Highlights of the Gobi

tours / Adventure

Highlights of the Gobi information and booking

from
$2960
  • Duration
    14 days
    Days
  • Group size
    4-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Adventure touring
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 14 day trip
  • 3 nights hotel
  • 10 nights ger
Equipment Required
A comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking.

Highlights

  • Marvel at the spectacular Gobi Desert
  • Explore the capital Ulaanbaatar and the Gandan Monastery
  • Camp in remote national parks and overnight with local nomadic family in a traditional ger
  • Visit Khustain National Park - home of the takhi (Mongolian wild horse)
  • Ride camels and walk along Mongolia’s largest sand dunes at Khongoriin Els
  • Fossick for dinosaur fossils at Bayanzag

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

The magnificent Gobi Desert is one of the last few wildernesses on earth. It is a treasure chest full of astonishing surprises that draw in the most avid travellers, explorers and adventurers. This itinerary takes us to the very best of the Gobi and combines other highlights of southern Mongolia. We explore unique and untouched places amid this vast wilderness - we see the largest sand dunes in Mongolia at Khongoriin Els, ancient dinosaur relics at the "Flaming Cliffs" of Bayanzag, the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park containing the Valley of Yolyn Am with solid ice formations, even in the heat of the Gobi summer. We ride camels and have time to simply marvel at these astonishing surroundings. As we venture north towards Ulaanbaatar we visit Mongolia's finest monastery at Erdenezuu and Mongolia's ancient capital of Karakorum. Next we continue via Ugii Lake and Khustain Nuruu National Park, where we hope to glimpse the famous wild horses. In true nomadic style we ride through the desert in jeeps visiting a local nomadic family and enjoy the famous hospitality of these hardy people. Every trip to the Gobi is an adventure in the truest sense of the word and this trip is sure not to disappoint.

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 13 lunches and 13 dinners
  • Internal flight ulaanbaatar/dalanzadgad valued at us$185
  • Airport transfers on day 1 and day 14
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Comfortable well located hotels in ulaanbaatar and twin share accommodation in traditional ger camps
  • Medical kit
  • Camel riding
  • Private vehicles
  • Sightseeing and national park entrance fees as listed in itinerary
  • Pre-departure information

Itinerary

Day 1 Join Ulaanbaatar
You will be met on arrival at Ulaanbaatar airport and transferred to the group hotel. After a light lunch we will set out on an orientation tour of Ulaanbaatar to get our bearings around the nation’s capital city. First stop is the Zaisan Memorial on the edge of Mt Bogd Khan. From here we will have panoramic views of the city. Next is Sukhbaatar Square, the central square named after the revolutionary hero of 1921 Damdiny Sukhbaatar who declared independence from China. The state department store is another landmark which makes an interesting and useful stop on our orientation tour. There will be a welcome dinner in the evening. Overnight hotel.
Day 2 Ulaanbaatar City Tour
We will commence the day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the largest and most famous functioning monastery in Mongolia. Here we may experience monks in worship and see the impressive Golden Buddha Statue of Migjid Janraisig. After lunch, we will have the opportunity to tour a local Cashmere factory shop. Our evening program is a folklore concert featuring Mongolian Traditional songs and dances. Overnight hotel.
Day 3 Fly to the Gobi Desert. Transfer to Yolyn Am (approx 56km drive).
In the morning we will be transferred to the airport for our flight to Dalanzadgad, the centre of South Gobi province. On arrival our local driver will meet us, and we will be transferred to Yolyn Am (Vulture’s Gorge), just 56km away on the edge of the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. Yolyn Am features a narrow canyon, so deep that even in the middle of summer, ice and snow remain in the valley floor. This area is rich in wildlife and we may see Argali wild sheep, ibex and, for the extremely lucky, the renowned snow leopard. A small museum has exhibits of Gobi nature. Overnight ger camp.
Day 4 Khongoriin Sand Dunes (approx 180km drive)
Today we will drive deep into the Gobi desert, until we reach Khongoriin sand dunes, the largest in Mongolia. The drive is through some incredible desert scenery with flat, stony plains; outcrops of vegetation; hills of interesting rock formations; and herds of wild antelope racing across the plains. Overnight ger camp.
Day 5 Visit nomadic family
This will be a day of leisure activities at the Khongoriin sand dunes, that are 180km long and 15-20m wide, and lie on the northern part of the mountains of Sevrei. We can hike along the sand hills, and ride two-humped Bactrian camels along the dunes. We will also visit a local nomadic family to experience their lifestyle. There will be an opportunity to assemble a ger ourselves with the help of our drivers and guide. Overnight ger camp.
Day 6 Bayanzag “Jurassic Park” (approx 180km drive)
We will head off in the vehicles to the north and make our way to Bayanzag, known as the Flaming Cliffs, and enjoy the day hiking amongst the colourful desert sands. Bayanzag is a world renowned dinosaur fossil exploration site, discovered in the 1920’s by Mongolian and American palaeontologists. We are free to explore, feeling like dinosaur hunters, because even now many dinosaur fossils remain. Overnight ger camp.
Day 7 Ruins of Buddhist Monastery Ongi (approx 200km drive)
Today we will continue our journey, and arrive in the early afternoon at Ongi Monastery. This monastery was erected about 250 years ago, and at that time had almost 1,000 monks worshipping at this place daily. This is one of 700 monasteries, which were destroyed under the communist purges of the last century. Now, there only remains a few stupas and a temple. Overnight ger camp.
Day 8 To Karakorum (approx 270km drive)
Today will be the longest driving day. After breakfast, we will be transferred to our ger camp nearby the ancient capital of Mongolia, Karakorum. Upon arrival, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day 9 Visit Erdenezuu Monastery. To Tsenkheriin Hot Springs (approx 150km drive).
This morning we will visit the Erdenezuu monastery. Very little remains of Karakorum, from where Genghis Khan launched his mighty cavalry. What does stand resplendent near the town are the massive walls of the Erdenezuu Monastery. This monastery had to face the onslaught of Soviet desecration during the 19th century, but is now being slowly and lovingly restored. There will also be time to do some art and antique shopping in Karakorum. Afterwards we will continue our journey to the Tsenkheriin Hot Springs, which sprout directly from the mountains and can reach temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius. We will overnight at a ger camp near the springs, with an opportunity for a relaxing soak in a pool with hot spring water.
Day 10 Visit nomadic family. To Ugii lake (approx 150km drive).
This morning, we can enjoy a last dip in the hot springs, before a visit to a nearby local nomadic family. After lunch, we will drive to Ugii lake, which is a fresh water lake in the steppe, covering an area of 25 square kms, and rich with fish and birdlife. We will have a leisurely afternoon walking around the lake, and enjoying some bird watching. Overnight ger camp.
Day 11 Ugii lake
Rest day by the lake. Overnight ger camp.
Day 12 Khustain Nuruu National Park (approx 230km paved roads)
Today we will drive to the Khustain National Park. This park has had an ongoing conservation project to save the wild Takhi horse (or Przewalski's Horse) and successfully reintroduce them back into the Mongolian wilderness. In the evening, we will see the wild horses grazing in the mountains. Overnight ger camp.
Day 13 Return to Ulaanbaatar (approx 100km paved roads)
Today we will drive to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival we will be transferred to the group hotel. Rest of the afternoon at leisure. Souvenir shopping is an excellent option, with cashmere and leather products making great buys. Farewell dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Day 14 In Ulaanbaatar. Trip concludes.
The trip concludes in Ulaanbaatar after breakfast and departure transfer.