Editor’s note: This CNN Travel series is or has been sponsored by the country it highlights. CNN retains full editorial control over the subject matter, reporting and frequency of sponsored articles and videos, in accordance with our policy.
Due to its remoteness and short summer season, Mongolia has long been a overlooked destination by travelers.
But as the country opens up to tourism, easing its entry requirements for international visitors and improving its infrastructure, 2023 could be the best time yet to get there.
Here are 10 reasons why travelers should start planning their long-awaited visit to Mongolia now.
With the government of Mongolia declaring 2023 to 2025 the “Years to Visit Mongolia,” citizens of 34 other countries can now visit the country visa-free until the end of 2025.
The addition of several European countries, including Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and the UK, as well as Australia and New Zealand, now brings the total number of countries and territories on the visa-free list to 61.
The full list is Here.
After years of delays, a pandemic and several controversies, the newly built Chinggis Khaan International Airport finally opened in the summer of 2021.
With the capacity to handle approximately 3 million passengers per year (double the old airport), the addition of 500 new aircraft parking spaces and the infrastructure to support an increase in domestic and budget flights, the airport is a welcome addition to the efforts the country to increase tourism.
Budget flights to Hong Kong from EZNIS Airways have been relaunched since the airport opened, and discussions to resume direct flights to the United States are ongoing.
The recently opened one Chinggis Khaan Museum offers a beautiful and fresh look at Mongolia’s tumultuous history.
With more than 10,000 artifacts spanning more than 2,000 years, the museum explores the history of the Mongols and the empire they created—and ultimately lost.
The museum’s artifacts are presented on eight floors, with six permanent and two temporary exhibition halls. Guided tours are offered in English every Saturday and Sunday between 10:00 and 16:00, free of charge.
When most people think of Mongolia, music festivals and conservation-focused art installations in the heart of one of the world’s largest deserts are the last things that come to mind.
Placing international bands, DJs and musicians from around the world alongside Mongolia’s eclectic mix of rappers, bands and folk singers, the country might be one of the world’s most underrated places for festival lovers.
Annual Naad the event has always been a great reason to visit Mongolia, but now that the festival has just celebrated its 100th anniversary, 2023 is as good a time as ever to attend.
While the festival’s origins date back to the days of Genghis Khan, when he used horse racing, wrestling and archery competitions to keep his warriors in shape between battles, Naadam only officially became a national holiday 100 years ago.
Today, the festival – held in Ulaanbaatar at the National Sports Stadium, has a few more bells than in the days of the Grand Khan.
A seat at the July 11 opening ceremony is always one of the hardest tickets to get in town.
Horse archery is making a comeback in Mongolia thanks to guys like Altankhuyag Nergui, one of the sport’s most accomplished archers, and his archery academy, Name.
Here, locals learn the fundamentals of Mongolian archery before mounting a horse and taking their newfound skills to another level.
During the summer months, students and members of the academy organize weekly performances for interested spectators. The academy also offers one-day training sessions for those who want to try this intense sport.
Speaking of handing down Mongolia’s oldest traditions, the revival of Mongolian bichig, or the traditional Mongolian script written from top to bottom and read from left to right, has also seen a major revival in recent years.
visit Erdenesiin Khuree Mongolian Calligraphy Center in the Karakorum to learn from master calligrapher Tamir Samandbadraa Purev about this important cultural heritage. And while you’re there, browse the yurts filled with Tamir’s works.
Pair the launch of Husqvarna’s new Norden 901 Expedition with the newly announced Nomadic Off-Road Eagle hunting tourand you have one of the fastest adventures in Mongolia.
The tour takes six riders 1,700 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar to Bayan-Ulgii, where the riders finally meet their hosts, the famous eagle hunters of Mongolia.
The only thing faster than this adventure is the rate at which Nomadic Off-Road laps sell out.
Professional musher Joel Rauzy has been leading dog sled tours across frozen Khuvsgul Lake for 18 years.
With fewer crowds, lower hotel rates and the chance to see one of the world’s largest freshwater lakes completely frozen, winter in Mongolia is something else to see and experience.
Rauzy’s company, Mongolian wind, offers tours of the lake, where each person is assigned their own sled and dogs for the trip. Following Rauzy’s lead, mushers will loop the lake. Activities include ice fishing, while travelers stay in winterized yurts and spend time with nomadic families along the journey.
Located in the heart of Selenge Province, on the Yeruu River, Yeruu Lodge is the brainchild of Norwegian founder Eirik Gulsrud Johnsen, who first visited Mongolia in 2017.
With a minimal Scandinavian-style restaurant and dining area, a handful of fully equipped guest yurts, two pétanque courts, kayaks, a driving range, mountain bikes and a yoga area, the lodge is a destination for nature lovers.
Completely off the grid, the cottage runs on solar panels, uses thermal heating, and all of the property’s water comes from a well on the property and is recycled after use.
Additionally, all glass, metal and plastic used at the lodge is also recycled and food waste is turned into compost used to grow vegetables, berries and herbs on site.
The lodge is scheduled to open in April 2023.