Your overland trip will take you across the Middle Gobi Desert region is a serious ‘southern’ adventure and the best of all worlds! The Great Gobi Nomadic Quest is a combination of all three Dundgovi routes and communities making it the first Regional Community Route that includes Strictly Protected National Parks, desert Nomads, rural communities, and more! You will travel along the border from the north to the southeast and over to the southwest and back! This overland trip has been perfectly balanced to ensure all your days are focused on meaningful experiences rather than just pure jeep travel. From community to community you will travel overland and have amazing opportunities to experience real southern Nomadic hospitality. It’s a classic! I am sure that Roy Chapman Andrews and other early explorers of Mongolia would be proud of GER to GER’s attempt to bring back those early day adventures.
Day One – Travel to Mongolia’s Gobi Desert region (L, D): You will depart Ulaanbaatar City by rural bus and will start your southern journey overland to Mandagovi (the Provincial Center of the Middle Gobi) and as you travel you will witness the transforming power of the Gobi Desert. Upon arrival in Mandalgovi you will be welcomed a lunch and milk tea at Mrs. Mendamar’s family who is talented person to make embroidery art. You ‘may’ have an opportunity to experience the traditional embroidery art and learn the basic techniques. Then you will begin the 70-kilometer desert jeep ride to Mr. Enhjargal’s family where upon arrival they will prepare and serve you with dinner. Along this portion of the travel, you will begin to see Ih Gazriin Chuluu immerge in the distant horizon, it’s an amazing site and exceeds all expectations; from this point onwards you are nearing one of Mongolia’s truly unique ‘off the path’ destinations. If you made good travel time, this is the point to capture some brilliant wide angle or fish eye lens shots of Ih Gazriin Chuluu as you will be travel adjacent to it as the soft sunset rays will provide a brilliant luminance for some truly classic evening landscape shots.
Day Two – Camel riding and horse cart riding to nomad family (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, you will begin your camel trekking trip to Mr. Gundsamba’s family for about 15kms. Upon arrival they will prepare and serve you with a nomadic lunch and tea. This afternoon you ‘may’ have an opportunity to test your intellect with some Mongolia wood puzzles as well as Mrs. Altai will shows you how to make ‘uya’ a homemade nomadic rope that is used for constructing Mongolian Gers. In the early evening or late afternoon, you will continue your journey to Mr. Sugarbaatar’s family for 11 kilometers by horse cart. In the evening you will enjoy having dinner with family members before retire to your Ger.
Day Three – Trekking through Mongolia’s Monolithic Ih Gazriin Chuluu; Ancient Ocean Canyons (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): Today is the day that you have been eagerly been anticipating, after your breakfast Mr. Sugarbaatar will now start you unforgettable 12-kilometer trek through Ih Gazriin Chuluu and be truly over taken by the massiveness of this location. Like a National Geographic documentary, let your imagination free, 65 million years ago these were ocean canyons and before that it was the stomping grounds of herds of TREXs. South East of Ih Gazriin Chuluu it herds of TREXs has been reported to be found. As you trek, you will have opportunities to capture some of the most amazing rock formations. Once you arrive at Mr. Gundsambuu, they will begin to prepare and serve you with hot nomadic tea and dinner. While you are having your dinner, this is a great chance to relax and spend some quality time with your nomadic hosts and try to get to know the family. Before you retire to your Ger for the night, and if you brought a ball along, this is a great opportunity to play some volleyball or even go out for a light trek and take some wonderful landscape shots with the kids as they are playing or evening singing songs.
Day Four – Nomadic carvings and trekking through Mongolia’s monolithic Ih Gazriin Chuluu (B,L,D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast you will begin your horse riding for 12kms through the most amazing rock formations i.e. Hanan hets, Senjit, Twin’s Cave. This afternoon you will have a picnic lunch on the way. Upon arrival at Mr. Jig’s family, you can chill out having some drinks and homemade dairy products. Then you continue exploring rock formations by feet such as Tangad rock, Chinggis Khan Rock, Khur khartsag’s memorial place and monument as well as visit the Open Air Theatre that is home to the annual horse head fiddle and long song concert. Imagine this location filled with Mongolian performers located not only at the stage but also all around on the rocks providing a natural surround sound acoustics that rivals any home theatre systems. This is truly the time to make sure that you have your camera completely charged with back up batteries as from personal experience, from morning till late at night, you will be shooting and capture some of the most remote and truly spectacular images that are unique to Mongolia. In the early evening you will return at Mr. Jig’s family for a hot nomadic dinner and traditional Mongolian tea.
Day Five – More desert trekking and departure (B): Being your last day, before breakfast it a great time to go out for a light trek in the area and capture some brilliant early light silhouettes. After breakfast, you will have more opportunities for trekking and evening a little bouldering (for the more advanced) around the location and visit the surrounding caves as well as the monument erected in memory of Mongolia’s most famous long singer, Mrs. Norovbanzad. On the way you will stop at the local “Ovoo” (stone mound of Shamanistic culture, it believes that local deities listens to the people’s wishes and fulfills them) and put small stones. Around 1100 our local driver will arrive and you will continue your overland travel across the Middle Gobi’s Desert by local jeep to Mr. Khadbaatar’s Ger where his wife, Mrs. Alimaa, will welcome you a hot nomadic lunch and traditional Mongolian tea. Soon afterwards, you will have a great opportunity to learn about community life with his son Mungunshagai who will guide you around his native village. In the evening you ‘may’ enjoy a game of Basketball or even “teveg” (traditional hacky sack) and even try your hand at a traditional Mongolian game that uses the ankle bones of sheep called “Shagai” with the locals before returning for you evening dinner with the family and retiring for the night.
Day Six – Overland to visit Gandanchoinhorlin Monestary (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast, Mr. Mungunshagai will guide you through the village to the head Monk of Gandanchoinhorlin Monastery, Mr. Ravjir’s home, where he has been working at monastery for many years. Upon your visit he will show you a monument located at the top of a ovoo to which afterwards the local driver will pick you up and you will continue your journey to continue to next nomadic family. Once you reach Mr. Batbekh’s Ger, family will begin to prepare and serve you with a hot nomadic lunch. Afterwards, you ‘may’ have an opportunity to learn how nomads use sheep’s wool to make rope before explaining the techniques of milking camels – to which you can give it a try yourself. In the late afternoon, you will have a dinner with the family.
Day Seven – Overland for some fun in the sun (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast today, Mr. Batbekh will guide you to Uush Sand Dunes and Zag Mod by his motorbike – which is an adventure by itself. Uush Sand Dunes are medicinal and used for treating back, rheumatic fever, kidneys etc., domestic inhabitants annually go to Uush Sanatorium which is located near the sand dunes. Afterwards, you will continue your four kilometer desert journey to the ruins of Hutul Monastery and then onwards for another kilometer of trekking to “Tagtaa Amni Agui” (local cave). From this location you will have a 75 kilometer overland journey to Ulziit village, home to famous Mongolian Horse Head Fiddle Players, where upon arrival Mrs. Uigarmaa’s family they will prepare and serve you with a wonderful afternoon lunch and tea before you start your late afternoon six kilometer journey to Ban Cliffs. This is going to be a truly special evening as the sunsets you will greatly enjoy the atmosphere. Upon returning to Mrs. Ulzii’s home, they will prepare and serve you with a hot dinner before retiring for the night for a much deserve rest. Apart from the above you can use other paid services – hot shower, laundry, telephone and medical shop etc.
Day Eight – Overland to Del Mountain’s Petroglyhs – lots of ancient Petroglyphs! (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger Camp): After breakfast around 1100 you will continue your trip to Tsagaan suvraga toruist camp where you will have a lunch at ger camp and then continue your journey to Petroglyph Gallery of the Del Mountain and Bold cliffs; camels, horses, wild-sheep, animals and people who holds javelin etc., are described on 20 separate petroglyphs. Mongolian scientists defined that Petroglyphs of Del Mountain were inscribed 3000 years ago. Afterwards, you will continue to drive for 20kms and reach Bold cliffs. Bold cliff are famous for an ancient tale of one monk that escaped from his monastery and lived in cliffs because he fell in love with woman. In the cliffs you will find a rock bed, chairs etc., which were used by the Monk. You will have dinner at a remote ger camp and have an opportunity to take a hot shower there.
Day Nine – Overland Trip to the famous wind canyons of Tsagaan Suvrag (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): After breakfast at ger camp you will drive to Tsagaan suvraga cliffs. It is interesting to see the sheer slope, facing east; from a distance it seems to be the ruins of the ancient city. The cliff is 30 meters high and 100 meters wide. Over thousands of years the wind has created this amazing structure. Then continue your driving to Saikhan – Ovoo by local jeep. Upon arrival at Mr. Undral’s Ger, you will have dinner and overnight in the family’s extra ger.
Day Ten – Trekking to the ancient ruins of Ongiin Monastery (B, L, D – Overnight at Ger Camp): After breakfast, you’ll have plenty of time to participate in the daily routine of nomadic lifestyle. After a hot nomadic lunch and traditional Mongolian tea – you will begin your ten kilometer trekking excursion to the ancient ruins of Ongiin Monastery and will visit the locally famous pierced rock called ‘Senjit’; where Chinggis Khan used to tie his horses too. Along the way, you will visit Zambaga Khairkhan that is a locally worshipped mountain and the historically significant cave that once served as refuge to Mongolia’s “Robin Hoods” from local authorities. After a brilliant day of trekking in these remote desert landscapes, redden by the desert sun, you will begin your journey back to Tsagaan Ovoo Ger Camp where you will have dinner and overnight.
Day Eleven – Trek around Ongiin Monastery, Gobi Desert’s Largest Ruins (B, L, D – Overnight in Ger): Today is the day! After breakfast you are in walking distance of Ongiin Monastery, historically it was established 300 years ago and was the Gobi Desert’s largest monastery throughout the Gobi Desert Region. During the repression of 1930s, the monastery was completely destroyed and around 300 monks were persecuted by revolutionists – today its one of Mongolia’s most important gateways in between the central pastoral region and the internationally famous Khongor Sand Dunes in the deep southern region of Mongolia. After a wonderful afternoon of trekking around this amazing historical site, you will drive to your overnight destination at Mr. Jenkhuu’s Ger. Upon arrival you will have a wonderful opportunity to travel by horse surrounding area for 5-6km and ‘may’ learn a Mongolian traditional game called ‘Dembee’, which does involve the drinking of mare’s milk and most likely some singing! If you survive (a little joke), you will have a great dinner and stay overnight at families’ extra Ger.
Day Twelve – Departure back to Mandalgovi (B, L – Overnight at Hotel, Independent): After breakfast you will may have some nomad lifestyle learning opportunities before lunch; to which our local driver will being the 220 kilometer journey by Russian jeep back to Mandalgovi. Once you reach Mandalgovi, you can take the 1400 bus or overnight at the local hotel to catch the 0800 morning bus to Ulaanbaatar.