’ll meet our real challenge with a climb up to a wooded pass at 1,887 meters. Spectacular views over wide valleys and forested mountains will reward your hard work, along with a lovely, coasting descent to the Tuul riverbank. We’ll make camp here and indulge in a shower before we settle in for dinner.

    Meals
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation
    • Yurt
    Day 3
    Bike to Bayangol valley
    Activities
    • Cycling: 49 km
    Transfers
    None
    Description

    We’ll spend the morning riding upstream along the Tuul River, enjoying pastoral views of the steppe, mountain slopes covered in larch and birch, and the forested riverside, where you’ll see plenty of willow trees. During the warm season, this area is almost completely abandoned the by local people, because it’s designated as a wintering ground for nomads.

    Around lunchtime, we exit the river valley and enjoy a fast downhill ride, followed by 20 kilome-ters of easy, rolling trails across a wide valley dotted with gers. If you’d like, we can stop in at a few of them to meet the locals and get an intimate glimpse of the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle.

    Meals
    • Lunch, Breakfast, Dinner
    Accommodation
    • Yurt
    Day 4
    Bike to ElsteiGer Camp
    Activities
    • Cycling: 40 km
    Transfers
    None
    Description

    Today’s ride continues across open grassland, with rolling hills that stretch out to the open horizon. It’s a gradual ascent on packed soil trails, accompanied by scenic views of a birch-covered mountain slope.

    We’ll stop for a picnic lunch at the highest point of the day. At 1,830 meters, we’ll be able to enjoy vast, panoramic views of the Mongolian steppe below. After lunch, you’ll be refueled and energized for a steep, 3-kilometer descent down a rainwater ditch, then our route flattens out into an easy 10-kilometer ride across open grassland. We’ll end our journey today at a cozy guest camp of tradi-tional gers. One of these will be your home for the night; you can experience the special atmosphere of a nomadic steppe household. After hot showers we invite you to join us for a traditional Mongo-lian dinner.

    Meals
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation
    • Yurt
    Day 5
    Bike to Nalaikh Plain, Transfer to Ulaanbaatar
    Activities
    • Cycling: 25 km
    Transfers
    None
    Description

    Today after breakfast we’ll enjoy our last ride as we cycle over easy terrain until lunchtime. We’ll cover 25 kilometers over grasslands without any significant uphill portions.

    We’ll enjoy our outdoor lunch while our bikes and gear are being packed and loaded. Then it’s a 2-hour drive back to Ulaanbaatar and to your hotel. Take the rest of the day to relax or do a little ex-ploring and shopping in the capital. Whatever you choose to do, we invite you to join us for a fare-well dinner in the evening (at your own expense), where we can recount our cycling adventures with our fellow travelers.

    Meals
    • Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation
    Day 6
    Naadam Festival
    Activities
    None
    Transfers
    None
    Description

    Today we will head to the annual Naadam festival, a traditional celebration which originated in the distant past when Mongolia was ruled by warlords and emperors like Genghis Khan and his ances-tors. Their armies’ hunting tournaments and parades, nomadic wedding celebrations, and sporting competitions all fed into what later officially became Naadam. The holiday took on a bit more of a patriotic aura when it was chosen to celebrate the 1921 revolution that freed Mongolia from Chinese control.

    Naadam is celebrated with three main sports today; Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery tournaments. Enjoy watching all three and being part of this special tradition.

    Meals
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation
    None
    Day 7
    Naadam Festival
    Activities
    None
    Transfers
    None
    Description

    Today will be the second and final day at the Naadam festival. Enjoy the festivities and introductory ceremonies where you will have the chance to meet the horses, jockeys, dancers, singers and more. Look for the symbolic transfer of Genghis Khan’s “nine horse tails” to the stadium where the National Naadam is held. Get some “shagai,” which are sheep or goat ankle bones used in numerous Mongolian games played during Naadam. These bones are the original dice and are also used in fortune telling. There are tournaments where shagai games are played, and you will see them being tossed in the air, rolled on a stick and shot at with arrows.

    Enjoy the bustling festival before finishing off the day with a farewell gala dinner.

    Meals
    • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation
    None
    Day 8
    Departure
    Activities
    None
    Transfers
    None
    Description

    Today, we’ll bring you to Chinggis Khan International Airport and wish you a safe return flight or onward journey.

    Meals
    • Breakfast
    Accommodation
    None

    Trip Information

    Expand All
    Inclusions

    4 nights in 4* hotel (twin+breakfasts)

    2 nights in tents (twin)

    1 night in gers (twin or triple)

    Camping equipment including portable pressure shower and seat-on toilets

    Cooking equipment and utensils

    Sleeping bags and mats

    Indicated meals & drinking water

    National park fees

    Support cars

    Airport transfers

    English speaking guide(s)

    Expedition cook(s)

    27.5 hard tail mountain bikes, mechanical assistance and parts

    Exclusions

    Travel insurance

    Personal cycling accessories and clothes

    Meals not indicated

    Alcohol

    Gratuities

    7% VAT not included in price