HomeWorld NewsWhy 2023 is the year to visit Mongolia

Why 2023 is the year to visit Mongolia

Editor’s Note: This CNN Travel series is, or was, sponsored by the country it highlights. CNN retains full editorial control over subject matter, reporting and frequency of the articles and videos within the sponsorship, in compliance with our policy.

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia CNN — Due to its remote location and short summer season, Mongolia has often been overlooked by travelers. However, with the country’s efforts to open up tourism by making it easier for international visitors to enter and improving its infrastructure, 2023 might be the ideal time to visit. Here are 10 reasons why travelers should start planning their dream trip to Mongolia now.

The Mongolian government has declared 2023 through 2025 the “Years to Visit Mongolia,” allowing citizens from an additional 34 countries to visit the country visa-free until the end of 2025. This includes several European countries, Australia, and New Zealand, bringing the total number of visa-exempt countries and territories to 61.

After facing delays and controversies, the newly built Chinggis Khaan International Airport finally opened in the summer of 2021. The airport has the capacity to handle approximately 3 million passengers per year, double that of the old airport. It also has 500 new aircraft parking spaces and the infrastructure to support increased domestic and budget flights.

The recently opened Chinggis Khaan Museum provides a fresh perspective on Mongolia’s history. With over 10,000 artifacts spanning 2,000 years, the museum explores the history of the Mongols and their empire. The museum is spread over eight floors, with six permanent and two temporary exhibition halls. Guided tours in English are available on Saturdays and Sundays free of charge.

Mongolia is becoming a hidden gem for festival enthusiasts, with events like Playtime, Spirit of Gobi, INTRO Electronic Music Festival, and the Kharkhorum 360 Visual Art & Music Experience. These festivals bring together international bands, DJs, and musicians with Mongolia’s own rappers, bands, and folk singers.

Attending the annual Naadam event is always a great reason to visit Mongolia. This festival, which just celebrated its 100-year anniversary, originated from Genghis Khan’s time and includes horse racing, wrestling, and archery competitions. Today, the festival held in Ulaanbaatar at the National Sports Stadium has grown in popularity.

Mounted archery is experiencing a revival in Mongolia, thanks to individuals like Altankhuyag Nergui and his archery academy, Namnaa. Locals can learn Mongolian archery fundamentals before showcasing their skills on horseback during weekly shows in the summer. The academy also offers training sessions for those interested in trying out this intense sport.

The traditional Mongolian script, Mongol bichig, has seen a resurgence in recent years. Visit the Erdenesiin Khuree Mongolian Calligraphy Center in Karakorum to learn from master calligrapher Tamir Samandbadraa Purev and browse the yurts filled with his works.

For adventurous travelers, the combination of Husqvarna’s new Norden 901 Expedition motorbike and Nomadic Off-Road’s Eagle Hunter Tour offers a thrilling experience. The tour takes riders 1,700 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar to Bayan-Ulgii, where they have the opportunity to meet Mongolia’s famous eagle hunters.

Explore the frozen beauty of winter in Mongolia with dogsledding tours led by professional musher Joel Rauzy. The tours take place across frozen Lake Khuvsgul, giving travelers the chance to witness one of the largest freshwater lakes completely frozen over. Activities include ice fishing and staying in winterized yurts while engaging with nomadic families along the journey.

For nature lovers, Yeruu Lodge in the heart of Selenge province offers a tranquil retreat. The lodge, set to open in April 2023, features Scandinavian-style accommodations, outdoor activities like kayaking and mountain biking, and sustainable practices such as solar energy, thermal heating, and recycling waste.

It’s time to discover the hidden wonders of Mongolia and start planning an unforgettable trip to this unique destination.