This tour perfectly combines the different ways of transport, which allow you to discover all the beauties of Mongolia without losing too much time with the jeep. With its three domestic flights, it offers you more time to get closer to Mongolians, to horse ride and hike. This is a travel for anyone who is not a skilled horseman/woman, but anyway wants to discover the Mongolian lands horse riding ! Be demanding... don't sacrifice anything !
Day 1Arrival in Ulan Bator and visit of the city
Arrival at the airport, meeting with our driver. Transfer to your hotel, settling in, and rest.
Appointment at 12 o'clock at your hotel with your guide. He will take you in the restaurant of your choice.
Let's immerse ourselves in the heart of the Mongolian history, in the wonderful National History Museum. Three floors of a rich, glorious, violent and noble past, from prehistory to Soviet period, including the creation of the great Mongolian Empire by Genghis Khan.
At 18 o' clock, Mongolian traditional show at Tumen Ekh: folkloric dances, contortion, and of course khoomi, the overtone singing.
Day 2 - 4Horse riding on the banks of Lake Khovsgol
Ulan Bator - Moron
Flight to Mörön, the capital of the province of Khövsgöl, where our driver is waiting for us.
We arrive at Lake Khövsgöl, one of the natural wonders of the world. This mountain covers an area of 2760 square kilometres, and its water is so pure that we can drink it ! It's surrounded with many peaks culminating at more than 2000 metres and covered with forests of pines and lush meadows where yaks and horses graze !
We go towards East and the green small valleys of Alag Sar, and spend the night in a small yurts camp.
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Let's start a beautiful story... With local breeders and their yaks, we leave for our 2-days hike or pony-trek in the tree-filled valleys of Alag Tsar. Following the peaceful tempo of the cart, we discover this land of nomadism. In the heart of summer, the area is flowered and we will move literally on a carpet of edelweiss, while at West, we will see on the opposite bank the peaks culminating at 3000 metres that bathe in the crystal water of the lake.
In the evening, with the breeders, we will put up the yurt that we carried, in which we will spend the night.
Day 5Northern wild steppes
Moron - Shine Ider
Journey towards centre : the track goes through many passes and sinks into lost valleys where landscapes quickly change. Altitude exceeds 2000 metres (1,24 mile) at the passes.
Landscapes are more and more beautiful and there are more and more photo opportunities.
Day 6 - 7The great white lake of Arkhangai
Road to Khorgo – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur Natural Park that is located 2060 metres (1,28 mile) above the sea level. This lake, called "the great white lake", and its whole volcanic surroundings, are the emblematic area of the province of Arkhangai. The waters of the lake are full of fish and it's possible to fish if you wish.
With our host, we go horse riding along the banks of the lake. We go towards Southeast where Khorgo Volcano reaches its highest point at 2240 metres (1,39 mile). (Easy) ascent of the volcano. From the top, we enjoy a splendid view on the lake and the surrounding hills. Nearby the volcano, stunning lava flows form an original landscape never seen up to now.
Day 8Hot baths in Tsenkher hot springs
Tsetserleg - Tsenkher hot springs
Arrival at Tsenkher hot springs, where you can lounge in the hot springs of the camp.
Day 9 - 10Pony trek in Khangai
Tsenkher hot springs - Tovkhon monastery
We leave Tsenkher hot springs and start a 3-day pony trek across the upper Khangai range.
We start our ride crossing the lower Khangai. We leave early in the morning in order to reach the Tsetserleg River for lunch. We ride along a valley before going down towards Tsetserleg, where we have a long lunch on the banks of the river. In Summer, it's possible to swim. After relaxing, there's one hour ride left to go back up the river. We set up our camp on its banks.
Ride along a valley where many breeders have set up their camp. We arrive at the foot of Ondor Shireet Hill. We have lunch near the winter camps of the nomads and observe in the neighbourings some petroglyphs dating back from Bronze Age.
Visit of Tovkhon Monastery. Vehicles can't go until the top of Öndör Ulaan Hill and we will walk until there to discover Tovkhon Ermitage, where Zanabazar, the first religious leader of Mongolia, created the Soyombo alphabet. The monastery is located 2312 metres (1,44 mile) above the sea level and from that place we'll have a wonderful view on the whole Khangai range. We'll picnic in exceptional surroundings, facing Orkhon Valley.
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Day 11 - 13Equestrian stay among nomads
Tovkhon monastery - Orkhon valley
We ride across a rolling path before reaching the Orkhon River and its canyons. We cross the river when we arrive at the place called Ongotstoin Guur, then reach Orkhon Valley and its hundreds of herds and yurts.
We ride on a path scattered with volcanic stones because the valley is located in an old area of volcanos.
Visit of Ulan Tsutgalaan falls, white flood flowing on the black stone, transformed in rainbow by a short sunray... These 16-metres (52,49 feet) falls are just magic ! They were formed 20.000 years ago, as a result of a unique combination of earthquakes and volcano eruptions.
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Stay among breeders in the valley. During your stay, you will discover their way of life and you will be proposed many activities, such as milking, making traditional dairy products, or rounding up the animals with a horse.
You will also attend the preparation of a Mongolian barbecue that you will enjoy with yours hosts.
Day 14Former capital and Mini-Gobi
Orkhon valley - Kharkhorin
Journey to Kharkhorin, the former capital of Mongolia. The legendary city of Genghis Khan was founded in 1220 and was one of the stages of the silk road. The Mongolian Empire was governed from this city, until Kubilai Khan set up the capital in Beijing. Today, there are only a few vestiges left of the former capital.
Visit of Erdene Zuu Monastery, built in 1586 by a nomad prince. The Chinese and Tibetan-inspired buildings are surrounded with 108 sacred stupas. Visit of the Museum of Kharkhorin.
We arrive at the splendid rocky formations of Khogno Khan. Discovery of the park : semidesert steppes, taiga, stunning rocky formations, 80-kilometre (49,71 miles) long sand dunes, are characteristic of this arid area nicknamed "Mini-Gobi".
Day 15Discovering Przewalski's horses
Khogno Khan - Khustai national park
Pony trek until Erdene Khambiin Monastery. "Monk Erdene's Monastery" dates from 17th century and was built in the mountain. Zanabazar built it in honour of his teacher, monk Erdene.
Day 16Flight to Gobi and the Three Beauties
Ulan Bator - Dalanzadgad
We go to Ulan Bator airport in order to flight to Gobi and the , the three highest summits of this part of Gobi-Altai : Baruun Saïhan, "the East Beauty" ; Dund Saïhan, "the Middle Beauty" ; Züün Saïhan, "the West Beauty", the highest (2815 mètres, 1,75 mile).
Visit of the cliffs of Bayanzag, today best known as "flaming cliffs", owing to their ochre red colour, where is located the "cemetery of dragons". The cliffs and the saxaul forests that surround them are the evidence of the time when Earth was still inhabited by huge creatures : dinosaurs. Palaeontologist Roy Andrews Chapman was the first man to discover in 1922 some bones and eggs of dinosaurs that we can see today in the Natural History Museum of Ulan Bator and in other museums in the world.
Day 17 - 18Discovering Khongor sand dunes
Bayanzag - Khongor sand dunes
We ride towards west of the park to reach Khongor sand dunes, "light bay sand". These dunes extend at the foot of the "Three Beauties".
Visit of the dunes of Khongor. These dunes are the most spectacular ones of Mongolia, they extend on more than 180 kilometres (111,85 miles) long and 20 kilometres (12,43 miles) wide, and have an average height of 80 metres (262,47 feet), the hightest one being 120 metres (393,70 feet) high. From the top, the view on the desert is quite amazing. From this place, it's also possible to hear the moving masses of sand, hence the name of "singing dunes". Beyond the dunes, the steppe extends for as far as the eye can see.
Camelback hike in the Gobi Desert__ is an unforgettable experience. The nonchalant animal will take us with its peaceful gait along the dunes and the Khongor River, "light bay", that flows alternately on the surface and under the ground. We'll go until a small oasis at the foot of the dunes, where some bushes grow, such as saxaul. Camels are very fond of saxaul and Mongolians think it's the most precious wood.
We will walk until the top of a dune and will have a wonderful view on the desert. Far away, we will see the peaks of the Three Beautiful and, if we listen carefully, we might hear the song of the dunes.
Day 19Hiking in canyons
Khongor sand dunes - Dungenee canyon
Journey on the track towards east of "the Three Beauties" to reach the area of canyons.
Stop at Dungenee Canyon. We leave the vehicle to start our first magic hike along the river that flows between huge canyons.
Dungenee canyon - Yoliin am canyon
Day 20Return flight to Ulan Bator
Yoliin am canyon - Dalanzadgad
30-kilometres (18,64 miles) journey until Dalanzadgad, the capital of the province, where we'll embark for our return flight to Ulan Bator.
Arrival in town and transfer to your hotel where you can rest a few moments.
Visit of Gandantegchinlen Monastery. In the morning, lamas get together to pray. They will answer your questions at the Mongolian Buddhist Centre.
Rest of the day free. With our guide, you can go and shop in the centre of the city.