Mongolia in Summer


Explore the Best of Mongolia in Summer: A Guide to Adventure and Culture

Travelers often ask what makes Mongolia in summer a remarkable time to visit. With its unique blend of cultural festivities, such as the Naadam Festival, and the inviting outdoor adventures across the Gobi Desert and green steppes, Mongolia offers a dynamic seasonal escape. Summer unveils not just comfortable weather but also an opportunity to witness a lifestyle deeply rooted in nature. This guide unpacks the must-do activities and immersive experiences without overshadowing the detailed discoveries to come.

Key Takeaways

  • Mongolia’s summer is ideal for outdoor adventures like hiking and horse riding, highlighted by cultural festivals like the Naadam Festival which present unique insights into traditional Mongolian sports and lifestyles.
  • Tourists can indulge in the freedom of a self-drive tour with services like Offroad Mongolia and Sixt car rentals, or choose guided off-road tours for expert navigation through the country’s vast landscapes.
  • Experiencing Mongolian culture is authentic and immersive through stays in traditional Gers, partaking in local customs, enjoying the unique culinary scene, and engaging in wildlife watching, encapsulating the country’s natural and cultural richness.

The Magic of Mongolian Summers

Mongolia in summer: blooming flowers and Gobi Desert

Mongolia’s summer season is a time of enchantment as the country bursts into vibrant colors and the air fills with the spirit of adventure. Spanning from June through August, it is the prime season for exploration, when the usually harsh landscape transforms into a warm, pleasant haven of blooming flowers and lush greenery. Imagine experiencing the livelihood of nomadic families, their lives intertwined with the rhythms of nature, against the backdrop of Mongolia’s stunning landscapes in June.

By August, Mongolia remains an enchanting destination, providing comfortable temperatures and fewer flies, resulting in weather that is neither overly hot nor rainy. Daylight reveals a vast expanse of clear blue sky, reinforcing Mongolia’s title as the ‘Land of the Eternal Blue Sky’. When night descends, the stars emerge, lighting up the sky with their brilliant twinkling.

These optimal weather conditions make Mongolia an ideal destination for outdoor activities such as:

  • hiking
  • trekking
  • horse riding
  • cycling

Mongolia offers a variety of unique travel experiences, from honeymoon getaways and family outings to wedding photoshoots, catering to both couples and families. Venturing through natural wonders like The Gobi Desert, Lake Khövsgöl, Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, and the Orkhon Valley is a pivotal aspect of the Mongolian summer journey.

The Gobi Desert in its Prime

Stargazing in the Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert, characterized by its expansive sand dunes and sparse landscapes, possesses a distinctive charm. September is an ideal time to discover this enigmatic desert, as warm temperatures and clear skies create the perfect sanctuary for adventurers. The desert offers a tranquil environment, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, presenting an adventure that takes you back to nature.

A journey through the Gobi Desert is incomplete without a camel ride or experiencing the thrill of yak riding and witnessing the excitement of yak racing. Traversing the dunes on the unique two-humped Bactrian camels is an experience that transports you back to ancient times, giving you a taste of Mongolian traditional life.

As night falls, the desert becomes a stage for the stars. Devoid of artificial lights that could spoil the view, the Gobi Desert offers an incomparable stargazing experience, presenting the opportunity to admire the immense expanse of the night sky in all its glory.

Lake Khövsgöl: Nature's Serenity

Serene Lake Khövsgöl in summer

Frequently dubbed Mongolia’s ‘Blue Pearl’, Lake Khövsgöl represents natural tranquility in its purest alpine setting. This stunning lake, surrounded by majestic mountains, offers a tranquil retreat away from the hurried pace of everyday life. The park is home to diverse wildlife, including reindeer, various species of eagles, and an array of fish, offering a unique experience to nature enthusiasts.

Travelers to Lake Khövsgöl can enjoy peaceful outdoor pursuits such as kayaking and fishing, surrounded by the stunning alpine landscape. The preserved splendor of Lake Khövsgöl National Park offers travelers a captivating experience in one of Mongolia’s most tranquil locales.

Cultural Festivities Abound

July in Mongolia is synonymous with the Naadam Festival, a vibrant celebration that showcases traditional Mongolian sports. Wrestling, horse racing, and archery take center stage during this festival, held from the 11th to the 13th of July in Ulaanbaatar. The event includes yak racing, offering a unique opportunity to engage with joyous nomads and participate in these traditional sports.

For a more personal experience, rural Naadam festivals allow travelers to interact with local communities and partake in traditional sports. Summer in Mongolia is further enriched by the Sagsai Golden Eagle Festival, the Tsaatan Festival, and the Yak Festival, each highlighting unique cultural aspects such as eagle hunting, the lifestyle of the Reindeer People, and yak-related traditions. These festivals offer a glimpse of Mongolia’s rich cultural heritage and traditions, making them a must-visit for anyone traveling to Mongolia in the summer.

Self-Drive Adventures with Offroad Mongolia

For those who cherish independence on their travels, Mongolia offers the ultimate self-drive adventure. Offroad Mongolia specializes in self-drive tours that allow travelers to:

  • Traverse Mongolia’s rolling steppes and mysterious Gobi Desert
  • Interact with nomadic tribes
  • Spot rare wildlife
  • Enjoy one of the planet’s last great wilderness areas

These tours provide the liberty to investigate various geographical areas and savor adventure by traversing the country’s challenging landscape at a personal pace. To embark on an unforgettable self-drive adventure, prospective adventurers can contact Offroad Mongolia via their website or email, and expect support in terms of navigation, vehicle maintenance, and repairs throughout their journey. Nonetheless, navigating Mongolia can challenge one’s driving skills, given the diverse road conditions, which include unpaved roads and trails beyond the major urban areas, in addition to right-hand drive traffic rules.

Renting Your Ride with Sixt

If a self-drive adventure in Mongolia is on your agenda, SIXT, a prominent international car rental agency in Mongolia, has you covered. SIXT offers top-quality service, affordable pricing, and a modern fleet for their car rentals, providing a comfortable and secure self-drive experience through Mongolia.

Guided Off-Road Excursions

For those who seek the thrill of an off-road adventure but prefer the security of expert guidance, guided off-road tours cater to this exact need. These tours offer expert navigation and local insights while venturing through Mongolia’s remote areas, making it a compelling option for adventure-seekers exploring Mongolia.

Take, for example, guided self-drive off-road tours offered by Designed to provide an immersive adventure through Mongolia’s vast landscapes, these tours combine the freedom of a self-drive adventure with personalized guidance, enriching the overall experience.

Immerse Yourself in Nomadic Life

Immersing in nomadic life in Mongolia

One of the most authentic ways to experience Mongolia is by immersing yourself in the nomadic lifestyle. The traditional Ger, or yurt, is a symbol of this lifestyle, designed to withstand harsh conditions including strong winds and extreme temperatures. Staying in a Ger allows visitors to:

  • Delve into the nomadic lifestyle
  • Experience a genuine cultural experience
  • Connect with nature and the surrounding landscape
  • Learn about traditional Mongolian customs and traditions
  • Enjoy the simplicity and tranquility of nomadic living

This offers a unique and memorable experience far beyond typical tourist accommodations.

Guests staying in a Ger become part of the nomadic family’s life, engaging in traditional activities like grazing herds, horse riding, and witnessing expert horsemen in action. This hands-on experience extends to participating in daily tasks such as animal herding, milking, and assisting with seasonal migrations, providing travelers a unique insight into the nomadic culture.

One cannot truly experience the nomadic lifestyle without sampling traditional Mongolian cuisine. Preparing and enjoying Mongolian delicacies like buuz dumplings and Boodog, cooked using hot stones inside the animal’s carcass, is an integral part of the cultural immersion.

These collective experiences, including an opening ceremony, foster a profound understanding of Mongolia and its inhabitants, ensuring a truly memorable journey.

Wildlife Watching: A Natural Spectacle

Mongolia presents a natural extravaganza with its abundant and varied wildlife. From the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park near Ulaanbaatar, where you can observe a variety of birds and even wolves, to the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park in western Mongolia, home to the rare argali sheep and Golden Eagles, Mongolia offers a rich fauna waiting to be explored.

In the Hustai Nuruu National Park, you can witness the return of the Przewalski’s horses, once extinct in the wild, thanks to successful reintroduction efforts. For those who dare to venture into the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, the desert biosphere supports unique life such as pikas and lizards, with the elusive snow leopards and wild camels as coveted sightings. While reindeer polo is not a part of these parks’ experiences, the wildlife encounters are truly unforgettable.

For birdwatchers, Mongolia is a paradise, particularly in September, known as the prime birding season. Wildlife photographers and nature lovers can aim for this time to capture stunning images and sightings of Mongolia’s wild inhabitants.

Culinary Delights of Mongolia

The diversity of Mongolia’s culinary scene mirrors that of its natural landscape. The cuisine heavily relies on meat, particularly mutton, beef, and goat, with dishes such as:

  • Huushuur (fried meat pastries)
  • Buuz (steamed dumplings)
  • Bansh (smaller dumplings)
  • Tsuivan (stir-fried noodles and meat)

Being popular fare at folk concerts, milking contests add a unique element to the event.

For a truly unique culinary experience, try the following dishes in Mongolia:

  • Khorkhog: This dish involves cooking meat, potatoes, and vegetables with hot rocks in a pot over an open fire.
  • Aaruul: Dried curd, which is a popular dairy product in Mongolian cuisine.
  • Byaslag: Cheese, another essential component of the local diet.
  • Tarag: Yogurt, commonly consumed in Mongolia.

These dishes offer a taste of the fascinating and diverse culinary traditions of Mongolia.

Dining with Mongolian nomadic families or in local eateries known as guanz allows guests to partake in authentic Mongolian meals and traditions, including dairy products. Traditional beverages such as airag, fermented mare’s milk, and Suutei Tsai, a salted milk tea, are integral to Mongolian food culture, with airag being a carbonated and mildly alcoholic drink due to the fermentation process.

Embrace the Mongolian Countryside

Exploring the Mongolian countryside

Mongolia’s countryside is laden with natural splendor and rich cultural experiences. With a vehicle from Sixt, you have the freedom to explore the whole country, including destinations such as the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dune and Orkhon Valley at your leisure. These destinations offer a glimpse of Mongolia’s diverse landscapes, from vast sand dunes to lush valleys. Driving through the countryside, you’ll encounter nomadic families living in harmony with nature, their yurts dotting the landscape.

Travelers can journey through Mongolia’s countryside with peace of mind, due to the country’s low crime rates and the prevailing sense of community and hospitality among the nomadic cultures. This journey through the Mongolian countryside is not just about the sights; it’s about experiencing the heart and soul of Mongolia and its people.


Mongolia in summer is a magical realm of endless blue skies, vibrant cultural festivities, and immersive experiences that offer a peek into the nomadic lifestyle. From exploring the Gobi Desert and Lake Khövsgöl to attending the Naadam Festival, Mongolia presents a unique blend of adventure and culture. Whether it’s a self-drive tour through the vast landscapes, immersing oneself in the nomadic lifestyle, or savoring the culinary delights, Mongolia leaves a lasting impression on its visitors. So, pack your bags and get ready to embrace the adventure that is Mongolia in summer – a journey that’s not merely about seeing new places but about experiencing a different way of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mongolia friendly to tourists?

Yes, Mongolians are extremely friendly and welcoming to foreigners, but it's important to be respectful of local customs and rules for behavior. Embracing their customs, such as using the right hand for giving or passing things, can enhance your experience in Mongolia.

How hot is Mongolia in the summer?

Mongolia can get quite hot in the summer, with average temperatures ranging from 50°F to 80°F. So, it's a great time to explore the country's beautiful landscapes and unique culture.

What is the best time to visit Mongolia for outdoor activities?

The best time to visit Mongolia for outdoor activities is during the summertime, particularly from June through August. Enjoy the beautiful weather and take part in various outdoor adventures during these months!

How can I explore the Gobi Desert?

You can explore the Gobi Desert through a self-drive tour with Offroad Mongolia or join a guided tour, and September is the best time to visit. Enjoy your adventure!

Can I rent a car for a self-drive tour in Mongolia?

Yes, you can rent a car from SIXT for a self-drive tour in Mongolia, making your adventure convenient and enjoyable.

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