You may have heard Mongolia described as remote, wild and even harsh. But, since tourism began to boom during the 1990s, the incredible landscape has soared in popularity with tourists. It’s truly one of the last genuine wildernesses in our world, which means you can still experience the real Mongolia, provided you do some planning. Below, we’ve given you a few tips for travelling off the beaten track so that you can experience the beauty and culture of the most rugged Mongolia.
Stay with a Local Family
Mongolian families are well-known for their hospitality. From horseback treks to hearty feasts and exceptional entertainment, you’re sure to experience many highlights when you stop over at a real Mongolian family. Interestingly, as much as 40% of the country’s population is reported to be nomadic. That means that staying with a family in the far reaches of Mongolia is sure to be exceptionally captivating. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to your independent tour operator for advice.
Live Like the Local Mongolians
Besides experiencing this stunning country on horseback, try to get involved in how the locals hunt if you want even greater insight into life as a Mongolian. Eagle hunting has long been used by the inhabitants of Mongolia. The birds of prey make for vital companions for the country’s nomadic communities. In fact, the bird of choice, Female Golden Eagles, work with families to help trap smaller animals for food and fur alike.
More than seven decades of communism actually put a halt on the traditional of eagle hunting, but, the pastime is experiencing a gain in popularity and is most commonly found in the western regions of Mongolia. Besides being a lifeline for many nomads, eagle hunting is a respected sport which is highly celebrated each yet at the Altai Eagle Festival.
Head Off the Beaten Track – During Naadam If You Can
Naadam is a highly documents and most celebrated of celebrations in the country, and for good reason, too. The annual festival celebrates the return of Mongolia’s nomadic communities who, during the winter, were cut off from their friends and family as a result of intense snow fall. The highly competitive event includes activities such as horse racing, archery and wresting and offers immense insight into the local culture. Instead of taking the typical touristy trip to the official event that is held in Ulaanbaatar, aim to head out of town for the local events. Well thought out Trans Mongolian railway tours will help ensure you arrive in the country for the festivities.
If your schedule is more likely to see you taking a trip to the country in February, don’t miss out on Tsagaan Sar. This is the country’s Lunar New Year that showcases tons of traditional drinks, food, cuisine and local hospitality. This is a great celebration to have with a local family!
If you want to experience the real Mongolia, talk to your travel agent about the above tips and plan a trip of a lifetime.