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Into the great wide open: 7 epic trips to Mongolia you’ll want to book now

For travellers looking for adventure, Mongolia is hard to beat. Climb remote mountains, cycle across epic landscapes, and witness the spectacle of ancient festivals in one of the world’s great wildernesses

An eagle hunter and eagle in Mongolia (Dreamstime)

1: Experience Naadam with a twist

Naadam wrestlers (Dreamstime)

Naadam wrestlers (Dreamstime)

Travel across vast landscapes and through epic national parks to celebrate the iconic Naadam festival in Bulgan Province with Wild Frontiers.

Naadam is held across the country every midsummer and features traditional Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. In rural areas like Bulgan it is the social event of the year, with nomads coming from miles around to take part and catch up with friends and family.

Along the way you’ll travel from the Mongol Els Sand Dunes and Kharkhorin (the ancient capital of Mongolia), to the fascinating monastery of Erdene Zuu. Your reward? Spectacular scenery, memorable encounters and the chance to experience Mongolian nomadic culture first-hand.

Trip: Mongolia: Alternative Naadam

Who: Wild Frontiers

When: 02 Jul 2018

How long: 12 nights

How much: From £2,545 (exc. flights)

2: Live like a Mongol nomad

A ger in Northern Mongolia (Dreamstime)

A ger in Northern Mongolia (Dreamstime)

Immerse yourself in every aspect of Mongolian life as you live with locals in a traditional tent with G Adventures.

Leaving Ulaanbaatar and the modern world behind, you’ll travel by horseback or oxcart to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park to begin your stay with a nomadic family. Living in a ger (traditional tent), you’ll take tea with your neighbours, ride horses, and learn archery and garment-making skills. 

It’s a unique insight into life on the steppes and the skills needed to survive in this epic landscape. The welcome is warm and the hospitality unmatched. After 8 days you may never want to leave.

Trip: Local Living Mongolia – Nomadic Life

Who: G Adventures

When: 16, 23 Jun, 14 Jul, 11, 19 Aug & 09 Sep 2018

How long: 8 days

How much: From £999 (exc. flights)

3: Chill out at a Mongolian Ice Festival

Lake Khovsgol in winter (Dreamstime)

Lake Khovsgol in winter (Dreamstime)

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Mongolia in winter on this extraordinary journey to the Khuvsgul Ice Festival with Evaneos.

Every year Lake Khovsgol completely freezes over, creating an extraordinary winter playground on the southern edge of the Siberian forest. The Tsaatan, nomadic reindeer herders from the north, join local residents to celebrate the winter with traditional games that include ice-skating, ice-wrestling, dog-sledding and horse sleigh racing.

Reaching the festival is adventure in itself and involves driving over the frozen lake. Your journey ends with a tour of Terelj National Park, a land of vast plains and rocky escarpments, and a place where nomadic families shelter during the cold winter months.

Trip: Khuvsgul Ice Festival Winter Trip

Who: Evaneos

When: Departures dates to coincide with festival

How long: 10 days

How much: From £2,450 (exc. flights)

4: Cycle across Mongolia

Cycling across Mongolia (Exodus)

Cycling across Mongolia (Exodus)

Become one with the extraordinary landscapes of Central Asia on this epic cycling trip across Mongolia with Exodus.

Following a trail across wide, open steppes and past expansive mountain ranges, you’ll cycle through untouched larch and pine forests and past nomads grazing their horses on lush grasslands. 

This is one of the most intrepid cycle tours in the world. As you can imagine, accommodation is limited, so you will spend most nights camping wild under the wide Mongolian skies. The scale of this journey is immense, as will be your sense of achievement.

Trip: Cycling In Mongolia

Who: Exodus

When: 10 Jun, 01 Jul, 05 Aug & 02 Sep 2108

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,129 (exc. flights)

5: Unleash your inner Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan statue (Dreamstime)

Genghis Khan statue (Dreamstime)

Follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan as you travel from the steppes of the north to the edge of the Gobi Desert with Explore.

Your journey begins on the grasslands beyond Ulaan Baatar, in an encampment at the foot of Hogno Khan, where you will stay in a traditional nomadic tent. From here you will venture west to Karakorum, where Genghis Khan led his conquering nomadic hordes out of Asia on horseback, then south to Erdene-Zu, Mongolia's first Buddhist monastery, and the vast emptiness of the Gobi desert. 

Along the way you’ll meet friendly nomadic families grazing their herds and keen to share a bowl of airag (fermented mare's milk). A real taste of an epic landscape is guaranteed. 

Trip: Land Of The Great Khan

Who: Explore

When: 01, 17 & 31 Jul 2018

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,669 (exc. flights)

6: Climb the world’s most remote peak

A nomad near Mount Khuiten (KE Adventure Travel)

A nomad near Mount Khuiten (KE Adventure Travel)

Conquer the world’s most remote peak when you climb Khuiten, Mongolia’s highest mountain, with KE Adventure Travel.

This is a climbing expedition like no other. Mount Khuiten lies at the heart of Mongolia's Five Holy Peaks, the Altai Tavan Bogd, with basecamp a one-day camel trek away. You’ll take tea with nomadic herders before starting out with a straightforward trek to the summit of Malchin (4037m) and the Potaniin Glacier.

Finally, you’ll tackle the steep and challenging Mount Khuiten (4374m) and the easier, non-technical snow dome of Nairandal (4082m), the point where Russia, China and Mongolia meet.

Trip: Mount Khuiten Ascent

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: 4 & 18 Aug 2018

How long: 14 days

How much: £2,795 (exc. flights)

7: Meet the Golden Eagles of Bayan-Ölgii

An eaglehunter with his eagle (Dreamstime)

An eaglehunter with his eagle (Dreamstime)

Witness the colour, drama and pure spectacle of the legendary Golden Eagle Festival, held every year in Western Mongolia, with TravelLocal.

Held high in the imposing Altai mountains, the festival celebrates the importance of this spectacular bird in local Kazakh culture. The event includes competitions based on speed, agility, and accuracy of the Golden Eagles and their handlers, as well as traditional Kazakh games such as Kokbar, archery and traditional horse and camel racing. It is loud, brash and exciting and a spectacle you will never forget.

As well as attending the games, you will get the unique opportunity to spend time with an eagle hunter and his family, experiencing up close the training methods he uses and the life lived in this remote corner of the world.

Trip: Golden Eagle Festival

Who: TravelLocal

When: Departures coincide with festival

How long: Flexible

How much: £1,710 (exc.flights)

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