Go dinosaur trekking at the Flaming Cliffs and follow in the footsteps of Indiana Jones in the Gobi desert. Visit the ruins of Kharhorin, the ancient capital of the Mongol World Empire and the famous monastery Erdene Zuu. Bathe in hot springs surrounded by thousands of wildflowers and climb a volcano travelling through the center. Jump in the crystal clear blue pearl of the North or Dalai Eej, the ocean mother and hike in the forested mountains at Hovsgol Lake National Parc. An all in one package to not miss out on!
Day 1 National History Museum - Bogd Khan palace museum Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, meeting with guide and transfer to our hotel. Rest and after lunch visit to the National History Museum, across the parliament in the center of town. Visit to the Bogd Khan palace museum in the south of town with a rich collection of artefacts from the political and religious history of the Mongols from de 17th till the 20th century. The winterpalace in Russian European style and the summer palace with temples and pagodas can be visited.
Day 2 Tsagaan Suvraga rock formation Drive from South Gobi to Tsagaan Suvraga or white stupa, a name given by the locals. The 400 meter wide sandstone cliff with forms created by 10 million years of erosion. The colourful layers talk about the history of this place, that started on the bottom of an ancient sea at the time of the dinosaurs. Stay in tent where we are witness of a stunning sunrise on the white pinkish cliffs.
Day 3 Dalanzadgad town Drive in the direction of the biggest town and provincial center of the South Gobi, Dalanzadgad. Rest in hotel and visit to town.
Day 4 Yolyn Am – Khongoryn Els dunes Westward bound to Yolyn am valley, a paradise for nature lovers and part of the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Parc, the parc of the 3 beauties. The bearded vulture or yol, gave its’ name to this 2500 meter deep, small canyon with overhanging rocks and cliffs, created by water erosion. Even when the sun shines abundant, the darkness in Yol Canyon keeps part the river covered with ice the whole year round. After lunch we drive direction West to Khongoryn Els, soft undulating sand dunes around 180 km long and 27 km wide, that seem to sing in de wind. Stay in ger camp and camel ride or climb to the top of the dunes.
Day 5 Bayanzag red cliffs Eastward bound direction Bayanzag to the famous Flaming Cliffs, red sandstone cliffs created by millions of years of erosion. Did you know that the popular movies of Indiana Jones were based on Roy Chapman Andrews, who led an American expedition that discovered and deported loads of fossils of dinosaurs and their eggs. Stay in ger camp and enjoy a spectacular sunset over the flaming red cliffs.
Day 6 Ongi monastery We drive towards the North to Ongi monastery, a big buddhist temple that got demolished during the Russian occupation. The monastery is situated next to the Ongi stream, one of the few rivers in the Gobi. Stay in ger camp.
Day 7 Orhon waterfall Drive towards the North via the community of Bat- Ulzii and entering the historically important Orhon valley, once the centre of the Mongolian world empire and acknowledged as cultural landscape by Unesco with remains of occupation since the Paleolithic. We camp in de neighborhood of the Orhon waterfall, that falls 27 meter down in the Orhon, de longest river of the country.
Day 8 Tuvkhun monastery Today we visit Tuvkhun khiid, a mysteriously hidden monastery on the top of a closely forested mountain in the Khangai mountain range. It is only reachable by horse or on foot. From the different temples, the most known to pilgrims, is the cleaning mother cave. Entering this cave would erase this life’s mistakes in a next incarnation. The sanctuary was established in the 17th century by Zanbazar, the first bouddhist leader of the country and famous sculptor and maker of thangka paintings. After lunch we ride further to Kharhorin, with its rich history.
Day 9 Erdene Zuu monastery – Tsenkher hot springs Visit to Erdene Zuu Khiid, the first bouddhist monastery in Mongolia, built on the ruines of the capital of the Mongolian empire, named Kharkhorin. It was destroyed by war and the communist purge. Today 3 temples are surrounded by 108 white stupas. After lunch we drive further to Tsenkher hot springs, situated at the northside of the Khangai mountains, between lush forested hills and carpets of wildflowers. The province of Arkhangai has many old vulcanoes that explains the existence of this hot water source of 86 degrees Celsius, that runs the whole year at the height of 1860 meter. Around the area you can bathe in the spa resorts. The purifying mineral sources are used to treat arthritis. Stay in ger camp met entry to the spa.
Day 10 Chuluut canyon – Tsagaan Nuur NP Drive west via Tsetserleg city and drive over the 20 meters deep Chuluut Canyon until Tsagaan Nuur, the white lake. Possibility for bathing in the lake and stay in ger camp.
Day 11 Khorgo volcanoe – Zuun lake Morning climb on the Khorgo, a 200 meter high extinguished volcano east of the White Lake. A short 15 minutes hike up, offers a panoramic view over the crater and surrounding lava fields. Part of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Parc, a region full of old volcanoes and caves, with a rich fauna and flora. Drive to the North into Hovsgol Province, the Switzerland of the North. Overnight stay in Zuun Nuur ger camp next to the lake.
Day 12 Harganat River Lodge Ider River drive towards Harganat River Lodge, 23 km west of Murun, provincial center of Hovsgol province.
Day 13 Harganat river Lodge - Uushigiin uver Deerstone site Wake up to the roaring sound of horses galloping, the sound of the steppe! From the high terrace on the sandbank you have a panoramic view in all directions under a clear blue sky. Watch thousands of animals passing the river to quench their thirst. Our lodge offers a list of activities according to your liking. Relax in the wellness dome with sauna and outside pool. Initiation into Mongolian horse riding, bow shooting or fly fishing. Biking on earth roads scented by wildflowers of the steppe, walking past bronze age graves towards the Holy Mountains with its beautiful granite rock formations and rich wildlife. Discover the river valley carpeted with white edelweiss flowers, the rare symbol of the Alpine meadows grows here abundant. Visit to the famous Uushigiin Uver Deer Stones site at 10 km of Harganat River Lodge, 14 upstanding granite stones and graves from the Bronze Age. They could represent deer bringing the souls to heaven. The ocre colours are still visible after thousands of years of erosion by the weather elements. The first of the megaliths has a fine sculpted face. After an intense sunset with a drink in the hand a relaxing rest in a modern Mongolian ger under a millions of stars.
Day 14 Munkh Khaan – Chingunjav memorial – Hovsgol Lake – Ashihai Resort After breakfast we visit de ruines of the Munkh Khaan palace, situated between high steppe grasses at the shores of the Delger Murun river. The grandson of Chinggis Khaan ruled in the high days of the Mongolian empire. One finds here terracotta remains from the 13th century. Further North direction memory shrine of Chingunjav. This Mongolian freedom fighter fought against the Chinese occupation and for independence of his country. He was assassinated but some Mongolians could take a part of his body home and dedicate this memorial to him on a 3 region point. With a wide view over the lower steppes, one can feel the power of one man who went all the way to make his dream of a free Mongolia come true.
Day 15 Hovsgol Lake National Parc – Harganat River Lodge Arrival Hovsgol Lake National Parc and stay in Ashihai Resort. Possibility to swim, relax at the shores of the crystal clear lake, taking a boat ride or hike in the green taiga forest full of alpine wildflowers. By the Mongols called, Dalai eej or ocean mother, the lake is one of the oldest lakes in the world, more then 2 million years old and the most important water reserve of Mongolia. It contains 2% of the sweet water reserve of the world. Connected by the Selenge river, the Russian Baikal lake and Hovsgol lake form the biggest sweet water lakes of Asia. The lake would be around 270 meter deep. Exact measurements are difficult because of the extreme cold and darkness. Still one can take a refreshing dive in high summer and feel totally beamed up. Khovsgol lake is on the west side surrounded by the beautiful Khoridal Saridag mountain and Bayan mountain range. Northside of the lake lies close to the Russian border, with its Tuva and Buriat minorities. Some Tsaatan rendeer herders sell handmade souvenirs in leather, stone or wool to tourists, south of the lake.
Day 16 Ulaanbaatar Inland flight Murun- Ulaanbaatar. After evening diner one can opt for a traditional concert of Mongolian dancers and contorsionist acrobats. Enjoy the music with Mongolian throat singers and long song singing with morin khuur, the famous horse headed violin.
Day 17 Ulaanbaatar Low winter temperatures give as result a high quality of wool of animals like camel, yak, goat and sheep. The Mongolian cashmere is seen as the best in the world. In the center of the capital you find a lot shops offering luxury garments. The ger or nomad tent, the traditional home of the Mongols, consists of a lattice with a warm felt layer of sheep wool on top. Today a whole range of felt objects is sold as souvenir to tourists.
Day 18 Ulaanbaatar Airport shuttle and flight home after a perspective changing once in a lifetime journey… Included Domestic flight Overnight stay in ger camps, hotels and tent Breakfast, lunch and dinner Driver with guide and transport Income national parcs and museums we visit