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Listed under Festivals in Ulan Bator, Mongolia.

  • Photo of Naadam
  • Photo of Naadam
  • Photo of Naadam
Photo of Naadam
Photo by flickr user John Pannell
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Many horse lovers go to Mongolia to see the famed Naadam Festival in early July. The event - featuring the three “manly arts” of horse racing, archery, and wrestling - is spectacular, and stadium seats are hard to come by. But for a unique thrill, try sampling Naadam in a small provincial city. You’ll see the same competitions but instead of watching them from assigned seats, you will be part of the crowd watching them ON horseback. Everything is set up for viewers on horseback -- the height of the wrestling “stadium”, the stands dispensing cold drinks, the hawkers with souvenirs (geared to Mongolian tastes; there aren’t many foreigners who experience Naadam this way).

To arrive at a provincial celebration, expect several dusty days of travel and nights in snug tents under a blaze of stars. You won’t be expected to ride on wooden saddles as the locals do, but the fierce-paced trot of the indefatigable Mongolian double ponies calls for some adaptation. I traveled with Boojum Expeditions, boasting decades of experience running trips to Mongolia:

More details about Claudia's trip.

Written by  Claudia Flisi.

Other expert and press reviews

“The other games”

By Kevin Rushby for 'The Guardian' First published August 2, 2008 We were all heading for the town of Bulgan, 300km north-west of the capital, Ulaanbaatar. Like all towns in Mongolia, Bulgan is relatively new - 70 years old this year, a fact that it wa… Read more...

Written by press. Read Full Article from The Guardian, 2nd August, 2008


Girlie Men, pass by. Get your arrow quiver and your sheep bones together at the Festival of Manly Sports. Read more...

Written by  globorati. Read more about this on Globorati

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers


Naadaam is Mongolia’s largest festival: a traditional Olympics of Manly Sports like archery, horse racing and wrestling. Naadaam has existed in a similar form for centuries and the events held celebrate the kind of warrior skills needed during the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol hordes.

The Mongolian Wrestling competition sees 1024 men wrestle it out over ten un-timed rounds to see who can keep their hands off the ground for longest.

Though thought of as a manly event, jockeys in the horse races, held over 15 or 30 kms, are between the ages of five and twelve.

Naadaam also has less physical games, one of the most traditional is a divination game using sheep ankle bones. There are also parades, musical performances and non competitive demonstrations of skills.

Since 1921 Naadaam has been held to commemorate Mongolia’s revolution of independence. It's celebrated though out Mongolia, the largest event held in a huge stadium in the capital, Ulaanbaatar, over the three days from the 11th to the 13th of July.

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