DAY 1. ARRIVAL IN ULAANBAATAR AND DRIVE TO THE COUNTRYSIDE
Arrive at Ulaanbaatar airport, just out of the Mongolian capital city. After immigration procedures, meet the local guide and driver and head to a camp just out of the capital. After lunch, and some time to recuperate from the long flight, take a leisurely afternoon hike to enjoy and take in the serene landscape of the semi-arid steppe. If possible, visit a nomadic family for a first impression of the ancient customs and traditions of the Mongol nomads. Late in the evening, set in a ger camp- 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.
DAY 2. MONGOL NOMADS – KHARKHORIN
Today take a journey back in time to a place that recreates the lives of Mongolian nomads during the beginning of the 20th century. Here, attend a demonstration of how the nomads lived their lives during this era and learn about some traditions that are carried on to these very days. After lunch in the camp, take the four to five hours drive to Kharkhroin. En route, pause by Elsen Tasarkhai sand dune. Marking the northern edge of the great Gobi Desert, Elsen Tasarkhai stretches for over 130 km north into the heart of Central Mongolia. If lucky, get to see a plethora of waterfowl in the small seasonal lake by the dune. Late in the evening, arrive in Kharkhorin. Built by Chinggis Khan about 800 years ago, Kharkhorin, better known as Karakorum, was famed throughout Asia as the capital of the Mongol Empire. Within the walls of this spectacular city, kings were chosen, laws made, and the fate of the next city to be conquered was determined. If time permits, ascend to a hill overlooking the small town to visit the Monument of Empires, erected to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the coronation of Chinggis Khan as the king of all kings of the steppes. Explore the site, depicting the history of three of the largest steppe empires that were first formed here, and enjoy the marvelous view of the sun setting over the sacred Orkhon valley before setting in the camp for the night.
DAY 3. KHARKHORIN – THE ORKHON VALLEY
In the morning, visit the Karakorum Museum. This museum holds a permanent display of various archeological findings and compiles a picture of how the city looked like during the reign of the Mongol empire. Then take a walk through Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the country’s oldest Buddhist monasteries, in time for the morning puje – the chanting of Tibetan prayers while playing traditional musical instruments.
From the Khangai Mountain Range, the Orkhon River runs all the way to Lake Baikal in Siberia. A UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the Orkhon valley has been at the center of several kingdoms and empires that have ruled much of Central Asia. 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). Head out of Kharkhorin and drive along the river valley. Late in the afternoon, reach a beautiful volcanic canyon through which the Orkhon River flows. Enjoy a hike above the canyon, and end the walk by a pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfall. For the brave at heart, a cool swim awaits! From here, it’s only a few minutes' drive (or about an hour’s walk) to the camp for the night.
DAY 4. THE ORKHON VALLEY – TUVKHON MONASTERY – TSENKHER HOT SPRINGS
Leave the Orkhon Valley and take the approximately one-hour drive to the trailhead for the three-and-a-half hours’ hike to Tuvkhon Monastery. The monastery was established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia’s most respected religious leaders. The monastery’s wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop, offering beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests. With its unique natural features, the monastery was a perfect location for the great religious leader to meditate. Return to the vehicle and enjoy a picnic lunch before boarding the vehicle and driving on to the region the Mongolians often refer to as the 'horse herders' paradise' for its lush grasslands and open valleys. Drive through thick pine forests to Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at about 80°C (176°F). After setting in the camp for the night, enjoy a relaxing soak at the open hot-water pools under the Mongolian million-star sky!
DAY 5. HIKING AROUND TSENKHER
After breakfast at the camp, take a short drive to the trailhead to embark on the day'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 a fantastic view of the surrounding valleys. This little-known trail is hidden away from most travelers' routes, and it runs through a pristine pine forest, with its floor carpeted with wildflowers of all shapes and colors. At the hike's end, enjoy a picnic lunch before driving back to the camp to enjoy another night of soaking in the hot water pools.
DAY 6. TSENKHER HOT SPRINGS – TSETSERLEG – TERKHIIN TSAGAAN LAKE
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, and enjoy the view over the town, commonly known as the most charming of all cities throughout the country. Take a quick walk through the local market before lunch. Early in the afternoon, continue west, pausing by the hundred branches tree. Although this strange-looking tree has been burnt in recent years during a shamanic ceremony, the site is still considered holy and is worshiped by local people. The thousands of Khatag – 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 driving to the foot of Khorgo Volcano. Climb for about 30 minutes to the top of the volcano for a view of its perfect crater and the surrounding lava fields. Wrap up the day at a beautiful pilgrimage site on the shores of Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. From here, drive to the camp by the lake’s shores.
DAY 7. HIKING TO KHORGO VOLCANO AND THE WHITE LAKE – TARVAGTIIN MOUNTAIN
Leave the camp for a drive along Mongolia’s most beautiful off-road trail. Begin driving along the shores of Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake before ascending towards a mighty mountain pass at 2,350 meters (7,710 feet) above sea level. From here, the trail winds through vast grasslands, narrow valleys, along crystal clear streams, and over mountain passes. Perfect graze and plenty of water call for many pastoral nomadic families to set up their summer camps along these flourishing meadows. Late in the afternoon, reach the shores of Zuun, a beautiful alpine lake. Enjoy the sunset by the lake, and then take another 30-minute drive to a camp hidden in a beautiful valley between the mountains.
DAY 8. TARVAGTIIN MOUNTAIN – MURUN – LAKE KHOVSGOL
Leave the charming camp for one last mountain pass at 2,197 meters (7,208 feet) above sea level. From here, glide to the city of Murun, the provincial center for Khuvsgul Aimag (province), lying by the Delgermurun mighty river at 1,280 meters (4,200 feet). Stroll through the local market, stop for lunch, and then continue driving north to Erkhil Lake. This is where a wide variety of waterfowl stop on their long journey from the Siberian tundra to the warm countries of southern Europe and Africa. Take a walk to watch the birds, and submerge in the serenity of this little-visited lake. From here, 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 ceremonial artifacts 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 by 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.
DAY 9. HIKE TO KHYASAA AND HORSE RIDING BY LAKE KHOVSGOL
From the camp on the lake, drive to the end of the motor road for a beautiful (and rather challenging) three hours' hike to the top of Khyasaa. At the end of the one-and-a-half hours' steep climb, arrive at Khyasaa (Mongolian for "steep cliff") for an unparalleled view over the lake. The trail passes through a pine forest, grasslands, and beautiful carpets of flowers. At the 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.
DAY 10. FLIGHT TO ULAANBAATAR
After breakfast, take the approximately three-hour drive back to Murun. Here, board the flight to Ulaanbaatar. Once in the Mongolian capital, head to the city center, where modern high-rises are quickly built amid soviet-era blocks. Check in at the hotel and take a tour of the city. Begin with the National History Museum, which holds a permanent exhibition on the different civilizations that have inhabited the territory of Mongolia from prehistoric times to the present. This exhibition includes a significant display of objects from the era of the Great Mongol Empire. Then take a walk through the central square. Right at the heart of the square, see the figure of D. Sukhbaatar, one of the heroes of the communist revolution of the 1920s, boldly raising his arm towards the statue of Chinggis Khan, the nation's forefather whose name was not allowed to be mentioned during the 70-year communist reign. In a very apt fashion, the square is surrounded by buildings of distinctively different architectural styles. Some are clear evidence of the city’s socialist past, while others serve as a striking testimony to the country’s path to development. After touring the square and its surroundings, head to the hotel for the night.
DAY 11. EXPLORING THE MONGOLIAN CAPITAL CITY
From the hotel, take to Gandan Buddhist Monastery, the center for Mongolian Buddhism, and home to the 26.5 meters (85 feet) Janraisig statue of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. If lucky, attend the morning prayers ceremony. After exploring the vast compound, drive to the Black Market, which draws its name not from the trade in stolen goods but due to the fact that in the old times, it was where anti-revolutionary goods such as jeans, chewing gums, and even bootlegs of the Beatles were illegally traded. Next, visit the newly opened museum dedicated to the life of Chinggis Khan, the vast empire he established, and the legacy he has left behind – the founding ethos of the Mongolian people. From here, it is a short walk to the drama theater to attend an impressive folk concert featuring some traditional Mongolian art forms. After a farewell dinner, head back to the hotel for the last night in Mongolia.
DAY 12. DEPARTURE FROM ULAANBAATAR
After breakfast, drive to Chinggis Khan Airport for the international flight out of Mongolia.
Dates & Pricing
31st July, 2023–11th August, 2023
- $2,575 Per Person (For a group of 6 or more)
- $289 Single Room Supplement
31st August, 2023–11th September, 2023
- $2,575 Per Person (For a group of 6 or more)
- $289 Single Room Supplement
All prices for The Best Attractions of Mongolia Tour are in US dollars and per person based on twin share occupancy
Rates for private tours:
2 travelers – USD3,216/ person
4 travelers – USD2,731/ 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 Best Attractions of Mongolia 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 showers, some just toilets within the ger; limited availability. More information on accommodation in Mongolia.
Mongol Nomadic: +USD34/ person@twin share | +USD57/ person@single occupancy (1 night)
Kharkhorin: Deluxe Ger +USD24@person | +USD44/ person@single occupancy (1 night)
Lake Khuvsgul: Wooden Hotel +USD88/ person@twin share | +USD106/ person@single occupancy (2nights)
Ulaanbaatar: Best Western Premier 5-stars +USD82/ person@twin share | +USD122/ person@single occupancy (2 nights)
- Accommodation as per program
- Domestic flight Murun/Ulaanbaatar
- Meals as indicated in the program (full board basis)
- Private 4WD vehicle
- Drinking water
- Local English speaking guide
- All entrance fees as per program
- All transfers
- Travel expenses to/from Mongolia
- Travel Insurance
- PCR/COVID tests, or any tests that might be required for international or domestic travel
- Expenses that might incur due to the results of COVID tests before, during or after the tour
- Mongolian visa
- Excess Luggage
- Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
- Anything not clearly mentioned in the program
- 2 nights in 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar
- 10 nights in ger camp
Note: The listed hotels on this The Best Attractions of Mongolia Tour are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.
Many thanks to Mongolian ways for organizing a perfect trip for our family. We traveled with our 2 girls (7&9 years old) to beautiful Mongolia and everything was well organized! We had a very knowledgeable guide who was getting along with the kids perfectly, and a very skilled driver made us feel safe.The Tuaf family, Israel
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