Tour Scope: Central Mongolia and South Mongolia Tour Route: UB-Karakorum-Middle Gobi-South Gobi-UB
Highlights: Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune, Karakorum, Ongi Monastery, Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs), Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes-Yol (Eagle) Valley
Tour Season: 01 June- 15 September Tour Level: Moderate Total Driving km: 1,200 km (750 miles)
Day 1. Ulaanbaatar
Day 2. Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune
Day 3. Karakorum
Day 4. Ongi Monastery
Day 5. Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs)
Day 6. Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes
Day 7. Yolyn Am (Eagle Valley)
Day 8. Flight to Ulaanbaatar
Day 9. Departure
Accommodations: 2 nights in hotel and 6 nights in ger camps Meals: Inclusive meals are indicated in itinerary (B = breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
Transport: 4WD Japanese Minivan or 4WD Japanese Jeep Optional activities: Camel riding, Horse riding
Staffs: Visit Mongolia Team (Tour guide and driver)
DAY 1 ULAANBAATAR
Upon arrival at the Chinggis Khan international airport in Mongolia, you will meet Visit Mongolia crew and transfer to the hotel, conveniently located downtown Ulaanbaatar. After freshening up from your flight, we start our first day around Ulaanbaatar starting from Gandan Monastery, the largest and most important monastery of Mongolia with 500 monks. From here we will go to the National History Museum which tells the rich history of Mongolia. The heart of Ulaanbaatar, Sukhbaatar Square, is just a short walk away. Here we will see the Parliament House, National Opera and City Hall. Afterwards, we will visit Zaisan Hill, which offers great views of the city. In the evening, you will attend a performance of traditional dancing and khoomii (Mongolian throat singing). Overnight in a hotel. (L,D)
DAY 2 ELSEN TASARKHAI SAND DUNE
Approximate distance covered and estimated travel time: 300 km, 4-5 hours
Drive to Elsen Tasarkhai sand dune, a unique area combining forest, Gobi sand dunes and rocky mountains. Excursion to Hugnu Khaan Mountain and sand dune on the steppe. Free time for hiking and walking in the near. Overnight in a ger camp. (B, L, D)
DAY 3 RUINS OF 12TH CENTURY CAPITAL CITY KARAKORUM
Approximate distance covered and estimated travel time: 80 km, 1.5-2 hours
Travel to Karakorum, the former capital city of world’s greatest land empire, established by Chinggis Khan. Here we will tour the oldest Buddhist Monastery Erdenezuu, religious complex spanning over 400 sq. meters surrounded by 108 stupas. It was first built on the ruins of Karakorum in 1586 by Abtai Sain Khan. The site has some of the best works of religious art and architecture in Mongolia. Visit Karakorum museum. Overnight in a ger camp. (B, L, D)
DAY 4 ONGI MONASTERY
Approximate distance covered and estimated travel time: 260 km, 4-5 hours
Travel to the direction of south through the wide huge open land called Ongi steppe. We will see changing landscape from forest steppe into semi-desert Gobi land. In the afternoon we will visit the ruins of Ongi Monastery which was built in the 18th century, the former main religious center of South Mongolia. Hiking in nearby Gobi mountain and along the area where the ruins are situated. Overnight in a ger camp. (B, L, D)
DAY 5 BAYANZAG/FLAMING CLIFFS
Approximate distance covered and estimated travel time: 140 km, 3-4 hours
Travel to Bayanzag, more commonly known as the legendary “Flaming Cliffs”. Through the journey we will see arid steppe landscape with many camel herds and herding families. Bayanzag is a red rock creation, formed 60-70 million years ago, made famous by an American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews’s discovery there of complete dinosaur skeletons and eggs in 1920s. Overnight in a ger camp. (B, L, D)
DAY 6 KHONGORYN ELS SAND DUNES
Approximate distance covered and estimated travel time: 180 km, 4-5 hours
Travel to Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes, Mongolia’s largest sand dunes, reaching a height of 800 meters in highest areas and known as the “Singing Dunes”. Evening visit to a camel-breeder’s family with a chance to go camel riding. Overnight in a ger camp. (B, L, D)
DAY 7 YOLYN AM (EAGLE VALLEY)
Approximate distance covered and estimated travel time: 200 km, 4-5 hours
Travel to Yolyn Am, or ‘Eagle Valley’, located in the foothills of the Altai Mountains. The valley’s remnant streams create ice formations which you may find in the mouth of the valley as late as July. The mountains surrounding the valley also provide habitat for Argali wild sheep (one of the last wild great-horned sheep) and ibex, which may be spotted in the early morning as they walk along the mountain ridges. Visit the Gobi museum and trek through the valley. Overnight in a ger camp. (B, L, D)
DAY 8 ULAANBAATAR
Drive to Dalanzadgad for a flight to Ulaanbaatar. In the afternoon, we will visit some interesting museums including Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan. The remainder of the day is free for shopping or independent touring. Farewell dinner. Overnight in a hotel. (B, L, D)
DAY 9 DEPARTURE
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for a departure flight. (B)
Visit Mongolia’s policy is to provide top quality service to our customers at reasonable prices. We will pleased to provide detailed price quotes for those interested in specific tours.
Hotels are available in different ranges of quality and service. The package cost includes all services except accommodations in Ulaanbaatar (UB). We do give “choices” for our clients to pick their appropriate accommodations in Ulaanbaatar. However we encourage group travelers to pick the same property. We will provide hotel rates for Visit Mongolia customers for your selection. Please select hotel and room type and let us know.
In the Countryside:
– Ger Camps
While touring in the countryside, the most common accommodations outside cities on our tours are called ger camps. A ger is the traditional felt tent of nomadic herders. Accommodation in the ger camps is based on two people sharing one ger. Each ger is heated by a wood stove and has two wood-framed beds.
The camp restaurant and western-style toilet/shower facilities are located in the middle of the camp or close by. All camps supply towels. The ger camps provide all bedding and clients will not be expected to bring their own sleeping bags if they stay overnight in the ger camps. Staying in a ger is a memorable experience of Mongolian culture.
– Tented camping
We use tented camps on our adventure journeys to more remote areas. The tents are either 2 or 3 person tents. A sleeping mat will be provided to each person staying in a tent but clients are asked to bring their own sleeping bags. Our expedition staff sets up camps and prepares meals and takes care of all your needs. Tented camps allow you to interact more with the nature and visit the remotest areas of the country.
We use different types of vehicles depending on the nature of tours, destination and final number of travellers.
– For jeep overland adventure tours we use Japanese 4WD vans and SUV’s (Mitsubishi, Toyota, Nissan), which is the best available for its type
– A bus or mini-bus serves group tourists within Ulaanbaatar
– In some remote areas where we have to fly, we arrange local vehicles most of which are Russian 4WD jeeps or minivans. Daily driving distance will be appr. 200-250km.
– For sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar we use deluxe coaches, vans and sedans.
All Visit Mongolia drivers have many years of experience. They know their way around the Mongolian countryside including many places where they are no marked roads. They are all skilled mechanics which is crucial in remote places. Technical inspections on the vehicles are made regularly.
An English speaking Mongolian guide will accompany the entire time of your trip. The most of our guides have a wonderful and outstanding reputation among our clients. They have an in depth knowledge of Mongolian history, nomadic civilization, customs, traditions, and nature memories. After every tour we get feedbacks and emails about our guides.
Meals are included in the cost. Visit Mongolia provides the selection of the best available local restaurants on cities and popular destinations.
When you are in Ulaanbaatar, you can eat out in number of restaurants as serving Indian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, English, French, German, Russian, Latin American and of course Mongolian cuisines. FYI, basic foodstuffs for Mongolians are beef, mutton and noodles.
When you stay in tourist Ger camps, the most camps provide meals as western cuisine. During excursions to remote areas we provide services of professional chefs who normally accompany the group. Arrangements can be made for vegetarians and those with special dietary needs with advance notice.
Mongolia’s climate is continental and extreme. With more than two hundred days of full sun per year it has been given the nickname of ‘the’ Country of Blue Skies’.
The tourist season in Mongolia is between the months of May and September. The weather during this time varies considerably from region to region. The highest rainfall period is in July and August, however, there are still days of glorious sunshine during this time. The Gobi usually has the hottest temperatures. Summer evenings in the Gobi can be cool because of Mongolia’s high altitude. The best time to visit the Gobi is June and September. The spring is a time of strong winds, especially difficult in the sandy areas of the Gobi.
Most travelers come to Mongolia in mid-July for the annual National Naadam Festival.