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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.