Cheer on giant wrestlers. See archers hit unlikely targets. Sleep in traditional gers. Then chow down on Mongolian barbecue and enjoy the rich pageantry, traditional costumes and other cultural delights of Nadaam Festival. Watch mighty horse riders march into Ulaanbaatar’s Sukhbaatar Square, Genghis Khan-style, and cohort with like-minded travellers, musicians, monks, soldiers, athletes and traditional warriors (in full get -up) for Mongolia’s biggest and most-loved festival of the year.

The three games of men

Nadaam Festival is the biggest and best-loved traditional festival across Mongolia. Locally known as Eriin Gurvan Naadam, the festival is just what this term means, which in English is ‘the three games of men'. Usually falling in July, Nadaam Festival starts with a colourful and elaborate parade before the attention turns to Mongolia’s top athletes who compete in a finals-type affair in Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. This exhilarating and oh-so dramatic festival has played out one way or another in Mongolia for centuries in celebration of community and to honour the gods. In addition to sportsmanship, it captures the strength and scale of its nomadic countrymen’s spirit.

Not only is Nadaam Festival a one-of-a-kind festival, but you have the fortune of being in one of the most fascinating and multicultural cities of the world, Ulaanbaatar, and surrounded by natural attractions not limited to the Altai mountains, Gobi Desert, blue lagoons and more. Student Flights can get you on an awesome all-inclusive tour with like-minded travellers so you can check out some of Mongolia’s highlights as well as Nadaam Festival. We can also tailor a tour to suit your style, taste and budget whether that means staying in gers, horse riding across the desert or crawling inside lava tubes of volcanoes. Ask us how today. 

Mongolia

When is it?

11th July 2015 to 13th July 2015
11th July 2016 to 13th July 2016

Tips and tricks

  • Naadam is hugely popular, especially in Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar, so book your flights and accommodation well in advance.

  • Ask Student Flights how you can partake in the Nadaam Festival as part of the infamous Trans-Siberian train journey or as part of a tour.

  • Take a waterproof jacket or brolly. While July is a great time to visit Ulaanbaatar, with warm and mostly dry conditions, there can be some early thunderstorms during the festival.

  • There’s no set schedule for Naadam, so it’s best to ask around once you’re there. Try getting to Ulaanbaatar’s Sukhbaatar Square to see the opening celebrations on day one at around 9am.

  • If you can’t make the Ulaanbaatar’s Naadam Festival, try smaller celebrations in other towns like nearby Zuunmod.

  • Try some of the local foods while you’re there like khuurshuur (meat pancakes).