Discover Mongolia

National Geographic Journeys, Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Discover one of Asia's most under-explored regions on a two-week adventure through Mongolia. Walk through the remote and mysterious Erdene Zhu monastery with a Lama Buddhist monk; visit the dramatic Flaming Cliffs, a world-renowned paleontology site famous for its amount of dinosaur eggs and bones; and drop by the home of a welcoming camel-herding family for an afternoon you'll always remember. Embrace your inner nomad in this timeless place.

What’s included

  • National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Dinosaur Museum Visit, Ulaanbaatar National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Erdene Zhu Buddhist Monastery Visit, Kharkhorin National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Yak Family Farm Experience, Orkhon Valley National Geographic Journeys Exclusives: Nomadic family Experience, Khongoryn Els Recharge: Tsenkher Hot Springs Visit, Tsenkher
  • Arrival transfer
  • Ulaanbaatar city tour
  • Visit Khustai National Park
  • Visit the archaeological museum
  • Soak in hot springs
  • Hike to Tuvkhun Monastery
  • Orkhon waterfall hike
  • Visit Hoshuu and Ongiin Khiid monasteries
  • Flaming Cliffs excursion
  • Gobi desert excursion and dune hike
  • Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park excursion
  • Folklore show with dinner
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Tour many of ulaanbaatar’s historic sites
  • Enjoy the scenery of khustai national park
  • Learn about lama buddhism from a head monk
  • Visit family-owned yak and camel farms
  • Explore historic monasteries
  • See western gobi’s biggest sand dunes

Itinerary

Day 1 Ulaanbaatar Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 2 Ulaanbaatar (1B) Enjoy a morning city tour including visits to the Gandan Monastery, Bogd Khan Palace, and Zaisan Hill. Later, take a tour of the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs and learn about the dinosaurs of the Gobi desert from a docent. Included Activities: Ulaanbaatar City Tour Gandan Monastery Guided Tour Bogd Khan Palace Guided Tour Zaisan Hill Visit Dinosaur Museum Visit
Day 3 Ulaanbaatar/Khustai National Park (1B, 1L, 1D) This trip covers a lot of ground and we will do so in 4x4 vehicles but there is a lot of driving on some very rough and unmaintained roads. A large part of Mongolia's appeal is its wild, untouched nature and, as such, accommodation and infrastructure can be very basic in nature. As such, hot water and electricity can be uncertain. Mongolia is a country which is very different to anything you will have experienced before and while this means it is not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Additional Notes: Accommodation from day 3 to 12 will be in Gers. Gers are traditional Mongolian tents made with wooden frames and layers of felt. The camps we stay at will have 2 beds with mattresses, linens, and extra blankets. The tent is on a platform and while simple, is quite comfortable and offers a truly unique experience. Our locations are remote and gers do not have built-in ensuite - all camps have shared facilities with toilette's/sinks/showers. Most Ger camps have 24 hours electricity with a couple of exceptions that have generators which after 11 pm they cut electricity until morning. Included Activities: Khustai National Park (Khustain Nuruu) Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 120km)
Day 4 Khustai National Park/Kharkhorin (1B, 1L, 1D) Drive to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia. Visit the Erdene Zhu Monastery, the nation's first centre of Lama Buddhism, and meet with a head monk for an in-depth lesson in Buddhism. Later, visit Karakorum Museum. Included Activities: Erdene Zhu Buddhist Monastery Visit Karakorum Museum Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 270km)
Day 5 Kharkhorin/Tsenkher (1B, 1L, 1D) Arrive at Tsenkher Hot Springs in the afternoon. Visit the springs for a relaxing soak and benefit from its healing powers. Included Activities: Tsenkher Hot Springs Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 120km)
Day 6 Tsenkher/Orkhon Valley (1B, 1L, 1D) Drive to Orkhon and enjoy a hiking excursion to the Tuvkhun Monastery, established in the 1650s by Zanabazar, one of Mongolia’s most respected religious leaders. The monastery’s wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop, from which you can take in beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and surrounding pine forests. Included Activities: Tuvkhun Monastery Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 150km)
Day 7 Orkhon Valley (1B, 1L, 1D) Visit a local family's horse and yak breeding farm. Learn about their daily life and how they make cheese and butter. Sample some of their products, including yak cream and yogurt, and watch their famed horse riding and herding techniques. After, enjoy a hike to a waterfall before returning to the ger camp for a traditional Mongolian barbecue prepared over hot stones. Included Activities: Yak Family Farm Experience Orkhon Waterfall Hike
Day 8 Orkhon Valley/Ongiin Hiid (1B, 1L, 1D) Drive into the Gobi, one of the world's great deserts which covers much of the southern part of Mongolia. Here we visit the ruins of the Hoshuu and Ongiin Khiid monasteries. Included Activities: Ongiin Khiid and Hoshuu Monasteries Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (7.00 hour(s), 300km)
Day 9 Ongiin Hiid/Bayanzag (1B, 1L, 1D) Explore the Flaming Cliffs paleontology site, world-renowned for the vast amount of dinosaur bones and eggs found here. Included Activities: Flaming Cliffs Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 180km)
Day 10 Bayanzag/Khongoryn Els (1B, 1L, 1D) Drive to Khongoryn Els and explore more of the Gobi desert. Hike through Mongolia's largest dunes, often called the "Singing Sands". Included Activities: Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes Visit Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 150km)
Day 11 Khongoryn Els (1B, 1L, 1D) In Khongoriin Els we have the unique opportunity to visit a Nomadic family to learn about their daily life. The Gobi desert being the coldest desert of the world with cold wind blowing pretty much throughout whole autumn, winter and spring without any shelter exposed in plains demands extreme survival method of living. Also enjoy a demonstration of Archery, which is a sport as ancient as the history of Mongolia. In ancient days bows and arrows were primarily used for hunting animals for food and protecting the tribe from outside threats. Over centuries, the uses of archery changed and the tradition passed down to become one of the most practiced sports with the main competition being held during the Naadam Festivals. Included Activities: Nomadic family Experience Transport: Private Vehicle
Day 12 Khongoryn Els/Yolyn Am (1B, 1L, 1D) Drive through the beautiful gorges of the imposing Altai Mountain Chain in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, passing through the green valleys of Yolyn Am and Dungeness Am. Stop to hike along the way and keep an eye out for wild Argali sheep, ibex, desert gazelles, and golden eagles. Later, pay a visit to the park museum where you can admire a collection of dinosaur bones. Included Activities: Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park Transport: Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 170km)
Day 13 Yolyn Am/Ulaanbaatar (1B, 1D) Catch a flight back to Ulaanbaatar. This evening, enjoy a folklore show and farewell dinner. Included Activities: Mongolian Cultural Show & Dinner Transport: Plane (1.50 hour(s))
Day 14 Ulaanbaatar (1B) Depart at any time.
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