This adventure-filled tour of central Mongolia starts in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, where you'll visit historic museums and the impressive Gandan Monastery. Then, it's off to Terelj and Hustai National Parks for hiking, horseback riding, and "glamping" in luxurious yurt campsites. Next, take in expansive mountain views from Tuvkun Monastery, explore the ancient capital city of Kharkhorin, and return to Ulaanbaatar for a trek up Zaisan Memorial Hill and a traditional folklore dinner show.


  • See the enormous equestrian monument to Mongolia's famed Ghengis Khan
  • Get close to the endangered takhi horses of Hustai National Park
  • Learn to milk a yak or horse while visiting a Mongolian nomadic family
  • Participate in morning chants and prayers with monks at Erdene Zuu Monastery
  • Watch a mesmerizing folklore performance by the Tumen Ekh ensemble

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the Capital Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Guided City Tour: Gandan Monastery & Museums Ulaanbaatar
Day 3 Transfer to Terelj National Park, Horseback Riding Terelj National Park
Day 4 Transfer to Hustai National Park, Hiking & Endangered Wildlife Viewing Hustai National Park
Day 5 Transfer to Bat-Ulzii, Nomadic Farm Tour & Stargazing Adventure  Bat-Ulzii
Day 6 Day Trip to the Orkhon Waterfall Bat-Ulzii
Day 7 Hike or Horseback Ride to Tuvkhun Monastery, Visit a Nomadic Family Bat-Ulzii
Day 8 Transfer to Kharkhorin, Visit a Monastery & Archaeological Museum Kharkhorin
Day 9 Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Shopping, Sightseeing & Folklore Show Ulaanbaatar
Day 10 Depart Ulaanbaatar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the Capital

Start your trip in Mongolia's capital city of Ulaanbaatar

Welcome to Mongolia! Your flight lands in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's largest city and capital. Originally a nomadic Buddhist center, it became a permanent site in the 18th century, serving as a trade hub between China and Russia until Outer Mongolia declared itself independent. In 1924, the city was renamed Ulaanbaatar, which means "Red Hero." Modern Ulaanbaatar is known for its interesting architecture, museums, and historic sites.

A private driver will collect you from the airport and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Once you've had a chance to settle, you're free to head out and see what the city has to offer. You can start at the National Museum of Mongolia, which showcases the country's history and culture with artifacts from ancient times and exhibits on traditional nomadic life. Then, visit the Choijin Lama Temple Museum and see the collection of Buddhist art and artifacts, including intricate thangka paintings and ornate sculptures.

If you're on the hunt for the perfect souvenir, stop at Naran Tuul Market, a bustling outdoor market where you can find a little bit of everything—from traditional Mongolian clothing and handicrafts to modern electronics! Finish the day with a meal at a local restaurant, and if you're not too tired, take in a performance at the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, a historic venue that hosts opera and ballet, as well as other musical productions.

Day 2: Guided City Tour: Gandan Monastery & Museums

Get up close to the giant Buddha statue at Gandan Monastery

The day begins with a guided city tour of some of the city's most popular sites. Your guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast, and you'll head out. Your first stop will be the impressive Gandan Monastery, which houses the 85-foot (26 m) gilded statue of the Buddhist sage Megjid Janraisag. If you didn't go on your own yesterday, you'll also have a chance to visit the National Museum of Mongolia and take a stroll around the bustling Main Square.

Next, you'll see the newly opened Chinggis Khaan Museum and its collection of archaeological artifacts from the Mongolian Great Empire, led by the legendary Chinggis Khaan (Ghengis Khan), and stop for a hearty lunch at a local Mongolian restaurant. You'll find a wide range of cuisine on offer, which is sure to tantalize your taste buds. After lunch, your guide will return you to your hotel, where you can relax for the day or explore more of the city on your own. 

Day 3: Transfer to Terelj National Park, Horseback Riding

Prepare to be awed by the larger-than-life statue of Genghis Khan

Meet your guide in the morning for the one-hour drive to Terelj National Park, one of the country's most visited national parks, located approximately 40 miles (65 km) outside the city. Along the way, stop at the magnificent Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex. Towering at 150 feet (46 m), this equestrian statue of the Mongol leader on horseback is the largest of its kind in the world. You can walk to the head of the horse for panoramic views, while the attached museum has items from the Bronze Age and Xiongnu cultures and an exhibit on the Great Khan period. 

From here, continue to the park, taking in the natural beauty on all sides. Encompassing more than 700,000 acres (291,000 ha), you'll find craggy mountains set against endless blue skies, meadows bursting with wildflowers in spring, and fast-flowing rivers carving their way through deep valleys. Check in at your ger camp (traditional Mongolian roadhouse), then embark on a guided horseback tour through the park.

Once you've met the horses and gone over safety briefings, saddle up and start your trek, making your first stop at Turtle Rock, a rock formation that resembles a turtle emerging from the earth. Take some photos and marvel at this geological wonder, then visit the Temple of Meditation, a small structure nestled amid the tranquility of the wilderness. Immerse yourself in the spirituality of the surroundings as you enjoy panoramic countryside views. At sunset, return to camp for a hearty dinner and some well-earned rest. 

Plan your trip to Mongolia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Day 4: Transfer to Hustai National Park, Hiking & Endangered Wildlife Viewing

Catch glimpses of the endangered takhi horses in Hustai National Park

Your next destination is Hustai (Khustai) National Park, located in the Khustai Mountains and home to the endangered takhi horse, otherwise known as Przewalski's horse. The park, which sits about 62 miles (100 km) west of Ulaanbaatar, encompasses 195 square miles (506 sq km), with wide-open expanses of grasslands and hills. It was declared a protected area in the 1990s after an initiative went through to reintroduce the horses to the region. 

In addition to the takhi, more than 55 species of mammals and 223 species of birds live in the park, many of them endangered. Your guides will take you to where you can observe the horses in their natural habitat, and you'll stop at the small on-site museum for more information about the park and its history. Hike around, do some bird watching, and relax in this green oasis before settling in at your ger camp for the night. 

Day 5: Transfer to Bat-Ulzii, Nomadic Farm Tour & Stargazing Adventure 

Learn to milk a yak or even a horse on a visit to a Mongolian nomadic farm

Get an early start with your guides as you make your way to the majestic Orkhon Valley. This cultural landscape and UNESCO World Heritage Site showcase the historic nomadic traditions of the country, with expansive pastoral grasslands, protected wildlife, and multiple ancient sites, all bisected by the mighty Orkhon River. The scenic drive takes about five hours, and upon arrival, you'll check in at the Ursa Major Geolodge, an upscale ger camp with comfortable yurts and a restaurant. Have lunch, then spend the afternoon visiting a nomadic family and their breeding farm.

Raising and breeding livestock is a big part of nomadic culture, with most families keeping yaks, sheep, goats, camels, or horses. You'll visit a yak or horse breeding farm today, engaging in the authentic experiences that make up their daily lives. Learn more about the important roles the animals play in providing for the nomadic families and help out with daily chores—you'll even have a chance to milk a yak or horse! 

Afterward, take a light hike along the river, then return to camp for a stargazing session. See the wonders of the night sky using the lodge's high-powered telescope and learn about the astronomical observations that allowed nomadic people to navigate through the deserts, determine the time, and predict the weather. Your hosts will point out different stars and constellations as you take in what is likely to be one of the most beautiful night skies you've ever seen. 

Day 6: Day Trip to the Orkhon Waterfall

Cool off from your hike with a dip in the refreshing waters of Orkhon Waterfall 

This morning, you'll take a day trip to the Orkhon Waterfall, an impressive 65-foot (20 m) high and 32-foot (10 m) wide waterfall that sits in a tranquil, green region of the valley. Hike to the falls while keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife such as corsac foxes, red deer, and birds, including Himalayan vultures and white-tailed eagles. Make stops at some of the valley's historic sites along the way as your guide explains their significance. If it's warm enough, you can take a refreshing dip in the waterfall before returning to camp.

Day 7: Hike or Horseback Ride to Tuvkhun Monastery, Visit a Nomadic Family

 Check out the endless mountain views from the 16th-century Tuvkhun Monastery

Today's excursion gives you the option of a day hike or horseback riding tour to the Tuvkun Monastery. Built in the 16th century by the First Bogd Jebtsundanba Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, the monastery has long been a place for meditation and reflection. Its mountaintop location offers breathtaking views of the Khangai mountain range, and you'll find yourself mesmerized by the views of mountains and plains that seem to go on forever.

Have lunch back at camp, then spend the afternoon visiting a nomadic family. Learn more about their daily lives and traditions, and try your hand at making yogurt from the yak or cows they raise. Return to camp in time for dinner, then enjoy a peaceful evening under the stars. 

Day 8: Transfer to Kharkhorin, Visit a Monastery & Archaeological Museum

Wander around the Erdene Zuu Monastery in the ancient capital city of Kharkhorin

Your next destination is the ancient capital city called Kharkhorin (Karakorum), a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich cultural history. Your driver will collect you in the morning for the 2.5-hour drive, and upon arrival, you'll check in to your ger camp and have lunch. Then, take a guided tour of some of Kharkhorin's most important sites and landmarks.

Start by visiting the Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Mongolia. Built in the 15th century, the monastery features a stunning array of temples, stupas, and other structures, all of which are adorned with intricate carvings and paintings.

From here, continue to the Karakorum Archaeological Museum, a small but impressive collection of artifacts from the 13th and 14th centuries. See prehistoric tools, pottery, religious icons, and a partially excavated stone kiln. End your tour with a visit to the stone Turtle Statue, originally built to protect the city and a symbol of the unity and strength of the Mongolian people. 

Day 9: Return to Ulaanbaatar, Shopping, Sightseeing & Folklore Show

Watch a traditional Mongolian folklore performance on your last evening of the trip

Start the morning back at Erdene Zuu Monastery, where you can participate in the morning chants and prayers of the monks. Then, it's time to make the six-hour return trip to Ulaanbaatar for your final full day in Mongolia. After you check in at your hotel, make the most of your final time here with some shopping and sightseeing around the city.

If you're still looking for gifts and souvenirs, you can visit a Mongolian cashmere store, where you can purchase hand-crafted sweaters and scarves or other one-of-a-kind souvenirs. And don't miss a walk up Zaisan Memorial Hill, a communist-era monument that honors Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. The hill consists of more than 500 steps,  rewarding you with panoramic views of the city at the top. 

Your adventures in Mongolia conclude with a folklore performance by the Tumen Ekh ensemble, followed by a memorable farewell dinner, where you can enjoy traditional Mongolian cuisine and say goodbye to your guides. Return to your hotel to rest up for tomorrow's journey home. 

Day 10: Depart Ulaanbaatar

Bid a fond farewell to central Mongolia

The day has come to say goodbye to central Mongolia. After breakfast, your private driver will transfer you to the airport to catch your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels! 

More Great Mongolia Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Mongolia? Check out these other Mongolia itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Mongolia, or discover the best time to visit Mongolia.


Map of Active Tour in Central Mongolia: Ancient Cities, Nomadic Farms & Mountain Hikes - 10 Days
Map of Active Tour in Central Mongolia: Ancient Cities, Nomadic Farms & Mountain Hikes - 10 Days