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Mongolia and Tibet Adventure


15 days 14 nights

Code

Category Mongolia Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-10 Persons
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Trip Starts From Ulaanbaatar
  • Trip Ends At Lhasa
  • Accommodation Hotels and ger camps
  • Type Tours
  • Season May to August
  • Destination Ulaanbaatar South Gobi Hongoryn Els Bayanzag Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Mongolia Hustai National Park Beijing Lhasa Tsedang Samye
Dates & Prices

Overview

Visit Mongolia and Tibet- two vast lands that share the religion, geographical and cultural similarities with roots in a nomadic lifestyle. Both Tibet and Mongolia are high plateaus with open steppes, and cold, arid climate and so makes a perfect combination to visit in one trip.

We begin our trip from Ulaanbaatar- the capital city of Mongolia where we spend first two days, recovering travel fatigue and visiting its attractions that include a Buddhist monastery, a former palace, and the natural history museum. Our next destination is South Gobi where we hike the vultures' canyon, climb the world's most massive dune wall and search for the Dinosaur eggs and bones in the Flaming Cliff. We will also have the opportunity to visit nomadic families and learn about their lifestyle. Majority of Mongolian population still lives in ger tent (or yurt) made up of felt. The family will treat you with the fermented milk and Mongolian tea. Here, we can also take an optional camelback ride. Lastly, visit the Hustai National Park renowned for the wild horses, locally called Takhi and also called Przewalski's horses, among other wildlife and birds.

With a night stopover in Beijing, we fly into Lhasa- the capital city of Tibet where we spend first three days, acclimating and exploring the major Buddhist monasteries, ancient temples, former palaces and old Tibetan quarters and then travel to Tsedang- the gateway to the Yarlung Valley. We will take a side trip of Yamdrok Tso Lake-one of the holiest lakes of Tibet and a 17th-century Nyingmapa monastery- Midrolling.

In Tsedang, we visit the ancient Tradruk Temple, contemporary to the Jorkhang Temple of Lhasa, Yambulakhang Palace- the first Tibetan palace building and Samye Monastery- the first Buddhist monastery of Tibet.

From Tibet, we have options to fly back to Beijing or other Chinese cities or even Kathmandu or Hong Kong or Bangkok via Chengdu.

Note: The trip cost does not include the international airfare and in-tour airfare from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing to Lhasa and onward. Airfare from Ulaanbaatar to Bejing to Lhasa and back to Beijing is estimated at about $1100.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

US citizens don't need a visa for Mongolia for a stay up to 90 days. After clearing immigration and custom, you will meet your guide and driver at the arrival gate, followed by a transfer to your hotel in the city (25 minutes). Check in the hotel and the rest of the day at leisure.

 

Overnight: Ramada Hotel
Meals : Dinner
Day 02~Sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast at your hotel, your guide and driver will take you for sightseeing of Ulaanbaatar. You will begin from Gandan Monastery that is the largest and most famous functioning monastery in Mongolia; here you may experience the monks in worship and see the impressive Golden Buddha Statue of Migjid Janraisig. Next, we head to the Sukhbaatar Square, which is the central square named after the revolutionary hero of 1921 Damdin Sukhbaatar who declared independence from China. We will also visit the Natural History Museum which is famous for its authentic dinosaur skeletons and the Zaisan memorial hill to get a panoramic view of the whole city. You will have a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.

 

Overnight: Ramada Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Yol Valley and the Gurvansaikhan National Park

(1.5 hours flight, approximately 2 hours driving).
This morning you fly over the vast steppe to the Gobi Desert, Mongolia’s southernmost province of semi-arid desert. Meet your local guide and driver upon arrival and then transfer by a 4WD vehicle to the Yol Valley in Gurvansaikhan National Park, situated in the lap of the Altai Mountains. On the way to the lodge, you will stop to visit the local Natural History Museum for an insight into flora and fauna of the area.

This valley is nestled deep within the hills and is a haven to get away from the desert heat. Some areas of the valley are in the shade and don't receive the sunlight directly; thus the ice-blocks take time to melt away and some time till late summer. It is extensive at the entrance and narrows gradually into a remarkable gorge. You will get to see wild animals such as ibex and wild sheep and the vulture. You can hike on foot or go horseback or camel riding around the area to the gorge (Horseback ride costs US$ 5-7 with the lead).

Check into your ger tent accommodation. Today and the next two days, we will spend exploring the vast Gobi. It is the habitat of the Bactrian Camels, Argali mountain sheep, Golden Eagles, Jerboas- which resembles the Kangaroo rats, Saker Falcons, and more. You may also take a scenic hike through the valley to discover the habitat of the indigenous vulture-like Lammergeyers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep.

Overnight: Gobi Oasis Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Hongryn Els-The Singing Sand Dunes

Approximately 4 hours by 4WD.
Following breakfast, set out in a 4WD vehicle to the towering dunes of Hongoryn Els, which run for 60 miles alongside the Gobi-Altai Mountain range. The sand strip was called the Singing Sands because when there is high wind, it produces the sound like an aero plane. These “Singing Sands,” which stand up to 2,500 feet in some areas, are probably the Gobi’s most impressive dunes. Isolated from the rest of the country, the "Singing Sands" has been the best-kept secret for thousands of years in the history of Mongolia. You will visit a camel breeding family near the dune and will get to ride a camel to the dune. The dunes seem to stretch on forever like a soft ribbon of sand draped over the desert. The shifting of sand blown by the wind is as if someone is making a song, hence why it is called the "Singing Sand Dunes." There is also a beautiful green oasis known as Seruun Bulag near the Khongor River. You will go to a camp for lunch and enjoy the feeling of silence in the peaceful, beautiful surroundings of the Gobi Desert.

 

Overnight: Gobi Erdene Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~Bayanzag-The Flaming Cliffs

After breakfast, we leave Hongoryn Els for Bayanzag. It's a long day drive today and can take up to 5 hours, but it's a scenic drive through the vast land. We will occasionally stop for photography and to watch the birds and the animals of the area.

We check in our camp, wash, and change, and after lunch, we drive to visit the Flaming Cliff. The place was named as 'Flaming Cliffs' by Roy Chapman Andrews, an American explorer who searched throughout the Mongolian Gobi Desert and found dinosaur skeleton and eggs for the first time in Asia. The red cliff gleams with sunlight and is visible from far away. We will take a short walk on the ridge of the cliff and look for the pieces of Dinosaur Bones. We will drive a little further to see the saxaul trees that contributed the name Bayanzag. Bayanzag means rich in saxaul.

 

Overnight: Gobi Mirage Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Early morning breakfast and your driver will see you off at Dalanzadgad Airport. Upon arrival at the Ulaanbaatar airport, meet your driver and then proceed to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. This unforgettable excursion will take you to features such as unique rock formations, scenic valleys, a winding river, and restful groves of trees. Many nomads live in the park itself, where they find lush grazing land for their animals. You will take a tour in the park and visit the notable rocks called "The Turtle rock," and "Monk reading a book." You will visit the Aryabal meditation center located inside the mountains to learn more about Mongolian Buddhism.

On the way, you will stop to visit the giant statue of Chinggis Khan which stands 40m high. The figure is the landmark of the area and is noticeable from far away. Check in your ger camp and tour to Terelj National park on foot or rent a horse which costs less than $10/hour.

Overnight: Terelj Lodge Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Drive to Hustai National Park

After leisurely morning breakfast, we retrace our drive back to UB and continue further to Hustai National Park, renowned for the successful re-introduction of the wild horse. Few miles before UB, we may stop for a horse show ($35 pay on your own, time 11 am). The horse show tells the story of Chinggis Khan, his friendship, love, rivalry and the war. The horse riders present the exemplary arts and skills of horse riding and warfare.

Upon arrival in Hustai, we check in our ger camp. After wash and change, we will take the jeep ride in the park. Usually, we can see the herds of wild horses grazing in the grasslands of the parks and other wild animals.

Overnight: Moltsog Ger Camp
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Drive back to Ulaabaatar

We will have more time to explore the park before we head back to Ulaanbaatar. This afternoon is free for you to take rest or go shopping.

 

Overnight: Ramada Hotel
Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 09~Flight from Ulaanbaatar to Beijing

After breakfast, transfer to the airport in time for your flight to Beijing. Upon arrival at Beijing international airport, complete your immigration and customs formalities and take the shuttle van to the hotel.

Overnight: Crowne Plaza Beijing International Airport
Meals : Breakfast
Day 10~Flight from Beijing to Lhasa
Take the hotel shuttle van to the airport in time for flight to Lhasa. Upon arrival at Lhasa Gongar Airport, meet your Tibetan Guide and transfer to the hotel in the city.
Today, take complete rest for acclimatization. Drink plenty of water and liquid food in meals.
Overnight: Kyichu or Dhodgu Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 11~Lhasa: Visit Drepung Monastery, Norbulingkha Palace, Jorkhang Temple and Barkhor Street

Following breakfast, set out with your guide and driver to explore the attractions of Lhasa. First, we drive about 5 miles in the outskirt of the city to visit Drepung Monastery- the largest, richest and the most powerful of the three major "Yellow Hat" Sect monasteries of Tibet. Drepung commanded the administration of Tibet before Potala Palace rose as the power center. At Drepung, we visit the Ganden Palace, the main Assembly Hall and some of the colleges of Buddhist studies. Drepung Monastery also commands a stupendous view of the city.

From here, we head to Norbulinkha Gardens to see the summer palaces of the Dalai Lama. Of all the palaces, the palace of the 14th Dalai Lama (the current Dalai Lama) is the major attraction. We visit his private chambers and audience hall.

In the afternoon, we head to Barkhor- the old Tibetan town where we will have a lunch break (lunch not provided). After lunch, we visit the ancient Jorkhang Temple- built by King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to house the image of Buddha brought to Tibet by his Nepalese wife Bhrikuti as part of the dowry. After that, we will take a relaxed stroll on the pilgrimage path of Barkhor that goes around the Jorkhang Temple. Barkhor area has authentic Tibetan characteristics with Tibetan shops lining up on the either sides of the street. We will see devout Tibetans walking and spinning the prayer wheels or counting the holy beads and uttering the sacred Buddhist mantras-'Om Mane Padme Hum!'

Overnight: Kyichu or Dhodgu Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 12~Lhasa: Visit Potala Palace and Sera Monastery

Today, we visit Potala Palace- which is undoubtedly the principal attraction of Lhasa. The massive architecture, situated atop the red hill in the city center, served as the residence of Dalai Lama and hence was the power center of Tibet until he fled to India in 1959. The original palace was believed to have been built by King Songtsen Gampo of the 7th century but the current structure dates back to the mid-17th century. The palace has two parts- red palace for the religious purpose that enshrines the tombs of eight Dalai Lamas, the monks' assembly hall, numerous chapels and shrines, and libraries for Buddhist Scriptures and the white palace for the administrative purpose containing living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house.

Our next destination is the Sera Monastery- other major Gelugpa monasteries of Lhasa. If you are hiking enthusiast and well acclimated, you can join the local pilgrims on an hour long hike on the pilgrimage path, known as "kora" (pilgrimage that goes around the monastery). Along the trail, we will see the rock paintings and hermitages of Tsongkhapa (Founder of Gelugpa sect).

As we conclude the kora hiking, we enter the monastery and visit its main assembly hall and some of its several Buddhist colleges. We will also take chance to attend the debating session of the monks. We have also option of hiking to Pabonka Monastery, which takes about one hour from Sera. Pabonka is one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in the Lhasa region and unfrequented by tourists.

Overnight: Kyichu or Dhodgu Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 13~Travel to Tsedang

 (183km/122miles, 4 hrs. drive).

After breakfast, leave for Tsedang- the capital of ancient Yarlung Valley. The Yarlung Valley is regarded as the cradle of Tibetan civilization and it was in Yarlung that early Tibetan Kings unified Tibet in the 7th century.  In about 45 minutes to one hour, we cross the  Yarlungdzangbo River and take a detour of  Kambala Pass (15, 915 ft.) that offers spectacular views of Yamdrok Tso Lake-w hich is among the holiest lakes of Tibet. We will also enjoy the view over the vast Tibetan plateau and mountain views.


Our next stop will be at Mindrolling Monastery- a 17th century temple which is one of the six major monasteries of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

We arrive in Tsedang late afternoon. Check into the hotel and take rest for the balance of the day.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 14~Tsedang: Samye Monastery, Yambulakhang Palace and

Today, we explore the historical and cultural sights of the Yarlung Valley. Visit the ancient Trandruk Temple (7 km, 4.5 miles) which is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet. It is contemporary in comparison to the Jorkhang and Ramoche of Lhasa. At Tradruk, visit the courtyard area, ringed by cloisters, the principal chapel with statues of Tara or Drolma, the 5 Dhyani Buddhas, and the famous Thangka painting of the Drolma in the chapel upstairs.

From Trandruk, you head south to Yumbulgang Palace (6km, 1.8 miles) which is a fine tapering finger of a structure that pops up from a rocky ridge overlooking the patchwork of fields of the Yarlung Valley. Visit the ground floor chapel consecrated to the ancient kings of Tibet and the upper floor chapel with an image of Chenresig (Avalokityaswora) and also see some excellent murals depicting the descent of Nyentri Tsenpo from heaven to Yumbulagang. Walk up along the ridge above the building to enjoy fabulous views of the Yarlung Valley.

In the afternoon, we visit Samye Monastery- the first Buddhist Monastery in Tibet. The monastery is famous for its sacred Mandala design: the central temple symbolizes the legendary Mount Meru, the center of the universe. It is a popular pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhists, some of who travel on foot for weeks to reach this holy shrine.

Overnight: Tsedang Hotel
Meals : Breakfast
Day 15~Depart

(120km/7.5miles, 1.5 hrs. drive)
The trip concludes today. After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport in time for flight to your next destination. You have options to fly to Chengdu, Beijing or other mainland Chinese cities as well as Kathmandu, Nepal.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation in four-star hotels by the local standard in Ulaanbaatar and Tibet(twin standard room double occupancy).
  • Shared accommodation in Ger Camp.
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary.
  • All entrance fees.
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Transportation by a 4WD vehicle in Mongolia and by a minivan in Tibet.
  • Domestic flight within Mongolia.
  • English speaking tour guide.
  • Daily supply of bottled water.

The trip does not Include

  • International airfare
  • In-tour airfare Ulaanbaatar-Beijing-Lhasa and return (Estimated $1100-$1200).
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses such as phone, drinks, tipping, laundry, etc.
  • Optional additional activity cost.
  • Excess baggage charge, airport taxes,and fees.
  • Single room supplement.

Trip Difficulty Level

Although no extreme adventures are involved, this is also not the trip for luxury and leisure seekers. You should be willing to walk and hike, in addition to the long day drives on dirt and rocky roads. Outside Ulaanbaatar, roads are unpaved, so they are bumpy and can be dusty as well. Please bring the pollution mask to protect your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling the dust. This trip requires some degree of physical fitness. The more physically fit you are, the more you will be able to enjoy the journey. If you do not lead an active life, please start soft training two or three months before the trip. Engage yourself in hiking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or aerobics for 25-30 minutes a day. Avoid using elevators or use bicycles instead of a car if it's a short ride.

We use 4WD Mitsubishi Delica van which is right in Mongolian terrain. There will be a maximum of four passengers per vehicle.
While in Mongolia, you have options of camel riding, horseback riding, dune hiking.
Roads in Tibet are mostly paved, but due to high altitude, all travelers are likely to experience some discomfort in the first couple of days. The symptoms should go away after that.
In Mongolia, once outside Ulaanbaatar, your accommodation will be in a yurt, locally known as a ger. The toilet and shower are in a separate building. The camps usually have few en suite gers that you can book on an additional cost.

What is it like staying in a Ger Camp?

You have hotel accommodations in Ulaanbaatar, Beijing, and Tibet but in South Gobi and other areas of Mongolia, you will sleep in a yurt, locally called ger. The gers are made of latticed wood and covered with felt and canvas layers. It is well furnished with colorful wood framed furniture, and space is heated by a wood stove. Dining hall and western style toilets are in the main building. Hot water is heated in a tank and will be available only in certain hours.
Staying in ger camps gives an experience of the lifestyle of Mongolian nomadic culture.

Transportation:

All ground transportation will be by 4WD vehicles while in Mongolia, and a regular van or coach while in Tibet as all road conditions are generally good.

Guides:

Our tours are led by experienced local Guides who are proficient in English and have good knowledge of history, culture, and religion of Mongolia. Guides in different cities can be different persons.

Best Time To Visit Mongolia and Tibet in One Trip

June to September is the best time to travel to Mongolia and Tibet. The weather is mild, generally dry throughout the central and southern areas. The temperature in the steppe averages around 66°F, and may fall to 50°F, or below, at night. In the Gobi, temperatures in summer average 85-95°F, however, the nights can get quite cold. July and August receive some rain it doesn't affect the tours.
The winter begins in October and lasts through April and is not the best time to travel to these countries.

Passport and Visa:

Remaining validity of your passport must be at least six months on the last day of the tour. Please, also make sure you are not running out of blank visa pages for entry and departure seals. US citizens don't need a visa for Mongolia for up to 30 days.
For Tibet, you need a Chinese visa and Tibetan permits. You need to obtain a Chinese visa on your own, and we arrange a Tibetan permit for you.

Accomodation

Accommodation

You have 4 star deluxe hotel accommodations with all modern amenities in Ulaanbaatar and Tibet. In Mongolia, once outside the city, the accommodations are in nomadic style ger camps. The gers or yurts are portable round felt houses perfectly suited to the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle. The GER consists of a wooden frame carrying a felt cover. Traditionally furnished with beautifully painted wood-framed beds and furniture, the lodge is built in a traditional architectural style. There will be 2-3 twin-size beds, provided with foam or futon style mattresses and blankets or quilts. They also provide towels but limited and so you may want to bring your own. The bed sheets and blankets are generally clean but as they are hand-washed in cold water, sometime we can see stains. Some travelers bring their own sleeping bag and bed sheets but not required. Some travelers said the mattresses were hard and also the pillows. So, please consider bringing an air pillow.

There will be a fireplace with chimney in the center of the ger. If it rains, the nights can be cold and you may want to request firewood for the evening and morning.

There will be 4-5 toilets and shower rooms in the camp which you share with other guests. They are located in a convenient location outside your ger. It's very important that you bring a flash light with spare batteries as you may need them to walk to the bathroom at dark.  The water in the shower is solar heated. If it's a cloudy and rain day, water may not be warm enough and we request for your understanding.

Some camps have a few en suite gers (yurts) which can be booked on additional $50 to $100 per person, but sometime it's not worth as due to harsh climate conditions and poor maintenance, they may not be in the best condition and may have plumbing issues.

Ramada Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

  • Ramada Hotel, Ulaabaatar
  • Ramada Hotel Room
  • Ramada Hotel

Ger Camp Accommodations in Monoglia

  • Ger Camp
  • A typical Mongolian Ger
  • Ger accommodation

Four Points By Sheraton, Lhasa, Tibet

  • four points Lhasa
  • four points lhasa room1
  • four points sheraton

Tsedang Hotel, Tibet

  • tsedang hotel blg
  • tsedang hotel room1
  • tsedang hotel room2

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(Formerly Highland Asia Travel)

United States

8030 Old Cedar Ave S, Suite 123
Minneapolis, MN 55425
Tel: 1 612 605 4428
Fax: 612 807 1137

Nepal

Kapoordhara, Samakhusi, Kathmandu
Tel (977 1) 4351780, 4381823
Fax +977-1-4381369

Bhutan

KMT Building, Nordzin Lam, Thimphu
Tel (975-2) -329098 / +975-77204087
Fax (+975) 2 337004

Tibet

B5-1-2, B3 dong, Renchen garden,
No 13 Jiangsu road Lhasa Tibet China.
Tel: +86-(891)-6836609,
Fax: +86-(891)-6836619


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