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Naadam

Elstei Ger Camp, MongoliaThe annual Naadam Festival is a major part of the Mongolian life and includes the three manly sports of Archery, Mongolian Wrestling and Horse racing (actually participants are boys). It is a sort of mini Olympics! and is held from the 11th to the 13th July each year. It is also the peak of the tourist season.

In Mongolian Naadam is known as "eriin gurvan naadam" (эрийн гурван наадам), meaning - the 3 games of men.

Elstei Ger Camp, MongoliaThe festival is performed throughout the country. The central ceremonies and competitions are held in Ulaanbaatar where contenders of national titles will usually perform. In 2012 there will be roughly 500 wrestlers competing in 10 rounds at the National Central Stadium, where the less physical ankle-bone games also take place. 3,500 horses will compete in six age categories at the Hui Doloon Hudag fields, 40kms to the west of Ulaanbaatar. Archery is also a main event and will take place in the Archery Stadium.

All events take place in the city, except horse racing which are held in the Khui Doloon Khudag race fields.

Ankle bone, Shagai (шагай) is played with the ankle bone (knucklebone) of a sheep. Pieces are flicked with the middle finger of one hand, along a wooden board (khashlaga = fence rail) held in the other hand. The goal is to hit a target piece over a distance of about 10 metre. You may have played a similar game with (three) coins in Europe.

Our Programme

Elstei Ger Camp, MongoliaThe Naadam program we offer incurs additional costs over and above the usual programs we offer. We do not normally book any hotels in Ulanbaatar during this time and instead you will stay at Elstei Ger Camp. There is a shuttle bus service from Elstei Ger camp to take you to the various stadia and events as part of a group. Consequently a daily Naadam fee of around € 30 is paid locally which includes transport, entrance tickets, packed lunch and guide support as well as tourist license fees.

Naadam Dates 2016 (TBC)

  • 7th July
  • 8th July
  • 9th July
  • 10th July
  • 11th July
  • 12th July
  • 13th July
  • Ongoing
  • Regional
Main Naadam Event
09:00-21:00 Uriankhai style archery tournament at the Archery field
Main Naadam Event
09:00-16:00 Buriad (Buryat) style archery tournament at the Archery field
Main Naadam Event
09:00-19:00 Children's archery tournament at the Archery field
11:00 Opening ceremony of the "Beautiful country - Mongolia" exhibition dedicated to the 806th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 91st anniversary of the People's Revolution at the Union of Mongolian Artists
Cultural Events
09:00-18:00 "History of Central Intelligence Agency of Mongolia" - Zanabazar Fine Art Museum
11:00 "Mongol Dance" event - National Amusement Park
18:00 "Mongol Wonders" performance - National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble
Main Naadam Event
08:00-10:20 Khyazaalan (four-year old) horse racing at the Khui Doloon Khudag
10:00 Quarterfinals of the territorial knucklebone shooting tournament at the Shagain Asar or Knucklebone field
10:30 Opening ceremony of the State Archery Tournament at the Archery field
10:00-11:00 National Flag Day ceremony at the Sukhbaatar's Square
12:00-12:30 Ceremony of showing respect to the Statue of Chinggis Khaan and wreath laying ceremony to the Statue of D.Sukhbaatar at the Sukhbaatar's square
14:00-16:20 Shudlen (three-year old) horse racing at the Khui Doloon Khudag
15:00-18:00 State Honoring Concert dedicated to the National Naadam Festival 2012, the 806th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 91st anniversary of the People's Revolution at the Central Cultural Palace
Cultural Events
11:00 "Ethnic Mongolia" event - National Amusement Park
15:00, 18:00 "Tsengeliin Manlai" State honored concert for the 2012 National Naadam Festival, the 806th anniversary of Great Mongol Empire and the 91st anniversary of the People's Revolution - Central Cultural Palace
20:00 "The Son of the Sky" historical play - State Academic Drama Theatre
Main Naadam Event
08:00-10:20 Stallion horse racing at the Khui Doloon Khudag
09:00 Semifinals of the territorial knucklebone shooting tournament at the Shagain Asar or Knucklebone field
11:00 The ceremony of presenting "Yesun Khult Tsagaan Tug" or the "Nine White Banners" to the Central Stadium
11:00 Opening ceremony of the State knucklebones shooting tournament at the Shagain Asar or Knucklebone field
11:10 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will give an inaugurate speech for the National Naadam Festival, the 806th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 91st anniversary of the People's Revolution at the Central Stadium
11:20 Opening ceremony of the National Naadam Festival (special program) at the Central Stadium
11:50-15:00 First round of traditional wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
12:30 Quarterfinals of the State knucklebone shooting tournament at the Shagain Asar or Knucklebone field
13:30-14:00 National Archery show ceremony at the Archery field
13:30-16:00 Children's first round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
14:00-16:20 Ikh Nas (horses over 5-year old) horse racing at the Khui Doloon Khudag
14:00-17:00 State archery tournament at the Archery field
15:20-18:00 Second round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
16:20-18:00 Children's second round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
19:00-23:00 "The evening of Ulaanbaatar" show at the Sukhbaatar's Square
23:00 Firework show at the Sukhbaatar's Square
Cultural Events
09:00-18:00 "A Day of Mongolia" cultural festival July 11, 2012 Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
11:00 "Calligraphy" event - National Amusement Park
14:50-15:20 "Horseback Mongolians" equestrian sport show, horse riding parade and horse circus show Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
18:00 "Legend of the Green Tara" puppet play - State Puppet Theatre
18:00, 20:00 "Mongol Wonders" performance - National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble
19:00 "Beautiful Country of Mongolia" performance by the Horse Head Fiddle Ensemble of the State Philharmonic - Independence Palace
Main Naadam Event
07:00-09:20 Soyolon (5-year old) horse racing at the Khui Doloon Khudag
09:00-10:40 Third round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
09:00 The finals of the State knucklebone shooting tournament at the Shagain Asar or Knucklebone field
9:00-14:00 The finals of the State archery tournament at the Archery field
10:00-11:00 Children's third round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
11:00-12:20 Fourth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
11:00-13:00 Daaga (Colt or two-year old) horse racing at the Khui Doloon Khudag
11:20-12:00 Children's fourth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
13:30 Ceremony of granting prize to the winners of the State knucklebone tournament at the Shagain Asar or Knucklebone field
14:10-14:30 Ceremony of granting prize to the winners of the State archery tournament at the Central Stadium
14:30-15:20 Fifth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
15:10-16:00 Children's fifth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
15:20-15:30 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will hand the prizes to the best archers and knucklebone shooters at the Central Stadium
15:30:16:10 Sixth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
16:10:16:40 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will hand the prizes to the winners (children) of horse racing at the Central Stadium
16:40-17:10 Children's sixth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
16:40-17:20 Seventh round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
17:25-17:45 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will hand the medal and certification to a wrestler newly gained the "Nachin" or "Falcon" title (title given to a winner of sixth round in the traditional wrestling tournament), "Khartsaga" or "Hawk" (title given to a winner of seventh round)
17:50-18:20 Eighth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
17:50-18:20 Children's seventh round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
18:25-18:40 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will hand the medal and certification to a wrestler newly gained the "Zaan" or "Elephant" title (title given to a winner of eighth round) and "Garid" or "Garuda" (title given to a winner of ninth round)
18:45-19:20 Ninth round of wrestling tournament at the Central Stadium
19:30-19:45 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will hand the medal, certification and prizes to the winner of the Traditionall Wrestling Naadam 2012 at the Central Stadium
19:50 The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj will deliver a speech closing up the ceremony of the National Naadam Festival, the 806th anniversary of the Great Mongol Empire and the 91st anniversary of the People's Revolution at the Central Stadium
20:00 Closing ceremony of the National Naadam Festival 2012, "Yesun Khult Tsagaan Tug" or the "Nine White Banners" will be transferred back to the Government House (special program) at the Central Stadium
Cultural Events
07:50-08:20 "Horseback Mongolians" equestrian sport show, horse riding parade and horse circus show Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
09:00-18:00 "A Day of Mongolia" cultural festival July 11, 2012 Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
11:00 "Traditional music and beat box" event - National Amusement Park
18:00 "Friends of Brother Dondog" puppet play - State Puppet Theatre
20:45 "Naadam Evening" performance by the Mongolian Grand National Orchestra - National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble
Special Naadam - Dedicated to the Horse Trainers & Breeders
07:00-9:20 Mixed breed Stallion, Ikh Nas (horses over 5-year old) and Soyolon (5-year old) horse racing
11:00-13:00 Mixed breed Shudlen (three-year old) and Khyazaalan (four-year old) horse racing
13:00-13:05 The Deputy Prime Minister of Mongolia M.Enkhbold will open the mini Naadam festival dedicated to the horse breeders and trainers
13:05-13:20 Cultural performance dedicated to the mini Naadam (special program)
13:20-14:20 First round of wrestling tournament
14:20-14:30 Presenting prizes to the first 4 place winners of the National Wrestling Naadam 2012 and certificates to other wrestlers who have gained higher titles
14:00-16:00 Mixed breed Daaga (Colt or two year old) horse racing
14:30-15:20 Second round of wrestling tournament
15:20-15:30 Cultural performance
15:30-16:30 Third and fourth rounds of wrestling tournament
16:30-16:40 Cultural performance
16:40-17:00 Fifth round of wrestling tournament
17:00-17:30 Presenting prizes to the winners of the horse racing
17:30-18:00 Sixth and seventh rounds of wrestling tournament
18:00-18:10 Presenting prizes to the winners of the wrestling tournament of the mini Naadam
18:10 The Head of the complied department of the Union for Horse Racing Sports and Trainers S.Baasankhuu will deliver a speech closing the mini Naadam
Cultural Events
07:50-08:20 "Horseback Mongolians" equestrian sport show, horse riding parade and horse circus show - Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
09:00-18:00 "A Day of Mongolia" cultural festival July 11, 2012 - Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
10:00 "Mongolia in Traditional Deel" festival - The Sukhbaatar's Square
11:00 "Traditional Clothing" event - National Amusement Park
11:40-12:10 "Horseback Mongolians" equestrian sport show, horse riding parade and horse circus show - Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)
14:50-15:20 "Horseback Mongolians" equestrian sport show, horse riding parade and horse circus show - Khui Doloon Khudag, Tuv aimag (where the horse racing takes place)

Cultural Events

July 09-10, 2012
18:00 Mongolian traditional circus performance - "ASA" Circus
July 09-13, 2012
09:00-16:00 Exhibition by young artists - Zanabazar Fine Art Museum
09:00-18:00 "Wonders of Mongolian craftsmen" exhibition - National History Museum
09:00-18:00 Regular exhibits - Ulaanbaatar History Museum
09:00-18:00 Book exhibition dedicated to the 91th anniversary of the People's Revolution - State Central Library
09:00-19:30 Exhibition of Mongolian paintings and regular exhibits - Bogd Khaan Winter Palace Museum
09:00-20:00 Regular exhibits - Choijin Lama temple Museum
10:00-17:00 "Afghanistan through the eyes of the military correspondent" photography exhibition - Mongolian Military Museum
11:00-23:00

"Aravt" - Mongolian movie
"Jackson is Alive" - Mongolian movie
"The Amazing Spider Man" 3D movie
"Madagascar" 3D - cartoon

At Tengis cinema

16:00, 18:00 Traditional folk dance and song performance - "Tumen Ekh" Ensemble
19:00 Comedy show by "Shine Uye" group - Central Cultural Palace of the Mongolian Trade Union
July 09-17, 2012
10:00-19:00 "Across the beautiful country of Mongolia" exhibition - Exhibition Hall of the Union of Mongolian Artists
July 11-13, 2012
09:00-18:00 Regular exhibits - Mongolian Art Gallery
09:00-18:00 Regular exhibits - Natural History Museum
15:00 "Mogjookhon Daagatai Jogjookhon Khuu" (Jogjookhon Boy on a Mogjookhon Foal) puppet play - State Puppet Theatre
July 11-15, 2012
19:00 Comedy show by "Mask" production - Central Cultural Palace
July 12-15, 2012
18:00 "Mongol Wonders" performance - National Song and Dance Academic Ensemble

 

Naadam events will take place in all Aimags (provinces). Each Aimag decides on the festival dates.

REGIONAL NAADAM DATES
July 8-9 Govi-Altai | Omnogovi
July 9-10 Bayankhongor | Dornod | Selenge |Tuv | Khentii
July 10-11 Bulgan | Gobisumber | Dornogobi | Orkhon | Uvurhangai
July 11-12 Khuvsgul | Zavkhan | Darkhan-Uul
July 28-29

Dundgobi - Gobi aimags regional operate a "Danshig Naadam" where several aimags come together to celebrate a large scale Naadam.
Bayan-Olgii - Western aimags regional "Danshig Naadam".

source: InfoMongolia

 

 

National Holidays

As the Naadam Festival forms the basis of a National Holiday in Mongolia, many shops and banks will be closed at sertain times.

Holiday Dates
July 11-12 - grocery stores are generally closed
July 11-13 - retail stores closed
July 11-17 - Narantuul market (black market) closed
July 11-15 - Khar Khorin market closed 
July 13-14 - street restaurants, cafes, fast food, pubs, bars, nightclubs, closed  (not including restaurants, cafes, etc. inside hotels)

Limited Opening Hours
11-13 from 11:00-20:00
State department store open. 
Nomin chain stores open.

Warning

If you are not interested in the Naadam Festival we suggest you try to avoid travelling to Ulaanbaatar in the lead up to Mongolia and especially during Naadam as tour operators, hotels and tourist centres will be busy with Naadam organisational issues.

Mongolia gets very busy with both locals and tourists leading up to this annual event and local infrastructure is severly stretched.

Mongolia will host the 11th ASEM Summit of Heads of State and Government (ASEM11) in 2016 in Ulaanbaatar from 14th - 18th July) and during this time hotels in Ulaanbaatar will be unavailable to general tourists. But don't worry as you can stay at our comfortable ger lodge outside the city during Naadam and there will be a special Naadam programme with transfers to the various events.

Please also understand that Naadam is a very chaotic time of year in Mongolia & events rarely run to schedule. All part of the charm!