Overland All Mongolia Tour 2021

Mongolia Traverse

The Gobi Desert & Lake Khuvsgul

  • OVERLAND TOURS
  • SPRING TOURS
17 Days
2 Flights
Not Child Friendly

This overland style trip is the best way to get acquainted with Mongolia and the different aspects that make up the traditional Mongolian ways of life. We start in the Gobi desert, then head north to an area known to the Mongolians as “the paradise of the horse herders”. The trip finishes up on the shores of Khuvsgul Lake, one of the world’s largest freshwater sources.

Recommended months for Overland All Mongolia Tour are June, July and August. Contact us for more details.

Itinerary

Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

  • Dinner

Land in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital. After immigration formalities, meet the local guide and head to the city center through the outskirts, reflecting the rapid development the city is going through over the last two decades, alongside 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 in one of the finest restaurants in town, revert to the hotel for the first night in Mongolia.

Day 2. Flight to the Gobi Desert

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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, but 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 ‘Gobi’s Beauties’ Nature Reserve. Once at the reserve, 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), and hence, the place is commonly dubbed as the ‘Gobi Glacier’. Take a leisurely hike along the beautiful stream, and if lucky, get to see some of the wildlife inhabiting the reserve. In the afternoon, set in the camp at the mid of the vast desert plain, and 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. Yolin Am - Khavtsgait Petroglyphs – Khongoriin Els

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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 Dune. 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. Khongoriin Els – Bayan Zag

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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 dinosaur graveyards. In 1921, the American Roy Chapman Andrews discovered at Bayan Zag 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. Bayan Zag - Ong Monastery

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Board the vehicles for the long drive north, out of the arid Gobi Desert. In the early afternoon, arrive at Ong Monastery, nestled by the Ong River banks. Though nowadays the monastery is relatively small in size, the site’s name refers collectively to a cluster of monasteries, temples, and Buddhist universities that were thriving here during the 18th and 19th centuries, serving as one of the largest Buddhist centers throughout the country. Like most religious institutes in Mongolia, the entire complex has been destroyed during the anti-religious purges of the 1930s, led by the communist party. It is believed that some 200 monks were executed during these purges, and the surviving monks were forcibly conscripted to the Mongolian People’s Army. In recent years, local communities and various religious institutes’ efforts have resulted in the reconstruction of the main stupa, leading to its inauguration back in 2004. Arrive in the afternoon at the camp and take a hike through the ancient complex to appreciate its massive scale and witness the ongoing preservation works. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 6. Ongi Monastery - The Orkhon Valley

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Complete the drive out of the desert and reach the Mongolian steppes. Here there is a great variety of birds of prey, including vultures, eagles, and falcons, always on the watch for a meal. While driving up north, the scenery gradually changes from arid steppes to the fertile green grasslands typical to the Khangai Mountains, Mongolia’s second-largest mountain range. After lunch, head into an area dominated by volcanic scenery, along the Orkhon River Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the valley has served as the center of several kingdoms and empires that ruled much of Central Asia for centuries. The UNESCO committee states: “Collectively the remains in the site reflect the symbiotic links between nomadic, pastoral societies and their administrative and religious centers, and the importance of the Orkhon valley in the history of central Asia.” (UNESCO website). End the drive by the dramatic canyon formed by the mighty Orkhon River, Mongolia’s longest river, and enjoy some time at leisure by the beautiful Red Waterfall. Late in the afternoon, arrive at the ger
camp nestled deep within the Orkhon Valley.

Day 7. The Orkhon Valley - The Red Waterfall - Tuvkhon Monastery - Kharkhorin

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, drive to one of Mongolia’s most impressive monasteries for a three and a half hours’ hike (of which, one hour of rather extensive ascend uphill). Located at the top of a high hill offering a fantastic view over seemingly endless pine forests, Tuvkhon Monastery was established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia’s most revered religious leaders. Fleeing the Manchu Emperor, the Zanbazar built the monastery in this hidden place, using a natural system of caves and amid small wooden shacks. After descending off the towering hill, board the vehicles, and embark on a drive onto Kharkhorin. Built by Chinggis Khan about 800 years ago, Kharkhorin, better known as Karakorum, was famed throughout Asia as the Mongol Empire's Capital. Within the walls of this spectacular city, kings were chosen, laws made, and the fate of the next city to be conquered were determined. In the afternoon, visit the Karakorum museum. This museum holds a permanent display of the various archeological discoveries found in the area, compiling a picture of how the city looked during the Mongol empire's reign. Then ascend to a small hill overlooking the nowadays small town. Explore the Monument of Empires, erected to commemorate the 800th anniversary of Chinggis Khan's coronation, depicting the stories of three of the largest empires that were formed here, at the Orkhon River Valley. After enjoying the sunset over the sacred Orkhon valley, set in the camp for the night.

Day 8. Kharkhorin – Tsenkher Hot Springs

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

In the morning hours visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery, and other historical monuments in the area. After lunch, leave Kharkhorin and embark on a drive on to the region referred to by Mongolians as the ‘the horse herders’ paradise’ for its lush green meadows and crystal-clear streams. Drive through thick pine forests to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at approx. 80˚C. Spend the night enjoying a revitalizing soak in the mineral hot water.

Day 9. Hiking Around Tsenkher

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today take a short drive to the trailhead for today’s hike. The hike is a truly enchanting walk up a stream, hopping from one boulder to another to the top of a hill, for an amazing view of the surrounding valleys. In this part of Arkhangai the wildflowers are plentiful, and it is likely to see families cutting hay for winter fodder for their animals. From here hike back down through a thick pine forest to our vehicle, and then take the return drive back to camp, to enjoy another night of soaking in the hot water pools. Overnight in the same ger camp for a second night

Day 10. Tsenkher Hot Springs – Tsetserleg - Chuluut Canyon - Nariin Gechgiin River

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Drive out of the hot springs and pass through Tsetserleg, the provincial capital. Here, take an easy walk to the seven-meter tall statue of Lord Buddha to enjoy the view over the town that is commonly known as the most charming provincial center throughout the country. Then pause by the local market (closed on Sundays) and embark on the drive west. In the afternoon, arrive at the hundred-branches-tree. Despite the fact this strange-looking tree has been burnt in recent years during a shamanic ceremony, the site still is considered holy and is worshipped by local people. The thousands of Khatags, silk-made pray scarves, hanging on the trees in the forest, are a vivid testimony to the site’s religious significance. From here, take a short walk to a good observation point for the Chuluut Canyon before taking another short drive to the camp for the night.

Day 11. Hiking to Khorgo Volcano and The White Lake – Jargalant Hot Springs

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Spend the first part of the day hiking to the top of Khorgo Volcano for a view over its perfect crater. Continue hiking from the volcano through basalt fields studded with pine trees. En route, stop at the Yellow Dog Cave, an interesting volcanic phenomenon, and end the hike at a pilgrimage site on the shores of Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. Late in the afternoon, drive north on one of Mongolia’s most beautiful trails, crossing high mountain passes, vast grasslands, and small creeks. End the day in a camp not far from Jargalant Soum, to enjoy once again a relaxing evening in open-air pools fed from a nearby thermal spring.

Day 12. Jargalant Hot Springs - Murun

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Continue driving along the breathtaking road crossing the Tarvagtiin Mountain Range separating Arkhangai and Khuvsgul provinces. From time to time, stop for a walk through carpets of flowers or for a visit with one of the many nomadic families setting their gers by the crystal clear streams running along the fertile meadows, a perfect place to graze their large herds. Pause at Dzun Lake, a beautiful alpine lake, before arriving in Murun, the capital of Khuvsgul Province. If time permits, visit the local market before setting in the simple yet cozy hotel for the night.

Day 13. Murun - Lake Khuvsgul

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

From Murun drive to Erkhil Lake. This is where a wide variety of waterfowl pause on their long journey from the Siberian tundra to southern Europe and Africa. Take a hike along the lake's shores to watch the birds, and indulge in the serenity of this little known site. Back in the car, take a short drive to an ancient burial site of a civilization that inhabited these plains back in the Bronze Age. The unique tombs they have left behind are beautifully carved with reindeer motifs and other symbolic objects the dead would take with them on their journey to their next life. Board the vehicle and continue the ride to Lake Khuvsgul, arriving at the camp on the lake's shores in the afternoon. Set in the camp, and if time permits, take a first easy hike through the thick forest and along the beautiful lake, honorably dubbed by Mongolians as the Mother Lake.

Day 14. HORSEBACK RIDE AND HIKE TO KHYASAA

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

From the camp, drive to the road's end for a beautiful (and somewhat challenging) three-hour hike. At the end of the one-and-a-half hours' steep climb, arrive at Khyasaa (Mongolian for "sheer cliff") for an unparalleled view over the lake, which happens to be one of the world's largest freshwater lakes. The trail passes through pine forests, grasslands, and beautiful carpets of flowers. At trek's end, back by the lakeside, enjoy a picnic lunch before driving back to the camp for an afternoon horseback riding trip to the foot of the massive mountains surrounding the lake. In the evening, revert to the camp for a second night at the same camp.

Day 15. FLY TO ULAANBAATAR AND A VISIT TO TERELJ NATIONAL PARK

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast, take the approximately three-hour' drive back to Murun. Here board the flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Once back in the Mongolian capital, board the vehicle for the one-and-a-half hours' drive to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. The park is famous for its unique rock formations, rolling hills, and the mighty Terelj River that runs through it. Upon arrival in the park, stop by the Turtle Rock, a symbol of wisdom and longevity to the Mongolian people. Take another short drive to the trailhead for an easy hike through a beautiful forest and along a clear stream to the entrance to Ariabal Buddhist Retreat. After visiting the temple, head to the camp in the park's vicinity.

Day 16. Terelj National Park - Ghengis Monument – Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Begin the day with a few hours' hike through the park, ascending to a beautiful vantage point for a view over the park, its famous rock formations, and its deep valleys. Arrive back in the camp for lunch before leaving the park and driving to the Chinggis Khan Monument. Rising 40 meters in height over the surrounding steppe, this impressive structure plays a significant symbol to the reemerging Mongolian nation after more than 300 years of foreign sovereignty over its people and territory. In the afternoon, drive back to Ulaanbaatar. After some time to refresh at the hotel, enjoy a farewell dinner in one of the city's best restaurants before climbing to the top of Zaisan Hill. From the monument commemorating the friendship between the Mongolian and Russian people, enjoy the city's view at night. Late in the evening, drive to the hotel for the last night in Mongolia.

Day 17. Departure from Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast

After breakfast, drive to Chinggis Khan Airport for the international flight out of Mongolia.

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Dates & Pricing


1st August, 2021–16th August, 2021

  • $2,565 Per Person (For a group of 6 or more)
  • $310 Single Room Supplement

All prices for Mongolia Traverse Tour are in US dollars and per person based on twin share occupancy

Rates for private tours:
2 travelers – USD3550/ person
4 travelers – USD3080/ person

  • Prices valid for payment by wire transfers. Payment facilitated by credit cards would incur a supplement of 3.8%.
  • Mongolian Ways Ltd. reserves the right to change the Mongolia Traverse tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

Upgrades (for an ensuite ger- some would have toilets and shower, some just toilets within the ger; limited availability). More information on accommodation in Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar: Best Western Premier 5-stars +USD81/ person (2 nights)
Yolin Am: Deluxe Ger +USD53/ person (1 night)
Khongorin Els
: Deluxe Ger +USD74/ person (1 night)
Ongiin Khiid: Deluxe Ger +USD50/ person (1 night)
Kharkhorin: Deluxe Ger +USD24/ person (1 night)
Tsenkher Hot Springs
: Wooden Hotel +USD108/ person (2 nights)
Lake Khuvsgul
: Wooden Hotel +USD135/ person (2nights)
Terelj National Park: Deluxe Ger +USD35/ person (1 night)


Additional Information


Inclusions
  • Accommodation as per program
  • Domestics flights
  • Meals as indicated in the program (full board basis)
  • Drinking water
  • Private 4WD vehicle
  • Local English speaking guide
  • All entrance fees as per program
  • All transfers

Exclusions
  • Travel expenses to/from Mongolia
  • Travel Insurance
  • Mongolian visa
  • Excess Luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
  • Anything not clearly mentioned in the program

Accomodation
  • 2 nights in 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar
  • 12 nights in ger camp

Note: The listed hotels on Overland All Mongolia Tour are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.


Testimonials

Philip Dickman

Good day, Sugara. Thank you again for the part you played in helping to make my trip to Mongolia the best tour I have ever had. Within a year or so I hope I can return to Mongolia for a longer tour, again under the auspices of Mongolian Ways.

Philip Dickman, Canada

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