Days
11
Price from
$5,345AUD

See the sweeping deserts, hot springs and national parks of Mongolia

The colourful history of Central Asia hangs brightly on Mongolia’s sleeve, from ancient times through to the rise and fall of communism. Alongside the temples and museums is a surfeit of natural wonders – like the singing sands of Khongoryn Els – that must be seen (or heard) to be believed. From the pulsing streets of Ulaanbaatar to the tranquil expanses of the Orkhon Valley, discover Mongolia’s heart and soul on this exciting journey.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016:
Please note there is a change in itinerary to the 10th July PCMG departure (PCMG160710). Due to Mongolia hosting the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, there will be no domestic flights in and out of Ulaanbaatar from the 14th -18th July 2016. This departure instead of flying from Dalanzadgad (Gobi Desert) to Ulaanbaatar on the 15th July will now travel by private van onto Ongiin Monastery (approx. 5 hours) and not return to Ulaanbaatar now until Day 9 of the itinerary. Instead we will enjoy a night at the Secrets of Ongi Ger Camp for the evening of Day 6 and visit Khustai National Park on Day 9 instead previously on Day 6.

TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017:
From 1st January 2017 this trip will increase by 3 days to become a 14 day itinerary. These changes come as a result of traveller feedback and will allow us to travel at a more relaxed pace and include additional days in Khongoryn Els and Tsenkher Hot Springs. To cover the cost of the extra days, a surcharge to the current advertised price is likely to apply to this trip when the full itinerary is launched in the coming months. The new itinerary is outlined below:

1 Ulaanbaatar
2 Flight Ulaanbaatar - Dalanzadgad
3 Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes
4 Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes
5 Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
6 Flight Dalanzadgad - Ulaanbaatar
7 Ulaanbaatar
8 Khustain National Park
9 Karakorum
10 Tsenkher Hot Springs
11 Tsenkher Hot Springs
12 Orkhon Valley
13 Ulaanbaatar
14 Depart


Start
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Finish
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Country
Mongolia
Style
Peregrine
Code
PCMG
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
5 reviews
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Travel across the vast expanses of the Gobi Desert and see its 'Flaming Cliffs'

  • Discover Mongolia's rich cultural heritage, from the country’s original Buddhist temple to the city built by Genghis Khan

  • Climb to the top of the giant sweeping sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, and experience the natural phenomenon of the ‘singing dunes’

  • Search out the wildlife that calls Mongolia home – the Eurasian badgers, Mongolian gazelles and Takhi horses of Khustai National Park

  • Witness life in provincial Mongolia at the village of Tsetserleg, which lies on the northeastern slopes of the Khangai Mountains

  • Enjoy time to relax in the second-warmest hot springs in the Mongolia after travelling across this epic country

Is this trip right for you?

  • One of the greatest things about Mongolia is that it is virtually untouched by human development – this makes travelling hard though, and there are long travelling days on this itinerary.

  • Experience staying in traditional Mongolian Gers on this trip, but please be aware that this is on a twin-share basis, and the camps have shared bathroom facilities.

  • This is a trip into traditional Mongolia, and much time will be spent in remote places, interacting with locals.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Sainbainuu! Welcome to Mongolia. You can arrive at any time today, as there are no activities planned until an important Welcome Meeting at 6pm, where details will be collected and you’ll meet your group and leader. Crammed between the superpowers of Russia and China, the independent nation of Mongolia is a true Peregrine destination. The capital, Ulaanbaatar (affectionately known as UB), is a city where you’ll find elderly Mongolians in traditional dress, business suit-clad entrepreneurs and young monks. Until the meeting tonight maybe venture out into the city, where the close relationship with the USSR is evident in the Soviet style architecture. Perhaps explore one of the city's many museums to learn about the country's turbulent history, including the reign of the most famous of Mongolian historical figures – the feared and respected Genghis Khan. One of the most fascinating is the Intellectual Museum, where you can learn about the history and culture of this intriguing country through puzzles, toys and magic tricks. After our group meeting tonight, you have the option to join your fellow travellers for a dinner at a local restaurant chosen by your leader.

Notes: Since the trip spends a small amount of time in Ulaanbaatar at the beginning and end of the trip, perhaps arrive a few days early to fully explore. You could visit the Museum of Natural History with its excellent dinosaur display, the Fine Arts Museum with its impressive selection of local art and traditional works, or the Winter Palace Museum of Bogd Khan, which is stocked full of fascinating artefacts.
Accommodation
  • Continental Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Dinner
After an early breakfast, you will take a flight south to the Gobi Desert (approximately 90 minutes). You will land in Dalanzadgad, the provincial centre and a corner of civilization in the heart of the desert. Here you’ll be welcomed by your local drivers, who will be with the group for the next few days. Japanese minivans will be your transportation for the duration of the trip. Begin your desert exploration by heading out to “Vulture Canyon” (approximately 1 hour). This is a striking oasis of canyons and gorges deep in the desert, where the high cliff walls create a microclimate that attracts wildlife from all over Mongolia. The canyon is lined with ice almost year-round, and you’ll take an afternoon hike to explore a gorge and capture some beautiful pictures of the stunning Gobi Gurvan Saikhan Valleys. This evening you’ll spend the night in the national park at a Ger camp, surrounded by endless desert.

Notes: The Gobi Mirage Camp has 24-hour wind and solar powered electricity, western style toilet/bathrooms, and soft bedding. Please bear in mind that not all Ger Camps on the journey will be of this standard, and some locations will not have western toilets/facilities. You are not required to bring a sleeping bag, and all Ger Camps will have additional blankets available. Ger Camps are on a shared basis, so you will be required to share Ger tents with members of your group.
Accommodation
  • Gobi Mirage Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vulture Canyon
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will drive to the giant sand dunes known as El Khongoryn, Mongolia's largest and called the ‘singing sands’ by the locals (approximately 4 hours). These monster dunes stretch for over 100km and can reach up to 300 meters in height. This is the quintessential landscape that one would picture if asked to imagine a desert. Sweeping, wave-like patterns of sand framed by a bright blue sky and lit by a relentless sun. The dunes’ nickname comes from the sound produced by small avalanches of sand on a windy day, and the noise has been likened the distant hum of an aircraft propeller. After you arrive you’ll check into your Ger Camp and enjoy a local lunch in the new surrounds. In the afternoon there’s time to explore the dunes, where you can try your hand at sand dune hiking and board a two humped camel for a traditional ride along these iconic singing sand dunes.
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khongoryn Sand Dunes
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue through the desert today onto the Flaming Red Cliffs, also known as Bayanzag or sometimes Bain-Dzak (approximately 4 hours). The area is best known for being the first ever site where dinosaur egg nests were discovered, back in the 1920s by a palaeontologist who also coined the fiery nickname. This section of the Gobi Desert is considered a palaeontologist’s paradise. Here you will walk the labyrinths of rock and hard sand – don’t be surprised if you make your own dinosaur discovery. There are fossils practically sticking out of the cliffs, as there aren’t the local resources to excavate them all. Bayanzag means ‘rich in saxauls’ (a type of shrub or small tree), and you might visit a saxaul forest nearby. These saxaul plants help to stabilize the active sand dunes and reduce the effects of sand storms. When the sun begins to set the colours of the cliffs can transform into a stunning mass of glowing fire, hence the label. Continue on to your local Ger Camp for dinner and your overnight stay.
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bayanzag/Flaming Red Cliffs
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast you’ll return to Dalanzadgad (approximately 1.5 hours) and then take a 90-minute flight back to Ulaanbaatar. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. Take some time to explore the city, perhaps watch a traditional contortion performance or visit Mongolia’s largest and most important active monastery, the lively Gandan Khiid, to learn about the main religion of Mongolia – Tibetan Buddhism. Remember to do your shopping today, as there is very little time for that at the end of our trip, and stock up on any supplies you might need for the rest of the journey. You’ll spend the night in comfortable hotel here in UB.
Accommodation
  • Continental Hotel or similar (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Drive to Khustai National Park (approximately 3 hours) today and arrive at your Ger camp by midday. The park is a typical example of the Mongolian steppe landscape – vast empty spaces and dramatic mountains in the distance – and the Tuul River, one of Mongolia’s largest, runs through it. The park is also home to the Przewalski (Takhi) horse, a rare and endangered subspecies of the wild horse native to Mongolia. The country has a love-affair with the horse – Mongolians are the best riders in the world and have more than 500 words to describes horses’ coats – and the park is the home of a highly successful horse reintroduction project. The takhi species was extinct in the wild in the 1960s, but has returned to its native habitat since the 1990s. Here you’ll visit a small museum run by the Takhi horse reintroduction project. In the afternoon, embark on a wildlife hike in the national park with a local biologist, who'll introduce you to his work and inform you about the park and its flora and fauna. Tonight you’ll stay overnight in a Ger Camp.
Accommodation
  • Khustai National Park Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Khustai National Park Hike
  • Takhi Horse Reintroduction Project Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Drive to the centre of the country and the ancient capital of Karakorum (approximately 4 hours), built by the famous Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Be sure to ask your leader and drivers to tell you some stories about this legendary figure on the way – he’s the nations' hero after all. The city was the capital of the Mongol Empire for a short time 800 years ago, built after Khan used the area to gather his troops for the invasion of China. In Karakorum you’ll visit the first Buddhist centre of Mongolia, the impressive Erdene Zuu Monastery, dating from 1585. This is an immense walled compound which retains much of its former glory. Inside you can inspect the three temples dedicated to the three stages of a Buddha's life: as a child, an adolescent and an adult. Continue your eduction in Mongolian hospitality with another night in a Ger camp.
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Karakorum - Erdene Zuu Monastery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today’s destination is Tsenkher Hot Springs (approximately 6 hours), situated in the valley of the Delger River. housed in a former temple, which you’ll visit with a local guide. Then continue another hour on to the springs, first settling in to your ger camp. Enjoy soaking in the thermal waters of these natural hot springs while surrounded by the remote beauty of the landscape. Don't forget to pack your swimwear so you can take part in this relaxing activity.
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Tsenkher Hot Springs
  • Tsetserleg Museum
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Continue your journey to the famous Orkhon Valley (approximately 3.5 hours). This is where all the great Nomadic Empires, stretching from Korean peninsula to Caspian Sea, had their capital cities – due to the fact that this valley is roughly the geographic centre of the inner Euro-Asian steppes. Around lunchtime you will check into your Ger camp, and the remainder of the day will be spent on a visit to a little museum in the middle of nowhere that exhibits famous obelisks dedicated to the Royal family of the ancient Turkic empire. There were erected in the early 8th century and the inscriptions on them, in both Chinese and old Turkic, are an invaluable source of information about the origin, historical golden age, subjugation and liberation of these nomads. Here you may also have the chance to practice the art of Mongolian archery under the tutorage of some local experts. It's certainly much harder than it looks and requires good strength as well as aim.
Accommodation
  • Ger Camp (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mongolian Archery
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Today you will travel back across the rolling grasslands to Ulaanbaatar (approximately 6 hours) past 'ovoos' (roadside shrines made from piles of rocks and wood) and ger suburbs. Arrive in the country’s metropolis and check back into your hotel. Depending on what time you arrive, there may be time to shop for some local handicrafts such as cashmere and felt products, or to check out some more of the city's sights and museums. Tonight you’ll celebrate the end of your journey around Mongolia with a night at a cultural performance of throat singing and traditional dancing, followed by an optional final dinner at a local restaurant chosen by your leader.
Accommodation
  • Continental Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ulaanbaatar - Cultural Performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 11 is departure day and you'll say 'bayartai' to your group. There are no activities planned for today and you are able to depart the hotel at any time.

Notes: A departure transfer is available to book, please supply your flight departure details to your booking agent no later than 30 days prior to departure to confirm this. Check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you would like some more time to explore the intriguing city of Ulaanbaatar, we recommend you book accommodation well in advance to extend your stay.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 dinners

Transport

Plane, Private Van, Camel

Accommodation

Twin-share Ger Camp (7 nights), Hotel (3 nights)

Included Activities

  • Vulture Canyon
  • Khongoryn Sand Dunes
  • Bayanzag/Flaming Red Cliffs
  • Khustai National Park Hike
  • Takhi Horse Reintroduction Project Visit
  • Karakorum - Erdene Zuu Monastery
  • Tsenkher Hot Springs
  • Tsetserleg Museum
  • Mongolian Archery
  • Ulaanbaatar - Cultural Performance

Reviews

Our Mongolia Experience trips score an average of 5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews in the last year.

Mongolia Experience, July 2016

leonie Ohnemus

Mongolia Experience, July 2016

Pedlar Mark

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Important notes

1. Departures on 2nd & 10th July will coincide with the Naadam Festival.
2. An arrival transfer is included.
3. In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Peregrines local ground representative Mongolian Trails can be reached at: Timur +976 991 83751, Batbayar +976 990 86929 or Bata +976 990 04597. And our local Beijing Office can be reached on Tel: +861064067328.
4. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
5. Our two Naadam Itineraries are as follows:

* 02 July Departure *
Day 1 Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Flight/Dalanzadgad(Gobi Desert)
Day 3 Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes
Day 4 Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
Day 5 Flight/Ulaanbaatar/ KNP
Day 6 Karakorum
Day 7 Tsenkher Hot Springs
Day 8 Orkhon Valley
Day 9 Ulaanbaatar
Day 10 Ulaanbaatar (Naadam Festival, Opening Ceremony)
Day 11 Departure Day

* 10th July Departure *
Day 1 Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Ulaanbaatar (Naadam Festival, Opening Ceremony)
Day 3 Flight/Dalanzadgad (12th July as normal)
Day 4 Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes
Day 5 Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
Day 6 Saihan ovoo, Ongiin Monastery (5 hours’ drive)
Day 7 Karakorum
Day 8 Tsenkher Hot Springs
Day 9 Orkhon Valley
Day 10 Khustai National Park Visit/Ulaanbaatar
Day 11 Departure Day

7. Please note there also a change in itinerary to the 10th July PCMG departure (PCMG160710). Due to Mongolia hosting the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Ulaanbaatar, there will be no domestic flights in and out of Ulaanbaatar from the 14th -18th July 2016. This departure instead of flying from Dalanzadgad (Gobi Desert) to Ulaanbaatar on the 15th July will now travel by private van onto Ongiin Monastery (approx. 5 hours) and not return to Ulaanbaatar now until Day 9 of the itinerary. Instead we will enjoy a night at the Secrets of Ongi Ger Camp for the evening of Day 6 and visit Khustai National Park on Day 9 instead previously on Day 6.

Essential Trip Information

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