Mongolia is on the bucket list for any serious globe trekker for a good reason. The country has so much to offer, from experiencing the nomadic way of life to their ancient history and culture, and so many fun activities – all in a stunning landscape! You can arrive by the Trans-Siberian Railway or simply fly in to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
We've put together some great recommendations for you to experience before or after the Gobi March:
Join the Kazakh Eagle Hunters!
The majestic Altai Mountains have been a homeland for the nomadic cultures of Eurasia, including the Kazakhs, Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority group, for thousands of years. Hunting with eagles, known locally as ‘berkutchi’, is a form of falconry traditionally found throughout the Eurasian Steppe – and it's still practised here.
Why not join the eagle hunters and stay with their families? You're guaranteed to have an amazing experience, learn their traditional way of life, and understand why and how they hunt with eagles.
Horse Riding Trips
This is what Mongolians do best; they're born in the saddle. You can join a day tour or see the country from a saddle over a few days. While traversing through the vast steppe and stunning forests you'll get to spend time with the local Nomads. You can choose to stay at luxury Ger camps and even spend a night with a local Nomad family.
This is one of the best things about travelling in Mongolia. Traditional Ger Camps are scattered all around the country so rather than staying in hotels, you'll get to enjoy something much better!
You could hop off the saddle and take a raft down some of Mongolia's long rivers – a much recommended treat on a sunny day and a great way to see amazing things on the way!
Visit the Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag
Bayanzag, in the south, is more commonly known as the ‘Flaming Cliffs’ due to the reddish tint in the soil that glows as the sun sets. This ancient formation is believed to be between 71–75 million years old. Dinosaur eggs were first discovered in this area in the 1920s.
The cliffs look like a large layer cake cut in half. There’s not too much to do once you’re there, but the beauty of what you see makes the trip absolutely worthwhile.
Camels Ride through the Khongor Dunes
If you want to have fun while seeing something really vast, try a camel ride at the Khongor Dunes! Located in the south, they stretch more than 900 square kilometres and are one of the largest sandy areas of Mongolia. Due to the strong winds that blow continuously, the dunes can reach heights of up to 300 metres! The Khongor Dunes have been named the ‘singing dunes’ due to the sound made by the wind when it moves the sand. The area is also another rich in dinosaur fossils and in mineral deposits.
The Naadam is the festival of ‘national pride’ and it is the only one of its kind. An expression of Nomadic culture, it combines arts and sports and is a must-see attraction for both locals and travellers. The main celebrations are held annually in July at Central Stadium and Khui Doloon Khudag in the capital Ulaanbaatar. However, there is also the opportunity to enjoy the festival more closely with locals in other parts of the country, also in June and August.
Half of Mongolia’s population – approximately 1.3 million people – lives in Ulaanbaatar. You’ll find an interesting mix of the country’s 29 ethnic groups. The colourful culture, unique way of life and lack of visitors from outside makes Ulaanbaatar a unique place in Central Asia!
Discover Mongolia offers great tours all across Mongolia but you can also ask them for something tailor-made. To see some of the trips they provide, visit: https://www.discovermongolia.mn/tours
Friends & Family at the Gobi March
If your friends or family members would like to experience a glimpse of the race, they can register for the Friends & Family Experience. They'll get to experience a night at Camp 6, enjoy camping RacingThePlanet-style, and have dinner and breakfast by the campfire while getting to know the race participants. The next day, they can take part in Stage 6, and / or join the celebrations at the final finish line in Karakorum.