This overland trip Across Central Mongolia Expedition offers travelers an amazing opportunity to experience the Gobi Desert, nomadic lifestyle, national parks as well as nature reserves! Along this overland travel expedition you will also be visiting nomadic families for cultural immersion at our local community-based tourism network in Bulgan Province. As we say “adding icing to the cake”, this itinerary provides a wonderful chance to visit the famous Khustai Nuruu Protected Reserve where the wild Przewalski’s horse was officially re-introduced into Mongolia, known to the Mongols as the Takhi and historic locations like Karakorum, the Ancient Empire of the Mongols, Gobi Desert’s Bayanzag “The Flaming Cliffs”, etc.
Day One – Arrival to Mongolia and Leisure Sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar (D – Overnight at a 3 Star Hotel): Upon your arrival, our guide will pick you up and transfer to the hotel where you can relax after a long journey before starting the city tour around Ulaanbaatar. In the afternoon, you will journey around the city visit the highlights that include the Gandan Monastery, the National Historical Museum, Sukhbaatar Square and the Mongolia Parliament. It’s going to be a great day for stretching your legs before your evening’s welcoming dinner at a fine restaurant.
Day Two – Overland Trip by Jeep Across the Gobi Desert to Mongolia’s Baga Gazrin Chuluu to Trek, Hike and Epxlore the Rock Formations and Ancient Ruins (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): In the morning we will start the overland journey to Baga Gazriin Chuluu where you will have an opportunity to explore a region filled with amazing granite rock formations as well as the ruins of Khukh Burd Sum Temple (200 kilometers). Along our journey we will visit a nomadic family where you will have a hot nomadic lunch before arriving at the Ger Camp located at Baga Gazriin Chuluu. Upon arrival, we will begin our exploration of the location, the cliffs and ancient petro glyphs sites before returning to the camp for dinner.
Day Three – Overland Trip by Jeep Across the Gobi Desert to Mongolia’s Tsagaan Suvraga and Ulaan Suvraga Locations to Trek, Hike and Explore these Amazing Geographical Terrains (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): After breakfast, you will continue the trip to Tsagaan Suvraga ger camp where you will have your afternoon lunch. After lunch, we will journey to Tsagaan suvraga and Ulaan Suvraga cliffs; the sheer slopes facing east are amazing. From a distance, it seems to be the ruins of the ancient city as the cliff walls reach a height of 30 meters and spanning 100 meters in length. Without a drop of water in the region, these cliffs were formed over thousands of years by the Gobi Desert winds.
Day Four – Overland Trip by Jeep Across the Gobi Desert to the famous Mongolia’s Yoliin Am Cliffs to Trek, Hike and Explore the Wonders of this National Park (L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): In the morning we will drive to the “Khanbogd“ tourist camp in South Gobi. After lunch, you will start the excursion to Yol Valley (Vulture Canyon) National Park. The area is an oasis, attracting wildlife from the area all around with water, good grazing, and sheltered canyons. The wonder of this beautiful valley is the river of ice stretching across the canyon floor, which survives the desert heat well into the month of August every year, better known as the Gobi Glacier. A hike down the valley offers us a great opportunity to observe wildlife, and enjoy the cool waters of the stream that emerges from under the glacier. In the evening back to camp and have a dinner and overnight in the gers.
Day Five – Overland Trip by Jeep Across the Gobi Desert to Mongolia’s Astonishing Hongor Els Sand Dunes to Trek, Hike and Explore this Desert Jewel of Mongolia (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): In the morning you will begin your overland drive to the internationally famous Khongor Sand Dunes that stretches an extraordinary length of 180 kilometers by 15-20 kilometers wide. The huge sand dunes are apart of the desert zone, which makes-up 2.7% of the Mongolia’s territory. Upon arrival at the desert camp, you will have a late lunch before we begin our exploration the towering dunes on foot. The rugged desert plants of the Gobi at the edges of the sands are beautiful in their own sculptural way, and if the breeze is blowing just right, we may hear the dunes singing to us.
Day Six – Overland Trip by Jeep Across the Gobi Desert to the famed Bayanzag, Red Cliffs, of Mongolia made famous by the early American Explore and Archeologist Roy Chapman Andrews to Trek, Hike and Explore the Region (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): After breakfast we will journey to Bayanzag that is internationally famous for the discovery of dinosaur fossils, dinosaur eggs and hatchlings, of the Cretaceous Period. Bayanzag is also famed for its’ red sandstone cliffs which take on a beautiful red and orange hues during sunset, and its Sculptural Saxaul trees that grow in the arid rocky soil.
In 1921, the American Explorer, Roy Chapman Andrews had made the internationally famous Paleontological discoveries of the last century in Bayanzag. Since then, hundreds of archeological expeditions have come to this remote desert location in search of dinosaur eggs with a diameter between 10 to 15 centimeters; eggs found in Mongolia were the first ever discovered in their record size. Upon arrival in Bayanzag, we will visit a desert camp nearby where we will have lunch before starting the excursion that will last until the evening dinner at one of Mongolia’s top eco-lodges known as Three Camels Eco Lodge.
Day Seven – Overland Trip by Jeep Across the Gobi Desert to Visit the Regions Largest Monastery Ruins to Trek, Hike and Explore this Amazing Location (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): After breakfast we will begin our overland drive to Ongi Monastery where we will have our lunch near the monastery at a local desert ger camp. After your meal, the afternoon excursion into the ancient ruins of Ongi Monastery where you will be transported back in time some 300 years ago. The Ongi Monastery was the largest monastery throughout the Gobi Desert Region that didn’t survive the repression of 1930s to which it was completely destroyed, and around 300 monks were killed by revolutionists.
Day Eight – Overland Trip by Jeep to Central Mongolia’s Orkhon Waterfall to Trek, Hike and Explore this Natural Wonder (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): After breakfast, we will say our goodbyes to family before continuing the journey to the Orkhon waterfall. Ulaan Tsutgalan, a waterfall on the Ulaan River, cascades from an impressive height of 20 meters and has a width reaching is 10 meters, and extends for 100 meters from the Orkhon River. The Orkhon River flows through basalt rocks from Gyatruu Range to Karakorum.
On the way we will stop by Arvaikheer town for lunch before reaching the ger camp located near the Orkhon waterfall. Today you will have a wonderful opportunity to pull out your camera during the 10-15 kilometer round-trip trek to waterfall and back – before returning in the evening for dinner at the camp.
Day Nine – Overland Trip by Jeep to Mongolia’s Tuvkhun Monastery and the Ancient Capital of the Mongols Karakorum to Trek, Hike and Explore These Historically Significant Locations (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolia Ger Camp): After breakfast we will continue our overland trip to Karakorum, the ancient capital city of the Mongol Empire. On the way, we will stop by Tuvkhun Monastery that is located on the peak of Undur Shireet at an altitude of 2312 meters above sea-level in-between Arkhangai and Uvurkhangai Provinces. It was established by Zanabazar in 1654 and erected on the south slope surrounded by steep angle rocks ranging 20 meters high with 14 small temples. In 1680s at this location is where he created the famous letter “Soyombo”, and the temple has enjoyed state protection since 1998 and has been registered by UNESCO as a world heritage site “The most wonderful valuable object” in 1996. After lunch at the ger camp, you will visit the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire known as Karakorum and Erdenezuu Monastery that was established within its protective walls. Karakorum was established in 1220, and served as the capital of Mongolia for 140 years and the capital of the Mongol Empire for 32 years. Erdenezuu Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery erected at the initiative of Abtai Sain Khan in 1585.
Day Ten – Overland Trip by Jeep to Mongolia’s Mongol Els or Elsen Tasarkhai for Camel Riding, Trekking and Hiking (sometimes via horseback) to the Locally Adorned Khadagt Khoshuu of the Khogon Khan National Park (B, L, D – Overnight in Extra Mongolian Ger – Home Stay): Today you will depart early in the morning to Rashaant village (280 kilometers). Upon arrival at Mr. Byambatogtoh’s family, they will prepare and welcome you a warm nomadic lunch and traditional milk tea. Afterwards, Mr. Byambatogtoh or one of his sons will guide you for 10.5 kilometers to the locally venerated site of Khadagt Hoshuu. When you arrive, you will dismount from your camels and observed and or even participate in their local customs that honors the site. In the early evening, you will return to the family where you will be welcomed with a hot dinner before retiring to the family’s extra ger for the night.
Day Eleven – Horseback Riding Trip, sometimes by Camels and ox carts, to visit Mongolia’s Bugdiin Ovoo for a little Trekking, Hiking and Exploring of the Location (B, L, D – Overnight in Extra Mongolian Ger – Home Stay): After breakfast, you will continue your journey by horseback or by camel along the nomadic route for 10 kilometers to the next nomad family. Upon arrival at Mr. Otgonbayar’s family, they will prepare and serve you a hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea before continuing your 12 kilometer day trip to the highly respected Bugdiin Ovoo (translation “Everyone’s Ovoo”). The ‘ovoo worship’ ceremony originates from shamanism practices that considers the entire universe to be alive and interconnected. An Ovoo is a small pyramid collected stones, bones, woods and silk scarves that are often established on hilltops, mountains or other sites of sacred significance to the locals. It is the customary practice to show reverence by walking around the ovoo three times in a devotional state while you are making your silent wishes. Afterwards, you will begin your journey back to the family where you will have your evening dinner before retiring for the night in your own nomadic ger.
Day Twelve – Horseback Riding Trip to Mongolia’ Swan Lake (a desert oasis) that is nestled next to the Mongol Desert Sand Dunes for some Desert Trekking, Hiking and Exploring (B, L, D – Overnight in Extra Mongolian Ger – Home Stay): After breakfast, you will have a 6 kilometer journey by horseback to next family where you will be greeted by Mr. Idertsogt and welcomed with a hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea. In the afternoon, you will have a 6 kilometer roundtrip by horseback to the truly picturesque Swan Lake (desert oasis) that is situated exactly next to the Mongol Desert Sand Dunes. Swan Lake is both a pristine example of the beauty of co-existence of extremes (desert and water) as well as vibrantly intoxicating home to a Swan Couples that is testament to strength, tolerance and passion to exist as a pair in such extreme yet beautiful environment. In the evening, you continue the journey to the family where you will be warmly invited to enjoy your evening dinner before returning to the family’s extra Ger for rest and sleep.
Day Thirteen – Overland Trip by Jeep Across Central Mongolia to the Internationally Famous Khustai Nuruu Protected Reserve, Home of Mongolia’s Przewalski Horse (B, L, D – Overnight at a Mongolian Ger Camp): Before your breakfast you have opportunity to participate in milking animals, if you wish. Afterwards, we will begin the 198 kilometer overland trip to Hustain Nuruu Protected Reserve towards Tuv Aimag (Central Province). After having lunch at camp, you will visit the Khustai Park’s information center that displays all kinds of flora and fauna of the Khustai Protected Reserve. For the rest of the afternoon till dinner will be spent at Khustai Pike to see the internationally famous “Przewalski” wild horses (Takhi) in their natural habitat – 5 kilometer drive from the camp.
Day Fourteen – Overland Trip back to Ulaanbaatar City for Some Shopping and an Evening show (B, L, D – Overnight at Hotel): Today we will be driving back to Ulaanbaatar, after checking in the hotel, there will be plenty of free time for shopping. In the evening, we will all gather to have our farewell dinner after the Tumen Ekh Folk Art Concert.
Day Fifteen – Ulaanbaatar (B): Breakfast at the hotel and departure.