This great crossing of Mongolia will offer you a thrilling experience. After seeing the essentials of the centre of the country, you will go deeper out of the beaten tracks to the West of the country. Snow-covered peaks, high dunes, glaciers, wait for you for this exceptional adventure that will show you a nice panorama of our Mongolia.
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 to 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 2Let's go to Mini-Gobi !
Ulan Bator - Khogno Khan
Visit of Gandantegchinlen Monastery. In the morning, lamas get together to pray. They will answer your questions at the Mongolian Buddhist Centre.
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".
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.
Visit of the sand dunes of Elsen Tasarkhai.
Day 3 - 4Among nomads in Orkhon Valley
Khogno Khan - 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.
Kharkhorin - Orkhon valley
Journey to Orkhon Valley. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the valley is a land of nomadism and many breeders set their summer camp there.
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 at herders' from 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 5Hot bath in Tsenkher hot springs
Orkhon valley - Tovkhon monastery
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 of the whole Khangai range. We'll picnic in exceptional surroundings, facing Orkhon Valley.
Tovkhon monastery - Tsenkher hot springs
Arrival at Tsenkher hot springs, where you can lounge in the hot springs of the camp.
Day 6 - 7By the great white lake of Mongolia
Tsetserleg - Terkhiin Tsagaan national park
Road to Khorgo – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur Natural Park that is located 2060 metres (1,28 mile) above 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.
Hiking 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 of the lake and the surrounding hills. Nearby the volcano, stunning lava flows form an original landscape never seen up to now.
Day 8Deeper in the wild Mongolia
Terkhiin Tsagaan national park - Ider river
We take the road towards West and the province of Zavkhan. On the way, we drive along the Solongotiin Hills. Lunch in a local restaurant in Tosontsengel. The atmosphere of the cities in the Mongolian West makes inevitably think of the remote cities of American Far West. We set up our camp in a small corner of paradise between heaven and earth, by the Ider River.
Day 9Uliastai, in the heart of Zavkhan
Ider river - Uliastai
We drive along the Khangai Mounts that surround the track at East, pass by the Zagastain Hills before reaching Uliastai, the capital of the province of Zavkhan ; we buy fresh supplies at the local market.
Day 10Otgontenger National Park
Uliastai - Otgontenger mountain
Visit of Otgontenger National Park : waterfalls and Lake Badagakhundaga.
Day 11Hiking in the park
Otgontenger mountain - Tsagaankhairkhan
Hiking until the artificial waterfalls located on the Bodg River, or free time to enjoy this bucolic nature.
Road to Tsagaankhairkhan, in the province of Zavkhan. We set up our camp at the confluence of the Shiree and Tomort Rivers.
Day 12The highest dunes of Mongolia
Tsagaankhairkhan - Mongol els sand dunes
Journey until the highest dunes of Mongolia, Mongol Els, that extend from the province of Zavkahn in North Gobi-Altai, until the area of Khovd in extreme West.
Walking in the dunes. Our steps shatter the crest of the dunes, which entails small slide of fine sand. The flowing of the sand grains make a grave and surprising sound, which inspired the name of “singing dunes”. From the top, Mongol Els Dunes present a remarkable view on Lake Ereen Nuur, a rather marshy stretch of water near whose it can be dangerous to go.
Day 13A day in the desert, until Lake Dorgon
Mongol els sand dunes - Dorgon lake
Journey to Lake Dörgön, in the great lakes depression and at the border of the provinces of Gobi-Altai, Zavkhan, and Khovd.
Day 14Meeting a khoomei singer
Dorgon lake - Chandmani
Stop in the village of Chandmani. Many singers of khoomei (traditional overtone singing in this area of Mongolia) live in the village. We meet a singer who will sing for us.
Chandmani - Mankhan
We arrive in the sum of Mankhan, that houses the caves of Tsenkher.
Day 15Arrival in Khovd, in the extreme West of the country
Khar-us lake - Khovd
Arrival in Khovd. In the old days, this city was located in the Northern part of the silk road, it was an important commercial centre and had forged links with Russia and China. In 1763, the Manchu administration made built the fortress of Sagjin Cherem. The city was extended on four hectares and it was surrounded by 2-metres high, 2-metres wide walls. Today the province of Khovd houses 18 Mongolian ethnic groups.
Day 16 - 18Hiking in the Tsambagarav Mounts
Khovd - Tsambagarav mounts
We drive until Tavan Belchir Mount, whose name means "the five pastures". The mount is located North from Tsambagarav mounts, whose snow-covered peaks culminate at 4195 metres (2,61 miles) above the sea level. Many minorities live in this area, such as Uriankhai and Kazakhs.
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From Tavan Belchir, we leave for 2-day hiking in the valleys of the Tsambagarav National Park. Visit of the Kazakh and Uriankhai nomad families (Mongolian ethnic groups living in West). Meeting witg a Kazakh falconer who will show you his eagle. From Northeast Mounts Tsambagarav, we walk closer to the snow-covered summits. View on the glacier.
Day 19Olgii, Kazakh heart
Tsambagarav mounts - Olgii
Stop on the banks of Lake Tolbo.
We arrive in the capital of Bayan-Ölgii province that is located in the most Western part of Mongolia and that is the farthest city from any ocean in the world. Olgii is located at 1636 km (1,02 mile) from Ulan-Bator, at 1710 metres (1,06 mile) above the sea level. Principally Kazakhs live there and its atmosphere is very influenced by Central Asia: many signs written in Arabic, mosques and their cupolas pricked up to the sky.
Visit of Olgii Museum that shows an exhibition about the fauna and flora of the area. We discover the Kazakh culture, notably with traditional costumes and with a Kazakh yurt built in the museum.
Day 20Return flight to Ulan Bator
Olgii - Ulan Bator
Transfer to airport and return flight to Ulan Bator.
Arrival in town and transfer to your hotel where you can rest a few moments.
Rest of the day free. With our guide, you can go shopping in the centre of the city.