Hidden Gems of Mongolia: 8 Experiences for the 60+ Traveler
In a youth-obsessed culture, there’s a tendency to think that exotic travel adventures are only for the young. But nothing could be further from the truth—travelers in their 60s, the young at heart, are at the prime place in their lives to enjoy new experiences and untouched destinations.
Think about it: The 60+ traveler has everything one needs to make the most of exotic travel. They’ve got the time to really explore a new place, pacing themselves so they can see and do everything that interests them.
They’ve got more flexibility to travel when exotic locations are at their best—no school schedules, work deadlines, or other obstacles to taking an adventure on the fly.
And they’ve got disposable income to treat themselves to the once-in-a-lifetime vacations they’ve been dreaming of for years.
Mongolia is a bucket-list destination, especially for the 60+ traveler. Despite its tremendous tourism growth, the country remains unaffected and unchanged, its authentic cultures and traditions carefully preserved.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s in store for the 60+ traveler visiting Mongolia, take a look at these eight spectacular experiences that await you.
1. Live like a nomad amid the reindeer, horses, and camels.
Almost half of Mongolia’s population lives a nomadic lifestyle; this is one of the few places left on earth where you can experience a lifestyle virtually unchanged since medieval times. In fact, Mongolia is home to the last of the Dukha people, the reindeer nomads, who rely on migrating reindeer for their existence.
When you visit Mongolia, you have the opportunity to live with a nomadic family, sharing their traditional food and drink, and telling stories around a campfire at night. You’ll learn to milk a mare and sample airag, fermented mare’s milk.
You’ll find out how to hobble a horse, construct a ger, the conical felt tent dwelling used by nomads, and even pack a yak cart. You’ll help tend the goats and sheep—and even ride a reindeer if that’s your fancy.
2. Trek through the Gobi Desert on the back of a camel.
Picture yourself seated between the two humps of a bactrian camel making your way across the Gobi, where the first fossilized dinosaur eggs were discovered. Expect gorgeous sunsets and an array of exotic wildlife including ibex, gazelles, and colorful lizards and birds. It’s an experience you’ll never forget.
Bactrian camels are relatively rare—in fact, they’re considered endangered—and you can only find them in the Gobi. Did you know they stand nearly 7 feet tall and can drink up to 30 gallons of water in a single 10-minute session? Don’t worry, they are extremely gentle and most people find riding them more comfortable than riding a horse.
3. Witness the “manly sports” at the annual Naadam Festival.
The Naadam Festival is a one-of-a-kind expression of the Mongolian nomadic culture and one of the most popular celebrations for the country’s people. The festival showcases the three “manly sports,” wrestling, archery, and horseback riding, and has a history extending back thousands of years.
When you participate in a local Naadam Festival, you’ll get to experience the best of Mongolia—its ethnic foods and drinks, games and ceremonies, and songs and dances. By celebrating the festival in the countryside, you will see the local, authentic perspective and it won’t be crowded with tourists. It’s an event you’ll never forget.
4. Explore the Orkhon Valley and the ancient city of Karakorum.
If you’re idea of travel means culture and archaeological sites, don’t miss the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The 13th and 14th century remains of Karakorum, the capital of Genghis Khan’s empire, are only the beginning—the sites of Moiltiin Am and Orkhon-7 show signs of human inhabitation as far back as 58,000 years.
The Orkhon Valley also contains Turkish memorial sites dating back to the 7th century, the Uighur capital of Khar Balgas dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries, and Erdene Zuu, the oldest remaining Buddhist monastery in Mongolia.
Of course, the Orkhon River and its verdant valley is a lovely place to explore—don’t miss the Orkhon Falls, formed over 20,000 years ago from volcanic eruptions.
5. Shop for the world’s finest cashmere.
Like caviar and champagne, the very word “cashmere” conjures up images of wealth and sophistication. True cashmere comes from the long, soft fibers on the underbelly of the kashmir goat, a breed that originated in Mongolia. It can take more than two goats to make a single cashmere sweater—which perhaps explains why it’s such a desirable and exclusive textile.
You’ll find unbelievably soft cashmere clothings and accessories—as well as an amazing assortment of yak and camel wool products, felts, leather goods, and even vodka and chocolate. And you won’t believe the steep discounts compared to products back home.
6. Celebrate a special anniversary in a memorable way.
Anyone can go out to dinner or enjoy a weekend getaway for their silver or gold anniversary, but only couples who think big spend their special day in a ger, celebrating with a nomad family in Mongolia.
Try new regional dishes and cuisines— boodog is perfect for an anniversary celebration. Imagine a barbecue where the meat is cooked from the inside out by cleaning the body of a goat or marmot and filling the cavity with hot stones, vegetables, and delicious spices. The resulting meat is tender and delicious, an experience you’ll never forget.
Don’t forget to share some suutei tsai, Mongolia’s salty milk tea.
7. Immerse yourself in a Mongolian folklore concert.
Mongolia has a rich folklore heritage of song, dance, theatre, and instrumental music. Mongol folk dancing is expressive, fluid and dynamic, sometimes portraying different animals and birds, sometimes displaying martial arts movements.
Traditional Mongol folksongs embrace the nomads’ love of storytelling and mythology. Tuvan throat singing, is a harmonious of overtone singing unique to Mongolia and Siberia. The morin khuur, or horsehead fiddle, is considered the symbol of Mongolia and was designated as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible History of Humanity by UNESCO.
8. Stand in the shadow of the massive equestrian statue of Genghis Khan.
Just east of Ulaanbaatar, the majestic 130-foot-tall statue of Genghis Khan rises over the banks of the Tuul River. It stands atop a circular visitor complex graced by 36 columns representing each of the 36 khans from Genghis to Ligden. The massive structure was completed in 2008 and holds the Guinness World Record for equestrian statues.
You can climb to the head of the horse by passing through its chest and neck to enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.
The statue required over 250 tons of steel to complete and is a fitting tribute to Genghis Khan, the man who was named the “Man of the Millennium” by both Time Magazine and the Washington Post.
As you can see, Mongolia has something for every type of 60+ traveler—festivals, camel rides, folklore concerts, and even spiritual enlightenment. If something is speaking to your traveler’s soul, why not contact us today and start planning your Mongolia tour?