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The Gobi and Ancient Mongolia tour with Naadam Festival

The Gobi and Ancient Mongolia tour with Naadam Festival

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Mongolia is famous for being the homeland of Genghis Khan, his mighty Mongol Empire and a nomadic people whose lives are not changed in many ways from the days of the Mongolian Empire. And this fantastic Mongolia tour will take you to the ancient capital Karakorum: legendary 16th century Erdene Zuu monastery, Karakorum town museum and the UNESCO world heritage Orkhon River Valley. Then you will travel to the Gobi Desert, where a three-day circuit explores the lofty sand dunes of Khongoriin Els, the glacial canyon of Yolyn Am, and the red cliffs of Bayanzag, where the world’s richest deposits of dinosaur fossils are found. Afterwards, the Mongolia tour will take you to Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, one of the best-preserved wildlife reserve in Mongolia, taking the opportunity to glimpse the rare Argali sheep and several rare bird species.

Best Season: July 1st week


11 nights / 12 Days

Tour Plan


Day 01: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia meet at the airport after custom formalities and transfer to the hotel.

Day 02: Ulaanbaatar-The Gobi- Yoliin Am Gorge, Khongor sand dunes.

Today morning, we will take local flight to Dalanzadgad /The Gobi town/we take road through the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan the final peak of Altai Mountain. Enjoy hiking in the beautiful Yoliin Am Gorge located in the Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Possible spotting wildlife if you are lucky. Visit local natural museum in the area. Lunch at the ger camp nearby and we continue our drive to Khongor sand dunes- Mongolia’s longest and most beautiful sand dunes that stretch over 180km in the arid Gobi Desert. Arrive in the early evening. Transfer to the ger camp. Dinner and rest.

Day 03: Khongor Sand Dunes, Camel Ride- Dream Gobi lodge

After breakfast, we drive to the Khongor sand dunes. Visit local camel breeder family and enjoy 1 hour camel riding at the sand dunes. Enjoy walking on the dunes and visit to Khongor river. Lunch at the ger camp and we head to Dream Gobi lodge. Arrival in the early evening and transfer to the ger camp. Learn Mongolian traditional games with the ankle bones from the sheep and goat in the early evening.

Day 04: Dream Gobi Lodge –Bayanzag/ The Flaming cliffs- Ongi Monastery ruins

In the morning, we visit the Bayanzag- the Flaming Cliffs in Mongolian fashion. Enjoy the wilderness and unique nature formations. Explore around for dinosaur remains in a world famous dinosaur site,you can even find real dinosaur bones and eggs yourself! Enjoy walking in the rich saxual forest. Watch the documentary about First Scientific expedition in Flaming Cliffs. Lunch at the ger camp nearby and we depart to Ongi Monastery ruins. Visit to Ongi monastery ruins which dates back to 18th century.

Day 05: Ongi Monastery Ruins – Karakorum

Breakfast and we drive to ancient capital Karakorum with the stop in the ancient rock painting. On the way, we will stop at nomadic family to meet with locals and learn about their way of life. Lunch at the family ger.Try yak riding at the family for photo. Arrive in Karakorum late afternoon. Then, we will visit the newly established Museum of Karakorum which gives a good introduction to Central Mongolia, its history. Overnight at ger camp.

Day 06: Karakorum – Khorgo Terkh National Park.

Today’s drive brings you into the volcanic surrounds of Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan - the 'Great White Lake'. The lake lies calmly in the arms of tall hills, its water extremely clear and lined with long sand beaches. The road winds along the shoreline, past Shamanic piles of black lava, before it cuts a short distance inland towards the Khorgo Volcano. At around 10,000 feet up, the volcano is now extinct, but still revered by the nomads of the region. A short walk takes you to the crater rim, where red-stained rock descends into a deep chasm surrounded by sacred Ovoo mounds. Look back towards Lake Terkh Tsagaan - there is an excellent view over the lake through a small hillpass.

Day 07: Khorgo Terkh National Park – Tsenkher Hot Springs

Breakfast and we drive to Tsenkher hot springs with with a stop in Tsetserleg town to visit the Zay Bandida monastery currently operating as a Khalkh ethnic museum. Visit town bazaar to see the local’s lifestyle. Arrive in hot springs in the evening, enjoy hot bath.

Day 08: Tsenkher Hot Springs- Elsen Tasarkhai (Bayangobi)

In the morning we drive to Elsen Tasarkhai passing Karakorum on our way. We visit legendary monastery Erdene Zuu, the first Buddhist monastery in Central Mongolia founded in 1586 on the ruins of Karakorum. Lunch at the ger camp and we drive to Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. Arrive and transfer to the tourist camp. Visit local nomad family to witness their hospitality and talk with them.

Day 09: Elsen Tasarkhai- Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast, we will drive to Ulaanbaatar for 4-5 hours. Optional souvenir and cashmere shopping in the afternoon. Lunch in Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy traditional folklore concert by the magical Tumen Ekh ensemble.

Day 10: Naadam Festival: Opening Ceremony, Archery, Wrestling and Ankle bone shooting.

Today is the first day of Naadam Festival. Enjoy seeing the fantastic opening ceremony in the central stadium. Visit Archery and Ankle bone shooting fields and enjoy watching traditional Mongolian games. Lunch and we visit Sukhbaatar square and National museum of history. Dinner and transfer to the hotel for rest.

Day 11: Naadam Festival: Horse racing, Awarding ceremonies and wrestling.

In the early morning, we drive to Khui Doloon Hudag to see the horse races. Mongolian horse race is one way from the start line to finish line and the distance is 15-25 km. We will see Soyolon (5 year old horse) race which is thought to be the most spiritual one. Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Lunch at the restaurant. We visit the central stadium to see final rounds of wrestling and awarding ceremonies for winner horses, archers and ankle bone shooters. Dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Day 12: Departure from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Pick up and transfer to the airport.
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