Once and awhile some trips are purely designed to give you, the international traveler, the best possible geographical experience within traditional overland routes. This itinerary has been custom designed for those geographic travelers in mind with the right mix of ingredients: a little bit of community based tourism, some desert oasis and natural hot springs mixed with ancient volcanoes, Khuvsgul Lake, Amarbayasgalant Monastery (Ancient cultural gem that escape destruction) and more! It’s the perfect recipe for the avid adventurer that would like to enrich their activities and experiences between the main travel points: Ulaanbaatar and Khuvsgul Lake.
Day One – Arrival to Ulaanbaatar, Local Sightseeing and Fine Dining (D – Overnight in Hotel): On the first day of your arrival you will transfer to the 4 Star Hotel and possibly have a short city sight-seeing tour (depending on arrival time) that includes visiting the main square, oldest Buddhist Gandan Monastery and the National Museum. In the evening, you will have a welcoming dinner at a fine local restaurant before returning to your hotel for the evening. It’s a good idea to rest early this evening before tomorrow’s early departure that will take you to the first point along the travel route.
Day Two – Horseback Riding Trip (or via Camels) to Topaz of Mongolia, Locally known as Khogan Khan National Park where you will visit the Honored Khadagt Khoshuu Site (B,L,D – Overnight in extra Mongolian Nomadic Ger): In the morning you will travel by vehicle to Rashaant village for 280kms, along the way you will see many scenic locations as it drives by vast nomadic pastures. Upon arrival at Mr. Byambatogtoh’s family (first family), they will prepare and greet you with an afternoon lunch. Afterwards Mr. Byambatogtoh and/or his sons will guide you by horseback to the locally worshipped site of Khadagt Khoshuu that is 10.5kms away. Upon arrival, you will dismount from your camels or horses to observe or even participate with the herders’ in local customs to honor the site. Early this evening you will return to the family’s ger where you will be welcomed with a hot nomadic dinner before retiring to the family’s extra ger.
Day Three – Horseback Riding Trip to Golden Dunes known as Mongol Desert Sand Dunes and the Locally Famous Swan Lake (B,L,D – Overnight in extra Mongolian Nomadic Ger): After breakfast, you will continue your horseback riding trip to the next nomadic family where you will be greeted by Mr. Idertsogt and his family with a hot nomadic lunch and traditional Mongolian tea. After your meal and some rest, you will have an afternoon horseback ride to the beautifully scenic Swan Lake that is located at the base of the Mongol Desert Sand Dunes. This roundtrip is generally a 6km horseback ride – 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 Swan Couples that are testimonies to strength, tolerance and passion. Later you will return 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 Four – Horseback Ride to Queen Manduhai Location followed by Overland Travel to Ancient Karakorum, the historical Diamond of Mongolia (B,L,D – Overnight at Ger Camp): In the early morning you can participate with the family with their daily nomadic chores that include milking of livestock before your breakfast. Afterwards, Mr. Idertsogt will guide you by horseback to the location of the monument that was constructed for the featured film about Queen Manduhai (5km round trip). In the afternoon, you will return to the family where they will prepare and serve you with a farewell lunch and tea. This afternoon you will travel overland to the Ancient Capital City of the Mongol Empire known as Karakorum where you can spend time walking through the ruins as well as visit the Erdenezuu monastery that is located within its fortress walls before retiring to a nearby ger camp. Karakorum was established in 1220 and flourished both as Mongol Empire’s Capital for 32 years as well as Mongolia’s Capital for 140 years and Erdenezuu Monastery is Mongolia’s first Buddhist Monastery established by Abtai Sain Khan in 1585.
Day Five – Overland Travel to Arkhangai Province’s Sapphire of Mongolia called Tsenher Hot Springs for Relaxation (B,L,D – Overnight at Ger Camp): After breakfast, you will travel overland to Arkhangai Province which is commonly referred to as the ‘horse breeders’ paradise’ as its pastures are geographically rich in vast green fields and clear river valleys. Some travelers and locals refer to Arhangai Province as to be comparative with Switzerland with its amazingly beautiful mountains, cliffs, rapid rivers, and green forests. Today you will enjoy the natural bounties of Tsenher Hot Springs where the hot spring water flows out of the ground at 82° C and overnight at the ger camp.
Day Six – Horseback Ride to the Garnet of Mongolia, “Khorgo” Volcano and Yellow Dog’s Cave (B, L, D – Overnight in Mongolian Ger): After breakfast, you will travel overland to White Lake for 185 km by rural vehicle. White Lake is an astonishingly beautiful lake – the lake is about 20 km long and 16km wide, it supports Pike and other fish as well as rare birds’ species can be found here. You will be served lunch when you arrive at Mr. Batbold’s ger camp. Then you will travel by horseback for 20kms (round trip) to a volcanic crater called Khorgo which is 2100m above sea level. From the summit there is a splendid view of the whole lake region, as you continue your journey, you will also visit the famous Yellow Dog’s cave (a local legend stated that a compassionate monk kept a sick dog in this cave in order to protect it from being killed). In the evening, you will return Batbold’s family and be welcomed with a farewell dinner and milk tea before retiring to your Ger.
Day Seven – Overland Drive to Galt Hot Spring (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger Camp): After breakfast, you will travel overland through the wooded slopes of Khangai Mountain Range and cross high mountain passes. Along the way, you will have a picnic lunch before arriving at Galt Hot Springs where you can relax in properly outfitted hot springs and overnight at the ger camp.
Day Eight – Overland Drive to Emerald of Mongolia known as Lake Khuvsgul (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger Camp): Lake Khuvsgul is truly a highlight of any trip to Mongolia and today you head north to the crystal clear waters – it is the deepest lake in Central Asia, measured with a maximum depth of 262 meters. The reflections of larch forests and majestic Mountains around the lake are truly amazing; 96 rivers and streams feed into Khuvsgul Lake and the Egiin River exits from it. On the way we will pass through Murun which is the capital of Khuvsgul Province before reaching the overnight destination at the ger camp located next to Khuvsgul Lake.
Day Nine – Trekking along the Lake (B, L, D – Overnight at Ger Camp): After your breakfast, you can spend it trekking around the lake’s beautiful scenery. The scenery of the area is well worth the exploration time! Possibly you can also travel by boat on the Lake on your own as camp organizes the full day and half day boat trip. Tonight you will overnight in a ger camp next to the lake.
Day Ten – Overland Drive and trekking to the Extinct Uran Volcano (B, L, D – Overnight at Ger Camp): After breakfast at the camp, you will drive to Bulgan province where you will enjoy the day hiking the extinct Uran volcano. This extinct volcano lies near the road, and stretches from Moron to Bulgan town; the reserve occupies a territory of 8 square kilometers with an elevation of 1,686 meters above sea level and has been protected since its 1965 environmental listing as a “Natural Monument “. On the top of the extinct volcano is crater that spans 500 to 600 meters wide and 50 meters deep that is filled with a small “crater lake” about 20 meters in diameter; at the center this there are green woods which is really fascinating as Red deer, Argali, Wild boar, Siberian Ibex, ruddy Shelduck, and duck are all found in this region. Tonight you will overnight at a ger camp nearby the Mountain.
Day Eleven – Overland Travel to Amarbayasgalant Monastery, the Hidden Cultural Ruby of the Region (B, L, D – Overnight at Ger Camp): After your early morning breakfast at the camp, you will continue your overland travel to Amarbayasgalant monastery. Upon arrival at tourist camp that is located nearby the monastery, you will be served a hot lunch and traditional tea. Afterwards, you will begin your two-kilometer trek towards the monastery that is nestled at the basin of the mountain valley. During your visitation at the monastery, you will learn about history, uniqueness of Monastery and the daily life of monks that continue to live the traditional ways within the walls. In the evening you will trek back to the camp where you will have your evening dinner and overnight in Ger.
Day Twelve – Back to Ulaanbaatar (B, L, D – Overnight in Hotel): After breakfast, you will continue your 160kms overland travel to Darkhan. Upon arrival in Darkhan, you will have your lunch at the Texas Restaurant and then continue your journey back to Ulaanbaatar where you will enjoy your farewell dinner that will be followed by a visit to the Zaisan Hill for a night view the city. Afterwards you will return to your 4 Star Hotel for good nights rest before your departure the next day.
Day Thirteen – Departure from Ulaanbaatar (B): After breakfast at our hotel, we will drive to the airport for our international departing flight.