Enigmatic Gobi

9 nights 10 days to Gobi desert

This tour takes you on a unique journey as you are taken out to meet a nomadic family. You’ll have the opportunity to dine with the family as you learn all about their lifestyle and culture.

You will stroll in the surrounding area as you enjoy the scenery and nature around the family’s home. You can even admire the landscape from camel and horseback riding as you relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Gobi Desert and the unique culture of the nomads.

The length of the trip can be adjusted according to your schedule.

Overview

Baga Gazriin Chuluu

The Baga Gazryn Chuluu is an interesting mountain formation, 1768 meters above sea level, which can be seen from faraway in the middle of the great Gobi. These mountains cover an area of about 300 square meters. Among the many peculiar things that can be seen at this interesting mountain, the following are included in our sightseeing.

Tsagaan Suvraga

The scenery ranged from arid to very arid, from steppes to patchy onion grass to gravel and to rocks. Before arrival at the ger camp you will stop at the rock formation from which the camp, about 5 miles away, takes its name.  Very impressive cliffs, with amazing colours in bands in the rock.  Lots of swifts swooping around, and small raptors, like falcons.

Yoliin Am

The meters-thick “eternal” ice of Yolyn Am (Vulture’s Mouth) is not the only attraction in this dramatic and scenic valley in the middle of the Gobi desert, 46 km west of Dalanzadgad. You can walk on the ice, but take care not to slip. There is a small nature museum at the gate on the main road to Yolyn Am that has a collection of dinosaur eggs and bones, stuffed birds and a snow leopard. There is also the ethnographic museum in a ger, petrified wood lying by the roadside, opportunity to buy some good souvenirs and opportunity to hike and spot wildlife.

Khongoriin Els

About 180 km from Dalanzadgad are some of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia. With the largest dunes at the northwest corner of the range, Hongoryn Els is up to 800 m high, 12 km wide and about 100 km long. It is possible to climb to the top of the dunes and slide back down. You can catch an awesome view of the desert from the top. There is an information ger near the parking area at the base of the dunes. An overnight stay in the desert is usually necessary to properly explore the area.

Bayanzag

Commonly known as the “Flaming Cliffs,” Bayanzag is renowned worldwide for the number of dinosaur bones and eggs found in the area. It is located 65 km north-west of Dalanzadgad. The name “Flaming Cliffs” was given to it by American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) who said: “The romance of the desert will be destroyed. Tourists will sit in heated cars, eating the food of Europe, reading week-old newspapers, and comprehending not at all the glorious history, the tragedy and romance of the Gobi trails.” Literally “rich in saxaul shrubs,” the eerie beauty of the Bayanzag landscape is enchanting.

Ongi Khiid Monastery

The ruins of Ongi Khiid Monastery are found in Saikhan Ovoo soum of Dundgovi (Middle Gobi) province. It used to be a big Buddhist monastery compound built by Bari Yonzon Khamba Lamaist bishop at the Ongi river, a river that takes source from the Khangai Mountain range in Ovorkhangai province and flows into the Ulaan Nuur lake of Gobi. The monastery was built on a steep rocky slope of a mountain in a Nepalese architectural fashion and used to house over a thousand of Buddhist monks. Unfortunately, the Ongi Khiid Monastery had the same fate of destruction during the communist purges of 1930s as other 700 Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia. There is a tourist ger camp at the Ongi Khiid Monastery, which has a suitable location for traveling between Gobi desert and Kharkhorin. For instance, the distance from Bayanzag to Ongi Khiid is 160 km; and from Ongi Khiid to Kharkhorin is 250 km.

Orkhon Valley

The Orkhon Waterfall water flows for remarkable 1120 km to the North and lies in the historically significant Orkhon Valley. The waterfall formed by combination volcanic eruption and earthquakes some 20000 years ago cascades down from a height 27 meters. The Orkhon, longest river in Mongolia, begins at the state worshipped mountain Suvraga Khairkhan in the Khangai mountain range. Families will offer horse riding. Overnight at Nomadic family.

Kharkhorum

Interested in treasures of lost civilizations?…Mongolia has a great present for you. Consider visiting Kharkhorin town located in central Mongolia. In 1220, it was a flourishing capital of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire called Karakorum. Ogodei Khaan had built the “Tumen Amgalant” Palace, which occupied an area of 2,500 square meters. The palace was built in 1235 and it was the most beautiful part of the capital. It had a large hall with 64 columns where the khans received foreign ambassadors and guests.

Itinerary

Day 1 (L, D) – Baga Gazriin Chuluu:

Start the day by heading north on a 6 hour drive that takes you to the granite mountains of Baga Gazariin Chuluu. Many travellers liken the area to what they have seen of lunar landscapes. The mountains contain remains of old temples but are also rich in minerals and crystals.

Day 2 (B, L, D) – Tsagaan Suvraga:

Today head north to Tsagaan Suvarga, (approximately 4 hours away) found in the middle Gobi with its unique landscape of desert steppes. Look for ancient rock paintings along the way.

Day 3(B, L, D) – Yoliin Am:

After breakfast you will take a southern passage through the Gobi, driving along the dunes for more than a hundred kilometers (approximately 5 to 6 hours), before branching into the Gov-Altai Mountains and the Dungenee Pass, which leads to the glacial gorge of Yolyn Am.

Day 4 (B, L, D) – Khongoriin Els:

Today you will drive through the beautiful Gobi desert (approximately 4 hours) with its towering sand dunes that seemingly stretch on for as far as the eye can see. En route, you’ll stop to experience and observe the local customs of some of the nomadic people before arriving at the mighty sand dunes of Khongor Els.

Day 5 (B, L, D) – Bayanzag:

After breakfast, you’ll take a 3 hour drive further south to the Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag, a world famous site for excavating dinosaur fossils especially renowned for yielding the first discovery of dinosaur eggs.

Day 6 (B, L, D) – Ongi khiid monastery

Your journey today will include a 5 to 6 hour drive to the south to Ongi monastery ruins through the Gobi steppes. Arrive and transfer to your ger camp. Spend the balance of the day visiting the monastery ruins either by foot or on horseback (optional).

Day 7 – Camping.

Today you will camp half way between Ongi Monastery and Orkhon Valley. We will provide you with all the necessary camping gears.

Day 8 (B, L, D) – Orkhon Valley

Leave Ongi Monastery drive to Orkhon Valley Spend time in stunning Orkhon Valley and visit nearby waterfalls. Hike to the 17th-century Tuvkhon Monastery for a spectacular view of this verdant valley. Overnight in traditional Mongolian gers.

Day 9 (B, L, D) – Kharkhorum

After breakfast you will make an early drive to the lost capital of Genghis Khan at Karakorum (approximately 6-7 hours) and visit the magnificent Erdene Zuu Monastery, where you will see a distinct mixing of the styles of Mongolian and Tibetan Buddhism.

Day 10 (B, L) – Kharkhorum to Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast you will drive back to Ulaan Baatar (approximately 4 to 5 hours) and transfer to Zaya guesthouse to freshen up. Enjoy dinner local restaurant before seeing a traditional folklore concert that leaves you with lasting memories of your time spent in this magical country.

Inclusions

  • Transfer
  • Driver
  • Guide/ cook
  • Accommodations
  • Meals

Exclusions

  • Travel insurance, medical insurance
  • Entrance to museums and temples
  • Any charges of major force beyond our control
  • Camel and Horse riding

 

Accommodation arrangements

  • Baga Gazariin Chuluu – Family stay
  • Tsagaan Suvraga – Family stay
  • Yoliin Am – Family stay
  • Khongor Sand Dunes – Tourist camp
  • Bayanzag – Tourist camp
  • Ongi Monastery – Tourist camp
  • Camping
  • Orkhon Valley – Family stay
  • Kharkhorum – Hotel

Price

Price per person 1 Person
2 Person
3 Person
4 Person
USD $ 1734.00 per person $ 971.00 per person $ 717.00 per person $ 410.00 per person


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Physical rating

You need to have a good level of fitness and be in excellent health to take part in this trip. It’s important that you are able to hike a long distance.

You also need to be able to cope with varying temperature as we will be experiencing climates from warm days to cold nights. Travel days can also be long, rough and in cramped conditions.

Meal arrangements

While travelling with us you’ll experience the vast array Mongolian traditional food. Your guide will be able to explain about food. In most places you will be eating meals provided by Nomadic family.
Those with special dietary requirements may request for a guide who has cooking skills. Vegetarian lacto-ovo options (while limited) can be offered for all included meals, provided we are notified at time of booking.

Itinerary changes

If you have any queries, please feel free to contacts us. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers.

All personal insurance is the sole responsibility of the individual traveler. We shall not bear any responsibility for any personal insurance-related matters arisen from participation on this tour.

Traveler shall bear full responsibility for engaging in hazardous and risky activities, including and not limited to horse riding, cycling and swimming. We shall not bear responsibility for any personal injures or damages and/or loss of traveler’s belongings resulting from these activities.

We will do the best of it is ability to provide a vehicle in a good working order along with a professional driver and guide. However, we do not accept any liability for vehicle related injuries or fatalities to the travelers occurring in the course of the tour.

Mongolia experiences extremes of weather, from +35C in summer to -40C in winter. Even in summer, evenings can be cold because of the altitude and weather conditions can change without warning. There are long distances between settlements. Take appropriate provisions, including warm clothing, food and water if you are travelling outside main urban areas.

High lights

  • Yol am (Eagle’s mouth) canyon shelters glaciers which remain frozen even in the hottest summer days. Museum at the entrance of the valley.
  • The Singing Sands, a spectacular sea of sand dunes, Hongor Els (30 meters might in some places), ranging along Mt Sevrei and Mt Zuulun, an oasis and a Saksaul forest with fossilised eggs.
  • Bayan Zag mountains, the “cemetery of dinosaurs” where Roy Chapman Andrews, and American paleontologist found the fossiles.
  • Stay over night in a traditional ger.
  • Experience nomadic Mongolian life on a Home stay.
  • See Genghis Khan’s Kharkhorum capital.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is required for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

A couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travelers.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a guide or driver and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting us.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission. Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Style

Our Basic style trips are designed for travelers who want exceptional value, plenty of free time and having the flexibility to choose where and how their time and money is spent. By working plenty of free time into the itineraries and keeping many of the activities optional, we aim to make travel possible for those on even the most slender of budgets. After all, why pay for an activity or excursion you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in?