Top attractions of Gobi Desert, Central and Northern Mongolia
Itinerary is recommended by Lonely Planet travel guidebook
The big loop tour is great for those who come to Mongolia for longer period and desire to explore the country from many different sides. With this program, you will have the opportunity to discover the southern-central-northern Mongolia as a big loop covering almost 40 % of whole Mongolian attractions and beautiful landscapes changing dramatically from steppe to the Gobi desert and forest zone to a mountainous area in the boreal forest zone.
ACTIVITIES – Cultural Activities / Walking Tours /Jeep tour / Wildlife
ACTIVITY LEVEL – Leisurely
DURATION / DISTANCE – 15 days / 14 nights / 3400km with car
PLACES VISITED – Natural beauty Baga Gazryn Chuluu, National Park Gobi Gurvan Saikhan – Natural beauty Yolyn Am – Sand dunes Khongor – dinosaur site Bayanzag – Ongi monastery ruins – Kharakhorum ancient capital – Tsetserleg town – Mountain Pass Tsagaan – Rock Taikhar – River Canyon Chuluut – National Park Khorgo-Terkh – Mountain Pass Orookh – River Valley Toin – National Park Lake Khuvsgul – Chief Selenge river – Extinct Volcano Uran – Amarbayasgalant monastery.
Minimum group size 2 people
Average group size 3-4 people
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Day 0: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, capital of Mongolia
Arrival at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport and transfer to the hotel for check in. Enjoy the rest of today at leisure to relax or begin exploring the treasures of Mongolia. Hotel in Ulaanbaatar is not included in the package.
DAY 1: Middle Gobi, Baga Gazryn Chuluu (260km-6 hours) (L,D)
Surrender to this magical land today with the first taste of Mongolia’s fascinating landscape. Venturing into the Middle Gobi, a semi-arid steppe full of rare wildlife, stop for lunch at the stunning mountainside granite rock formation of Zorgol Khairkhan. Continuing on to Baga Gazriin Chuluu another iconic granite formation, pass by the pristine waters of Lake Hairhan. Tonight be completely immersed in the Mongolian culture, enjoying a traditional meal and spending the night with a nomadic family in the steppe zone.
Day 2: Explore Limestone cliff (240km-5 hours(B,L,D)
Journey through Tsagaan Suvarga, an area full of 30m high white limestone formations, and feast the eyes on the mind blowing colors of the desert floor below. Enjoy another unique night with a friendly nomadic family.
Day 3: Hiking in the Ice Valley (Yolyn Am) (270km-6 hours) (B,L,D)
Breathe in the crisp, cool air of Vulture Valley (Yolyn Am) with a stunning hike along a flowing stream. Following the stream, end up at an ice-filled gorge and marvel at the meters thick ice that lines the valley. Visit a small museum displaying a collection of dinosaur eggs, bones and exotic stuffed animals. Tonight is the first night in a tourist Ger camp.
Day 4: Wander Khongor sand dune (200km-6 hours) (B,L,D)
Leaving Vulture Valley this morning, prepare for an incredible journey through the Gobi Desert to Khongor Sand Dune. Let the mind wander as you travel through the spectacular landscape full of extremes. From the 300m high sand dunes and tropical oasis to luscious grasslands, the varied climates are home to camels. Enjoy a camel ride. Overnight in tourist Ger camp.
Day 5: Discover Land of dinosaur Bayanzag (180km-4 hours) (B,L,D)
Head to Bayanzag today to discover and learn about the incredible site known as Flaming Cliff. First excavated in 1922 the area is renown worldwide for the dinosaur eggs and bones discovered in the classic desert of rock and red sand. Overnight in tourist Ger camp.
Day 6: Hike through Ongi monastery (170km-4 hours) (B,L,D)
Travel to the heart of the desert today and marvel at the Ongi monastery. Formerly one of the biggest Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia, Ongi was ruined during a period of political repression. Hike through the fascinating ruins and enjoy the scenery of the Ongi River that runs past the ancient site. Overnight in tourist Ger camp.
Day 7: Karakorum & Erdene Zuu Monastery (300km-6 hours) (B,L,D)
After breakfast this morning drive to Karakorum, the site of the 13th century Mongolian capital.Visit Karakorum museum and see the Great Mongol state period, Stone Age, Bronze Age, Ancient state period halls. Tour through the ancient city before moving on the beautiful ruins of Erdene Zuu Monastery. Surrounded by huge 400m x 400m walls built from the ruins of Kharakhorum, the Erdenezuu was the first and the biggest Buddhist monastery of the 16th century. Overnight in tourist Ger camp.
Day 8, 9: Legends of Khorgo-Terkh National Park (320km – 6 hours)(B,L,D)
In the morning, we will pass by Tsetserleg town which is small and well-structured. We will visit Chuluut River, which flows in the gorge formed of lava of the nearby extinct volcano such as Khorgo and others. Moreover visit Khorgo-tech national park, which consists of Khorgo volcano and the White Lake. Walk up to the crater of an Extinct Khorgo volcano. Lastly, we will arrive in White Lake, created as a result of the eruption of Khorgo volcano and some other volcanoes. Hike around the lake and stay in tourist Ger camp.
Day 10: Drives over high mountains (150km – 5.5 hours)(B,L,D)
Today, we will drive over high mountains through passes. Northern Mongolia is considered as Taiga zone … We will visit Zuun nuur, a large lake which is located in high mountain. An interesting headland jutting into the lake ends with a stick ovoo (collected stone). Hike around the lake. Accommodation: Tourist Ger camp
Day 11: Visit Tsaatan People (250km – 5 hours)(B,L,D)
Drive to Duka people to visit teepee and see reindeers. Leisure time in the afternoon as you can ride horse following the shore of the lake. Overnight in tourist Ger camp.
Day 12: Visit Khovsgol Lake (B,L,D)
Crystal clear Khovsgol Lake /260km/ Today, we will arrive at Lake Khovsgol, which is the deepest fresh water lake in Central Asia. It is a huge 2750 square km Alpine lake (130km in length and 30 km in width) surrounded by mountain chains of more than 2000meters high, thick pine forests and lush meadow with grazing yaks and horses. More than 1000 small rivers and streams feed the lake with crystal- clear water. Water exists 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. Tourists call it the ‘Switzerland of Mongolia’. Accommodation: Tourist Ger camp
Day 13: Volcano Uran (420 km – 7.5 hours) (B,L,D)
Passing through Moron, we will continue the tour to volcano Uran. It is a dormant volcano and its surrounding is very beautiful. Accommodation: Tourist Ger camp
Day 14: Monastery Amarbayasgalant (250 km – 5 hours) (B,L,D)
Drive to a famous monastery Amarbayasgalant. After having lunch, we walk around the monastery, which is the second most important monastery in Mongolia after Erdene Zuu, and was built by Zanabazar in the 18th century. It was badly damaged during the religious purges of the 1930s, but restoration work has brought the monastery back to something like its former glory. The area around the monastery is justly famous for its beautiful wild flowers and is a lovely place to spend some time relaxing, hiking and camping. We will set up a base camp. Accommodation: Tourist Ger camp.
Day 15: Return to UB (360 km – 6 hours) (B, L)
We head back to Ulaanbaatar.
Once back in UB you will be transferred to your accommodation in Ulaanbaatar .
DEPARTURE FOR SMALL GROUP FOR 2017:
Dates for private tour & own created groups are flexible and able to customise.
CREATE YOUR OWN GROUP WITH FLEXIBLE DATE:
1750 USD per person based on 4 people
2054 USD per person based on 3 people
2560 USD per person based on 2 people
- 12 nights in tourist Ger camp /twin share/, 2 nights in extra nomad family’s Ger
- All ground transport in 4WD vehicles /Japanese jeep or mini-van with A/C/
- English speaking guide
- Camel and horse riding fee for an hour each
- Sightseeing, entrance fees and museum tickets
- Bottled water – 1 litre per day
- Meals as indicated in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
PRICE NOT INCLUDES:
- International airfares
- Visa application & fees
- Travel insurance (recommended)
- Personal expenses
- Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar-Travel Buddies can arrange all types of accommodation in Ulaanbaatar
- Meals/beverages not stated in itinerary
FORESEE THE COUNTRY
Mongolia is developing country with vast landscapes and road transportation projects are still on going but it has many opportunities to experience adventure travel. From doing outdoor activities, immersing nomad culture and local communities. Experiencing authentic Mongolia may require a spirit of adventure, flexibility, basic comfort of accommodation and facilities. Luxuries are only found around Ulaanbaatar. Travelling through the countryside can involve hours driving in a 4wd vehicle over the dusty and bumpy road; most roads are unpaved.Toilets during the drive over the vast steppe may not find but the rule of nature applies as you can toilet anywhere you feel alright.
Accommodations are clean and traditional. Mongolian traditional house (Yurt) called Ger is provided for the entire trip. Traditional dwelling; one room round tent made of a latticed wood structure covered with layers of felt and canvas, heated by a wood stove and furnished with wood-framed 1-4 beds. The camp restaurant and western-style toilet and shower facilities are located in a central building or big Ger found a few hundred feet from the Gers. We use fine tourist camps but not the best so if you require finest accommodation (e.x Ger with en-suite bathroom or) there is surcharge.
Traditional Nomadic homes: Overnight in nomad family’s extra Ger that built next to their’s. You will immerse in nomad lifestyle visiting and having closer insight of them. The toilet there is dry and shower is not available.
Single supplement assurance single accommodations in Gers. If single traveller wishes to share accommodations, no single supplement surcharge – only if you require your own Ger accommodation. Make sure to send us your request at least 30 days prior to the tour start.
Food during the tour can be found many varieties of a typical meat-based dish with vegetable and rice/pasta/noodle. Fortunately, vegetarian foods are available and can be requested. Some of the lunch meals are picnic. Bringing some snacks with you is recommended.
Road in Mongolia is tough and it requires excellent vehicles with experienced drivers. We ensure reliable and excellent vehicle including 4WD Land cruiser, Japanese mini-van and Russian van.
There are several flights per week to the capital, Ulan Bator (ULN), from Beijing, Seoul, Moscow and Turkey.
Visa is required for most travellers, and must be obtained in advance of entry. The only exception is US citizens, who can enter the country as a tourist for up to 90 days. It is your responsibility to organise a visa for Mongolia. Please contact us if you need a Mongolian visa support letter and further assistance.
TRAVEL INSURANCE IS RECOMMENDED
Insurance fee /expenses to cancel travel, health insurance/ is not included in travel payment. We hereby recommend you to involve in travel insurance by Insurance Authorities in host country and under conditions and terms proposed by them.
It is your responsibility to ensure your passport is valid for at least 6 months from the date of your return to your country, with at least 2 blank pages at the time of travel.
KNOW WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU
Bring your warm clothes, the weather in the evening and early morning is cold in the countryside though it is summer. Raincoat-August is only raining season in Mongolia. First aid kit, flashlight, insect repellent, cap, sunglasses, scarf, sun cream, lip balm, backpack and own towel. Definitely, your camera and its equipment.