Journey to the Ice Festival on Khovsgol Lake in Northern Mongolia

Interested in travel to Mongolia in winter? And wondering what things to do in winter in Mongolia or searching Mongolian winter tour ideas? Here is the best winter trip suggestion to ‘The Ice Festival Mongolia” on the Lake Khovsgol. We travel to the north region of Mongolia to see and photograph the Ice Festival with our adventurer and photographer clients each year. For helping the fellow travelers and photographers, we are sharing our travel experience for the winter trip planning of Mongolia and photo shoots for the imagination of the festival through this article. 

Mongolian artists at the Ice Festival -2018 

When is Mongolian Ice Festival?

The festival is typically held in the first weekend of March each year. The Ice Festival of Mongolia, “The Blue Pearl- 2018”, was opened on 3-4th of March, under the theme of ‘Let’s Love and Preserve Khuvsgul Lake”, organized by local community and government. If you need to know the date of Ice Festival- 2020, please check with our Mongolia Travel Blog or Event and Festival Calendar on our website


What to see at the Ice Festival of Mongolia?

At this exciting winter event, you can enjoy and explore Mongolian nomadic culture, traditions, customs, uncommon performance of shaman rituals, folk music and dance show, lifestyle exploration of reindeer herders, the Tsaatan people along with artistic ice sculptures and natural beauty. Also there are some winter and traditional sporting competitions organized such as ice skating, ice sumo, horse sleigh racing, and ice uncle bone shooting/national game/. The people who gathered at the festival are well dressed in national costumes, which are so colorful, comfy and well suited the winter temperature and looks so photogenic. 

Mongolian men in their traditional winter costume, after the horse sleigh competition

A local Tsaatan, guy from the taiga Mountains of Mongolia

Open-air performance on the ice of frozen lake. It challenges their abilities and the show was fantastic 


The warm atmosphere of the cold winter

Travel Tips for the Visitors to the Ice Festival 

Here you get the practical travel information from the basic travel needs to the winter photography tips while you are on Ice Festival of Mongolia. So, let’s get started from the most asked questions/FAQ/ of travelers. 

Where to stay when I joined in Mongolian Ice Festival Winter Tour? 

It depends on the service of your chosen travel company. If you choose an experienced local tour operator, it would be no problem with the accommodation and its condition. Mongolian winter, especially at night time, the temperature typically drops to minus 20 Celsius degrees so both local and foreign visitors stay in Mongolian traditional dwelling, yurt, called Ger in Mongolian. It is the perfect accommodation for the cold winter, wood and coal burning stove is in the middle of yurt for the heating and furnished with the bed, desk, chair and other basic stuffs, so you can stay warm and cozy in it. Tourist Ger Camps are located near the shore of the Lake Khovsgol and full boards of meals. The local tour operator will book this accommodation for you before your arrival. Make sure some companies do not include the ger booking service, so it is better to double check or directly contact at the well experienced local Mongolian tour company.

Visitors stay in Mongolian traditional dwelling, yurt, called Ger in Mongolian-the perfect accommodation for the cold winter


What to eat in Mongolia while I am traveling? 

As mentioned above, the tourist Ger camps provide meals for the guests who are staying there. Some camps offer international food menu and some of them provide their planned meals. You can reserve Mongolian traditional food if you want. The main dishes are khorkhog, the Mongolian barbeque, buuz, the steamed dumpling, huushuur, the fried dumpling like meal and warm soups with pasta, rice or bread. You are allowed to have meals in the ger- restaurant where also soft and alcoholic beverages are available which are made in Mongolia and imported products. Sure, warm water, coffee and tea are the must offered drinks for the cold weather. Note that, if you are some specific needs for food, such as if you are a vegetarian, may be having on diabetic or other food allergic problems, you should tell your tour organizer. They will make all good arrangements for you. 

Getting to the ice festival of Mongolia

For the winter trip in Mongolia, transportation is one of the most important things to consider, including domestic flights, tickets, and vehicles. The Lake Khovsgol locates 780 kilometers / 484 miles/ from Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. The weather and the road condition of Mongolia in winter time cannot be always good. So, you should choose the well-organized package tour that includes flight tickets, an experienced driver and a good car. The Ice festival is getting a more popular event in Mongolia and has been captivating international travelers and photographers. The numbers of both local and foreign tourists have been increasing in the last years and the domestic flight seats and ger camps are fully booked prior to the festival starts. So the tip is that the earlier booked flights and accommodation, the better. You can also hire the driver with the private car and get to the festival by public sleeping bus to the Murun city, the center of Khovsgol province /domestic plane is also landed in Murun city/.  And then you should be driven for 100 kilometers /miles/ to the Lake Khovsgol. But make sure before you go check out the public transport ticket too because it would be also fully booked. 

Driving on the ice it was incredible. Arctic frozen lakes prove the world's top vehicles and in Mongolia you can experience it by yourself

Packing and preparation before I go to winter festival tour in Mongolia

For the winter traveler in Mongolia, the preparation is the key. Whether you are on multi-day tour or a day tour trip in winter in Mongolia, you should pack your warm clothes, layers, and boots at first. The temperature at the beginning of March in Mongolia is from -10 Celsius/ Fahrenheit/ degrees to -25 Celsius degrees /Fahrenheit/. Check out this travel preparation guide or the ultimate packing list to be sure that you well prepared for the winter trip Mongolia. 

Dashing through the snow in one-horse open sleigh - song lives here

Photographic opportunities and tips for the ice festival of Mongolia 

We are a photography specialist tour company in Mongolia. So we always try to care for our loyal and fellow clients, travelers, and photographers to help their travel planning and preparation, especially for the photo tours and workshops in Mongolia.  Please find out your specific photo tour information visit the following articles. 


Mongolian Photography Tour Tips and Articles 

 -Practical advice for Mongolian photography 
Mongolian Winter photography tips and advice
 -What to photograph and when to go
 -Best photographic locations in Mongolia 

Other Photography and winter Tours in Mongolia
 -Mongolian Top 4 Photography Tours
 -Mongolian Winter Festivals Tour
 -Winter Extreme Experience Photo Tour in Mongolia 
Photo Tours to Mystical reindeer herders in northern Mongolia 

The ice festival is getting more popular and has started already to attracts the international photographers 

Capturing unique culture and experiencing winter festival in the remote wilderness is a "must do travel" for adventurous photographers  

Mongolia is a country of diverse ethnic groups. It is worth to visit there and take unique portraits of them

Thank you for you time to reading this article and I hope it will help your trip planning. Also hope that you enjoyed the stunning photo shoots that taken by our director, photographer and traveler Batzaya Choijiljav


If you have more questions and enquires about the travel and photography in Mongolia please feel to contact us at  and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest 
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Journey To Ice Festival 2020


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