Adventurous types can experience the highlights of Mongolia's natural landscapes and rich culture on this fast-paced guided tour. Starting with a restful night in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, you'll head to three national parks to hit the trails, visit monasteries, see the endangered tahki horses, and sleep in a traditional Mongolian yurt known as a ger. You'll also discover the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes with a camel ride and watch the Tumen-Ekh ensemble perform to end your whirlwind week.


  • Stop by the massive statue of Genghis Khan on your way to a national park
  • Complete an epic hike up Mount Tsetsee Gun and visit a monastery
  • Observe endangered takhi horses and ride camels across picturesque dunes
  • Climb 500 steps to see a memorial in the capital before a local performance

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the City Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Transfer to Terelj National Park via the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex Terelj National Park
Day 3 Hike to Mount Tsetseeg Gun & Visit Manzhushir Monastery Argalant
Day 4 Transfer to Kharkhorin via Hustai National Park  Kharkhorin
Day 5 Guided Tour of Kharkhorin, Transfer to the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes Rashaant
Day 6 Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour, Folklore Performance Ulaanbaatar
Day 7 Depart Ulaanbaatar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the City

Sample delicious steamed dumplings at Narantuul Market

Welcome to the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar! Meet your driver at the airport and transfer to your hotel, where you can stay to relax and fight off jet lag or venture out to explore the area on your own. To learn more about the country's culture, history, and heritage, head to the National Museum of Mongolia. Browse the exhibits and artifacts, from intricately crafted traditional clothing and ceremonial objects to ancient tools and weapons. After the educational visit, meander to Narantuul Market, one of the largest markets in the city.

Navigate through the labyrinthine alleys, discovering the treasure trove of Mongolian culture as vendors sell a mix of traditional clothing, intricately crafted jewelry, and handmade goods. You can also find delicious street food here, like huushuur, a deep-fried meat pie, or buuz, steamed dumplings filled with lamb or beef, onion, and garlic. In the evening, visit one of the rooftop bars to unwind with a cocktail or beer and enjoy panoramic cityscape views before returning to your hotel. 

Day 2: Transfer to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park via the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex

Admire the larger-than-life statue of Genghis Khan on your way to Terelj National Park

Trade the city for the countryside this morning as you set off on a two-hour transfer to Terelj National Park, nestled in the Khentii Mountains. On the way, stop at the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex to see the massive equestrian statue dedicated to the former ruler of the Mongol Empire. Admire the 131-foot (40 m) tall statue, then climb to its head for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Jump back in the car and complete the drive to the national park, where you'll be welcomed with lunch. 

After refueling, set off on a three-hour horseback ride through the park. As your horse trots slowly along the path, look out to the rolling hills, glittering rivers, and distinct granite formations, such as the revered Turtle Rock, resembling a giant turtle gracefully navigating the landscape. Continue to the Ariyabala Meditation Temple, a sanctuary for those seeking spiritual solace and mindfulness surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of nature. Step into the serene space to self-reflect and meditate before returning to camp for dinner.

Day 3: Hike to Mount Tsetseeg Gun & Visit Manzhushir Monastery

Look out for musk deer as you ascend Mount Tsetsee Gun

Leave one national park for another as you set off on a 2.5-hour transfer to Bogd Khan Uul National Park to climb Mount Tsetsee Gun. Meet your guide at the trailhead, then begin the ascent along the 13.6-mile (22 km) trail. Walk through alpine meadows adorned with vibrant wildflowers and along crystal-clear mountain streams. Look out for the musk deer or Arctic hare that reside here before sitting down to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch.

When you reach the summit, enjoy panoramic views of the undulating hills and expansive valleys while celebrating your accomplishment. Return down the mountain along another path to visit the remnants of the Manzhushir Monastery, founded in the 18th century. Explore the stone walls and partially restored structures, offering a glimpse into the once-thriving center of Buddhist learning and meditation. Complete the 10-hour hike and meet your driver at the bottom of the mountain for a one-hour transfer to the Mongol Nomadic Camp in Argalant for a good night's rest. 

Day 4: Transfer to Kharkhorin via Hustai National Park 

Watch Przewalski's horses roam freely in Hustai National Park

Head to your last national park this morning, Hustai National Park in the Kustai Mountains. Stretch your legs after the 2.5-hour drive and set off down one of the paths to discover the park's rolling hills, rocky outcrops, and expansive steppes. Look out for the majestic takhi (Przewalski's horses), which you can only find in Mongolia. These beautiful creatures are critically endangered, but the park has successfully reintroduced over 300 to the ecosystem to roam freely in their natural habitat.

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Watch them graze and gallop across the lush landscape before returning to the park's entrance to explore the small museum. Learn about the park's ecosystem and its successful conservation efforts as you browse the interactive exhibits, informative displays, and engaging presentations. After a delicious lunch, jump back in the car for a four-hour transfer to Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, where you can check into your hotel and settle in for the night. 

Day 5: Guided Tour of Kharkhorin, Transfer to the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

Enjoy a one-hour camel ride across the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

Set an early alarm to watch the sunrise over your campsite while enjoying a delicious breakfast, then set off on a guided tour of Kharkhorin. Start at Erdene Zuu Monastery, built in 1585, making it one of the oldest monasteries in the country. Admire the massive walls adorned with 108 stupas before entering the grounds full of carved stone turtles and fearsome deity statues. Discover the three remaining temples housing intricate Buddhist art and religious artifacts, then continue to the Kharkhorin Archaeological Museum.

Browse the exhibits showcasing artifacts like pottery and tools to better understand daily Mongolian life and culture. In the afternoon, transfer one hour to the 50-mile (80 km) long Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes. When you arrive, meet a nomadic horse-breeding family to learn about their lifestyle. Taste their traditional dairy products to fully immerse yourself in the experience, then visit the ancient ruins of the Erdene Khamba Monastery near the Orkhon River. After exploring the monastery grounds, get ready for a one-hour camel ride across the dunes.

As the gentle giants amble gracefully over the golden sand, the vastness of the dunes unfolds, offering panoramic views of the surrounding grassy plains and the distant Khogno Khan Mountains. Take in the tranquil silence, interrupted only by the soft padding of camel hooves, while the sun sets around you. When darkness starts to fall, return to the nomadic family's camp to lay underneath the starry sky, cocooned in your sleeping bag. You can sleep outside or in the ger, a portable round tent covered with skins or felt.

Day 6: Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour, Folklore Performance

Climb up Zaisan Hill to see the Soviet memorial and enjoy views of Ulaanbaatar

Return to the capital this morning on a four-hour transfer. When you arrive, check into your hotel and refresh, then venture out on a short tour, starting at a Mongolian cashmere store. Learn how the coveted material is made and browse the array of cashmere scarves, sweaters, blankets, and accessories you can take home to remember your trip. Next, visit Zaisan Memorial Hill, perched on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, for panoramic city views. Admire the towering monument dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who fought alongside the Mongolian forces during World War II.

End the day with a folk performance by the Tumen-Ekh ensemble, one of the most well-known musical groups in the country. As the ensemble takes the stage, listen to the rhythmic beats of traditional instruments resonating through the venue. Watch the dancers, adorned in elaborate costumes inspired by Mongolian history and nature, move with grace and precision, depicting stories of nomadic life, heroic tales, and spiritual rituals. Following the performance, enjoy a delicious farewell dinner of traditional Mongolian cuisine, then say goodbye to your guide and return to your hotel.

Day 7: Depart Ulaanbaatar

Visit Gandan Monastery before you fly home today

After a week in Mongolia, your adventure comes to an end. If you have some time before your flight, you can continue to explore the area on your own. Head to Gandan Monastery, one of the largest and most important Buddhist monasteries in the country. Admire the 85-foot (26 m) tall gilded statue of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, then enter the complex to discover the serene environment. Listen to the rhythmic chant of the praying monks as you stroll through each intricately decorated temple, all adorned with religious artifacts.

If you want to check out the city's vibrant art scene, meander to the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, situated in the heart of the city. Browse the gallery's diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, and multimedia installations, all exploring themes deeply rooted in Mongolian culture. Keep an eye on the clock, as a driver will meet you back at the hotel to take you to the airport for your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Best of Mongolia's Natural Landscapes & Rich Culture - 7 Days
Map of Best of Mongolia's Natural Landscapes & Rich Culture - 7 Days