Tese Neighbor has a Masters degree in Asia Studies, and has been teaching contemporary Asian history for the past 30 years. She first visited Inner Mongolia in 1982 when she was living in Beijing, China, and has returned to the Gobi Desert numerous times. Last summer, she was particularly thrilled to journey to Mongolia during the Naadam Festival.
Join Zegrahm Expeditions as we explore the "Land of the Blue Sky," on our Cultural Mongolia with the Naadam Festival adventure next July. From one day to the next, we’ll learn about the history of the region, then watch as it come to life!
This trip has been timed in order to enjoy both a local, and the national, Naadam Festival. In Genghis Khan’s ancient capital of Karakorum, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this one-of-a-kind festival is held every July. Although translated as “the three games of men,” women have started participating in the archery and girls in the horse racing. Wander on your own—camera in hand—and enjoy the wrestling, horse racing, and archery tournaments. Mingling among the local spectators and sampling their traditional foods and beverages will make you wonder—how can the national festival possibly be better than this local one in Karakorum?
…but it is! Attend the opening ceremony in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar; from our special reserved seats enjoy a parade of dancers, wrestlers, mounted cavalry, musicians, and monks. You’ll even have the chance to join in the fun—give archery a try or sheep anklebone throwing! Plus, if we get up early we might even catch a glimpse of the Great Khan’s nine horse tails (representing the nine tribes of the Mongols) parading down the street.
The annual Naadam Festival is just one of the highlights of this expedition; others include exploring Hustai National Park, where we will search for steppe gazelles, marmots, and the famous Przewalskii horses; visiting Asia’s largest desert, the Gobi, and taking in the vast brown expanses, the lush green Yol Valley, and the Flaming Cliffs; and sauntering by camel through the massive Maltstog Sand Dunes.
You’ll also participate in age-old customs that are still alive today—ride horses, sleep in traditional ghers, make and eat buuz (traditional dumplings), take archery lessons, play sheep ankle bone games, and participate in a felt-making ceremony.
I hope you’ll join me on this exceptional journey that highlights the history of the Land of the Blue Sky!
For more information, visit Cultural Mongolia with the Naadam Festival.