Challenging: Includes expedition style camping or stays with local families, where formal washing and toilet facilities may not be available. May include full-day hikes or rides (4 to 6 hours) over moderate terrain and occasional steep trails, or long driving distances on rough roads.
The price includes:
The price does not include:
Day 1. Arrival (D)
Arrival to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to hotel. Depending on time of arrival, you may have a short city sight-seeing tour. Evening welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2. Ulaanbaatar/South Gobi/Yolin Am (B,L,D)
In the morning we fly to the southern part of the Gobi Desert, landing next to the Goviin Gurvan Saikhan (The Three Beauties of the Gobi) National Park, after which we will visit Yolin Am (The Vulture’s Canyon) canyon. Located in the southernmost province of the Gobi Desert, Yolin Am is part of the Great Gobi National Park. The area is an oasis, attracting wildlife from the area all around with water, good grazing, and sheltered canyons. The wonder of this beautiful valley is the river of ice stretching across the canyon floor, which survives the desert heat well into the month of August every year, better known as the Gobi Glacier. A hike down the valley offers us a great opportunity to observe wildlife, and enjoy the cool waters of the stream that emerges from under the glacier. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 3. Yolin Am/ Khongorin Els (B,L,D)
Approximately six hours of driving through the Gobi’s typical cold desert landscape, so called because the Gobi receives its moisture in the form of snow, brings us to the Khongorin Els (Singing Sands) sand dunes. After a late lunch at the ger camp where we will spend the night, we will go explore the towering dunes on foot. If the breeze is blowing just right, we may hear the dunes singing to us. The rugged desert plants of the Gobi at the edges of the sands are beautiful in their own sculptural way. Overnight in ger camp.
Day 4. Khongorin Els - Camel Riding (B,L,D)
The Khongorin Els sand dune stretches for over 180 kilometers, and rises to heights of over 130 meters. Today we will ride the desert ship, the Bactrian two-humped camel, through the spectacular Khongorin Els.
Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 5. Khongorin Els/ Baynzag / Ongiin Monastery (B,L,D)
Leaving the sand dunes, we leave the Gobi Desert landscape and drive to Bayan Zag. Known to westerners as The Flaming Cliffs, Bayan Zag (Rich with Saxaul) is famed for its’ red sandstone cliffs. Sculptural Saxaul trees grow in the arid rocky soil. The area is also recognized as one of the world’s largest dinosaur graveyards. In 1921, the American Roy Chapman Andrews discovered here some of the most important Paleontological findings of the last century. Since then, hundreds of archeological expeditions have come to this remote desert location, and even today with the assistance of local people dinosaur fossils continue to be found in the area. After a stop here, we head towards the Ongii River, then drive along it’s banks to visit the ruins of Ongiin Khiid. Once the largest monastery in the Gobi region, Ongiin Khiid was destroyed during the pogroms of the 1930's, and only its’ ruins remain. Overnight at ger camp.
Day 6. Ongiin Monastery/ Red Waterfall (B,L,D)
Today we travel through semi arid steppe to reach the Red Waterfall. The area is dominated by volcanic scenery, and we will meet the Orkhon River as it flows though basalt fields, then follow the course of the river to the Red Waterfall. We will visit a nomadic family living in the area. Overnight in a ger camp.
Days 7-8. Bat Ulzii Community Project & Naadam (B,L,D)
For two days in Bat Ulzii we will experience an authentic local Naadam festival up close. The Naadam competitions include the traditional horse races, wrestling, and archery as well as some other games like ankle-bone shooting and competing in skills on horseback, where we will see some spectacular riding feats! As this is a small local event, if you choose you can also enter the wrestling and archery competitions. Evening entertainment will include a concert organized by citizens of Bat Ulzii and prizes will be given for individuals who are wearing the most authentic traditional Mongolian attire in a few different categories.
Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 9. The Red Waterfall/ Kharakhorin (B,L,D)
From the Hangai Mountain Range the Orhon River runs all the way to Lake Baikal in Siberia. Today we head south, driving along the river’s banks. Our first stop will be at Tuvhon Monastery, established during the 1650’s by Zanabazar, one of Mongolia’s most respected religious leaders. The monastery’s wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched hear a hilltop, from which you have beautiful views of the Orhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests. With its unique natural features, it was a perfect location for the great religious leader to meditate. Continuing north; we reach Kharakhorin, where we make camp for the night. Overnight in ger camp.
Day 10. Kharakhorin/ The Hot Springs of Tsenher (B,L,D)
Today we arrive in the region the Mongolians call the ‘paradise of the horse herders’ for its lush grasses and open valleys. We drive through thick pine forests to the Tsenher hot C, and where we can enjoy a°springs, where water flows out of the ground at 82 relaxing soak. Overnight in ger camp.
Day 11. The Hot Springs/ Khorgo Volcano (B,L,D)
Driving out of the hot springs, we pass through Tsetserleg, the provincial capital, where we will make a short visit to the local market. Continuing west, we stop next to Taikhar Chuluu - a massive rock which is connected to local mythology. The last stop of the day will be next to a good observation point for the Chuluut Canyon, and the holy "100 branch tree" which has grown nearby for hundreds of years. Finally we arrive at Horgo Volcano. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 12. Khorgo Volcano/ Terhin Tsagaan Nuur/ Khorgo Volcano (B,L,D)
We spend this day hiking or horseback riding from the top of the Khorgo Volcano through basalt fields studded with pine trees, all down to the shores of Terhin Tsagaan Lake. Overnight in the ger camp.
Day 13. Khorgo Volcano/ Jargalant (B,L,D)
In the morning we will go for a hike up the Khorgo volcano. After lunch, we will be driving north on one of Mongolia's most beautiful routes, crossing high mountain passes, grasslands, and small creeks as we pass by remote villages. We finish the day next to the Jargalant Hot Springs. Overnight a ger camp.
Day 14. Jargalant/ Murun (B,L,D)
On this day we head north to the town of Murun, the provincial capital of Huvsgul. A short while later we arrive at an ancient burial site featuring Mongolia’s mysterious deerstones, memorial stones representing important leaders and warriors, carved with deer motifs. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 15. Murun/Lake Huvsgul (B,L,D)
One of the world's biggest fresh water sources, Lake Huvsgul and its amazing surroundings are home to several of Mongolia’s ethnic minorities as well as a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife. Huvsgul is truly a highlight of any trip to Mongolia. Today we drive north along the lake to the ger camp, arriving in time for an afternoon walk along the lakeshore. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 16. Lake Huvsgul – Tsaatan, the Reindeer People (B,L,D)
One of the most interesting ethnic groups living near the lake is the Tsaatan or as they are better known – ‘The Reindeer People’. A small tribe of Tsaatan consisting of about 40 families lives with its herds of reindeer in the forests around the lake. These graceful animals provide the tribe with all its basic needs - milk, transportation, meat, skins and bones and antlers used as building materials and for tools. As there are very few Tsaatan left and this is a mobile population, we will go look for them by foot and by horse. We cannot guarantee that we meet them, but the scenery of the area is well worth the exploration time! Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 17. Lake Huvsgul (B,L,D)
Today we will take a hike around the forests and meadows near the lake. Lying at about 1650 meters above sea level, surrounded by mountains rising above 3100 meters, the waters of Huvsgul are deep and spectacularly clear and pure. We will hike through thick pine forests. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 18. Huvsgul/ Murun/ Ulaanbaatar (B,L,D)
Today we drive from the lake down to Murun, where we catch our flight back to Ulaanbaatar. After checking in at the hotel, you will go on a sightseeing tour of the city which will include a visit to the National History Museum, and then a stroll across the main square. Overnight in 4* hotel.
Day 19. Ulaanbaatar (B,L,D)
We begin the day with a few hours exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian might need, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers. Goods brought from all corners of Mongolia are here for sale. A visit to the market is a colorful experience which gives the visitor an insight to the everyday life of the people of Ulaanbaatar. After lunch we will visit the Bogd Khan Palace museum, the palace of the last Mongolian king, who was considered a living god. Free shopping time in the afternoon. Mongolia is world renowned for its fine cashmere and you will find this and many other souvenir items in the city. Overnight in 4 star hotel.
Day 20. Departure (B)
Transfer to the airport for your departing flight.