An exploration of Mongolia’s dramatic winter landscapes, this journey is a unique opportunity to attend a festival held on the frozen surface of Lake Hovsgol, and join a celebration in honor of the Gobi’s Bactrian camel.
The Thousand Camel Festival, held amidst the dazzling scenery of the Gobi Desert, is a celebration of the endangered Bactrian camel and the important role it plays in the lives of the Gobi’s nomads. Camel races and polo competitions, as well as performances of traditional Mongolian music and dance, are among the highlights of this annual event.
Lake Hovsgol, located in the pristine alpine forests and mountains of Mongolia’s northernmost province, is the site of the Ice Festival, featuring horse and sled races and traditional games. Spending the night in a ger amidst the lake’s winter scenery is just one of this expedition’s unforgettable experiences.
Day 1-2 Ulaanbaatar | Muron | Lake Hovsgol
Begin touring Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar and visit Gandan Monastery in the morning, along with the Choijin Lama Temple Museum. Located amidst the modern high rises, one of the architectural gems of Mongolia was originally built by the order of the last king of Mongolia the Bogd Khaan dedicated to his brother and the state oracle Luvsan Haidav Choijin Lama. Then fly north to the capital of Hovsgol Province – Muron – in the early afternoon. Continue on to Lake Hovsgol, considered the cleanest freshwater lake on Earth, and overnight in traditional Mongolian gers.
Day 3-4 Ice Festival
Enjoy the spectacular scenery surrounding Lake Hovsgol in the winter and the events of the Ice Festival, which involve horse sledge races and anklebone-shooting contests on the frozen ice of the lake, as well as the possibility of local shaman rituals.
Day 5-6 Muron | Ulaanbaatar
Return to Ulaanbaatar via Muron, and then, if time permits, attend the annual winter Golden Eagle Festival, held by local Kazakhs traveling from western Mongolia. Nearly a dozen hunters come to display their proud partnerships with trained Golden Eagles, and those with the fastest times and best technique are awarded the highest scores. Return to Ulaanbaatar and enjoy fine Mongolian cuisine.
Day 7-8 Gobi | Thousand Camel Festival | Flaming Cliffs
Fly to the legendary Gobi Desert, visit the fossil-rich Flaming Cliffs, and attend the Thousand Camel Festival – featuring a camel parade, polo match and other exciting competitions.
Day 9-10 Ulaanbaatar
Fly to Ulaanbaatar and visit the Bogd Gegen Palace, along with the National History Museum. The next day drive early to Hustain Nuruu National Park where your tour of Mongolia will end at the home of the world’s last remaining species of wild horse – the takhi.