Where to start?
#1 I had dreamt about Mongolia since primary school for its capital city name Oulaanbaatar.
#2 I had never done a “long” road trip.
#3 I wanted to see the Nadaam Holiday.
So here was the deal: an 8-day road trip followed by the 2-day Naadam festival!!!
I had booked the road trip through Petite Marmotte, a French travel agent and guesthouse. So here was the package:
– Route: Oulaanbaatar to Gobi desert and back to Oulaanbaatar on a loop so as to see different sceneries;
– Provided: Bagui the driver, his car, a tent and food for 8 days… we agree that mutton meat does not smell so fresh after 48 hours in a plastic bag at the back of a car without A/C in the deep summer 😉.
It is the most memorable trip I have ever done! 7 hours a day, or 200 km a day in the middle of nowhere (no roads, no road signs…). Marmots, sheep, camels and horses could be seen by hundreds… Bagui drove when in exchange we (my half and I) did the cooking and dish washing. Bagui managed night spots in a scenery that was every time more incredible than the day before. On the sixth day, taking a shower and sleeping in a yurt was another great highlight!
Then, back to Oulaanbaatar, the Naadam annual festival was about to start to celebrate Mongolian independence from China. An outstanding show at the opera was held the night before, showcasing Mongolian style singers, dancers, live music bands in astonishing traditional costumes… On the D-day, Mongolian wrestling, archery competitions and horse races started. Assisting to these games live, eating deep fried mutton crepes around 8 a.m to support the fresh temperature, in the midst of Mongolian supporters, was an exceptional experience!
Do not hesitate, it is spectacular!!!