Mongolian Valleys and Vistas

Mongolia

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Description:

Meet one of the last nomadic cultures on earth, where a traditional way of life endures just as it has done for the past millennium. Just three million people inhabit this country, which is the size of Western Europe, half of the population still lives in portable felt tents (called Ger) and move locations seasonally, along with their animals.

This tour takes 11 days to cover the most popular travel destinations, including the Gobi Desert with its distinctive landscapes of towering sand dunes and wide open steppes. You will see icy gorges, rocky mountains, red cliffs, stunning sunsets and golden sunrises. Also, pay a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mongolia; the Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape - which encompasses an extensive area of pastureland and includes numerous archaeological remains dating back to the 6th century, and Karakorum - a complex of ruins and the museum of ancient Mongolian capital. During the last days of this trip, you will visit one of the most interesting national parks, called Hustai (Wild Horse Park).

Relax in wild nature and explore the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle... hiking, horseback and camel riding, climbing sand dunes, soft hiking and free roaming through the wilderness are the main activities you will enjoy on the trip.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Arrival at the international airport, followed by transfer to the hotel in Ulaanbaatar. After your journey, you’ll have free time to spend at your leisure for the rest of the day. You may need some time to relax and recover from the long-distance flight or possibly from jet-lag. If you feel like going for a walk and checking out places nearby, feel free to ask from your hotel reception for recommendations. Dinner at the hotel restaurant. Overnight at hotel.

Day 2: Baga Gazryn Chuluu

Discover the rugged terrains of Mongolia

At 9am, your tour guide and driver will pick you up and our trip will start to Baga Gazriin Chuluu National Park. This is small rocky mountain and the beautiful landscape consists of granite rocks and mineral springs. The dramatic sweeping vistas stretch into the distance, rocks warmed by the sun and standing tall against blue skies. We will reach Ger camp near Baga Gazriin Chuluu around lunchtime. After having lunch, we will explore surrounding area.

Overnight at Ger camp in traditional Mongolian yurt.

Total distance: 136 miles, driving for ~4.5hrs.

Day 3: Tsagaan Suvarga (White Stuppa)

Unrivalled views of the windswept landscape

In the morning, we will drive towards to Tsagaan Suvarga, known as ‘White Stuppa’. We will drive through the endless steppes of Middle Gobi province. Upon arrival to the Ger camp, just beside the Tsagaan Suvarga, we will check in and have a lunch.

The eerie, eroded landscape was once beneath the sea and is rich in marine fossils and clamshells. Over 10 million years the wind has created this amazing structure, shaping and sculpting to this day. This area is excellent site for hiking and taking photographs of the beautiful panoramic views.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 124 miles, driving for ~4hrs.

Day 4: Visit Yol Valley (Vultures Valley)

Put on your hiking boots

After breakfast, we will go to Yol valley (which means ‘Eagles’ or ‘Vultures’) situated in “Three beauties of Gobi” Mt. National Park. This valley was originally established to conserve birdlife in the region, but it’s now more famous for its dramatic scenery in the middle of the Gobi Desert, with one-meter thick ice almost all year around, except in late summer. There we will do hiking through grassy meadows, small streams, long and narrow valleys sheltered by high cliff walls, sunlight bouncing off amazing rocks, covered with wildflowers and Gobi plants.

You may be lucky enough to spot wild sheep and goat, grazing high on the cliff walls.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 110 miles, driving for 2.5~3hrs.

Day 5: Khongor sand dunes in Gobi Desert.

Catch a ride Mongolian style

Depart for the extraordinary sand dunes of Khongor, which is one of the most scenic areas of the Gobi Desert. This impressive white sand dunes stretch for more than 110 miles, and highest point, known as Duut Mankhan, is around 1,000 feet.

Upon arrival, we will have lunch and time for relaxing at the cozy Ger camp until the midday Gobi hot temperatures decrease. In the late afternoon, we will visit a local camel herder family in their Ger, and explore their unique nomadic lifestyle. Then, we will ride camels and explore the area from camelback. Around this area is the perfect place for camel riding. Mongolia is home to 2/3 of the two-humped Bactrian camels in the world. They are a gentle, calm and extraordinary patient animals.

Afterwards, we will make a little excursion to beautiful green oasis of Seruun Bulag, near the Khongor River and sand dunes. We will climb up to the Duut Mankhan, known as Singing Dune. When it’s windy, some of the dunes make a strange sound like the engine of an aeroplane. From the top of the sand dunes, the view of the desert is awesome and you will have a breathtaking view. To see the amazing sunshine panorama of sand dunes, you’ll need to climb to the top.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 105 miles, driving for ~4.5hrs.

Day 6: Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs)

Explorers, adventurers - what will you discover?

After breakfast, we will drive to Bayanzag, which is famous for the discovery of the dinosaur eggs and fossilized dinosaurs. Roy Chapman Andrews’ expedition discovered the first dinosaur eggs from Bayanzag in the 1920. Their findings proved to the world that dinosaurs laid eggs. Arrival at the next Ger camp will be in time for lunch and refreshment from the driving through the wilderness of the Gobi. Also, this area well known for its red tall rocks, formed as a result of wind and water erosion, which from a distance look like fire in the middle of the desert, especially in the evening sunshine. As scientists have discovered, it was an inland sea some 200 million years ago.

In the evening, we will wander on the red hillocks and photograph the flaming cliffs. If we are lucky, there is a chance to discover the dinosaur fossilized bones. White fossilized bones are still found nowadays by travelers and locals from this area, especially during and after rainy and windy days.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 100 miles, driving for ~4hrs.

Day 7: Ongi, Middle Gobi

Into the middle of the Gobi desert

Today, we will travel through the huge open landscape called Ongi steppe, which is over 50 miles wide. Around lunchtime we will arrive at the next Ger camp, which is near to the ruined monastery of Ongi Temple.

This small mountainous area along the Ongi River makes a good resting place to break up a trip between the two major destinations. Ongi temple was established in 1660 and once comprised of 30 temples, and 4 big Buddhism universities. It was destroyed by the communist purges of the 1930s and is being restored by a number of monks. Nowadays, one temple serves as a museum.

When you reach the Ger camp, you will have lunch and explore the ruins of the monastery. The views of the ruins, the winding river, traditional Ger camps and the surrounding area are impressive. If you want, you can have pleasant massage and sauna at the camp.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 105 miles, driving for ~4hrs.

Day 8: Karakorum & Erdene Zuu Buddhist Monastery

Travel along the Silk Road and visit an ancient settlement

After breakfast, we will drive to Karakorum and Erdenezuu Monastery. Karakorum was not only the capital of the vast Mongolian Empire, but the epicenter of trade along the Silk Road.

However, the Karakorum of today is a small settlement with little focus on tourism. Today there is a museum which showcases some of the artefacts they've recovered so far. Upon arrival in the village, we will visit the museum of Karakorum and learn about the beautiful ancient Karakorum. Then we will visit to the magnificent oldest Buddhist Monastery complex of Erdenezuu, built in the 16th century, with 108 stupas. Here you can listen to interesting monk chanting Buddhist sutras. Return to Ger camp and have dinner.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 167 miles, driving for ~5.5hrs.

Day 9: Hustai National Park (Wild Horse Park)

Saved from extinction - the przewalski horse

In the morning, we will drive to the Hustai National Park. This area is home to the Mongolian wild horse known as the przewalski horse, which roam this unique landscape that features mountains and steppes. After lunch at the Hustai Ger camp, we will visit the small Ger museum about the national park and wild horse. The takhi and marmots are easy to see a few hours before sunset, when they come down from mountains for water to drink from the stream. In the early evening, we will take short drive and go hiking to see the horses in their natural habitat. Seeing these truly wild, untamed horses which once existed in vast numbers, will make you feel like you have traveled thousands of years back in time. The przewalski horse almost became extinct, but as of 1945, there were 13 horses in captivity from which all of the przewalski’s currently living today are descended.

Together, the Zoological society of London and Mongolia scientists have managed to increase the population, and reintroduce the horses into their native Mongolia. It is a great opportunity for you to take photos of these endangered horses on the tour. If you are lucky, you can also see foxes, deer, roe deer, eagles, and more animals and birds.

Overnight at Ger camp.

Total distance: 160 miles, driving for ~5hrs.

Day 10: Ulaanbaatar & Half Day City Tour

Soak up Mongolian culture on your city tour

In the morning at 9am, we will return to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, we will explore the city and visit the Gandan Monastery – the biggest Buddhist center of Mongolia, which features a 26-meter-high majestic gilded statue of Migjid Janraisig.

After lunch, we will visit the National Museum of Mongolia - this museum presents Mongolian history and culture from prehistoric times to the present day.

We will continue our tour with a visit to Sukhbaatar square and Parliament House, which displays Great Khan’s memorial statue. The square lies at the heart of the city, surrounded by theaters, government buildings.

Following that, we will go to Bogd Khan Palace Museum - this complex was a residence of the last king of Mongolia in the 19th century, now turned into a museum. Afterwards, we will go to see “Wonders of Mongolia” folklore show by famous Tumen-Ekh ensemble - is one of the most successful folk-art groups to share traditional Mongolian music with the world, having traveled to over 40 countries.

Overnight at hotel.

Total distance: 60 miles, driving for ~2.5hrs.

Day 11: Departure

You will be free to spend your time at leisure in the hotel or wandering around on your own until being escorted to the Chinggis Khaan International Airport for your departure flight home.

Inclusions:

Included in the package:

  • Visa support.
  • Best available hotels (4* or similar) and Ger camps in countryside, 10 nights, full board.
  • All in-country transportation.
  • Meals as per the program. Experienced tour guides.
  • Camel riding in Gobi - 1 hour.
  • Horse riding in Orkhon valley - 1 hour.
  • Cultural performance by famous Tumen Ekh Ensemble.
  • Entrance tickets to monuments and museums as per the program.
  • All service charges, local and Gov’t tax.
  • Welcome gift.
  • Silka Departure Guarantee.
    What is Silka Departure Guarantee?

    We’d rather take a loss than let you down. We guarantee that any tour you booked will happen even if the group is not full. If that occurs, we might adjust certain technical details like driving you around in a mini-bus or sedan instead of a coach, or letting you join one of our partners’ scheduled departures, but we’ll still take you to places we promised.

Not included:

  • International airfare.
  • Additional Hotel Expenses.
  • Travel and/or medical insurance.
  • Alcoholic drinks.
  • Personal expenses.

Days

11

Hotel

4*

From:

$0

Scheduled departures:

Mongolian Valleys and Vistas