Tours Classic Tours Central Mongolia 20-Day Trip

Price: ( 20 Days )

Roll out of Ulaanbaatar (UB) in a Russian jeep, or even just on a public bus, and you’ll only need to put a hill or two between yourself and the city before the vast steppes of central Mongolia begin to unfold before your eyes.

Verdant swaths of empty landscapes are sprinkled with tiny gers (traditional yurts) stretching to the horizon while magical light plays across the valleys. This is the Mongolian heartland, loaded with both historical sites and natural beauty, with plenty of scope to horse trek in forested mountains, camp by pretty lakes or soak in hot springs.

Because the region is relatively close to Ulaanbaatar (and many sights are right beside the city), infrastructure is a little better than in other areas, with many places reachable by public transport. The most scenic sub-region is the Khangai Mountains, but you’ll find beautiful scenery even if you only venture as far as Terelj.

Days 1 & 2. Baga Gazarin Chuluu

In the morning (9:30) we will meet at the gathering point and together drive to Baga Gazarin Chuluu, 1,751-meter high granite stone mountains in the Dundgovi province. These mountains contain remains of an old temple, and are rich in minerals, and crystals.

Stay overnight with nomad family.

Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 3. Lime Stone Cliffs of Tsagaan Suvarga

In the morning we will drive to Tsagaan Suvarga, a wonderful limestone cliff, 30 meters high and 100 meters long, banded with vivid shades of red and purple minerals looking out over undulating badlands.

Stay overnight in a ger camp.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Days 4 & 5. Yolyn Am: The Gorge

From Tsagaan Suvarga we will drive further to the city of Dalanzadgad, and from there to Yolyn Am, a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountain, named after the Lammergeier, which is called Yol in Mongolian. While here, we will have a chance to explore the valley.

Stay overnight with nomad family. 

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Days 6 & 7. Spectacular Sand Dunes

From Yolyn Am we will travel to the famous Khongor Els, one of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia. The dunes are up to 300 meters high, 12 kilometers wide and about 100 kilometers long. We will reach the dunes in the afternoon and spend the whole next day in the area. During that time we will climb the dunes, ride camels, and visit local nomadic families.

Stay overnight with a nomad family.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner  

 

Day 8. The Famous Flaming Cliffs

From Khongryn Els you will drive to Bayanzag, also known as Flaming Cliffs. This area is most famous for yielding the first discovery of dinosaur eggs. Also specimens of Velociraptor and eutherian mammals were found here.  

Stay overnight in a ger camp.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Day 9. Ruins of the Ongi Monastery

We will leave Bayanzag in the morning and drive north to reach Ongi Monastery. Ongi or rather its ruins are located on the bank of the Ongi River. At its peak the monastery had 28 temples, and was home to approximately 1000 Buddhist monks. Ongi was badly destroyed during the Stalinist purges in 1930s. In 1994, local people rebuilt one temple, and currently few monks came back to the monastery.

Stay overnight in a ger camp.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Day 10. Ancient Kharkhorin

We will leave the Ongi Monastery in the morning and drive to Kharkhorin, a small town located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon River. In the mid-13th century, Kharkhorin, or rather Karakorum was a place, where Chinggis Khaan established a supply base. His son Ugedei ordered the construction of a proper capital, a decree that attracted traders, dignitaries and skilled workers from across Asia and even Europe. 

Stay overnight in a ger camp.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Days 11 & 12. Ulaan Tsutgalan

In the morning we will visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the oldest Buddhist centers in Mongolia. Later, we will see a local history museum and the last remnant of ancient Karakoruma stone turtle. Later we will leave Kharkhorin and drive to Ulaan Tsutgalan, a famous waterfall in the middle of the Orkhon Valley. We will spend two days in the area, giving us the chance to explore the beautiful Khangai Mountains and ride horseback along the Orkhon River banks.   

Stay overnight in a ger camp.

Lunch and Dinner

 

Day 13. Tsetserleg & Taikhar rock

From Orkhon Valley you will drive to the pretty town of Tsetserleg, the capital of the Arkhangai province. Resting on the southern slope of the Bulgan Mountains and a stone's throw from the Tamir River, Tsetserleg is one of the most picturesque towns in Mongolia. Here we will visit the beautiful Zaya Monastery, which houses the Museum of the Arhangai Aimag exhibiting traditional clothes, crafts, sculptures, ancient weapons, and more. Later we will venture to the mysterious Taikhar Rock. The rock is a steep-sided pinnacle of granite stretching 25 meters into the air. It rises abruptly from the flat grassland in the basin of Tamir River. Locals worship the rock as a deity. There is no common agreement amongst geologists about the origin of this puzzling phenomenon, so it remains an enigma.

Stay overnight in a local ger camp.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Days 14 & 15. Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

Today we will travel to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park. On the way, we will visit the magnificent Chuluut River Canyon.  Then we will drive to the small town of Tariat. From here, we will go to the national park. In the park, we will explore an extinct volcano crater, the Khorgo volcano, the One Man Cave, the Cave of the Yellow Dog, and the park's main attraction, Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. On the next day you will have time to explore park on your own. 

Stay overnight in a ger camp.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Days 16 & 17. Spend the Day at Ug Lake

Early in the morning we will leave the National Park and drive back to Tsetserleg. From here we will drive east to reach the banks of the Ug Lake, a pure-water lake stretching 8 kilometers long. We will spend the entire day resting on the banks of the lake. Fishing, boating, trekking and horseback riding will be available for an additional cost.

Stay overnight with a nomad family.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Day 18. Turkic Historical Sites

Today we will visit two very important historical sites: the Turkic monuments in Khoshuu Tsaidam and the Uyghur ruins of Khar Balgas. Later we will drive to Elsen Tasarkhai, the famous 80-kilometer-long sand dunes surrounded by woody hills and wide steppe.

Stay overnight with a nomad family.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Days 19 & 20. Khustai National Park

From Elsen Tasarkhai we will drive to Khustai National park, a place famous for the endangered Przewalski horses. This park is a wonderful location for trekking, horseback riding, and observing the wildlife. It also has several ancient historical sites including deer stones and stone men.

Stay overnight with a nomad family.

Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

 

Day 20. Return to UB

We will leave Khustai National Park in the morning and drive back to Ulaanbaatar.

Breakfast

Price:

 3 people: 80 USD per person (per day)

4 people: 75 USD per person (per day)

7 people: 60 USD per person (per day)

 Included:

  • Transportation and driver
  • English speaking guide,
  • Accommodations
  • Meals
  • Clean drinking water
  • Entrance fees to national parks and monasteries
  • 1 hour of horseback/camel riding

Not Included:

  • Personal shopping
  • Insurance
  • Alcohol
  • Additional Activities

  • Central Mongolia is a region in Mongolia that contains the capital of modern Mongolia and the ruins of capital of the Mongol Empire. 

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