Duration: 5 days / 4 nights;
Group size (Per Person Price): 2 per (594USD); 3-4per (520USD); 5-6per (505USD); 7-8per (467USD)
Difficulty of trip: Easy-Moderately
Availability: 1 Jun-1 Oct
This GER to GER overland packaged trip is a wonderful combination of several stunning geographical and historical gems; one being a desert oasis and the second being the famed Orkhon Waterfall. In between locations, you’ll have a wonderful opportunity to visit the famed Karakorum that was the Empire of the Ancient Mongol Khans and the remotely located/hidden monastery known as ‘Tuvkhun Khiid’. This and many more fantastic cultural adventures awaits you – this itinerary has been custom designed for those that wish to have a Gobi Desert Experience but may not have the time nor the funds to make such a long desert expedition.
[ ZONE 3 – Packaged Trips for Everyone ]
Day One – Desert Horseback Trek to the Monument Dedicated to the Famed Queen Manduhai and then Onwards to “Swan Lake” Desert Oasis (L, D – Overnight in Genuine Nomadic Ger): Today you will depart early in the morning from the Dragon Bus station via rural coach bus at 0800 from Ulaanbaatar. Along the way, you will begin to experience a variety of steppe landscapes and even see some small villages 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. Mongol’s family where they will welcome you with a warm nomadic lunch and traditional milk tea. Afterwards, you will have a 7-8 kilometer round-trip by horseback to the truly picturesque Swan Lake (desert oasis) and the famous filming location of Queen Manduhai – where a monument has been placed in remembrance; the only Queen, post Chingis Khan, who united the Mongol Tribes. 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 testament to strength, tolerance and passion to exist as a pair in such extreme yet beautiful environment. Later you will return to the family where they will prepare and serve you a nomadic dinner and traditional tea. Tonight you can retire early to the family’s extra ger and get some rest as tomorrow morning you’ll have the option to wake up early in the morning (around 0600) to help the family milk some cows.
Day 2 – Horseback Trek to Mongolia’s Bugdiin Ovoo – A Local Shamanistic Culture of Worshipping Nature’s Natural Energy Points (B, L, D – Overnight in Genuine Nomadic Ger): After breakfast, you will start your horseback journey along the nomadic route to the next nomad family. Upon arrival at Mr. Otgonbayar’s family, they will start to prepare and serve you a freshly made hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea before continuing your 12-kilometer day trip towards the highly respected Bugdiin Ovoo (translation “Everyone’s Ovoo”). The ‘ovoo worship’ ceremony originates from shamanistic practices that consider the entire universe to be alive and interconnected; some nomadic families conduct the ceremony whereas many nomads across Mongolia struggle to keep it alive. 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 respect 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 followed by the option to help herd the family sheep back to their gers on horse back with Mr. Otgonbayar – or – retire for the night in your own nomadic ger.
Day 3 – Horseback Towards Mongol Desert Sand Dunes followed by Overland Journey to Orkhon Valley (B, L ,D – Overnight in Genuine Nomadic Ger): After breakfast, you’ll have a 4-5 kilometer journey by horseback to Elsen Tasarhai Sand Dunes before returning to the family where they will prepare and serve you a farewell nomadic lunch and traditional tea. This afternoon you will travel overland to the Orkhon Valley, which sprawls along the banks of the Orkhon River in Central Mongolia. UNESCO inscribed it in the World Heritage List as representing evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions spanning more than two millennia. For many centuries, the Orkhon Valley was viewed as the seat of the imperial power of the steppes. The first evidence comes from a stone stele with runic inscriptions which was erected in the valley by Bilge Khan in 8th-century. Upon arrival at nomad family, they will prepare and greet you with an evening dinner and milk tea before retiring to nomads’ extra Ger for rest, relaxation and sleep.
Day 4 – Trekking Orkhon Steppe Waterfalls and Junior Flow (B, L, D – Overnight in Genuine Nomadic Ger): In the early morning you can participate with the family in their daily nomadic chores that includes milking or herding yaks (before breakfast). Afterwards, you’ll quickly pack your day bag for the 5-6 kilometer (round-trip) trek to the Orkhon Waterfall. Ulaan Tsutgalan, a waterfall on the Ulaan River, cascades from an impressive height of 20 meters with a width of 10 meters and it extends for 100 meters from the Orkhon River; the Orkhon River flows through basalt rocks from Gyatruu Range to Karakorum. This is a great opportunity to bring your camera for landscape shots during your trek. When you return to the nomadic family you will have a lunch and milk tea followed by an afternoon of exploring the beauty of Orkhon Valley and even trekking to Baga Tsutgalan (“Junior Flow”); locals call this small waterfall “Junior Flow” as it is a continuation of the River. People say rheumatism will be cured if you stand under the waterfall and have your back splashed on by its water. As the waterfall is not very tall, there is no risk of injury or of falling – nevertheless – travelers are advised to be cautious while walking as the river bottom below the waterfall has very big stones that might require a bit more balance to walk across. 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 5 – Journey Towards the Famed Karakorum and then Onwards to Ulaanbaatar City (B, L): After breakfast, we’ll begin the 170 kilometer overland journey towards the famed Ancient Capital City of the Mongol Empire known as Karakorum where you can spend some time walking through the ruins as well as visiting the Erdenezuu monastery that is located within its fortress walls. 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; Erdenezuu Monastery is Mongolia’s first Buddhist Monastery established by Abtai Sain Khan in 1585. Afterwards you will have a farewell lunch at Ger Camp near that Erdenezuu monastery before boarding the bus back to Ulaanbaatar that departs around 3-4pm.
- Visiting nomadic families
- All nomadic breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
- Herder guide service on route
- Horse riding according to itinerary
- Pack animals on route
- Cultural activities (milking animals, play ankle bone game etc)
- Boiled water on route
- Local transport service according to itinerary
- Two ways bus ticket between UB city and Rashaant
- National park fee & monastery entrance fee
- 4 nights at nomadic families’ extra felt dwelling
- Camping equipments /sleeping bag, mattress/
- Personal use