Mongolian Travel Delights: Exploring the Vast Landscapes and Rich Culture

22/06/2023

Have you’ve ever wondered ‘where is Mongolia?’, then you’ve come to the right place. Covering East and Central Asia, Mongolia sits beneath Russia to the north and China to the south, east, and west. Thanks to its consistent weather, Mongolia is known as the ‘Land of the Eternal Blue Sky’. However, Mongolia is much more than contrasting blue skies. Visiting Mongolia is a stunning mix of landscapes, traditions, and modern life. This unique blend of the modern world and time-honored traditions is a big part of Mongolian culture, and it’s all waiting for you to experience first-hand.

Embrace the nomadic lifestyle

When you arrive in Mongolia, there is no doubt that a unique experience awaits. A significant proportion of the population, around 30%, still adheres to the nomadic way of life, an admirable testament to resilience in the face of Mongolia’s harsh climate and rugged terrain. You’ll have the chance to visit a traditional Mongolian Ger, which offers a glimpse into this nomadic lifestyle.

Spend time with the locals, who are known for their warmth and hospitality, participate in age-old activities like horse riding and archery, and enjoy local delicacies such as Airag, a fermented horse milk drink. This firsthand experience of the nomadic way of life truly enriches your understanding of the culture in Mongolia.

 

The Naadam Festival

Naadam-Festival
Traditional sports such as archery and Mongolia wrestling form part of this fascinating nomadic celebration

Picture a grand celebration that captures the spirit of a nation. That’s the Naadam Festival, one of Mongolia’s most anticipated annual events. Known as ‘the Three Games of Men,’ Naadam showcases traditional Mongolian sports such as wrestling, horse racing, and archery, all of which date back to the era of the Great Mongol Empire.

But Naadam is not just about sports. It’s a stunning display of Mongolian culture and traditions. From traditional music and dance to colourful parades, attending the Naadam Festival feels like stepping into a living, breathing painting of Mongolian history.

 

Meet the Reindeer Tribes of Mongolia

The-Dhuka-Tribe
The Reindeer tribes exploring the Taiga Forest

Tucked away in the remote and rugged Taiga region in northern Mongolia, are the Tsaatan people—known as Mongolia’s Reindeer Tribe. The Tsaatan, whose lives revolve around their herds of reindeer, are among the last of the world’s truly nomadic reindeer herders. Spending time with this tribe allows you to witness their profound connection with nature, their ancient shamanistic rituals, and their remarkable resilience against extreme weather conditions—a truly authentic and intimate cultural experience.

 

The Golden Eagle Festival

The Golden Eagle Festival
Skilled Eagle Hunters bound on horse back whilst their eagles hunt and return to them

Come September/October, the Altai Mountains in Mongolia serve as the setting for a thrilling spectacle—the Golden Eagle Festival. This annual event showcases the ancient Kazakh tradition of hunting with golden eagles, a practice that spans nearly a millennium. At the festival, Kazakh eagle hunters display their skills in a series of events, the most anticipated of which is the contest to determine which eagle flies to their master’s hand in the shortest time. Witnessing the festival is not just about the thrill of competition but rather about appreciating the deep relationship between the Kazakhs and their revered golden eagles.

 

Visiting the Gobi Desert

Little Gobi, Dunes, Mongolia, Crooked Compass
The golden sands of the Gobi Desert

No Mongolian travel experience is complete without a visit to the Gobi Desert. This isn’t your typical desert. The Gobi, one of the world’s largest deserts, offers a landscape of stark beauty that goes beyond rolling sand dunes. Here, you can embark on a range of unique experiences, from riding a Bactrian camel to hunting for dinosaur fossils. The Flaming Cliffs, a formation of red-orange sandstone, is a must-visit spot. Renowned as a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils, it offers a fascinating glimpse into a prehistoric era.

The magic of Mongolian music: Throat singing and the Morin Khuur

The culture in Mongolia is a symphony of sights, tastes, and, most strikingly, sounds. Mongolian music, particularly the unique art of throat singing or ‘Khoomei,’ is a mesmerising part of this symphony. Khoomei is a style that allows the performer to produce multiple pitches simultaneously, resulting in a captivating harmonic sound. Alongside this is the enchanting music of the Morin Khuur, a two-stringed instrument often adorned with a horse head. A live performance of throat singing or the Morin Khuur is more than just a musical experience. 

Begin your Mongolian adventure with Crooked Compass

Are you ready to take the road less travelled with Crooked Compass? We are a travel and tour company dedicated to unveiling every destination’s less-explored and more authentic heart. We curate journeys that go beyond the usual tourist routes, immersing you in Mongolia’s unique culture and leading you through untouched landscapes that have shaped its stories.

From the thrilling spectacle of the Golden Eagle Festival to intimate encounters with the Reindeer Tribes, your Mongolian adventure awaits. Don’t just travel to Mongolia—experience Mongolia. Contact Crooked Compass today to find out more.