Wide open spaces, nomadic lifestyles, staying in traditional Ger tents - it's like nowhere else on Earth.
2013/14 Standard Itinerary
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4 nights Standard Hotel
8 nights Simple Ger
Bus and internal flight.
Approx 12 -
Explore Tour Leader plus driver(s) and local guide/interpreter.
Mongolia Adventure Tour
Details may vary depending on departure date. Please choose
On this adventure into the Mongolian wilderness we travel across vast desert, grassy plains and forested mountains. We discover the fascinating lifestyle of the friendly Mongol nomads as we camp in traditional gers (felt tents). We visit the capital Ulaan Baatar, explore the country’s oldest monastery and roam among the sand dunes in the Gobi Desert.
Ulaan Baatar - Visit the Bogd Khan Palace, a simple two storey building which for many years was the tallest in Mongolia
Karakorum - Explore Genghis Khan’s ruined capital
Erdene-Zu Monastery - Mongolia’s first Buddhist centre built from the ruins of Karakorum
Gobi Desert - Relax and soak up the endless views of the clear Mongolian skies from our ger camp
Jalman Meadows - Try your hand at traditional archery or horse riding
The capital of the Mongolian Republic lies on a vast plateau 1380m high. Largely modernised, Ulaan Baatar reflects the simple and ancient lifestyle found outside the city.
Overnight Standard Hotel
In Ulaan Baatar
We will orientate ourselves with the city on foot and pay a visit to the Natural History museum. In the afternoon our sightseeing will include the Bogd Khan Palace. Built at the turn of the last century this winter palace was built for Jebtzun Damba Hutagt VIII, the eighth Living Buddha (Bogd Khan) of Mongolia. A simple two storey wooden building, it was for many years the tallest building in Mongolia!
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast
In the Gobi Desert; visit Yol Valley
Leaving Ulaan Baatar today we take a short flight to the South Gobi. Spending the day in the Gobi, we’ll experience many strange natural phenomena. From our camp we drive on desert tracks to the Yol Valley. This gorge sees such little sunlight that there are usually traces of ice even though we are in the middle of the Gobi Desert! Due to the altitude of the surrounding Gurvan Saikhan mountains (reaching 2,300m), a temperate ecosystem exists, with argali sheep, ibex and snow leopards living here – as opposed to the desert species one might expect.
Today we take a long and often arduous drive, through one of the remotest parts of our planet. The sheer vastness of the desert is awe inspiring. En-route we plan to visit the spot where the first dinosaur eggs were discovered in Central Asia. Preserved by the arid terrain, the Mongol culture of today is still mainly pastoral and we hope to come across itinerant herdsmen, a group of two or three families, their gers pitched on the prairie. The nomads live in harmony with their surroundings moving with the seasons. Many rear camels, sheep and goats. Often we are invited to share a drink of airag or koumiss (fermented mare’s milk) with these friendly people. There are many polite points of etiquette to learn, but our guide will help us through these so we do not inadvertently cause offence!
We follow rough tracks across the steppe as there is nothing resembling a road in this part of the country. Today we are aiming for the Saikhan Ovoo region – a 9-10 hour drive – where we find our ger camp for the night.
We leave Saikhan Ovoo and make our journey by bus, travelling through steppe-land towards the tranquil town, and former capital, Karakorum. The pleasant meadows provide a peaceful scene, making such a war-like history seem improbable. Genghis Khan has been restored as a national hero, having for decades been condemned as a brutal imperialist. En route we’ll visit the Erdene-Zu monastery at Karakorum. Constructed from the stones of the ruined capital, it was Mongolia’s first Buddhist centre established in 1586 and has been a museum since the 1960s. At its zenith there were 1000 resident monks and although most of the temples were destroyed in the 1930s, the monastery is slowly being restored. The political climate in Mongolia is changing and Buddhism, previously suppressed, is currently experiencing a resurgence all over the country. There are now a number of monks here, and as more monasteries re-open, Tibetan-style Buddhism is becoming once again, a dominant force throughout Mongolia. Inside the immense square walls are three impressive temples where we can find the statue of Bogd Zhonghov, who spread Lamaism to Mongolia. We continue to our accommodation which will again be in gers.
This morning we leave and drive to Hogno Khan Mountain where we will spend the next two nights at our ger camp and explore this tranquil area; you may visit the nearby freshwater pool and watch the birdlife that inhabits this area. There is also a chance to visit the Erdene Khombo monastery, led by a lady abbot located in the mountain nearby, or there maybe a chance to visit the friendly and hospitable local families in the area. Alternatively, you can set out on foot, to explore the rock face which is indented with small, secluded valleys, taking the time to relax and soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful country.
Today we have a long driver as we return to the capital, stopping off along the way as we meet nomads to stretch our legs.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast
In Ulaan Baatar; afternoon drive to Jalman Meadows
This morning we plan to visit the Gandan Lamasery, the largest and most important monastery in Mongolia, with over 150 lamas (monks) in residence. We aim to be here during prayer time; then later in the morning we head out of Ulaan Baatar. Driving firstly on tarmac and then across the steppe itself we cross ridges and drive through dense forest to the Khan Khentii Protected Area beyond the Terelj National Park. Our ger camp at Jalman Meadows is set in a stunning and remote location next to the Tuul River. Like most of the camps we use, this is a low impact ger camp with solar panels and even windmills which generate some electricity for refrigeration. All trash/rubbish is separated out and anything that cannot be recycled locally is transported back to Ulaan Baatar.
Jalman Meadows is a semi-permanent ger camp located in a true wilderness area in the transition zone between steppe and taiga forest. The meadow may be covered in a blanket of wild flowers during July and August. There are a number of beautiful walks possible in the surrounding area and your tour leader will lead one or more walks depending on the wishes of the group. Alternatively you may wish to simply relax by the river and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. Another option is a half day trek upstream along the banks of the river to a point where it is possible to raft back down to the camp – an exhilarating excursion and a great way to explore the area (optional). Whilst life jackets are provided for rafting we recommend you are confident swimming at least 25 metres unaided.
After a further morning at Jalman Meadows we drive back to Ulaan Baatar.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Tour ends Ulaan Baatar
Tour ends after breakfast.
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.
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