The Ulaanbaatar Naadam Festival is Mongolia’s most famous travel moment. But very few people realise that Naadam is actually many different festivals. Regional Naadams bring nomadic communities together in displays of unrelenting pride and friendship.
Experience a local Naadam in ancient capital Karakorum and get intimately involved with the action and ambiance.
From an opening ceremony of dance and music to the final arrows in the archery, you will absorb the competition and tradition. Furious long-distance horse races, endless hours of wrestling, and expert archery. They are the sports and so much pride is at stake.
During the four days of festivities you don’t only watch. You will also take part by playing traditional games with the locals and cheering on crowd favorites.
At a small Naadam festival a hundred excited faces watch local men wrestle. Smiles break out and women cheer as an opponent is thrown to the ground. There are no seats and no stadium.
Fermented mare’s milk is drunk from plastic bottles as the competitors send up swirls of dust. There are few other white faces and nomads come to greet you with feverish excitement.