Mongolia. Gobi desert, remote monasteries, yurts and shamans

Price
$1577
+ flight to Ulaanbaatar
Duration
12 days

What you get

Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, villages, wild nature
Transportation
During the entire trip
Guiding
Professional tour leader-traveler
Food
All breakfasts and dinners
Accommodation
11 nights
Physical grade
Level 2 (easy) out of 5

Mongolia. Gobi desert, remote monasteries, yurts and shamans

Get ready for beautiful wildlife, nomadic life and an incredible feeling of freedom.

  • Explore Karakorum - the capital of the Mongol Empire, from which Genghis Khan ruled half of Asia and Europe
  • Follow the foorsteps of dinosaurs that lived in the Gobi desert 80 million years ago and where scientists continue to find cemeteries of these mysterious animals 
  • Immerse yourself in a nomadic life, spending the night in yurts of hospitable locals
  • Ride a horse across the Great Steppe
  • Watch Buddhist ceremonies in the most ancient temples of the country

Trip code
MNGD

Departures

2020
Price
Book
21 July, Tue 01 August, Sat
$ 1577

Day 1 - 2

Ulaanbaatar, the capital National Museum of History Gandan Monastery Winter palace Concert of traditional music and dance

We arrive in the capital of Ulaanbaatar, where we will begin our group trip to Mongolia, and check into a hotel in the center. The next morning we go out for a walk along the main square and head to the National Museum of History. Here we learn about the nation's fascinating history - from ancient people who left unique cave paintings more than 20 thousand years ago, to the empire of Genghis Khan and the conquest of the country by China, and then the Soviet Union.

We pass from theory to practice and set off to explore the Gandan Monastery. In Soviet times, it was the only open monastery in the country. Everything reminds of Tiber here - architecture, bright colors and monks in burgundy robes. Yes, most Mongolians profess Tibetan Buddhism. Pilgrims from all over Mongolia strive to the main hall of the monastery which boasts a 26-meter statue of the bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. 

Head to the Winter Palace of the spiritual leader of the country, Bogd Khan, and then visit the sacred place for shaman's offerings.  Despite widespread Buddhism, ancient shamanism in Mongolia is alive and well! We will also get ot the top of a skyscraper to see the city from above, and in the evening we enjoy a traditional Mongolian concert of music and dance. Have you ever heard throat singing? It is very unusual!

Day 3

Mount Tsagaan Suvarga Herds of wild horses and camels First night in the yurt

In the morning we ride jeeps to the Gobi desert. The adventure begins! We will drive about 200 kilometers, which will take about 5-6 hours. From the first kilometers it becomes clear that this country has no roads, only directions. But what amazing views!... Enjoy the endless steppe, which occupies most of the country, and sand dunes, herds of wild camels, and, of course, horses, without which it is simply impossible to imagine Mongolia and the Mongol. 

We stop in a small town and head to see one of the most beautiful places in the country - Mount Tsagaan Suvarga. In Mongolian this name means "White stupa". Indeed, this incredible rock resembles a Buddhist temple. We get to a height of more than 50 meters and enjoy the view of the colorful hills. Winds have been creating this beauty for millions of years! ...

Today we will spend our first night in a traditional Mongolian yurt with a local family. This will be a complete immersion in the life of nomads. We will share a traditional dinner and enjoy very unusual Mongolian tea. It is made from water, milk, green tea leaves and salt.

Day 4

Yolin Am ice gorge Monastery on the hill Eggs and bones of dinosaurs

In the morning we leave for the ice gorge Yolin-Am (about 4-5 hours on the way) where we will continue our guided tour to Mongolia. This gorge is completely unexpectedly located in the middle of the desert. The slopes of the mountains create such a shadow here that blocks of snow and ice are several meters thick and melt only in September. Locals say that in these places they often saw a snow leopard. Now this animal belongs is endangered, but we will definitely meet other wild animals and birds here. 

We climb the slope to enter one of the most ancient monasteries in the country. Now several dozen monks living here. We will observe Buddhist ceremonies, enjoy the views of the forests in the valley below, and try the water from a local spring, which is considered healing. Next, we head to the local museum to see the collection of eggs and bones of dinosaurs that used to live in this valleys, as well as stuffed exotic birds and a snow leopard.

Day 5

Khongoryn Els sand dunes Dinosaurs cemetery

In the morning we continue our small group trip to Mongolia and leave to the sand dunes of Khongoryn Els. On the way we visit the cliff, known as one of the cemeteries of the dinosaurs. Here, scientists discovered many eggs and dinosaur bones that inhabited these places more than 80 million years ago. 

We reach the dunes. We hit the southernmost point of the Gobi Desert, where there is no vegetation. Wherever you look, there are only endless sands around us, and the wind carries tiny golden grains of sand, constantly changing patterns on the dunes. The height of these sandy mountains reaches 300 meters! Seems like we are in Egypt ...

Day 6 - 7

Ongi Monastery Khuzhirt village

Our guided tour to Mongolia goes on with the trip to the Ongi Monastery (about 5 hours on the way). We will drive through the most remote parts of the Gobi desert away from civilization, suddenly stumbling upon tiny Buddhist monasteries on the way. Ongi is located on the banks of the river. When the monastery was completed in 1810, it consisted of 28 temples and housed more than a thousand monks. Here, for example, the famous Mongolian poet Dulduityn Danzanravjaa studied and then conducted his retreats. But it all ended in 1937, when the last abbot of the monastery was arrested, the monks were killed, and the buildings were destroyed. 

Now only one temple of the monastery has been restored, with ruins all around it... We will spend the night in the monastery, and in the morning we will leave for the village of Khuzhirt (about 4-6 hours on the way). On the way we admire the river valleys and mineral springs. In the village we spend the night with local residents.

Day 8

Horseback riding Tsutgalan waterfall

It’s hard to imagine a trip to Mongolia without horseback riding! In the morning we will ride horses to the Tsutgalan waterfall (this trip will take us about 3 hours). We ride along a rocky road along the channel of the Orkhon River, admiring boulders of various shapes and sizes. Thousands of years ago volcanoes were erupting here and hot lava covered the river valley with boulders for more than 100 kilometers. 

A few thousand years later, an earthquake occurred in the valley, and formed a 25 meters tall cliff from which the water falls in a powerful stream now. Locals call this waterfall red because of the yellow-brown color of the water. What a lovely place! We rest on the riverbank under small trees, listen to the sound of water, and then return back to the village.

Day 9 - 10

Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol empire Erdene Zuu Monastery

We leave for Karakorum (about 3 hours on the way). This city was founded by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. From here, the Mongols ruled their grand empire, which stretched from the territory of modern Korea to Poland, and from Turkey to northern India and southern China. The successor of the great khan, Ogedei was a supporter of the idea of a stationary capital and built his palace in Karakorum. Little has been preserved in the city from those times, archaeological finds are exhibited at the Open Air Museum, which we will definitely visit. 

But the most interesting place in Karakorum is Erdene Zuu Monastery. The ruler of the country ordered to build it in 1585, after meeting with the third Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso and the proclamation of Tibetan Buddhism as the state religion of Mongolia. The monastery was built on the model of Tibetan temples; there is evidence that in the 18th century more than 10 thousand monks lived here. Interestingly, in those days in Mongolia, every third man was a Buddhist monk! The central place is occupied by three temples - “Three Treasures”, symbolizing the three stages of Buddha's life. And inside the main Buddha statue is the sarira - part of the relics of the Sakyamuni Buddha, brought from Tibet. 

The next day we return to Ulaanbaatar (5-6 hours on the way). The next day is free - you can relax, walk around the city, buy souvenirs.

Day 11 - 12

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park Turtle Rock Hagin-Khar glacial lake Aryapala Temple

In the morning we leave for Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (about 2 hours on the way). Genghis Khan is believed to be born in these places. But the park earned its fame because of very unusual forms of rocks, which resemble different animals and figures. For example, there is a sleeping dinosaur, a man with a book, and a huge tortoise mountain, which became the symbol of the park. 

We will also see the Hagin-Khar glacial lake, climb 108 steps to the Aryapala Temple, and walk along the suspension bridge over the Tuul river. Let`s also take a walk between the dinosaur sculptures that were created here with the help of paleontologists. 

The next day we have breakfast at the hotel, go to the airport and fly home. Our group trip to Mongolia has come to an end. Thank you for exploring this country 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. The route includes jeep rides lasting from 3 to 5-6 hours, as well as one horseback ride lasting about 3 hours. In 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.

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
  5. Professional guiding services.

What is NOT included:

  1. Flight to Ulaanbaatar and back home (Let us know if you need help finding the best deals)
  2. Insurance (mandatory)
  3. Dinners ($10-15 per person per day).

Visa

Participants of this trip do not need a visa to Mongolia

Additional options

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