From North Mongolia
to the Gobi Desert
Detailed Tours Description
Day 1: Bag Gazrin Chuluu and Delgeriin Chior Monastery
After breakfast in our hotel restaurant, we will leave for the Mongolian countryside. Our first stop will be 250 km (6 hours driving) southward in the beautiful region of Bag Gazrin Chuluu. It is a huge granite formation in the middle of the Mongolian sandy plane.
At the foot of the formation we will visit the remains of a small monastery named Delgeriin Chior Monastery.
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.
Day 2: Sangiin Dalai Nuur, Khukh Burd and Tsagaan Suvarga
After a breakfast, we will start driving towards the Gobi desert. Today we will see the landscape changing dramatically from the fertile grassland to the inhospitably rocky land. The number of families and cattle we will see along the road will gradually reduce. Camels will slowly replace cows. During this nearly 300 km trip (8 hours driving) we will stop at some interesting spots. The first place we will visit is Sangiin Dalai Nuur. This tiny lake shelters on its island the mighty ruins of a castle that was build here some 300 years ago. Here we will also observe some remarkable bird life. Among others, the Mongolian lark, various species of prey birds, geese and swans come to this spring-fed lake. A little further on the road we will pass the ruins of Khukh Burd Monastery that was flattened during the Mongolian purge period. (1928-1939)
In the evening after long hours of driving we will reach Tsagaan Suvraga. The Cliff is 30 meters high and 100 meters wide. Over thousands of years the wind has created his amazing structure.
From a distance Tsagaan Suvraga resembles the ruins of an ancient town with crumbling buildings. Painted and carved on the rocks are ancient images of people hunting ibex with long bows and petroglyphs depicting wild animals and cattle. There are also Turkic inscriptions with different seals and images in the caves here.
A fissure running east to west from the upper slopes of a mountain down across the steppe. Looking into the fissure you will see high mud columns rising from the depths below. The yawning gap looks like the open jaws of some fabulous animal. Some of the caves are multi chambered one of which stretches back over 70 metres.
Day 3: Yoliin and Dungenee Am, the Eagle Gorges or Vulture Mouth
Today we will take a ride through the beautiful gorges of the imposing Altai Mountain Chain. We will pass through the Yoliin Am and the 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 .
Day 4: Khongoriin Els or the Singing Sand Dunes
Today we will head 200 km westwards to the Khongoriin Els. 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.
Day 5: Ongiin and Khoshuu Monastery
After the long and intensive trip of the day before, we will enjoy the peace and beauty of the Delger Khangai Mountains. We will explore the ruins of Hoshuu Monastery on one side of the river and the ruins of Ongiin Monastery on the other side of the river. We will hike around in this massive series of rocky hills cut by the river.
The monasteries were built in the 17th century and destroyed in 1937. They were amoung the largest temples in Mongolia and housed over 1000 monks.
Day 6: Karakorum
After an early wake up, we will set of for a long driving day to Karakorum (also called Kharhorin).
Kharkhrin is the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire created by Chinggis Khan. The founding of Karakorum started on the ruins of Turug and Uigur cities in the Orkhon valley at the eastern end of the Khanggai mountains in 1220 by the Chinggis Khaan's order. It completed 15 years later during the Ugedei Khaan's reign. The town was a very cosmopolitan and religiously tolerant place
The silver tree, part of Mngke 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 Kublai 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 Khubilai Khaan 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 residencing 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.
We will also see the Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock.
Day 7: Tsenger Hotwater Springs and Baths
This morning we will driving westward in the direction of Khangai Mountains. On average, the Khanggai mountains are 2500-3000 M above the sea level and are composed of mainly granite, intrusive chert and sandstone belonging to Paleozoic era. The Khanggai Mountains is about 800 km long, ranging from Zavkhan province territory to Tuv province. They function as the continental divide of the world water system.
The green mountainsides and the network of smaller and larger rivers offer excellent pastureland for the herds of horses, yaks and cows.
In the afternoon we will reach Tsenkher hot spring resort. This resort has a large open-air pool at its customer's disposal. The hot water of the pool flows continuously in from the hot water spring. At the spring, the temperature of the water is over 80 C. A complex pipelines system regulates the water temperature. Some will spend hours sitting in the pool talking to their friends while staring at the stars or scanning the nightly nature around them.
Day 8: Tsetserleg and the White Lake
At lunchtime we will reach Tsetserleg, capital city of Arkhangai province (180 km, 6 hours). It is a lovely little town surrounded by forested hills. Here we will visit the Buyandelgeruulekh Monastery, the town main functioning monastery and the nice little Museum of Arkhangai located in Zayaiin Gegeenii Monastery. From the museum we will walk hill upward to a small abandoned monastery and enjoy the beautiful view we have from there over Tsetserleg and the surrounding hills.
We will eat lunch in a local restaurant. In the evening we will reach Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. 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.
Day 9: Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and Khorgo Uul Vulcano
Today we will relax around the White Lake (also named the Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur). 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.
Day 10: Dzuun Lake
We will drive for 2 consecutive days northwards to reach Khovsgol Lake. We will drive through the central grasslands where you will see large herds of horses, cows and yaks. You will cross several rivers, smaller and larger ones, all full of fish.
Tonight we will reach Dzuun a small lost lake in the middle of the Mongolian steppes. Youll have a chance to observe several water birds on the lake.
Day 11: Moron (Murun) City
After a second day of intensive driving we will reach Moron, capital city of Hovsgol province. We will stop at the local market to stock up food after what we will go on driving North. On the way we will visit the Uushig Deer Stone complex.
Read more: Shamanistic Elements in Mongolian Deer Stone Art
Read more: Mongolian Bronze Age
Day 12: Khuvsgul Lake
After an intensive driving on a path climbing up to the north we will at last reach the Mongolian blue pearl, the Hovsgol Lake. It is a huge 2.760 square km alpine lake (130 km in length and 40 km in width), surrounded by mountain chains of more than 2.000 meters high, thick pine forests and lush meadow with grazing yaks and horses. More than 100 small rivers and streams feed the lake with crystal clear water. Water exits the lake through only one river, the Egiin, whose waters eventually reach the Baikal Lake. The lake contains about 1.5% of the world's fresh water (excluding water contained in the icecaps). The lake and rivers are full of fish. Around a dozen species of fish inhabit the lake and rivers. The most well known are the sturgeon, grayling, lennok, salmon, taimon, etc.
Day 13: Extra day at Khovsgol Lake
We will spend a full day exploring the lakeshore and surrounding mountains. For those interested they will have the possibility to go horseback riding, visit Mongolian families, go hiking, go fishing, etc. Please bring your own rod and tackle, or buy it in Ulaanbaatar.
Day 14: Selenge River
After having enjoyed a full day along the Hovsgol Lake, we will take the road again, south-eastwards to Amarbayasgalant Monastery. This trip will take us two days through the Mongolian grasslands, arriving at Amarbayasgalant Monastery on the 3rd day in the evening.
We will overnight in a family close to the Selenge River.
Day 15: Bulgan: Uran and Togoo Uul Vulcano
About 60km directly west of Bulgan city is the extinct volcano of Uran Uul and nearby Togoo Uul, now part of the 1600 hectare Uran-Togoo Tulga Uul Natural Reserve in the sum (district) of Khutag-Ondor.
Trails to the top of the relatively unimpressive volcano lead up from the west side, which also has some nice camping areas.
Day 16: Amarbayasgalant Monastery
After a second day of intensive driving we will finally reach Amarbayasgalant Monastery. The monastery is set in an exquisite valley surrounded by mountains. After Erdene Zuu Monastery, Amarbayasgalant Monastery is considered as the second most important monastery and the most intact architectural complex of Mongolia. The monastery was built in the 18th century by the Manchu emperor Yongzheng and dedicated to the great Mongolian Buddhist Zanabazar.
Day 17: Drive Back to Ulaanbaatar
We will have a whole day driving to reach end of the afternoon Ulaanbaatar.
Optional Day: Tovkhon Monastery and Orkhon Water Falls
Our next stop will be at Tuvhon Monastery, established during the 1650s by Zanabazar, one of Mongolias most respected religious leaders. The monasterys wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched hear a hilltop, from which you have beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests. On the top of the cliff, a pile of stones to worship a god of this mountain forms a hill. It is called Ovoo.
In the Quaternary era a volcano erupted near the beginning of the Tsagaan Azarga or White Stallion River and the lava flowed down the Orkhon valley forming the 10 meter thick layer of basaltic rocks. The basaltic layer was crosscut by the Orkhon River continuously and the canyon was formed as a result.
At the beginning of this canyon lays the 20 meters high, 10 meter wide waterfall. The most adventures of you will climb down the canyon and swim the lake located at the food of the waterfall.
Tasarkhai), a 100 km long sand dune. Here you can ride a camel.
Optional Day: Bayanzag or the Flaming Cliffs
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.
Optional Day: Family Stay in the Gobi Desert and Camel Riding
The Family lives in the Gobi Desert. We will experience the warm hospitality offered by the Mongolian families. For dinner we will be offered a typical Mongolian meal that will be prepared by nomads. Those who want will have the opportunity to try the airag or fermented horse milk. Our guide - translator will help us to forge contact with the local population.
Those interested will have the opportunity to do camel riding.
Optional Day: Family Stay in Central Mongolia and Horse Riding
The Family lives close to a river in the wide open Mongolian steps. We will experience the warm hospitality offered by the Mongolian families. For dinner we will be offered a typical Mongolian meal that will be prepared by nomads. Those who want will have the opportunity to try the airag or fermented horse milk. Our guide - translator will help us to forge contact with the local population.
Those interested will have the opportunity to do horse riding.
We offer 3 different price categories for our tours:
Please contact us for the updated prices. We offer special discount prices for off season tours.
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