Gobi Desert & Khangai Region Tour
13 nights & 14 days
Experience the beauty of the giant singing sand dunes
Discover the birthplace of dinosaurs in the famous "Flaming Cliffs"
Visit the ruins of the ancient capital of the Great Mongolian Empire
Climb the giant statue of the Great Chinggis Khan
Travel to the Khorgo volcano and the beautiful Terkh White Lake
Indulge yourself in a natural hot springs resort
Take a UB city tour and satisfy your shopping needs in finest Mongolian cashmere
Day 1: Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) - Arrive in Ulaanbaatar
Welcome to Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital city of Mongolia. Upon arrival at Chinggis Khaan international airport you will be transferred to the hotel. After a short rest, we start our exploration by visiting Sukhbaatar Square, Zanabazar Fine Art Museum and Gandan Monastery. In the evening we have a welcome dinner. Overnight in hotel.
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar – Baga Gazaryn Chuluu
After breakfast at the hotel, we will drive out of the city to the Baga Gazaryn Chuluu Mountain range in the Dundgobi province. This is a 15 km long and 10 km wide beautifully shaped rocky mountain with abundance of streams in the middle gobi desert. There are more than 200 tombs and tumuli dated back to different historical periods. You can find a 20 m long crystal cave called Jargalant. The locals share a story of an old woman whose only goat went to the cave and disappeared. She went after the goat and never came back. The Sudut Valley is one of the beautiful places where a narrow canyon with ash, birch, white wicker and elm tree grow. About 300 years ago 2 Buddhist monks lived there in the valley and meditated. When they built their 2 gers (yurts) they switched the water flow of a small stream to flow through their gers, so that they needn't bother going out for drinking water. It is believed that when they died, they were buried in the area with their art works. Also, in the midst of the stone cliffs you can find a stone temple called Lovonchombo's temple. Later, Mongolia's greatest philosopher, scientist, poet, Buddhist monk Zava Damdin (1867-197) stayed in this temple and wrote his books. To the south-east of the Baga Gazaryn Chuluu there is a Mongolian ger shaped small stone on which you can see some rock paintings that belong to the Bronze age. Not far from the Ger stone, on another stone, there is a painting of 2 deer and this 170 cm long and 90 cm wide painting is considered one of the largest found in the province. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner.
Day 3: Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park
After breakfast, we will depart to the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National park located in Umnugobi province. The park occupies more than 380 kilometers from west to east. The park has an extremely varied landscape with rocky and sandy desert plains, precipitous cliffs and ravines. We will stay overnight in a local ger camp in the park. While there, we will explore the beautiful Yolyn Am, the Eagle Valley. It’s one of the natural secrets of the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, a beautiful deep canyon with many rocky cliffs which has been created by many years of water erosion. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 4: Khongor Els Sand Dunes
Khongoryn Els is the largest sand dune in Mongolia and it has an extraordinary length of 180 kilometers and 15-20 kilometers width, reaching a height of impressive 300-400 meters. Standing before the enormous gleaming white sand dune, which once was an ancient lake bed, and listening to its roaring sounds is an incredible experience. At the northern edge of the dunes, on the bank of Khongor River, there is oasis, which is rich in plantation and supports drinking water for animal species in the region. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 5: Bayanzag, the Flaming Cliffs
After breakfast at the camp, we will head to Bayanzag in Bulgan village of the Umnugobi province. We will stay in Bayanzag for a night in a local camp. This area is the birthplace of dinosaurs, and is renowned worldwide for the number of Cretaceous dinosaur eggs and bones found here. They were discovered by Roy Chapman Andrews in 1922. In the same area, he discovered petrified forests, remains of mammals and in particular the skeleton of a hornless rhinoceros. Other finds in this location were complete dinosaur skeletons, eggs with a diameter of 10-15cm. Mongolia is considered the second biggest country for dinosaur finds (while USA is first). 330 types of dinosaurs have been found in the world and 60 types of them belong to Mongolia. This popular place has the name “Flaming Cliffs”, named by American archaeologists when they were in the Gobi in 1922. Not so far from the Flaming Cliffs, there is a forest of saxaul trees–Gobi trees with extremely deep roots. Bayanzag literally means "Rich in saxual trees". This tree only grows in the central Asian Gobi. The tree is always green, even in very dry summers. It supports nomadic animals with emergency feed in some very dry summers. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 6: Ongi Monastery
After breakfast, we check out of the camp and drive to the Ongi Monastery ruins in the middle gobi. The ruins of Ongi temple are found in Saikhan-Ovoo village of the Middle Gobi province, about 250 kms from Karakorum, en route to South Gobi. It is the ruin of a big monastery on the bank of the Ongiin River. It is one of the longest river in Mongolia at 435 km long and it flows into Ulaan Nuur. The river's source is the Khangai Mountain range in Ovorkhangai province.
Formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, Ongi monastery was founded in 1660 and consisted of two temple complexes on the north and south banks of the Ongi River. Among the temples is one of the largest in all Mongolia. The Ongi monastery grounds also has 4 religious universities and could accommodate over one thousand monks at a time. But during the 1930s, the monastery was completely destroyed and over 200 monks were killed by the communists. After democracy came to Mongolia in 1990, monks returned to Ongi monastery where they had begun their Buddhist education as young children some 60 years prior. These monks started laying a new foundation upon the old ruins, with a vision to restore Ongi monastery and restore Buddhism in Mongolia. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 7: Kharkhorin, ancient capital of Great Mongolian Empire
After breakfast, we drive to Kharkhorin town in Ovorkhangai province. Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongol empire, was established by Chinggis Khan in 1220 in the Orkhon valley at the crossroads of the Silk Road. Karakorum was a busy splendid city built by the best artists and masters of antiquity. The ancient capital served as the political, cultural and economic capital of the Mongols for 40 years until Khublai Khan moved it to Khanbalik, in what is now Beijing. Following the move to Beijing, Karakorum was abandoned and then destroyed by the soldiers from Ming Dynasty in 1388. The remains of the capital that stood at the crossroads of the Silk Road are extensive underground archaeological assets, with two granite turtles that once stood at the main gate to the city. Four of these turtle sculptures used to mark the boundaries of ancient Karakorum, acting as protectors of the city (turtles are considered as symbols of eternity). Later in 1586, Erdene Zuu, the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, was built on the ruins of the 13th century capital city. Nowadays there is small town called Kharkhorin, which is 360 km from Ulaanbaatar. Kharkhorin is located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon River, which is part if the World Heritage Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp by the Orkhon river.
Day 8: Tsenkher hot springs
Tsenkher hot springs, the biggest of the Mongolia's 42 hot springs, is at an elevation of 1860 meters above sea level, located 500 km from UB, or 35 km south-west from Tsetserleg city, Arkhangai province. The water temperature is 86/C. It has high alkalinity and relatively high amounts of fluoride. The hot springs are mostly used to treat rheumatism, and diseases of the nervous system. This is also perfect for relaxing and restoring your health. Relaxing and indulging in the indoor and outdoor hot pools under the bright stars of a vast Mongolian sky is a unique experience. Relax for the rest of the day. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a local resort.
Day 9: Tsenkher hot springs
Spend the full day at the resort relaxing. You can also visit a nomadic Mongolian herder family to observe their daily life activities. We can still visit some horse trainers and see them practise their skills. You can also ride horses and do some hiking. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight at the resort.
Day 10: Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
After breakfast at the resort, we will go to the Terkhiin Tsagaan lake, which is known as the White lake. Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake is an astonishingly beautiful lake with relatively pure fresh water. Torrents of lava issuing from the Khorgo volcano blocked the north and south Terkh Rivers, so forming the dammed lake of Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake at an altitude of 2060 meters above sea level. The lake is 16 km wide, 4-10 meters deep with its deepest point at 28 meters and over 20 kilometers in length. Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 11: Erdenezuu monastery
After breakfast at the camp, depart for Erdene Zuu Khiid - The first Buddhist monastery called Erdene-Zuu was built on ruins of Kharkhorin. The monastery occupies an area surrounded by a stone wall with 108 stupas lining on it. The Erdene-Zuu monastery preserves marvelous works of Mongolian artists, painters, cutters, sculptors, embroiders and craftsmen. It had between 60 and 100 temples, about 300 gers inside the walls and, at its peak, up to 1000 monks in residence. Erdene zuu Monastery was destroyed by communists in 1930s during the political purge. Surprisingly, many Buddha images and statues, tsam masks and thangkas were saved by locals. The monastery was closed until 1965 and reintroduced as a museum to public. After the democratic revolution in 1990, religious freedom was restored and the monastery became active again.
Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day 12: Erdenezuu monastery - Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast at the camp, we continue the drive to UB. Upon arrival at UB, you will be transferred to the hotel. The rest of the day is for you to relax. In the evening enjoy a traditional Mongolian cultural show. Overnight in UB.
Day 13: Tsonjin Boldog - The Chinggis Khan Statue and Terelj National Park
After breakfast at the hotel, leave to the big Chinggis Khan's Statue located at Tsonjin Boldog 54 km from UB. This giant 40 meters tall statue was built in a legendary place believed to be where the Great King found a golden whip. You walk to the head of the horse through its chest and neck and at the top you can enjoy a panoramic view. Also, you will be guided to the museum showing exhibits relating to the Bronze Age and Xiongnu archaeological cultures in Mongolia; as well as the Great Khan period in the 13 and 14th centuries which has ancient tools, golden objects and some Nestorian crosses and rosaries.
In the afternoon we arrive in Terelj National Park, the most popular destination and 3rd biggest protected area in Mongolia. We will enjoy seeing the interesting formations of rocks, including the famous Turtle Rock. In the evening we come back to UB. Overnight in hotel.
Day 14: Departure from UB
After breakfast at the hotel, you will be transferred to the Chinggis Khaan International Airport to board your flight to your home country, or your next destination country.