our guranteed departures

Best of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
(6 days)
Best of Gobi Desert
(8 days)
The Genghis Khan's Birthplace
(8 days)
The Secrets of Gobi Desert and the Steppes of Central Mongolia
(10 days)
The Central Mongolia and Khovsgol Lake
(12 days)
Big Loop of Mongolia
(18 days)

The Eagle Hunters of the West and Wonders of Gobi Desert
(27 days)

Taxi in Mongolia
Driving in Altai Mountain
Lake in Mountain
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Detailed description

one

Karakorum

Karakorum is the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire created by Genghis Khan. The founding of Karakorum started on the ruins of Turug and Uigur cities in the Orkhon valley at the eastern end of the Khangai Mountains in 1220 by the Genghis Khan’s order. It was completed 15 years later during the Ugedei Khan’s reign. The town was a very cosmopolitan and religiously tolerant place.

The silver tree, part of Möngke Khan’s palace has become the symbol of Karakorum.

The highest peak of its prosperity was from 1220 to 1260. The specific feature of this stage is that Karakorum existed as the great capital of the Euro-Asian Empire with Mongolia as its core and as the centre of politics, economy, culture, religion, intellect, and diplomacy and the prominent tie of international relations.

Between 1260 and 1380 Karakorum lost the status of the Great Mongolian Empire and became the capital of Mongolia. When Khublai Khan claimed the throne of the Mongol Empire in 1260, as did his younger brother, Ariq Boke, he relocated his capital to today’s Beijing. Karakorum was reduced to the administrative centre of a provincial backwater of the Yuan Dynasty.

In 1368, the rule of Mongolian Yuan Dynasty collapsed and the centre of Mongolian government was shifted to its homeland after 110 years since Kublai Khan moved the Empire capital to China in 1260. It gave Karakorum a chance to prosper again.

In 1388, Ming troops under General Xu Da took and destroyed the town.

Today nothing is left from this legendary city.

In 1580, when Abtai Sain Khan together with his brother, lord Tumenkhen, visited the 3rd Dalai Lama and expressed their wish to build a temple in Mongolia, he advised them to reconstruct one old temple in Karakorum. The temple in Takhai ruins that was restored in 1588 according to the Dalai Lama’s recommendation is the Main Zuu temple of Erdene Zuu monastery.

Now Erdene Zuu Monastery is all that remains of what once was a huge monastery of 100 temples and about 1.000 lamas residing there. We will explore the grounds of Erdene Zuu Monastery surrounded by its massive 400 m X 400 m walls. We will be guided around the 3 remaining temples: Dalai Lama, Zuu of Buddha and Lavrin Temple.

Another place we will visit will be Karakorum Archaeological Museum. It is a small museum but housed in a modern well-run building with good lighting and display cases with clear English labels. The exhibits include dozens of artefacts dating from the 13th and 14th centuries which were recovered from the immediate area, plus others that were found from archaeological sites in other parts of the provinces, including prehistoric stone tools. You’ll see pottery, bronzes, coins, religious statues and stone inscriptions. There’s also a half-excavated kiln sunk into the museum floor. Perhaps most interesting is the scale model of ancient Karakorum, which aims to represent the city as it may have looked in the 1250s, and is based on descriptions written by the French missionary William of Rubruck. Another chamber exhibits a most recent addition, a Turkic noble tomb with wall paintings and artefacts, including gold items and jewellery. There is a short video of actual burial site.

We will also see the Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock, visit little market behind walls exposing local arts by locals.

(Ger camp L, D)

Temples
Little Monk
Karakorum
Karakorum Wall
Temple Mongolia
two
three

Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan National Park

It is one of the most beautiful lakes of the country. The lake is surrounded by extinct and craterous volcanoes, and was formed by lava flows from a volcanic eruption many millennia ago. As a result of the volcano eruptions the landscape is covered with black volcanic rocks. We will make an excursion to the top of Khorgo Uul Volcano and we will pass the gorges that lead from Tariat to the volcano.

The volcano crater is 200 m wide and 100 m deep and is covered with trees at the back and around the opening of the crater. To the south of Khorgo there are numerous basaltic “gers” formed during the cooling of lava; some of the gers have gates and upper holes and reach 1.7 m high.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
four

Ulaagchinii Khar Nuur

We will start driving on Mongolia’s worst roads to enter one of Mongolia’s least visited regions, Western Mongolia. Embedded in the sand dunes belt there is Ulaagchinii Khar Lake is located to west side around 1000 km from Ulaanbaatar capital city. The lake is surrounded by huge sand dunes in the north and mountain hills in the southern shore. Beautiful a view.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Ulaagchinii Khar Nuur
five

Senjit Rock & Mukhart Oasis

Today we will drive to Senjit Rock, the stone gate that has a shape of granite rocky arch located on a top of hill. In ancient times the rock used to be solid but the strong wind carved the gate into today’s formation over millions of years. The size of the gate is 6m in width, 3.5m in height and a nature beauty of the area and stands on 2773 meter above sea level. On your right hand side you will have a first glimpse of Bor Khyariin Els. Bor Khyariin Sand Dunes are about 180 km long, 15 km wide, and 300-meter high. Sand dune has few passages and offers a beautiful panoramic view on the surrounding area. All along the sand dune a river Hungiin flows in length of 200 km and is a vital life source to desert people and their cattle.

Further we will continue to Mukhart river source. Several sites of the sand dunes harbour small or big rivers. The most interesting one is Mukhart River arises beneath the sand dunes and flows throughout the desert and finally join Zavkhan River. We will climb dunes and hike around the river. There has been eco-friendly project led by a researcher who initiated tree planting some years ago. Now the river is surrounded by trees, bushes and a heaven for animals.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Senjit Rock
Mukhart Oasis

Airag & Khyargas Lakes

The Great Lakes Depressions is a region that stretches out from Uvs to Khovd aimag over about 40.000 square kilometres. The Great lake depression is a semi-arid desert region delimited westward by the Altai Mountain Range. In spring, melting snow from the Altai Mountain ends up in the depression’s lakes. Being deprived of outlets to the sea, those salt lakes become giant evaporating points.

Later during the day, we will reach Khyargas Lake which is famous for having the least number of mosquitoes at any time of year, and its banks are like a pleasant seashore. On east shore of the lake we will visit 5 to 6-meter-long 20-meter-high white cliff called Khezuu Khad by locals. Spring time many migratory water birds nestle and breed. 

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Khyargas Nuur
seven

Extra Relaxing at the Lakes

After having driven through half of Mongolia, we will relax for another day at the lakes. Will have chance to swim and relax.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Khyargas Lake
eight

Ulaangom city, Kharkhiraa Mountain & Uvs Lake

Uvs province in the far north west of Mongolia is a spectacular region of permanently snow-capped mountains, glaciers, torrential rivers, salt-water and freshwater lakes, sand dunes and a fantastic variety of animals and plants. End of the afternoon we will reach Ulaangom, capital city of Uvs Province, where we will visit the local market to stock up with food.

After our short beak at the market we will go on driving on a rough but scenic road into the Kharkhiraa valley. We will reach the Kharkhiraa River where we will set up our tented camp. This river finds its sources in the Kharkhiraa Mountain. Its water flows into the Uvs Lake.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Kharkhiraa Turgen
nine

Uureg & Achit Lake, Bayan-Olgii

Today we will head to Olgii. On the way we will visit Uureg Lake, which lies close to the Russian border and Siberia. It is a large, beautiful slightly salt-water lake surrounded by glorious mountains and some snow-capped 3000 meters plus peaks. The mouth of the valley leading into the lake is lined with nomad’s summer gers. The scene is breath-taking and so are the people. We will have the opportunity to visit some families.

Before reaching the lake we will cross the Ulaan Davaa Pass, enjoying the views of the red mountains and sprawling valley floor.

The lake is great for swimming and there are good opportunities for hiking, fishing, bird watching, etc. Sunsets and sunrises in this dramatic scene can be stunned. They make us feel as if we are the only people on earth or as if we have reached the edges of the viable world.  From here we will drive to Achit Lake. Achit Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the province. It is on the border of Uvs and Bayan Ulgii provinces, and is an easy detour between Olgii and Ulaangom. The lake is home to an astonishing array of water bird flocks. Before reaching the lake we will cross the Ogotor Hamar Pass from which you will have breath-taking views of the region.

Late evening, we will reach the most western aimag of Mongolia, Bayan-Olgii. Unlike the rest of Mongolia, which is dominated by Khalkh Mongolians, about 90% of Bayan-Olgii’s population are Kazakh, almost all of them Muslims.

Olgii, capital city of the aimag is a Muslim influenced ethnically Kazakh city. It is home to a mosque.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Uureg Nuur
Achit Lake
ten

Altantsogst village & Overnight in Eagle Hunter family

Today we will live a life of a Kazakh eagle hunter. We will be follow our eagle hunter and his bird on horseback for 3-4 hour treks through the Altai Mountains looking for prey. We will go trekking in nearby mountain valley and riding on horseback together with hunters through scenic landscape.

The rest of the time we will be interacting with the family members (Kazakh people tend to have large families) and experiencing their daily life. Kazakh people are known with their warm hospitality so prepare to feel greatly welcome in their home. We will sleep with Kazakh families in their traditional Ger bigger than Mongolian Ger and brightly decorated with handmade richly and colourful embroidered rugs. We will enjoy a cup of tea, share with our hosts delicious Kazakh dishes such as “Kaz” salted and smoked horse meat “Bisbarmak” while chatting and deepening our knowledge of rich Kazakh culture and custom.

(Family stay B, L, D)

Eagle Hunters of West
11

Tsambagarav Mountain

Today we will explore Tsambagarav Mountain (4200 meters), one of Mongolia’s most glorious snow-capped peaks. The area has beautiful scenery, rich wildlife and archaeological sites. Below peaks there are plenty glaciers and glacial beautiful turquoise lakes and waterfalls flowing deep gorges. In summer time the grassland in this valley is covered with a carpet of alpine flowers. The park attracts visitors and offers plenty outside activities in its pristine condition: Hiking, horseback riding and camel riding are the best option to explore the area. The region has lush valleys, dozens of little lakes and permanently snow-capped peaks.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Tsambagarav Mountain
12

Khovd & Tsenheriin Agui

By lunch time we will pass Khovd, capital city of Khovd Provinve. Sangiin Kherem is the Mongolian name for the remains of the Manchu fort in the Northern part of Khovd city, Mongolia. The fort was built in the 18th century, and later became the seat of the Manchu amban and his office. The fort has a quadratic layout; the walls are made of clay. There were gates at the east and west and watch towers at the four corners. The fort’s walls were surrounded by water ditches, with wooden bridges to access the gates. The remaining walls are 3 metres high and 1.5 metres thick, oriented at the four corners of the earth, each side was 0.33 km. According to Russian Geographer M. V. Pevtsov, who visited the city in 1878, the height of the walls back then was 4.5 metres. The southern portion of the fort was occupied by the Manchu amban, treasury, offices, and military barracks. The eastern part was occupied by commercial firms, a Chinese Buddhist temple and a mosque. Since the year 1912 when city Khovd was liberated from the Manchu administration and the fort was taken by force, the citadel declined.

Evening we will reach The Tsenkheriin Agui (also known as Khoid Tsenkher) caves are for their cave paintings, dates from 20.000 years ago. Interesting is that both mammoths and ostriches are depicted on the walls, proving that both lived in Mongolia up to approximately 15,000 years ago.

The cave has numerous passages to explore. The largest cavern (12 by 18 meters) is about 15m high. We will make a short trekking in the cave’s area.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Tsambagarav valley
Altai Mountain Range
13

Khar Us Nuur National Park and Dorgon Lake

Khovd aimag is cut in half by mighty Altai mountain range in west and Kharkhiraa mountain range in north, south and east is barren semi-desert area dotted with mostly salt lakes and smaller mountains. The melting snow from mountains end up forming around 200 rivers. All rivers disappear mostly under sand or into large fresh and saltwater lakes. Biggest of them are Khar Us Nuur, Khar Nuur and Dorgon Nuur).

Khar Us Nuur (Black Lake Water), the second largest freshwater lake but in average depth of only 4 m. Khovd Gol (River) flows into this lake and its shore is not easy to approach with vegetation and marshes.

The outflow from Khar Us Nuur goes into a short river Chono Kharaikh, which flows into another freshwater lake Khar Nuur, home to some migratory pelicans. The southern end of Khar Nuur flows into Dorgon Nuur which is salt water lake. The east side of Dorgon Nuur is an area of isolated bone dry desert and extensive sand dunes.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Khar Us Nuur
14

Ereen Nuur

Beautiful lake surrounded by sand dune known as Mongol Els stretching over 150 km and reaching at certain places 40 km wide. Ereen Nuur is one of the main stopover sites of migratory birds and also breeding ground. This site is very popular with birdlife, especially the relic gull, whooper swan and geese. We will record most ducks, geese, waders and passerines in this lake.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Ereen Nuur
15

Khunkher gorge and Altai town

Today we will reach Altai, capital city of Gobi-Altaï Province. Altaï is nestled between the mountains of Khasagt Khairkhan Uul (3579m) and Jargalant Uul (3070m). Nestled in mid of Khasagt Khairkha Uul is Khunkher gorge. Gorge has many springs that locals believe to have healing power. Located between gorges there is health resort.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Khunkher Gorge
16
17

Eej Khairhan

This ancient stone massif Eej Khairkhan rises from the desert and resembles a prone woman. The Mother Mountain is one of the famous peaks of Altain mountain range. The mountain is located between 2 massive snowcapped mountains Aj Bogdiin Nuruu and Burkhan Buudai Uul which you can see in far distance. The massive has 7 interconnected water pots. When the first pot is filled up, it creates a little waterfall by spilling its excess water to the next pot through the stone threshold, which is 40 to 50 cm long.

The mountain is worshipped by locals and believed to protect families with children.

Nearby the water pots there is a little cave monastery where the monk knows as the “Monk with the white horse and the white camel” lived. Wind and rain formed many different formed rocks resembling theater stage, mother womb etc. About 30 minutes-walk westwards are some spectacular, ancient rock paintings of ibex, horsemen and archers. This area was protected in 1992.

e will drive back to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. Our team will take you directly to your hotel. You may enjoy the free afternoon to catch up all the places you haven’t visited yet. You might check as well the beautiful cultural show enjoy the colourful and rhythmic Mongolian dance, throat singing and admire & contortionists.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Eej Khairkhan
Gobi-Altai Region
18
19

Great Gobi National Park B Section

From today on we will start driving again eastwards, reaching Orog Lake after 2 days of intensive driving. The huge area is part of most isolated Great Gobi protected area with no sights of villages, human settlement, family Gers and animals for hundreds of kilometers. The region is home to many endangered wild species such as wild sheep, saiga, black tailed gazelle, wild ass, Gobi bear and many others.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

black tailed gazelle
20

Ikh Bogd Mountain

The mountain of Ikh Bogd, the highest peak of the Gobi – Altai Mountain Range, attains an altitude of 3,957 meters above sea level. In 1957 severe earthquakes took place in Ikh Bogd, as a result of which was opened up an enormously long surface fracture (the Bogd Fault) and a vast area underwent major deformation.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park
21

Hiking to Oyu and Nomin Lakes (Turquoise & Azure Lakes) in Ikh Bogd Mountain

During major earthquake of magnitude 11, one peak of mountains collapsed and rocks filled the valley where river was flowing and now two beautiful fresh water lakes are formed cut by massive rocks in between.

We will set out early morning for whole day hiking to reach both lakes. Your effort will be worth. The view is amazing.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Azure Lake Ikh Bogd Mountain
22

Orog Lake & Tsagaan Agui Cave & Drawings

We continue further driving to the saltwater Orog Lake-this lake is in the end of the Tuin River, which passes through small city of Bayankhongor.

Orog Nuur is located at the foot of the Ikh Bogd Uul massif, in the Gobi Valley of Lakes. The lake is a good spot to watch birdlife. Further on we will stop at Tsagaan Agui Cave also named White Cave.

The White Cave is located close Bayanlig village. It is situated in a narrow gorge, and is home to numerous ancient cave drawings. The cave once housed Stone Age human beings 700,000 years ago. It also features a crystalline inner chamber. (N44°42.604′, E101°10.187′)

There are also Petroglyph Writings close to Bayanlig village. Bichig Khad, literally Stone with writings. They have been dated to 3, 000 years ago and are considered sacred. The animal drawings here also provide evidence that Mongolians have been domestic, there is other evidence that that they once farmed and domesticated animals.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Petroglyphe
Turquoise Lake Ikh Bogd Mountain
23

Khongoryn Els

Khongoryn Els will be our next stop. These are Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. Those impressive dunes of 275 meters high in some places, stretch from East to West over more than 100 km. Behind the sand dunes we will see the impressive black rocky mass of the Sevrey Mountain. Those who are courageous will climb to highest dune equivalent of 40 store building. Once you reach the top of the dune, your effort will be rewarded. The whole environment looks full of mysteries, and you get amazed how possibly the landscape can be like that. After dune excursion will visit camel breeding family.  It is our tradition to offer food and drinks without asking the visitors.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Sand Dune
24

Bayanzag or Flaming Cliff

Today we will drive to Bayanzag also known as the “Flaming Cliffs” is the   worldwide renowned place where palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews found dinosaur bones and eggs. The surrounding landscape is a beautiful combination of rocks, red sand and scrubs. Here we will spend some time exploring the cliffs.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Bayanzag
25

Yolyn & Dungenee Am

The Gobi is a cold desert, with frost snow on its dunes during the winter months. Besides being quite far north, it is also located on a plateau roughly 910–1,520 meters above sea level, which further contributes to its low temperatures. An average of approximately 194 millimetres of rain falls per year in the Gobi. Additional moisture reaches parts of the Gobi in winter as snow is blown by the wind from the Siberian Steppes. These winds cause the Gobi to reach extremes of temperature ranging from –40°C in winter to +50°C in summer.

Today we will take a ride through the beautiful gorges of the imposing Altai Mountain Chain. We will pass through the Yolyn and Dungenee Am both located in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. Ancient rivers carved those green valleys.

We may catch a glimpse of the wild Argali sheep, the Ibex, the desert gazelles or the Golden Eagles. We will also pay a visit to the little museum of the park where you can admire a collection of dinosaur bones and stuffed animals.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Dungenee Canyon
26

Baga Gazriin Chuluu

After breakfast in our hotel restaurant, we will leave for the Mongolian countryside. Our first stop will be 250 km southward in the beautiful region of Baga Gazrin Chuluu. It is a huge granite formation in the middle of the Mongolian sandy plane.

On open plain we will visit the remains of a small monastery named Delgeriin Chior Monastery. You will be entering in Ger, huge impressive 12 walls Ger richly decorated and carved used by monks to chant during colder season when the stone monastery gets too cold to be inside.

End of the afternoon we will drive and hike around in the area. We will visit the picturesque ruins of a small monastery that are hidden in a nice little protected valley and wander between huge endless piled granite rocky hills as if they were put. There is a little spring in the rocks of Baga Gazriin Chuluu which is renowned for its eye healing power. Try healing your eyes as locals do and drip some magic water into your eyes.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Baga Gazar Chuluu
27

Drive back to Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast we will be heading to Ulaanbaatar. Our team will take you to your hotel. Enjoy your free afternoon and evening. You might check the beautiful cultural show enjoy the colourful & rhythmic Mongolian dance, throat singing and admire contortionists.

(B, L)

Driving in Mongolian Steppe

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