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Mongolia: The Land of Nomads


10 days 9 nights

Code MCT165

Category Mongolia Classic Tours

  • Group Size 2-10 Person
  • Difficulty Level 3
  • Trip Starts From Ulaanbaatar
  • Trip Ends At Ulaanbaatar
  • Accommodation Hotels and ger camps
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Ulaanbaatar South Gobi Hongoryn Els Bayanzag Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Mongolia Hustai National Park Karakoram
Dates & Prices

Overview

This trip is ideal for the first time visitor to Mongolia that covers Ulaanbaatar, South Gobi, Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Hustai National Park and the Karakoram.

You will spend the first two days in Ulaanbaaar, recovering travel fatigue and visiting its attractions that include Buddhist monastery, a former palace and the natural history museum. Next, we fly to the South Gobi where we hike the vultures' canyon, climb the world's largest sand dune wall and look for the Dinosaur eggs and bones in the Flaming Cliff. While in Gobi, we visit a nomadic family and learn about their lifestyle. Majority of Mongolian population lives in ger tent (or yurt) made up of felt. You will be welcomed by the family with the fermented milk and Mongolian tea. Here, we can also take an optional camel back ride.

Gorkhi Terelj National Park is located near Ulaanbataar and it's renowned for its unique rock formations, beautiful open fields, mountains, and even some glaciers. We will also take a detour to the famous statue of Chinggis Khan. Next we visit Hustai National Park where will watch the wild horses and other wildlife and birds. The final destination in this trip is Karakoram- the ancient capital of Mongolia where we visit Erdene Zuu Monastery made up of the remains of the former capital. 

You will fly from Ulaabaaar to South Gobi but rest of the places we travel by 4WD Land cruiser or minivan. In South Gobi, the roads are not paved and so this will be an adventurous trip.

Trip Cost

US$ 2498 per person.

US$ 470 Private Single Room/Tent supplement.

Note:

*International Airfare is not included. Trip cost is subject to change. Please contact us to reconfirm the trip cost before booking the trip.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01~Arrive in Ulaanbaatar.

US citizens don't need visa for Mongolia for stay up to 90 days. After clearing immigration and custom, meet your guide and driver at the ground transportation area and you will be transferred to your hotel in the city. (25 minutes). Check in hotel and rest of the day at leisure.

Overnight: Ramada Hotel or similar 4*

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 also visit the Zaisan memorial hill to get a fantastic view of whole city. You will have a welcome dinner at local restaurant.

Overnight: Ramada Hotel or similar 4*.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 03~Fly to South Gobi (Dalanzadgad Airport) and then drive to 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 the flora and fauna of the area.

This valley is nestled deep within the hills and is a safe haven to get away from the desert heat. Some areas of the valley are continually sheltered from the hot sun and house huge, blocks of ice that gradually melt away during the summer. It is very wide 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 2 days will be well spent 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 snow cocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep.

Overnight in a ger camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 04~Drive to Hongryn Els (Singing Sand Dunes)

Approximately 4 hours by 4WD.
Following breakfast, set out in a 4WD vehicle to the towering sand 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 sand dunes. Isolated from the rest of the country, the "Singing Sands" have been the best kept secret for thousands of years in the history of Mongolia. You will visit a camel breeding family near the sand dune and will get to ride a camel to the sand 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 in a ger camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 05~Drive to 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 can be seen 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 little further to see the saxaul trees that contributed the name Bayanzag. Bayanzag means rich in saxaul.

Overnight in the ger camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 06~Flight back to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to Gorkhi Terelj National Park

After an early morning breakfast, you are transferred to the airport in Dalanzadgad (75 miles, 3 hrs.). Early morning breakfast and then you are transferred to the Dalanzadgad Airport (2 hrs. drive and 1.5 hrs. flight). Upon arrival at the airport, meet your driver and you are transferred 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 statue is the landmark of the area and can be spotted 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 in ger camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 07~Drive to Hustai National Park

After a leisurely morning breakfast, we retrace our drive back to UB and continue further to Hustai National Park, renowned for the successful re-introduction of 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 jeep ride in the park. Usually we are able to see the herds of wild horses grazing in the grasslands of the parks and other wild animals.

Overnight in ger camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 08~Drive to Karakoram

(175 miles, 5 hrs.)
After breakfast at the tourist camp, drive to Karakorum, the symbolic ruins of the 13th century capital of the Mongol Empire. On the way, you may stop for an optional camel ride (costs $5-7 with the lead) in the sand dunes of Mongol Els. Mounted on the double hump camel, you can wander about the sand dunes and visit the nomadic camps in the area.

In Karakorum, we will visit Erdene-Zuu, the oldest monastery, with 108 stupas, built in 1586. The monastery was built of the remains of the ancient Mongolian capital. Next, we will visit the Karakorum museum and see the Great Mongol state period, Stone Age, Bronze Age, Ancient state period halls.

Overnight in ger camp.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 09~Drive back to Ulaabaatar

It's a long day drive today (6-7 hrs.) but you we will have stops on the way for photography and to stretch the legs. Upon arrival in UB, check in hotel.

Overnight in Ramada Hotel.

Meals : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10~Depart Ulaanbaatar

Extend your trip in Mongolia or depart. You will be transferred to the airport in time for flight to your next destination.

Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Trip Includes

  • Accommodation in deluxe hotel in Ulaanbaatar (twin standard room double occupancy).
  • Shared accommodation in Ger Camp.
  • All meals as listed in itinerary.
  • All entrance fees.
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary.
  • Transportation by 4WD vehicle.
  • Domestic flight to and from South Gobi Desert.
  • English speaking tour guide.
  • Daily supply of bottled water.

Trip does not Include

  • International airfare.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Items of personal nature, phone, drinks, tips, etc.
  • Optional additional activity cost.
  • Excess baggage charge, airport taxes and fees.
  • Single room supplement.

Trip Difficulty Level

This is an easy to moderate plus graded trip, rated 3 on a scale of 1-5, 1 being easy and 5 difficult. So, all travelers with average health condition can go on this trip but must be prepared for long day drives on bad roads. The trip involves some mild adventures like camel riding, horseback riding, sand dune hiking boating etc. Drives can be 4-5 hours long in average with occasional stop. Road conditions vary. We use 4WD vehicles for all transfers and tours.

Although, no extreme adventures are involved, this is also not the trip for luxury and leisure seekers. You should be willing to walk, hike and prepared for long day drives on dirt 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.

Although the trip is physically not challenging, some degree of physical fitness level is expected. The more physically fit you are, the more you will enjoy the trip. If you do not lead an active life, please start soft training 2-3 months prior to 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 car if it's a short ride.

What is it like staying in a Ger Camp?

While cities have modern buildings, more than a half population of the country stays in the traditional ger camps. Once you are away from the city, you will sleep in the gers - the traditional tents of nomadic herders. The gers are made of a latticed wood and covered with felt and canvas layers. The gers are well furnished with colorful wood framed furniture and heated by the wood stove. Dining hall and western style toilets are located in the main building. Hot water may be available only certain hours of the day as they are heated in a tank.
Staying in ger camps gives an experience of the lifestyle of Mongolian nomadic culture.

Transportation:

All ground transportation will be by 4WD vehicles. 

Guides:

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

Best Time to visit Mongolia

June to September is the best time for travel to Mongolia. The weather is mild, generally dry throughout the central and southern areas. It can be still cold in the northern mountainous 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 cool. In the mountains temperatures will be lower with the increase of the altitude. July and August receive rains in the northern and southern areas but the rain is brief and doesn't affect the tours.
The winter begins at October and lasts through April and is not the best time to travel to the north.

Passport and Visa:

Remaining validity of your passport must be at least 6 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 visa for Mongolia for up to 30 days. 

Accomodation

Accommodation

You have 4 star deluxe hotel accommodations with all modern amenities in Ulaanbaatar. Outside Ulaanbaatar, you will sleep in the ger camps. Ger camps are closely located to attraction sites through the country, where visitors can experience and feel nomadic way of life. It is a portable round felt house 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. Flush speed is also not so good.

Ramada Hotel, Ulaabaatar

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

Ger Camp Accommodations

  • Ger Camp
  • A typical Mongolian Ger
  • Ger accommodation

 

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