Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
Land in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. After immigration formalities, meet the local guide and head to the city center. The drive takes through the outskirts, reflecting the rapid development the city is undergoing over the last two decades, during the country’s transition from socialism into a free market economy. New residential complexes and shining shopping malls are being built amid rusty shanty towns inhabited by those left behind the traditional nomadic lifestyle to pursue a more convenient life as city dwellers. Arrive in the center and check-in at the hotel to recuperate from the flight (note: check-in at 14:00. Early check-in is subject to room availability and supplemental fees). In the afternoon, take a first orientation tour of the city, visit the National History Museum and the city’s main square, surrounded by prominent buildings with typical soviet architecture. End the tour by attending a traditional Folk Concert. After a welcome dinner of traditional Mongolian cuisine, revert to the hotel for the first night in Mongolia.
Day 2. Ulaanbaatar ✈ Dalanzadgad – Yolin Am
After early breakfast, leave the hotel and drive back to the airport for the short domestic flight down to the Gobi Desert. Land in Dalanzadgad, the capital city of South Gobi Province. Once a remote desert town, it today serves as the center of logistics for the developing mining industry. Over the last decade, massive exploration operations have revealed in the Gobi Desert an abundance of precious metals and minerals. Thus, the once peaceful desert is being trampled by excavators, monster trucks, and massive drills- all in the hope of making a quick fortune. Luckily, most of these mines are far from the eye. Still, their environmental impact can be seen and felt throughout the massive desert. Upon landing in Dalanzadgad, meet the driver and embark on a one and a half hours’ drive to the ‘Three Beauties of the Gobi’ Nature Preserve. Once at the preserve, head to the ‘Vulture’s Valley’- a beautiful oasis at the foot of the ‘Three Beauties’ Mountain range. As the sun’s rays do not reach the small stream at the creek’s basin, it is kept frozen during the beginning of summer (until early July usually). Hence, the place is commonly dubbed- the ‘Gobi Glacier.’ Take a leisurely hike along the beautiful stream. If lucky, get to see some of the wildlife inhabiting the preserve. In the afternoon, set in the camp at the mid of the vast desert plains. Get ready for a first night in the cozy yet simple Mongolian version of a lodge, consisting of traditional felt-made dwellings the nomads of Central Asia often refer to as yurt, and the Mongolians call- ger.
Day 3. The mighty sand dune
This morning embark on the five hours’ drive through the Gobi’s typical cold desert landscape - so-called because the Gobi receives its moisture in the form of snow - to the mighty Khongoriin Els Sand Dunes. En route, pause by Khavtsgait, an ancient place of worship marked by tremendous petroglyphs. This is also a magnificent viewpoint over the desert’s expansive plains. Arrive at the day’s ultimate destination in time to climb these mighty walls of sand and explore the towering dunes on foot. If the breeze is blowing just right, one might hear the dunes beautifully sing. The rugged desert plants at the edges of the sands are beautiful in their own sculptural way, and the small creek running along its northern face creates fantastic photographic opportunities. At dusk, drive to the ger camp by the dunes.
Day 4. The flaming cliffs
Check-out the camp and drive to the place known to westerners as The Flaming Cliffs. Bayan Zag (Rich with Saxaul) is famed for its red sandstone cliffs, which take on beautiful red and orange hues during sunset. The area is also recognized as one of the world’s largest dinosaurs’ graveyards. In 1921, the American adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews discovered here some of the most critical Paleontological findings of the last century, ending an ages’ long debate on whether dinosaurs have been reptiles or mammals. Arrive at the site around lunchtime and spend the afternoon exploring the cliffs on foot while waiting for the sunset to set the cliffs ‘aflame’, if weather permitting, of course. After sunset, drive to the camp for a third night in a Mongolian ger.
Day 5. Fly back to Ulaanbaatar
Early morning drive to Dalanzadgad for the flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Land back in the Mongolian capital city and drive to the city center. A visit to the Gobi Cashmere Factory Store, the biggest of its kind in Mongolia, could be arranged for those interested. Once in the city center, pay a visit to Gandan Monastery, Mongolia’s largest religious institute. It serves as a home for the 26-meters high Janaraysag Statue and one of the only religious institutes in the country to survive the anti-religious purges of the 1930s. If lucky, get to attend the morning Puja- the chanting of Tibetan scripts by the monks. In the afternoon, visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. This museum holds some of the best known Mongolian works of art, including the well-known ‘One Day In Mongolia’ painting, painted by B. Sharav, considered to date as a true masterpiece. The museum also holds unique religious and other historical artifacts. Late in the evening, climb atop Zaisan Hill, where the Russian-Mongolian friendship monument is located, for a view over the city at night. From here, revert to the hotel for the last night in Mongolia.
Day 6. Departure from Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Chinggis Khan airport for the international departing flight.
Dates & Pricing
All prices of Short Gobi Desert Tour are in US dollars and per person based on twin share occupancy
4 travelers - 10% discount
6 or more travelers - 25% discount
- Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking 6 Short Gobi Desert Tour together.
- The discounted price is the price for 2 people (below) minus the discount.
- Mongolian Ways Ltd. reserves the right to change Short Gobi Desert Tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.
- $1,613 Per Person (For a group of 6 or more)
- $494 Single Room Supplement
- Domestic flights
- Accommodation as per program
- All meals as per program (full board basis)
- Drinking water
- Local English speaking guide
- Private 4WD vehicle
- All transfers
- All entrance fees as per program
- International airfare
- Travel insurance
- Expenses of personal nature (laundry, communications, food and beverages beyond those provided)
- Anything not clearly mentioned as included in the program
- 3 nights in a ger camp
Note: The listed hotels on Short Gobi Desert Tour are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.
True to their reputation, Mongolian Ways has lived up to and exceeded the standards of tour guiding....an excellent team, personable, helpful, and extremely well humored. A thoroughly well-planned tour, and the best few night's sleep I have had in a long time.Sebastian Strassburg, Germany