Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour
The Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival tour takes you to a colorful event in the heart of Mongolia’s Gobi. Here, the nomadic camel herders of the desert share their traditions and skills in camel husbandry and offer their hospitality for visitors to join. The Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival has grown from a local competition to an cross-border event. In 2017, the Thousand Camel Festival set a record for the Guinness Book of Records, as more than 1100 Bactrian camels, including animals from Inner Mongolia, gathered for a race and competitions. The event is attracting ever more visitors from all provinces of the country, neighboring countries and international travelers.
Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour – Cultural, Historic and Natural History Highlights
The Camel Festival is a great occasion to explore more of Mongolia’s Gobi and the rest of the country. The festival is at the start of a tour that takes you to the iconic sites of Mongolia’s South Gobi and to one of the country’s most important historic areas. Following the spectacular thousand camel festival, you will visit the ice filled Vulture Gorge of Yoliin Am. The next days take you to the famous Baynzag area, also knows as Flaming Cliffs. It is here where key fossil findings of dinosaurs were made that helped understand the evolution of species on earth. From here, you travel deeper into the Gobi desert, to the Singing Sands. You can explore this massive complex of dunes on foot or on camel back.
The journey back to Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar is passing the historic sites of the Ongii monastery ruins, before reaching the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. This UNESCO World Heritage site marks the cradle of nomadic civilization and holds historic sites of a succession of nomadic empires. Kharkhorin (Karakorum) lies at its center, as the ancient capital that under Chinggis Khaan’s rule was a cosmopolitan center for its period. Today, this is also the site of Mongolia’s most important, oldest preserved operational Buddhist monastery “Erdenezuu Monastery” with well preserved temples and artwork.
Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour – Travel and Accommodation
The Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour takes place in February. This is towards the end of the Mongolian winter, a few weeks before Lunar New Year. The festival organizers have chosen this time for good reasons. While it may be a few degrees warmer a month later, it is likely still calmer in the Gobi in early February. March and April can see more stormy and unstable weather.
In Kharkhorin, and in the provincial centers of South Gobi and Arvaikheer provinces overnight stays are in modern hotels. In the Gobi, you may stay in a traditional ger at an authentic homestay with a local herder family. February is still off season for tourism in Mongolia, and many accommodations, namely ger camps in the Gobi, are not operating yet.
We at Stone Horse Expeditions also think that it is a great experience to camp in the magnificent Gobi landscapes, and we are equipped with the right gear for that, even in lower temperatures.. For setting up camp at scenic spots in the desert we will carry insulated tents that can be heated by wood stoves. We bring fuel (pellet type) as we would not use the scarce resources of the desert, and may actually not find any wood. We have tried and tested our winter tents even during the coldest time in the Gobi. They set up in minutes, and are soon very cozy once the fire in the stove is lit. With this kind of winter camping capability, we are able to spend nights under the stars, and enjoy the great Gobi landscapes at any season. We also provide warm sleeping bags, with inner bag and an additional warm outer bag, and warm insulation from the ground.
Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival – Your Preparations for Clothing and Footwear
While we have good shelter from the elements, and a warm winter sleeping bag set-up, you still need to make sure you have the right clothing and foot wear to enjoy the Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour and all the activities and sites it entails.
You must bring a warm coat, with down or an equivalent synthetic material insulation, and a hood. Also insulated trousers, like ski or snowboarding pants, are highly recommended. You may not need them all the time, but definitely want them handy to slip into. For boots, you likewise want really warm, insulated boots. If you can’t bring them, you can acquire a pair of Mongolian winter boots, with felt or fur inner lining. The price for these is about USD 60 to USD 100, and they may be a nice souvenir or pair of winter boots to use if winters are cold in your home area.
You also want to bring something like sturdy hiking shoes, for activities where the BIG warm boots are not suitable. Besides the warm outer layers, you want to bring warm underwear, top and bottom. Wool is best. Or, again you can shop for these in Mongolia, either from cashmere (the best!, and more expensive), or wool of sheep, yak or camel.
Then you need some “normal” winter clothing such as winter jeans, hats and gloves. And for inside, some lighter layers too. While it may be very cold outside, it tends to be very warm inside buildings. Also, the traditional gers, with double felt layers in winter, get very warm when the stove is going, and when tea and meals are prepared. Let us know if and how we can help you with your packing list.
Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour – Itinerary (January 30 – February 8)
Day 1 Arrival – Pick up from Chinggis Khaan International Airport, Transfer to Hotel in Ulaanbaatar city.
Day 2 Travel to South Gobi, Dalanzadgad, via Dundgovi. Lunch in Dundgovi Province Center. If time
allows, visit Baga Gazariin Chuluu Nature Reserve enroute. Overnight in hotel in Dalanzadgad.
Day 3 Attend Camel festival, Overnight in hotel in Dalanzadgad (Feb 1)
Day 4 Attend Camel Festival in the morning. In the afternoon, drive to Yoliin Am (Vulture Gorge),
hike into Yoliin Am gorge. Overnight camping or with herder family. (Feb 2)
Day 5 Travel to Khongoryn Els (Singing Sands). Overnight camping, or home stay with herder family
Day 6 In the morning, visit sand dunes, on foot or ride camel. After lunch, travel back to(wards)
Baynzag/Flaming Cliffs. Overnight camping or homestay with herder family.
Day 7 Visit Baynzag in the morning. Then travel via Ongiin Khiid area to Arvaikheer, center of
Uvurkhangi Province. Overnight in hotel.
Day 8 Travel to Kharkhorin. Visit Erdenezuu Monastery, Kharkhorin Museum, and other historic sites
around Kharkhorin. Lunch in Kharkhorin. Overnight in Ikh Khorum Hotel.
Day 9 Travel back to Ulaanbaatar. Lunch along the way in restaurants in modern roadside rest stop.
Day 10 Transfer Chinggis Khaan International Airport. Departure.
- Optional, you could extend your trip by one day to visit Hustai Nuruu National Park, where the Takhi (Przewalski Horses) have been re-introduced into the wild and other wildlife (herds of elk an other) as well as historic sites from the bronze age to the turkic period can be visited.
- Or, you can add other day tours upon return (or before the Camel Festival trip) to Ulaanbaatar, such as to the Chinggis Statue, Manzuchir Monastery and a Ulaanbaatar City tour with visits to museums, monastery and souvenir shops.
Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour – Pricing, Discounts and Inclusions
- The regular price for the 10 Day tour (Jan 30 – Feb 8) is USD 3,750. A discount of 10 % applies for 2 or more people booking together.
- Included in these prices are: Transfers between airport – hotel. Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar. Accommodation and all meals, non-alcoholic drinks, snacks during the 8 Day Tour. Entrance fees (festival, museums, national parks) during the 8 day tour.
Contact us today to plan your Mongolian Gobi Camel Festival Tour in 2024!