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Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive ulaan baatar

On arrival in the capital of Mongolia, you'll be met and assisted with the transfer to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day will be free to relax. 

Meals
None
Lodging
Ramada Hotel or similar

Day 2: ulaan baatar city tour

See Chinggis Khan's image on the side of a hillSee Chinggis Khan's image on the side of a hill

This will be your day to acquire a good background of the cultural, religious, and natural history of Mongolia. You will tour Ulaan Baatar, including a visit to Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the largest and most significant monastery in Mongolia, and one of Ulaan Baatar’s most interesting sights. Built in the mid 19th century, it is the only monastery where Buddhist services continued during the communist years, and the temples are thronged during religious services. Also tour the Megjid Janraisig Temple, the most important part of the monastery. This temple, also known as Avalokiteshvara Temple, was built in 1911-1912 to celebrate the end of Manchu domination in Mongolia and, it is said, to have cured the great and revered Bogd Gegeen Khaan from blindness. The Janraisig statue at 25 meters (87 feet) in height and 20 tons in weight, is inside the temple. Visit the newly-renovated Museum of National History. The museum displays exhibits on the geography, geology, botany, fauna, and paleontology of Mongolia. Among the treasures on display are 800 objects from the lower Cambrian Age (500 million years ago) to the Quaternary Age (10,000 to 15,000 years ago), including fossils of vertebrates, plants, leaf prints, dinosaurs, and mammals. The specimens of dinosaur skeletons and bones vary in size from a few inches to over 100 feet tall, and several are found only in Mongolia. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ramada Hotel or similar

Day 3: gobi desert & flaming cliffs

Visit Bayanzag "Flaming Cliffs"Visit Bayanzag "Flaming Cliffs"

In the morning, you will fly to the Gobi Desert (approx. 1.5 hr), one of the most famous and exotic areas in the world. The Gobi occupies about one-third of Mongolia and consists of sand dunes and dry mountain ranges. As one of the harshest environments on earth with extreme temperature and seasonal changes, the Gobi is surprisingly full of wildlife such as white and blacktail gazelles, wild ass or “hulan” in Mongolian, wild camel or “havtgai”, antelopes, ibex, and argali sheep, the biggest wild sheep on the planet. The majority of Mongolia’s population of bactrian camels live in this area, and you can take a camel ride if you like. Upon arrival, transfer to the base camp at the Gobi. From the airport, you'll make the drive to Bayan Zag, also known as the Flaming Cliffs, to explore the Gobi “Cemetery of Dinosaurs” and the trail of Roy Chapman Andrews. You will also stop at the Petrified Forest, where you will find the remains of mammals, in particular, the skeleton of a hornless rhinoceros, the largest known mammal in the world. Accommodations will be in a "ger" a traditional dwelling of the Mongolian nomads. This round tent-like structure is held up by a wooden frame and covered by wool felt making it very easy to collapse and assemble again and easily transported. The gers are basic, but clean and comfortable. Each ger contains two to four beds and a wood-burning stove, which is lit for cold nights. Toilet and shower facitlites are generally in a separate modern building with men's on one side and women's on the other.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ger Camp

Day 4: khongor sand dunes

Climb the Khongor Sand DunesClimb the Khongor Sand Dunes

After breakfast, drive about four hours to Khongorinn Els Sand Dunes, the largest sand dunes in Mongolia. These dunes lie in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. The drive takes you through incredible desert scenery with flat, stony plains; outcrops of vegetation; hills of interesting rock formations; and herds of wild antelope racing across the plains. The roads are flat and fairly even, so the drive will take only around four hours. The dunes are also known as "Singing Sand Dunes" due to the shifting sand blown by the wind, causing a sound that sounds like someone singing. Visit a camel breeding family, with the option of riding a camel through the dunes. You also visit a beautiful oasis near the dunes for excellent photo opportunities. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ger Camp

Day 5: yol valley

Ice formation in the Yol Valley GorgeIce formation in the Yol Valley Gorge

In the morning, you'll drive to the Yol Valley National Park for a morning trek with opportunities to photograph the stunning landscape, “Gobi Glacier”, and intriguing wildlife. Yol (Lammergeyer) Valley is the narrow canyon of river that flows through Zuun Saikhan Mountain (alt. 9,236’). Its gorge has sheer rock walls, and, during the rainy season, rain falls at the summit of the mountain and flows down into the sheer canyon to form waterfalls. A small museum marks the entrance to the protected zone and provides information on the petrified trees and flora and fauna of the Gobi. You will have the opportunity to do some horseback or camel riding or if you like, trek to the gorge. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ger Camp

Day 6: terelj national park

Yaks grazing at Terlj National ParkYaks grazing at Terlj National Park

Today you catch a flight back to Ulaan Baatar and drive to Terelj National Park where you see Turtle Rock and visit the Temple of Meditation. There is horse and camel-back riding available in the park. Many nomads live right in the park where there is plenty of lush fields for their livestock to graze. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ger Camp

Day 7: hustai national park

See Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National ParkSee Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National Park

After a leisurely breakfast, head out on the drive to Hustai National Park (approx. 62 miles), the site of a unique re-introduction of Przewalski's Horse (Equus Przewalskii), called "takhi" by the locals. It became extinct in the wild in 1969 and since 1992, has been successfully re-introduced in Hustai from zoos around the world. This has been an international effort monitored by the Foundation for the Przewalskii Horse, based in the Netherlands and MACNE (Mongoian Association for Conservation of Nature and the Environment.) The park extends through the Khentii Mountains and includes the western edge of the Mongolian steppe. It contains large patches of birch and aspen forests and visible remains of Neolithic graves. Other wildlife found here include red deer, the wolf, and Mongolian gazelle. Overnight at a Ger Camp. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ger Camp

Day 8: karakorum

Visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery in KarakorumVisit the Erdene Zuu Monastery in Karakorum

After breakfast at the camp, transfer to Karakorum (approx. 80 miles). Situated on the banks of River Orkhon, the site of the imperial capital, Karakorum was chosen by Genghis Khan in 1220. The city, capital of the largest land empire the world has ever known, served as a supply point for the Mongol armies and was a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural place in its time. Today almost nothing remains of the once-great city, but the sense of its grandeur and importance can still be felt by the visitor. Karakorum was located on trade routes and was surrounded by walls with four gates, each with its own market. The nearby Erdene Zuu Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery built in Mongolia, constructed using stones and bricks from the ruins of the ancient city in 1586. During the communist purges of the 1930s, many of the temples in the monastery complex were destroyed, but the remaining temples and stupas are some of the best examples of Mongolian Buddhist architecture. Erdene Zuu is now both a museum and a functioning monastery. Also visit Shanh Hiid, the local active Buddhist temple, which, along with the Erdene Zuu, is the only monastery in the region to have survived the 1937 purge. Overnight in a Ger at the Karakorum base camp. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ger Camp

Day 9: ulaan baatar & bogdo khaan winter palace

Visit Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace in Ulaan BaatarVisit Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace in Ulaan Baatar

On your drive back to Ulaan Baatar, visit the Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace Museum. The Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace is the home of the last Mongolian King, Javzun Damba Khutagt VII. The museum contains a number of Buddhist artworks and the private collection of Bogdo Khaan, composed of gifts from rulers and kings from all over the world. The artworks displayed here were made by the top Mongolian, Tibetan, and Chinese master- sculptors of the 18th and 19th centuries and represent the gods of Buddhist pantheon. If you did not have time on your earlier trip through Ulaan Baatar, visit the Museum of National History. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Ramada Hotel or similar

Day 10: depart ulaan baatar

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight back to the U.S., or perhaps add on an extension to Seoul, South Korea.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$4,150
Group size 2: $4500 Group size 3+: $4150 *Includes flights within Mongolia
Single Supplement:
$600
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

On this wide-ranging trip, participants' endurance and patience may be tested by difficult roads, transportation, and uncertainties like hot, cold, wet, or dry weather, but we have great faith in the local company and guides whom we employ. 

Duration:
10 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.

From the Bird's Word Blog

Things to Do in Mongolia: See the Golden Eagle Festival

A recent documentary called The Eagle Huntress followed the story of Aisholpan Nurgaiva, a 13-year-old girl, as she trained to become the first female in twelve generations of her nomadic …

Yaks grazing at Terlj National Park
Yaks grazing at Terlj National Park
Enjoy the beautiful Gobi Desert sunset
Enjoy the beautiful Gobi Desert sunset
Visit Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace in Ulaan Baatar
Visit Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace in Ulaan Baatar
You'll see camel herds on your drive
You'll see camel herds on your drive
Visit Bayanzag "Flaming Cliffs"
Visit Bayanzag "Flaming Cliffs"
Learn how the Nomads handle their horses
Learn how the Nomads handle their horses
Ride a camel in the Gobi Desert
Ride a camel in the Gobi Desert
See Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National Park
See Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National Park

A Taste of Mongolia

Gobi Desert, Karakorum, Yol Valley, and Ugii Lake

overview

This shorter trip through Mongolia is an opportunity to see the top highlights of this beautiful and sparsley populated country. During these 10 days, you'll meet the friendly, but shy nomadic locals that make their homes in traditional gers as they tend to the livestock and admire the beauty of the country from the vast grasslands to the lush green mountains at Terelj and Hustai National Parks. Look for dinosaur bones in the barren Gobi Desert at the Flaming Cliffs. 

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

This shorter trip through Mongolia is an opportunity to see the top highlights of this beautiful and sparsley populated country. During these 10 days, you'll meet the friendly, but shy nomadic locals that make their homes in traditional gers as they tend to the livestock and admire the beauty of the country from the vast grasslands to the lush green mountains at Terelj and Hustai National Parks. Look for dinosaur bones in the barren Gobi Desert at the Flaming Cliffs. 

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive ulaan baatar

    On arrival in the capital of Mongolia, you'll be met and assisted with the transfer to your centrally located hotel. The rest of the day will be free to relax. 

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Ramada Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: ulaan baatar city tour
    See Chinggis Khan's image on the side of a hillSee Chinggis Khan's image on the side of a hill

    This will be your day to acquire a good background of the cultural, religious, and natural history of Mongolia. You will tour Ulaan Baatar, including a visit to Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the largest and most significant monastery in Mongolia, and one of Ulaan Baatar’s most interesting sights. Built in the mid 19th century, it is the only monastery where Buddhist services continued during the communist years, and the temples are thronged during religious services. Also tour the Megjid Janraisig Temple, the most important part of the monastery. This temple, also known as Avalokiteshvara Temple, was built in 1911-1912 to celebrate the end of Manchu domination in Mongolia and, it is said, to have cured the great and revered Bogd Gegeen Khaan from blindness. The Janraisig statue at 25 meters (87 feet) in height and 20 tons in weight, is inside the temple. Visit the newly-renovated Museum of National History. The museum displays exhibits on the geography, geology, botany, fauna, and paleontology of Mongolia. Among the treasures on display are 800 objects from the lower Cambrian Age (500 million years ago) to the Quaternary Age (10,000 to 15,000 years ago), including fossils of vertebrates, plants, leaf prints, dinosaurs, and mammals. The specimens of dinosaur skeletons and bones vary in size from a few inches to over 100 feet tall, and several are found only in Mongolia. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ramada Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: gobi desert & flaming cliffs
    Visit Bayanzag "Flaming Cliffs"Visit Bayanzag "Flaming Cliffs"

    In the morning, you will fly to the Gobi Desert (approx. 1.5 hr), one of the most famous and exotic areas in the world. The Gobi occupies about one-third of Mongolia and consists of sand dunes and dry mountain ranges. As one of the harshest environments on earth with extreme temperature and seasonal changes, the Gobi is surprisingly full of wildlife such as white and blacktail gazelles, wild ass or “hulan” in Mongolian, wild camel or “havtgai”, antelopes, ibex, and argali sheep, the biggest wild sheep on the planet. The majority of Mongolia’s population of bactrian camels live in this area, and you can take a camel ride if you like. Upon arrival, transfer to the base camp at the Gobi. From the airport, you'll make the drive to Bayan Zag, also known as the Flaming Cliffs, to explore the Gobi “Cemetery of Dinosaurs” and the trail of Roy Chapman Andrews. You will also stop at the Petrified Forest, where you will find the remains of mammals, in particular, the skeleton of a hornless rhinoceros, the largest known mammal in the world. Accommodations will be in a "ger" a traditional dwelling of the Mongolian nomads. This round tent-like structure is held up by a wooden frame and covered by wool felt making it very easy to collapse and assemble again and easily transported. The gers are basic, but clean and comfortable. Each ger contains two to four beds and a wood-burning stove, which is lit for cold nights. Toilet and shower facitlites are generally in a separate modern building with men's on one side and women's on the other.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ger Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: khongor sand dunes
    Climb the Khongor Sand DunesClimb the Khongor Sand Dunes

    After breakfast, drive about four hours to Khongorinn Els Sand Dunes, the largest sand dunes in Mongolia. These dunes lie in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. The drive takes you through incredible desert scenery with flat, stony plains; outcrops of vegetation; hills of interesting rock formations; and herds of wild antelope racing across the plains. The roads are flat and fairly even, so the drive will take only around four hours. The dunes are also known as "Singing Sand Dunes" due to the shifting sand blown by the wind, causing a sound that sounds like someone singing. Visit a camel breeding family, with the option of riding a camel through the dunes. You also visit a beautiful oasis near the dunes for excellent photo opportunities. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ger Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: yol valley
    Ice formation in the Yol Valley GorgeIce formation in the Yol Valley Gorge

    In the morning, you'll drive to the Yol Valley National Park for a morning trek with opportunities to photograph the stunning landscape, “Gobi Glacier”, and intriguing wildlife. Yol (Lammergeyer) Valley is the narrow canyon of river that flows through Zuun Saikhan Mountain (alt. 9,236’). Its gorge has sheer rock walls, and, during the rainy season, rain falls at the summit of the mountain and flows down into the sheer canyon to form waterfalls. A small museum marks the entrance to the protected zone and provides information on the petrified trees and flora and fauna of the Gobi. You will have the opportunity to do some horseback or camel riding or if you like, trek to the gorge. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ger Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: terelj national park
    Yaks grazing at Terlj National ParkYaks grazing at Terlj National Park

    Today you catch a flight back to Ulaan Baatar and drive to Terelj National Park where you see Turtle Rock and visit the Temple of Meditation. There is horse and camel-back riding available in the park. Many nomads live right in the park where there is plenty of lush fields for their livestock to graze. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ger Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: hustai national park
    See Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National ParkSee Przewalski's Horse at Hustai National Park

    After a leisurely breakfast, head out on the drive to Hustai National Park (approx. 62 miles), the site of a unique re-introduction of Przewalski's Horse (Equus Przewalskii), called "takhi" by the locals. It became extinct in the wild in 1969 and since 1992, has been successfully re-introduced in Hustai from zoos around the world. This has been an international effort monitored by the Foundation for the Przewalskii Horse, based in the Netherlands and MACNE (Mongoian Association for Conservation of Nature and the Environment.) The park extends through the Khentii Mountains and includes the western edge of the Mongolian steppe. It contains large patches of birch and aspen forests and visible remains of Neolithic graves. Other wildlife found here include red deer, the wolf, and Mongolian gazelle. Overnight at a Ger Camp. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ger Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: karakorum
    Visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery in KarakorumVisit the Erdene Zuu Monastery in Karakorum

    After breakfast at the camp, transfer to Karakorum (approx. 80 miles). Situated on the banks of River Orkhon, the site of the imperial capital, Karakorum was chosen by Genghis Khan in 1220. The city, capital of the largest land empire the world has ever known, served as a supply point for the Mongol armies and was a cosmopolitan and multi-cultural place in its time. Today almost nothing remains of the once-great city, but the sense of its grandeur and importance can still be felt by the visitor. Karakorum was located on trade routes and was surrounded by walls with four gates, each with its own market. The nearby Erdene Zuu Monastery was the first Buddhist monastery built in Mongolia, constructed using stones and bricks from the ruins of the ancient city in 1586. During the communist purges of the 1930s, many of the temples in the monastery complex were destroyed, but the remaining temples and stupas are some of the best examples of Mongolian Buddhist architecture. Erdene Zuu is now both a museum and a functioning monastery. Also visit Shanh Hiid, the local active Buddhist temple, which, along with the Erdene Zuu, is the only monastery in the region to have survived the 1937 purge. Overnight in a Ger at the Karakorum base camp. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ger Camp
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: ulaan baatar & bogdo khaan winter palace
    Visit Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace in Ulaan BaatarVisit Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace in Ulaan Baatar

    On your drive back to Ulaan Baatar, visit the Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace Museum. The Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace is the home of the last Mongolian King, Javzun Damba Khutagt VII. The museum contains a number of Buddhist artworks and the private collection of Bogdo Khaan, composed of gifts from rulers and kings from all over the world. The artworks displayed here were made by the top Mongolian, Tibetan, and Chinese master- sculptors of the 18th and 19th centuries and represent the gods of Buddhist pantheon. If you did not have time on your earlier trip through Ulaan Baatar, visit the Museum of National History. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ramada Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: depart ulaan baatar

    Transfer to the airport for your onward flight back to the U.S., or perhaps add on an extension to Seoul, South Korea.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
From
$4,150
Group size 2: $4500 Group size 3+: $4150 *Includes flights within Mongolia
Single Supplement:
$600
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Custom & private on your dates

Need to Know

On this wide-ranging trip, participants' endurance and patience may be tested by difficult roads, transportation, and uncertainties like hot, cold, wet, or dry weather, but we have great faith in the local company and guides whom we employ. 

Duration:
10 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Group Size:
Most custom trips can accommodate groups of any size, from one person to as large of a group as you'd like. Some exceptions apply; ask your Adventure Specialist for details.

Trip Extensions

There are currently no suggested extensions for this itinerary. Please ask the Destination Specialist if you'd like to customize one.

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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