A great Mongolian discovery tour awaits you in this comfy adventure. You'll start your trip in the lush Orkhon Valley, where you will experience Nomadic life during 2 days before going deeper towards South, where the track disappears to give place to a legendary spot : the Gobi Desert, and the arid majesty of its lunar landscapes, with its towering rocky formations, frozen canyon and sand dunes.
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.
Walk in the centre of Ulan-Bator. Discovery of Gengis Khan Square and the House of Parliament.
At 18 o' clock, Mongolian traditional show at Tumen Ekh: folkloric dances, contortion, and of course khoomi, the overtone singing.
Visit of Gandantegchinlen Monastery. In the morning, lamas get together to pray. They will answer your questions at the Mongolian Buddhist Centre.
Journey to Khustai Reserve that houses the Przewalski horses (takh). Twilight is the best moment to observe them. We'll walk until the river where they drink, and observe them with no fear to bother.
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".
Walk 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Those who wish will go pony trekking along Orkhon Valley, from the camp until Orkhon waterfalls.
For the others, it will be possible to go to the falls by making a 6 km walk, or with the vehicle.
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.
At the end of the day, you will attend the preparation of a Mongolian barbecue which you will enjoy with your hosts.
Let's discover this site, best known as Ong lamasery, and the museum. In 1937, the Soviets almost completely destroyed the homes and monasteries where one thousand lamas were living. In 2002, some lamas came back and began to rebuild the monastery, with few resources but much enthusiasm.
Day of transition between two ecosystems. We leave the green mountains of Khangai to go towards Gobi. We drive across the green steppe and reach Arvaikheer, the capital of province, where we stop to get fresh supplies at the local market.
We arrive in the sum of Saikhan Ovoo. West Saikhan Ovoo, some mountains located along the Ongii River, are the perfect place to rest between Northwest of Mongolia and Gobi Desert. In the bends of the river, we can see the ruins of two monasteries, Barlim Monastery on the Northern bank, Khutagt Monastery on the Southern bank.
Visit of the cliffs of Bayanzag, today are 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.
Last day of track before reaching Great Gobi and its "Three Beauties", the three highest peaks of this part of the Gobi-Altai range : Baruun Saïhan, "the Western Beauty" ; Dund Saïhan, "the Middle Beauty" ; Züün Saïhan, "the Eastern Beauty", the highest (2846 metres, 1,77 miles).
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 highest 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. Camelback hiking 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 of 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.
We ride towards the west of the park to reach Khongor sand dunes, "light bay sand". These dunes extend at the foot of the "Three Beauties".
Journey on the track towards the 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.
Hiking in the canyon of Yol, the bearded vultures canyon. We will walk in the bottom of the canyon that is covered with perpetual snow. The canyon is so steep-sided, that sunrays make the ice melt only in August. The rest of the year there's ice everywhere in the canyon.
We travel in one of the emptiest areas of Mongolia. Between rock desert and semi-arid steppes, we reach the white stupa, Tsagaan Suvarga. For centuries, this 30-metres (98,43 feet) high, abrupt, stupa-shaped mountain, is honoured by the Mongolians. The traveller will be surprised by the sumptuous lunar landscapes that evoke the end of the world, and by the many fossils. This area was totally covered by the sea a few million years ago.
Breakfast: Camp - Khan Bogd
Visit of Mountains Baga Gazriin Chuluu, where we'll observe stunning granite rocky formations eroded by the violent elements of this area. In the 19th century, two respected lamas lived here, and we still can see their inscriptions in the rock. According to the legend, Genghis Khan too is supposed to have lived in this wonderful area where it's pleasant to walk.
Back to Ulan-Bator. Last herds of wild horses crossing the road outside our dumbfounded eyes, last yurts smoking far away, the steppe will be with us until the last moment.
Arrival in town and settling in at 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.
Breakfast at the hotel. We go with you to the international airport of Ulan Bator. The transfer can be organized at the time you want, according to the schedule of your flight.