The tourist season in Mongolia is between May and September. The weather during this time varies considerably from region to region. The highest rainfall period is in July and August, however, there are still days of glorious sunshine during this time.
Most travelers come to Mongolia in mid July for the annual National Naadam Festival. The Gobi usually has the hottest temperatures. Summer evenings in the Gobi can be cool because of Mongolia’s high altitude. The best time to visit the Gobi is June and September. The spring is a time of strong winds, especially difficult in the sandy areas of the Gobi.
The average temperatures:
|May-June||In the South of the country (Gobi)||+15+20 C (+59+68F) during the day||+10+15 C (+50+59F) during the night|
|In the north half of the country||+10+15 C (+50+59F) during the day||+5+10 C (+41+50F) during the night|
|July-August||In the South of the country (Gobi)||+25+35C (+ 77+95F) during the day||+20+25 C (+68+77F) during the night|
|In the north half of the country||+20+25 C (+68+77F) during the day||+15+20 C (+59+68F) during the night|
|September||In the South of the country (Gobi)||+15+25 C (+59+77F) during the day||+10+15 C (+50+59F) during the night|
|In the north half of the country||+10+20 C (+50+68F) during the day||+5+10 C (+41+50F) during the night|
The biggest event of the year in Mongolia is the Naadam Festival, known as the Eriin Gurvan Naadam, after the three ‘manly sports’ of wrestling, archery and horse racing. It was celebrated for centuries as a test of courage and strength of nomadic people and warriors. People coming from all corners of the country and abroad enjoy watching the Naadam Games. The Naadam Festival is held every summer between 11-13 July at the Central Stadium in Ulaanbaatar, it is a traditional display of Mongolian courage, strength, dexterity and marksmanship.
Mongolian wrestling is similar to wrestling found elsewhere, except there are no weight divisions, so the biggest wrestlers are often the best. Mongolian wrestling also has no time limit- the bout will continue with short breaks. It will end only when the first wrestler falls, or when anything other than the soles of the feet or open palms touch the ground.
Like horse racing, the sport of archery originates from the warring era, starting from around the 11th century. Archers use a bent composite bow made of layered horn, bark and wood. Usually, arrows are made from willows and the feathers are from vultures and other birds of prey.
Traditionally dressed male archers stand 75m from the target, while women archers stand 60m from it. The target is a line of up to 360-round gray, red and/or yellow leather rings (known as sur) on the ground. Usually there are only about 20 or 30 rings.
There are normally six categories of horse racing, depending on the age of horses: for example, a two-year-old horse, called a shudlen, will race for 15km, while six and seven-year-old azraga and ikh nas horses race for up to 30km. There are no tracks or courses; it is just open countryside, which leaves great scope for cheating. Jockeys – boys and girls aged between five and 13 years old – prepare for months for special races, particularly at Naadam. Before a race, the audience, all decked out in traditional finery, often sings traditional songs. The young riders sing a traditional anthem called a gingo before the race, and scream ‘goog’ at the horses during the race.
Mongols have been celebrating the New Year according to the lunar calendar for more than 2000 years. Each year of the 12-year cycle of the Lunar Calendar is named after one of twelve animals: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Cock, Dog and Pig.
Today, the Lunar New Year remains the holiday Mongols most look forward to, celebrated as a greeting of Spring, when nature and people are renewed and inspired to take on new challenges and endeavors. We will spend this celebration with a nomadic family and experience the holiday first-hand, which consists largely of feasting and togetherness, by sampling traditional Mongolian vodka and steamed dumplings.
In the Altai mountain range around the end of September and beginning of October the Eagle festival is held with the local Kazakh people. They are famous of hunting with eagles, mostly fox, rabbit and wildcat. In this festival you can participate in trainings such as riding a horse while holding an eagle in your arms, calling your eagle and as well as hunting simulations with the eagle.
The Ice Festival is held at Lake Khuvsgul, a 100-mile long pristine alpine lake located in the north of Mongolia, close to the Siberian border. In winter the lake freezes over, with ice around one and a half meters thick, and is thick enough to support vehicles. In places the ice piles up to form pressure ridges along the shore, creating spectacular ice formations. Often the wind blows the ice clear of snow, leaving a smooth surface of transparent ice over the eerie depths.
The ice festival itself includes a mix of traditional and modern winter events, including ice skating races, ice sumo and tug-o-war, driving skills competition, and horse sled races. The sled races are the highlight of the festival, and the horses are fitted with spiked shoes to help them run on the ice.
Very meaning of the Yak Festival is to promote yak’s benefits and having festive event in a remote mountain region. So you will enjoy yak race probably one of the slowest mounted race in the world, yak lassoing and dairy from yak and other products during the festival. There are also Yak polo and Beauty Contest between the herders.
Yak festival is held July 23rd of every year.