Naadam Festival, Mongolia
Land of clouds and vast nothingness.
Back in July last year we took the plunge to go to Mongolia. Our original idea a few years ago was to visit Mongolia independently and travel to the Altai region. The distances within Mongolia are vast. According to Wikipedia Mongolia is the 19th largest country by land area making the logistics of travelling the vast distances within the country - not to mention the remoteness of the Altai region - pretty complex. Many travellers to Mongolia had mentioned how unreliable the internal domestic flights were and the option to travel overland was too painful. The bottom line was that the infrastructure of Mongolia didn't seem to support independent travellers as well as places such as Patagonia. We opted to travel with Nomadic Trails on a cultural trip with the emphasis to getting off the beaten track. The trip took an anticlockwise route starting in Ulaanbaatar, spending a couple of days in the town of Bulgan during the Naadam Festival events. The owner of Nomadic Trails (Tulga) had made the excellent choice of by-passing the over commercialised and crowded Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar.
The two day event sees a series of competitions ranging from horse racing, archery and wrestling to name a few. These kids generally race with no saddles, no helmets, no shoes nor stirrups to save on weight! Horse riding to Mongolians is skiing to the Swiss.
Mongolia is a photographer's paradise!
Watch out for our full Mongolia gallery in the Travels section soon!