Take a quick deep-dive into Mongolian culture with this five-day trip that showcases the annual Danshig Naadam Festival. Begin with a tour of the National Museum in Ulaanbaatar to gain an overview of Mongolian history, then continue to the festival's opening ceremonies and spend two days enjoying the archery matches, horse races, and traditional monk dancing. Cap the adventure off in Kharkhorin, the former capital of the Mongol Empire, and stay in a traditional yurt in a nomadic village nearby.


  • See the giant, gilded Buddha in the Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar
  • Attend opening ceremonies of the Danshig Naadam Festival and overnight in a yurt
  • See monks perform the traditional tsam masked dance at the festival
  • Explore the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, Kharkhorin

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Transfer to Argalant, Danshig Naadam Festival (Day 1) Argalant
Day 3 Danshig Naadam Festival (Day 2) Argalant
Day 4 Transfer to Kharkhorin, Sightseeing Tour Kharkhorin
Day 5 Early Morning at Erdene Zuu Monastery, Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour

Ulaanbaatar city tour
Immerse yourself in the flavors of Ulaanbaatar this evening

Welcome to Mongolia! Your driver will be waiting in the Chinggis Khaan International Airport's arrivals hall to transfer you to your hotel in the capital of Ulaanbaatar. Once a nomadic hub, it became permanent in the 18th century and is now the largest city in Mongolia. One of the coldest capitals in the world due to its surrounding mountains and climate, it's a vibrant city that blends modernity with traditional Mongolian culture.

Once you settle in, meet your guide for a city tour. Begin at the impressive Gandan Monastery, the center of Buddhism in Mongolia, which houses the 85-foot (26 m) gilded statue of the Buddhist sage Megjid Janraisag. Proceed to the National Museum of Mongolia to explore the country's rich cultural and historical heritage, featuring prehistorical artifacts and nomadic life exhibits, including large displays of traditional dress from different Mongolian ethnic groups. 

Afterward, stroll around the bustling central plaza, Sükhbaatar Square, bordered by the elaborate State Parliament House and the Government Palace. Visit the newly opened Chinggis Khaan Museum to marvel at a fascinating collection of archaeological artifacts from the Mongolian Great Empire, led by the legendary Chinggis Khaan (Ghengis Khan) himself. Finish the day at a top-notch local restaurant, where you'll find plenty of Mongolian dishes to tantalize your taste buds. Try classics like buuz (dumplings), tsuivan (noodles with meat and vegetables), budaatai khuurga (fried rice), or guriltai shul (noodle soup).

Day 2: Transfer to Argalant, Danshig Naadam Festival (Day 1)

Photo by Uuganbayar. B
Take in the festivities at the opening ceremony for the famous Danshig Naadam Festival

Say goodbye (for now) to Ulaanbaatar and meet your driver for the transfer to Hui Doloon Hudag for the opening ceremonies of the Danshig Naadam and Khuree Tsam Festival. Held annually during the first week of August, Mongolia's grandest religious and cultural festival symbolizes the profound influence of Buddhism on the nation's people and heritage. 

The festival also features the "Three Games of Men"—archery competitions, wrestling matches, and horse races—alongside captivating tsam masked dance ceremonies. Tsam dancing, born in the eighth century, is an important ritual of Buddhism, with elaborate movements, masks, and costumes. This nuanced and intricate dance, which stages Buddhist legends that purportedly bring good fortune to the people, has recently enjoyed a resurgence now that the socialist period in Mongolia is over.

Spend the day watching the ceremonies and rooting for your favorite competitors as you learn more about the history behind the festival. Meet the horse trainers and chat about Mongolian horse culture and the nomadic lifestyle, take photos of the gorgeous costumes, and enjoy traditional Mongolian food and drink. At the end of the day, transfer to the town of Argalant to stay in Mongol Nomadic Ger Camp.

Day 3: Danshig Naadam Festival (Day 2)

Photo by Uuganbayar. B
Catch the archery competition at the Danshig Naadam Festival in Mongolia

After a night in a traditional ger (yurt) camp and a typical breakfast served alongside suutei tsai (salty milk tea), return to Hui Doloon Hudag for day two of the Danshig Naadam Festival. After nearly 100 years of communist rule that suppressed the religious freedom of the Mongols, the revival of Danshig Naadam in 2015 was an essential symbol of retaining Mongolia's invaluable cultural heritage.

Cheer on competitors, mostly men (although women can participate in archery), taste a variety of local snacks at the many stalls, and visit the different monastery tents from throughout Mongolia to meet the resident monks. Once the day ends, return to Argalant for another night in a traditional nomad village. 

Day 4: Transfer to Kharkhorin, Sightseeing Tour

Visit the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, Kharkhorin

Leave Argalant early in the morning for a four-hour journey toward Kharkhorin (also known as Karakorum), the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire. The once-grand city is located in the Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its natural scenery, especially its iconic steppe landscape, and long cultural history, including 2,000 years of nomadic pastoralism. 

Upon arrival, check into another nearby ger camp. Settle in and eat lunch, then embark on an exploration of Kharkhorin, taking you to some of its most important sites and landmarks. Start at the gorgeous Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of Mongolia's oldest and most significant monasteries. Built in the 15th century, the monastery features an elaborate array of temples, all adorned with intricate carvings and paintings.

Continue to explore the Karakorum Archaeological Museum and other notable historical sites in the area, such as the ruins of the ancient city walls and the impressive stone turtle statue that symbolizes the unity and strength of the Mongolian people. After a full day of sightseeing, wrap things up with a delicious dinner and overnight at the camp.

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Day 5: Early Morning at Erdene Zuu Monastery, Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Depart

On your last morning in Mongolia, listen to the morning chants at the beautiful Erdene Zuu Monastery
In the morning, pay another visit to the beautiful and peaceful Erdene Zuu Monastery to participate in the morning chants of monks. After that, you'll be transferred back to Ulaanbaatar to catch your flight home or onward. Safe travels!

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Map of Experience Mongolia's Danshig Naadam Festival - 5 Days
Map of Experience Mongolia's Danshig Naadam Festival - 5 Days