China and Mongolia. Two capitals, the Great Wall and nomadic life in the Gobi Desert

Price
$1990
+ flight to Beijing and back home
Duration
13 days

What you get

Two countries
Beijing, Ulaanbaatar, The Wall and wildlife
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader-traveler
Food
Two meals a day in Mongolia
Accommodation
12 nights
Physical grade
Level 2 (easy) out of 5

China and Mongolia. Two capitals, the Great Wall and nomadic life in the Gobi Desert

See the main treasures of two grand empires and enjoy nomadic life among the vast expanses of the Great Steppe.

  • Explore the Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven in Beijing and take a walk around Ulaanbaatar
  • Meet real shamans and watch Buddhist ceremonies in lost monasteries 
  • Immerse yourself in nomadic life, spending the night in yurts of hospitable locals
  • Walk along the Great Wall of China, where we will be the only visitors
  • Visit Karakorum - the capital of Genghis Khan, from where he ruled his gigantic empire

Trip code
CHMN

Departures

2020
Price
Book
19 July, Sun 01 August, Sat
$ 1990

Day 1

Beijing Hutong, a medieval district Tiananmen square Forbidden City

We arrive in Beijing and check into a hotel in a historical hutong - a medieval district. We begin our group trip to China and Mongolia with a walk along the narrow streets, where we will watch locals go about their daily life and peeking into small cafes and shops. Next, we head to the main square of the country, which is considered the largest in the world - Tiananmen. In the West, it became famous after the dispersal of a demonstration here in 1989. Of course, now nothing here reminds of the events of those days. 

We walk to the Forbidden City - the residence of the emperor, which consists of 980 buildings! The last ruler of China, Puyi was expelled from this palace in 1924. We reach the Temple of Heaven. It was built for the prayers of the emperor and his family, because the Chinese believed that the ruler had a special connection with Heaven and could implore intercession from the gods for the whole country. 

In the evening we will walk along the hutong and have dinner at a restaurant popular among locals where they cook excellent Peking duck. Delicious! And we will be the only foreigners here.

Day 2

The Great Wall of China

In the morning we take a train to Badalin (1 hour on the way). Yes, this is the most popular part of the Great Wall of China, but we will also reach parts of the Wall where tourists do not come at all and where we will be the only visitors! But first, you should definitely see the crowds of selfie lovers! 

The wall goes up and down, offering wonderful views on both sides. According to the plan of the first Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang-di, who lived back in the 3rd century BC, the Wall was to protect the empire from hostile tribes of nomads. It was built over many centuries. The part that we will be exploring, for example, was erected in 1504. We return to Beijing (1 hour by train) and take an evening flight to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia where we will check into a hotel.

Day 3

Ulaanbaatar Gandan monastery Sacred stone heaps ovoo and shamans Concert of traditional music and dance

In the morning we take a walk in the main square of Ulaanbaatar, and then head to the National Museum of History to learn about the nation`s fascinating history. From the primitive people who covered their caves with unique drawings, to the legendary Genghis Khan and the Soviet Union - in just an hour. But the reality is much more interesting than any museum! 

We go to the Gandan monastery, which was the only open monastery in the country in communist times. If you were in Tibet, then you will be greatly surprised at how much everything here reminds of the monasteries there. All bacause the Mongols profess Tibetan Buddhism. Believers from all over the country turn with prayers to the 26-meter statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, a disciple of Buddha, who vowed to rid all the living creatures from the suffering and help them achieve enlightenment ... 

Despite Buddhism, ancient shamanistic traditions have been preserved in Mongolia. We will begin to get acquainted with them in a unique place on the top of the hill - ovoo, where shamans make their offerings to the spirits. Next, we explore the palace of the ruler of the country, Bogd Khan, who ruled Mongolia until 1924 and get to the roof of a skyscraper. In the evening, a concert of traditional Mongolian music and dance awaits us.

Day 4

Gobi desert Tsagaan Suvarga mount First night in the yurt

After breakfast, we leave the capital to plunge into a real Mongol nomadic life in the Gobi desert. Our guided tour to China and Mongolia continues! We will be riding jeeps for about 5-6 hours enjoying the unearthly views of the Great Steppe, which stretches from here through Siberia all the way to Hungary. Nomads have been inhabiting this steppe since the ancient times. And in Mongolia, a third of the population still leads a nomadic life - in the spring they drive cattle to pasture and stay in yurts, and in the fall they return to the villages. We will meet yurts of such nomads in the middle of the steppe in the most unexpected places. 

And today we’ll drop into a hospitable family in a yurt for the night. But first, we will see one of the most beautiful places in Mongolia - Mount Tsagaan Suvarga. We walk to a height of about 50 meters and enjoy the views of colorful rocks. The setting sun paints white stones in a delicate orange color ...What a view!

In the evening we have dinner in a yurt with hospitable locals. Their food is simple, but very tasty - dumplings with meat, several types of cheese, fried dough and Mongolian tea with salt. If you wish, you can try arkhi - local milk vodka.

Day 5 - 6

Yolin-Am ice gorge Dinosaur cemetery Khongoryn Els sand dunes

After about 4-5 hours on the way, we will reach the Yolin-Am ice gorge. A few years ago, these stones were shrouded in a thick layer of ice and snow, which did not melt even in the summer. But now the ice in the gorge is melting, though already in September, when the next winter is coming. Nearby, on a hill there is a small monastery, where we go up to appreciate the views and drink water from a famous spring. We will also visit local museum, which houses a collection of dinosaur eggs and bones, remains of the mysterious creatures that lived in this desert millions of years ago.  

The next day, completely different landscapes await us. First we stop at one of the largest dinosaur cemeteries in the country. At the beginning of the last century, scientists discovered here the first skeletons of Mongolian dinosaurs. Fragments of their bones can be found here even now! Next, we reach the sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, the very south of the Gobi desert. It seems that we suddenly ended up in Egypt ... We walk on sand dunes up to 300 meters high, enjoying the views and spend the night in a yurt of local residents near the dunes.

Day 7 - 9

Ongi monastery Tsutgalan waterfall Horseback riding

After breakfast we continue our small group trip to China and Mongolia and drive to the remote Ongi monastery (5 hours). On the way we will admire the steppe landscapes, meet herds of wild camels and horses, and sometimes see small monasteries lost in the wild. We get to the monastery on the banks of the river - in fact, it is a temple in the middle of the ruins. Previously, it consisted of 28 temples, and more than a thousand monks lived here. The famous Mongolian poet Ravjaa studied at the monastery’s school. But in 1937 the monastery was closed, the monks were killed or sent to the army... We observe Buddhist ceremonies, have dinner and spend the night in the monastery. 

In the morning we leave for the village of Khuzhirt (4-6 hours on the way), admiring the river valleys and mineral springs. We spend the night in Khuzhirt with the locals, and in the morning begin our horseback trip to the Tsutgalan waterfall. To be in Mongolia and not to go horseback riding would be a crime! After about 3 hours of an easy ride along the Orkhon River, we suddenly find ourselves in front of a huge hole in the ground. Such an unusual landscape here created by an earthquake. The river water falls from a height of 25 meters into a rocky pool. We enjoy the sound of water, relax and return to the village.

Day 10 - 11

Karakorum, former capital Erdene Zuu Monastery

We continue our guided tour to China and Mongolia and leave for Karakorum - the former capital of the Mongol Empire (3 hours on the way). From here, the Mongols ruled the largest contiguous empire in world history from modern Korea to Poland. The founder of the empire, Genghis Khan, did not like the idea of a stationary capital. His camp of yurts was situated on the bank of this river. But his son and successor Ögedei built a city here in the 13th century. We will see the remains of the capital in the Open Air Museum. Unfortunately, the city was almost completely destroyed by the Chinese in the 14th century, when the Mongols were expelled from Beijing.

We head to Erdene Zuu Monastery. In the 18th century, ten thousand monks lived here! It is believed that in those days every third man in the country wore monastic clothes. Pilgrims from all over the country bow down at the main Buddha statue, inside of which there is a sharira - particles of the relics of Shakyamuni Buddha, which were brought here from Tibet in the 16th century. Next morning we return to Ulaanbaatar (5-6 hours on the way), check into the hotel.

Day 12 - 13

Gorkhi-Terelj national park Aryapala temple Hagin-Har glacial lake Dinosaur sculptures

After breakfast we head to the most famous national park of the country, Gorkhi-Terelj (2 hours on the way). It is known for unusual forms of huge rocks, which resemble animals and other creatures. The symbol of the park is a huge rock resembling a giant tortoise. We admire the views of the cliffs and the glacial lake Hagin-Har, walk between the sculptures of dinosaurs. Next, we walk on the suspended wooden bridge over the Tuul River and climb up 108 stairs to the Buddhist temple Aryapala. Mongols from the capital come here for retreats and meditation lessons. And the views of the valley are amazing!

The next day we have breakfast at the hotel, go to the airport and fly home. Our group trip to China and Mongolia has come to an end. Thank you for exploring with us!

Tour leader

Olga WuWei
tour leader

Подходит ли вам это путешествие?

This trips is of average level of physical activity, suitable for people in normal physical shape. We will walk a lot and take a short flight from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar. The route includes jeep rides lasting from 3 to 5-6 hours, as well as one horseback ride lasting about 3 hours. In Beijing and Ulan Bator we will live in a 3 * class hotel. We will spend other nights in very simple conditions in the yurts of local residents, and also spend the night in a remote monastery. In yurts and monasteries shower and toilet are located outside. This trip will be difficult for people who do not eat meat. If you are a vegetarian, we advise you to buy food in Ulaanbaatar and take it with you to the Gobi desert.

Стоимость путешествия включает:

  1. All transportation during the trip
  2. Accommodation in hotels, yurts and monasteries during the entire trip
  3. Tickets to all palaces, parks and other attractions mentioned in the itinerary
  4. All breakfasts and lunches in Mongolia
  5. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Beijing and back home (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals)
  2. Flight from Beijing to Ulaanbaatar ($150-250)
  3. Insurance (mandatory)
  4. Visa to China
  5. Food ($10-15 per person per day).

Visa

Citizens of almost all countries need a visa to China. The visa should be obtained in the embassy in your country os residence before the trip.

Participants of this trip do not need a visa to Mongolia.

We provide free visa consulting to our clients.

Additional options

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