No trip to Mongolia would be complete without a few horseback rides, and the Orkhon Valley is the perfect place for it. Having been roamed by nomadic tribes for thousands of years, the Orkhon Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll feel as if you’ve stepped back in time, experiencing this landscape’s rich history first hand.
The Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset Marathon is a stunningly beautiful race set in Hovsgol National Park. Featuring 26-mile and 62-mile options, the event starts along Hovsgol Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the country by volume. Both courses then head into the mountains, covering 7,400 feet of elevation in the marathon distance and 11,040 feet of elevation in the ultramarathon distance.
Tavan Bogd (14,350 ft) is the highest mountain in Mongolia and it is located by a national park of the same name. The protected area is home to three stunning alpine lakes – Khoton, Khurgan, and Dayan – and an abundance of wildlife, making it a fascinating place to explore. While hiking is a great options that will let you get up close and personal with the landscape, fat bikes allow you to see even more while remaining under your own power. On a fat bike tour, your likely to cross rivers, forests, muddy trails, and even glaciers. Most tour providers will have a van available for support, so that you’ll never have concern for your safety or comfort when the terrain gets too rough.
There’s something magical about running on the Mongolian Steppe, in the footsteps of nomadic herders and Mongol conquerors. Facing its competitors up against extreme changes in temperature, sandstorms, and technical terrain, the Gobi March is ultrarunning at its finest – brutal, yet beautiful, allowing plenty of room for self-discovery. Between deserts and grasslands, mountains and lakes, Mongolia has endless natural beauty to discover. But its unique culture is what draws most travelers in. If you can stay into July after the race, head over to the famous Naadam Festival, where Mongolian traditions are on full display with competitions in archery, wrestling, and horseback riding.
The Silk Way Rally is an off-road rally raid held each year in different locations along the ancient Silk Road trade route. While the course does not always travel through Mongolia, it has on several occasions. Racers can choose between competing in cars or trucks, and they sometimes have the option for motorbikes and quad bikes as well. Distances range from 2,150 to 6,650 miles, depending on the countries involved, while stages range from 300 to 400 miles.
Mongolia’s largest Ice Festival is held each year in March on Khovsgol Lake, which freezes over during the winter. Bordering Siberia, temperatures in the region drop as low as minus 58°F. Those who brave this extreme environment will witness one of the most unique events in the world, featuring sleigh races, ice sumo wrestling, shamanic rituals, ice sculptures, and exhibitions by reindeer herders.
The Gobi Camel Festival is an annual event that celebrates the importance of camels in the lives of nomadic herders. Over a thousand camels typically attend the event, along with their owners. The festivities include camel races, camel parades, camel polo, and cultural performances.