DAY 1. ARRIVAL IN ULAANBAATAR
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital city. At 14:00 we meet our guide at the airport, and head to the city center. The short drive passes through the shanty town inhabited by those who were once nomads, but have neglected their traditional lifestyle in the hope of finding a little fortune in the city, which not too long ago has seen some rapid development. The urban landscape quickly changes into expansive shopping malls and brand new residential complexes, shifting again to the scenes of the city center, where modern high-rises are quickly built amidst soviet-era buildings. After checking into our hotel, and if time permits, we will have an orientation tour of the city center through the central square. Right at the heart of the square we see the figure of D. Sukhbaatar, one of the heroes of the communist revolution of 1920’s, boldly raising his arm towards the statue of Chinggis Khan, the nation’s forefather whose name wasn’t allowed to be mentioned during the 70 year communist reign. We then visit 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. From here we take a short walk to the drama theater where we attend an impressive folk concert, featuring some traditional Mongolian art forms. After a welcome dinner, we drive back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.
DAY 2. Ulaanbaatar – Mongol Nomads – Elsen Tasarkhai
Today we drive back in time, to a place that recreates the lives of Mongolian nomads at the beginning of the 20th century. This was when Mongolia gained its independence from the Qing Dynasty and established itself as a reemerging nation under a living god-king. Here we shall attend a demonstration of how the nomads lived their lives during this era, and learn about some traditions that are carried on to this very day. After lunch in the camp we arrive at Elsen Tasarkai sand dune. Marking the northern edge of the great Gobi Desert, Elsiin Tasarkhai stretches over 130 km north into the heart of Central Mongolia. We take a hike for a marvelous view over the dune, and if weather permit, we enjoy the sunset over the dune. Overnight 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 3. Elsiin Tasarkhai – The Orkhon Valley – The Khangai Mountain Range
From the Khangai Mountain Range, the Orkhon River runs all the way to Lake Baikal in Siberia. A UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the valley has been 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 centres, and the importance of the Orkhon valley in the history of central Asia.” (UNESCO website). Today we head south, driving along the river valley. In the afternoon arrive at the beautiful volcanic canyon through which the Orkhon River flows. Here we will take an easy hike along the canyon floor, and end up at the pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfall. For the brave at heart, a cool swim awaits! In the evening we drive to the foot Khangai Mountain Range, Mongolia’s second largest mountain range, where we spend the night in a ger camp.
DAYS 4 TO 8. TREKKING THE EIGHT LAKES NATURE RESERVE
For the next few days we hike at a leisurely pace in the Eight Lakes National Park. Our route takes us through the Khangai Nuruu, Mongolia’s second largest mountain range, which lies 2800 meters above sea level. The reserve consists of numerous lakes, from which the park receives its name, scattered over two big valleys, amongst thickly forested pine forests. Very few families inhabit the area, and it is a perfect place to see a large variety of wild flowers. As we hike, we carry only light daypacks, and our luggage and tents will be carried on pack animals. Overnight bush camping (5 nights).
DAY 9. ULIASTAI RIVER - GYALAAN VALLEY - TSENKHER HOT SPRINGS
We again board our 4×4 vehicles and head north, crossing the Khangai Nuruu Mountains through a series of passes to the trailhead where we begin our day’s hike – a truly enchanting walk up a stream, where we hop from one stone to another, to the top of the hill for an amazing view of the surrounding valleys. We then reach the area Mongolians call ‘the paradise of the horse herders’ because of its lush grass and open valleys. We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at about 80° C (180° F) and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak. Overnight in a ger camp.
DAY 10. Tsenkher Hot Springs – Kharkhorin
This morning we take the three hours drive to 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 were determined. After lunch we visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery and other historical monuments in the area. Overnight in a ger camp in Kharkhorin.
DAY 11. Kharkhorin – Ulaanbaatar
We leave Kharkhorin, and embark on the five to six hours drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival in the city, and after checking in at our hotel, we go to the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian might need, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers. Goods brought from all corners of Mongolia are here for sale. A visit to the market is a colorful experience which gives the visitor an insight to the everyday life of the people of Ulaanbaatar. In the afternoon, if time permit, we visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. This museum holds some of the best-known Mongolian works of art, including the well know ‘One Day In Mongolia’ painting, painted by B. Sharav, and considered to date as a true masterpiece. The museum also holds unique religious and other historic artifacts. We then enjoy a farewell dinner at one of the city finest restaurants, followed by a climb to the top of Zaisan Hill for a view over the city at night. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar.
DAY 12. DEPARTURE FROM ULAANBAATAR
After breakfast at our hotel, we will drive to the airport for our international departing flight.
Dates & Pricing
All prices of Eight lakes' Trekking Tour are in US dollars and per person based on twin share occupancy
Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers or more:
4 travelers- US$2245/ person
8 travelers- US$1885/ person
- Applicable only for travel groups booking Eight lakes' Trekking Tour together.
- The discounted price is the price for 2 people (below) less the discount.
- Mongolian Ways Ltd. reserves the right to change Eight lakes' Trekking Tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.
25th June, 2020–8th July, 2020
- $2,363 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $197 Single Room Supplement
25th July, 2020–7th August, 2020
- $2,363 Per Person (From 2 people)
- $197 Single Room Supplement
- All camping equipment except sleeping bag and mattress
- Meals as indicated in the program (full board basis)
- Private 4WD vehicle
- Drinking water throughout the trip
- Local English speaking guide
- Pack animals during the trek
- All entrance fees
- All transfers
- International travel costs to/from Mongolia
- Travel insurance
- Mongolian Visa
- Excess luggage
- Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
- Anything not mentioned in the program
- 2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar
- 4 nights' accommodation in ger camps
- 5 nights bush camping
Note: The listed hotels on Eight lakes' Trekking Tour are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.