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.
Visit of Gandantegchinlen Monastery. In the morning, lamas get together to pray. They will answer your questions at the Mongolian Buddhist Centre.
We take the road towards Amarbayasgalant Monastery. It's the most important monastery of Mongolia, it was built in the 18th century in the memory of the first Bogd Gegeen Zanabazar who was at the head of the Mongolian religion. Located North of the province of Selenge, the monastery enjoys exceptional surroundings.
In the morning, we visit the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. This remarkable building stands proudly with its 300 years of history and shows a great architectural unity. The general style is Chinese, with Mongolian and Tibetan influences. The general plan is symmetrical with the main buildings following each other along a north-south axis; the secondary buildings are located on parallel side axes.
Today, you can admire 28 buildings including a two-story temple with a surface area of 32 m². It is currently open for worship.
We cut across wheat fields and large cultures and reach Erdenet. It's one of the most important economic centres of the country. It has one of the largest open-air mines of the world (copper mine).
Road to the natural park of volcanoes Uran Togoo National Park. Uran Uul is the most beautiful and the most famous volcano of Mongolia. It was active 20 to 25 million years ago. There is an abundant and exceptional fauna and flora. Indeed, the lava having flowed here several thousands of years ago, left place to a very fertile environment.
Hiking on the sleeping giant Uraan Uul, to enjoy the view on the volcanic area.
Let's hike on a very beautiful path through the woods, mostly made of Siberian larches before reaching the crater. There, numerous insects, species of birds and trees are visible. The inside of the crater itself is covered by a thick vegetation and a small lake at its center.
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.
Accompanied by local herders, and their yaks we leave for one day of hiking or horseback riding, in the treed 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.
Visit of the site containing several deer stones at Uushigiin Övör.
Stop in Mörön to buy fresh supplies at the market.
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.
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.
We will spend 2 nights at a lovely ger camp, on the banks of the Terkhiin Tsagaan lake.
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.
Arrival at Tsenkher hot springs, where you can lounge in the hot springs of the camp.
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 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.
We arrive at a family of nomadic herders with whom we stay 2 nights. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
We wake up early today to hike on the Khavtsgait mountain. After some time on the jeep, we will start our trek. The ascent is quite sportive, but will provide a truly amazing view over the desert. From there it is possible to see numerous petroglyphs representing wild mountain sheep, horses, camels and men in the process of hunting.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.