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Winter Tourism Events: What to experience in Mongolia during the winter season

Ice festival takes place in Khuvgul
ice festival

Mongolia is making great efforts to develop winter tourism. Here is a brief overview of some of the key winter tourism events to take place in Mongolia until the end of March 2023. 


“Winterland Ice Festival - 2024” 


The “Winterland Ice Festival” will kick off the winter events in Mongolia in 2024, taking place on January 13-14, 2024. The locals are constructing a straw bale stadium for the Festival on the banks of the Tamir River in Arkhangai Aimag. This marks the first straw bale stadium in Mongolia. Following the Festival, the straw bales will be purchased at a discounted price for the herders of Arkhangai Aimag. During the "Winterland Ice Festival," there will be ice archery and curling competitions, a boat show, and the "Khasar of the Steppe" Exhibition of Mongol Bankhar Dogs. 


Also, the "100 Thousand Goats" project will be launched. In addition, XX World Ice Fishing Championship Mongolia - Kharkhorum 2024 will take place at the Ugii Lake in Arkhangai Aimag. 

Mongolian winter

Ice Festival “Mungulug Shagshuurga” 


Every year, to protect nature, ignite the pride of multi-ethnic heritage, and develop winter tourism, the “Mungulug Shagshuurga” Ice Festival is organized at the Khar Us Lake in  Khovd aimag. 


This year, the Festival will be held on January 20-21, 2024. To foster the growth of winter tourism, attract a high number of winter tourists to Mongolia, and promote it to the world, the "Mungulug Shagshuurga" Ice Festival is set to be organized annually in January. In 2023, the Festival brought together over 20 thousand foreign and domestic tourists. 

SUkhbaatar ship on the iec
Sukhbaatar ship on the ice


“Camel Festival – 2024" 


Before the traditional Lunar New Year celebration of "Tsagaan Sar", the captivating "Camel Festival - 2024" is to take place in Umnugobi aimag on February 1-2, 2024. The Festival has been held annually since 1997. Celebrating its 25th time, the Camel Festival is planned to be organized on February 1-2 each year in the future. 


The Festival aims at instilling pride among Mongolians in the camel, the jewel of Mongolian nomadic heritage, enhancing the benefits derived from camels, fostering awareness among the younger Mongolian generation about their unique heritage, and training the next generation of true camel herders. At the heart of the Mongol Gobi, the "Camel Festival - 2023" featured various camel-centric games and competitions such as camel races for castrated camels, three- to five-year-old male camels, and two-year-old camels, a 4x500-meter short-distance race, an ankle-grabbing competition from humps of the camel, and selection of the "Best Couple on the Camel" and "Best Male and Female Camels." 


Additionally, the Camel Milk Festival will be held every year starting in 2024. 

Camel festival in the Gobi Desert
Camel festival


“Blue Pearl” Ice Festival 


The "Blue Pearl" Ice Festival is one of the noteworthy winter festivals contributing to the development of winter tourism in Mongolia. The Festival, organized in Khatgal soum of Khuvsgul Aimag, traditionally starts on March 2 every year. 


To protect Khuvsgul Lake revered as the “Mother Ocean,” and to develop winter tourism, in 2000, D. Lkhagvatsogt and J. Tumursukh, who worked as Environmental Inspectors of Khuvsgul Special Protected Area, organized an ice festival at the location known as “Santiin Uvur” where about ten sled horses were raced. 


Since 2001, the Ice Festival’s scope has expanded, and it has continued to be celebrated as a tradition and is becoming an important project for the development of Mongolia’s winter tourism. During the Festival, various events demonstrating the unique qualities of the Khuvsgul aimag are organized. Last year, about 300 foreign tourists, including from the United States, South Korea, and Thailand, attended the Festival. 


Also, the “Khuvsgul Cup - 2024” International Fishing Competition will begin in Khankh soum of Khuvsgul aimag on March 15, 2024. 

Ice carving in Khuvsgul lake
Ice carving


“Snow and Reindeer Festival” 


A new festival aimed at attracting domestic and foreign tourists was the “Snow and Reindeer Festival,” which was organized in Tsagaan Nuur soum of Khuvsgul aimag. Held for the first time in 2023, the Festival attracted more than 1,000 domestic and foreign tourists. In 2024, the “Snow and Reindeer Festival” will take place at the same location on March 5-6 for the second time. During this Festival, visitors can experience how the Darkhad and Tsaatan people adapt and live in the taiga, as well as enjoy traditional winter sports like reindeer racing, "Khaag" ski racing, and other exciting events. The festival also offers a chance to get to know the Darkhad and Tsaatan people's way of life, including how they have lived off reindeer and hunting for centuries in this remote region and to learn about their unique food and drink culture. 


Reindeer festival in Khuwsgul Taiga
Reindeer race

source: MONTSAME


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