On this soft cultural trip, you will journey to a land where a historically important film centered around Queen Manduhai was produced as well as visit the surrounding sites that include Khadaat Khosuu (a special place of local worship), Khugnu Tarni Monastery, Swan Lake and the nested near the Elsen Tasarhai sand dunes. Throughout your desert cultural adventure, you will travel by camels, ox carts and horses with local nomads through a variety of desert-steppe zones in between nomadic families where you will overnight in traditional nomadic ger during your visits.
There is a wise saying, “it is much better to see something once than hear it a thousand times.” Our quest will give you a golden chance to explore the nomadic way of life and to introduce you to one of a place where a part of Mongolia’s great history was made. The journey will also provide an opportunity to participate in Mongolian culture.
Day One – Camel riding and Some trekking, hiking (sometimes via horseback too) to Mongolia’s locally adorned Khadagt Khoshuu (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): Today you will depart early in the morning from the Dragon Bus station via rural coach bus (like the USA Greyhound Bus Line) at 0800 from Ulaanbaatar. Along the way, you will begin to experience a variety of steppe landscapes and even see some small village as you make your way to Rashaant village (280 kilometers). Upon arrival at the rural drop off point, a local vehicle will take you to Mr. Byambatogtoh’s family where they will 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 Two – Camel riding and some trekking to Mongolia’s Human Statue of Ar Bulgan (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will begin your 6 kilometer camel trek to Mongol’s family to which you will be welcomed with a hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea. Afterwards, you will have 5 kilometer roundtrip to visit the stone human statue located at Ar Bulgan. In the evening you will return to the family where you will have your evening dinner with the family before retiring to your own nomadic ger for the night.
Day 3 – Horseback riding to Mongolia’s Bugdiin Ovoo (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will continue your horseback journey along the nomadic route for 8 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 Four – Horseback riding to Mongolia’s Swan Lake (desert oasis) nestled next to the Mongol Desert Sand Dunes (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will have a 12 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 Five – Horseback riding to Mongolia’s Khugnu Tarni Monastery (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): Today after breakfast you will start your 11 kilometer roundtrip horseback ride with Mr. Idertsogt to visit the historically important Khugnu Tarni Monastery that was established in the 17th century by Zanabazar who had built both “Old” and ”Young” temples for his teacher. In 1688, the revolutionary troops under the Galdan Boshigt destroyed the monastery and killed most of the monks by tying a rope around their necks which is known as Khugnuh in Mongolian Language. During this time, around 200 monks had escaped to northern regions of Mongolia; it’s from this historical event that the mountain received the name Khugnu Khan where till today peacefully rests the Khugnu Tarni Monastery. Afterwards, you will continue your horseback journey to the local medicinal spring known for healing quality for eyes before returning to the nomad family for your afternoon lunch. After your meal, you have plenty of opportunity to walk, hike and even trek the surrounding area or participate in their daily routines in the evening or even preparing dinner together before retiring for the night.
Day Six – Horseback riding to Mongolia’s Queen Manduhai Monument before departure: Today is your last day, enjoy the morning with the family doing nomadic routines before your breakfast. Afterwards, you and Mr. Idertsogt will travel by horseback for 5 kilometers to the famous filming location of Queen Manduhai – where a monument has been placed in remembrance. Later you will return to the family where they will prepare and serve you a farewell nomadic lunch and traditional tea. Soon after the local driver will arrive and bring you to the bus station where you will board the bus around 1600-1700 and return to Ulaanbaatar City.