Follow the nomadic paths of the ancient Mongols on this active and cultural 10-day tour. The adventure starts in Ulaanbaatar, where you can learn about the country's history at the National Museum of Mongolia. Then, you're off to hike the limestone formations of Tsagaan Suvarga and ride horses through the incredible Yolyn Am Gorge. From here, you'll trek the shifting sands of Khongor Dunes, see ancient relics in Kharkhorin, and finish in Ulaanbaatar with a traditional Mongolian folklore show.


  • Hike the limestone cliffs of the Middle Gobi's Tsagaan Suvarga
  • Ride camels along the shifting white dunes of Khongor 
  • Visit Kharkhorin's Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the oldest in Mongolia
  • See endangered animals running free in Hustai National Park
  • Spend the majority of your trip camping in well-equipped yurts

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Self-Guided City Tour Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Transfer to the Middle Gobi Region via Tsagaan Suvarga Tsagaan Suvarga
Day 3 Transfer to the Yol Valley, Hiking on the Yolyn Am Gorge Yol Valley
Day 4 Khongor Sand Dunes Excursion, Transfer to Sevrei Sevrei, Gobi
Day 5 Bayanzag's Flaming Cliffs Bayanzag
Day 6 Transfer to Kharkhorin, Hiking on the Orkhon River Kharkhorin
Day 7 Visit the Historic Sites & Ancient Ruins of Kharkhorin Kharkhorin
Day 8 Transfer to Hustai National Park, Hiking & Endangered Wildlife Viewing Hustai National Park
Day 9 Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Guided Sightseeing Tour & Folklore Show Ulaanbaatar
Day 10 Depart Ulaanbaatar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Self-Guided City Tour

Start your adventure in the 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.

Upon arrival, a private driver will collect you from the airport and transport you to your hotel for check-in. Once you've had a chance to get settled, you're free to head out and explore all the city has to offer. A good place to start is the National Museum of Mongolia, which has exhibitions of artifacts from ancient times and 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.

You can also visit the magnificent Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex, located about an hour outside of the city. Towering at 150 feet (46 m), this equestrian statue of Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan) 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, as well as an exhibit on the Great Khan period. 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 various productions.

Day 2: Transfer to the Middle Gobi Region via Tsagaan Suvarga

Hike to the top of the magnificent Tsagaan Suvarga

Depart your hotel with your guides this morning and make the 4.5-hour drive into Mongolia's Middle Gobi region, stopping at the geological formation of Tsagaan Suvarga (White Stupa). These brilliantly colored limestone cliffs are nearly 200 feet (60 m) high in some spots, and the limestone has eroded over the years to create unusual shapes, one of which resembles a Buddhist stupa—hence the name. 

There are several trails around the area worth exploring, and you can climb to the top of the stupa formation for expansive views of the desert. Photographers of all skill levels will be able to capture some beautiful shots as the sun sets across the limestone walls, and because the area was once an ocean bed, you're quite likely to find some interesting marine fossils. Afterward, you'll head to your ger (desert camp) to spend the night in traditional, well-equipped yurts. Enjoy a delicious dinner at camp, then rest up for tomorrow's adventures.

Day 3: Transfer to the Yol Valley, Hiking on the Yolyn Am Gorge

Ride horses through the breathtaking scenery of Yolyn Am Gorge

After a hearty breakfast at camp, your guides will transport you to your next destination, the Yol Valley and Yolyn Am Gorge. Located in the Southern Gobi, this picturesque valley is renowned for its dramatic rock formations, crystal-clear streams, and plentiful flora and fauna. The gorge, whose name translates to "Vulture's Mouth," is a narrow canyon with walls that tower at more than 650 feet (200 m) and a deep ravine that stays frozen through most of the year. 

Here, you'll embark on a guided trek that takes you out to the gorge, traveling both on foot and by horseback. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as ibex and argali sheep, and learn about the geological and historical significance of the park and its importance for biodiversity conservation. You'll also stop at the park museum, which has information on the region's wildlife, as well as dinosaur fossils and remains found in the area. After the hike, you'll head to your next ger camp to overnight. 

Day 4: Khongor Sand Dunes Excursion, Transfer to Sevrei

Ride a camel across the Khongor dunes before camping

Today, you'll explore the Khongor dunes, stretching more than 120 miles (200 km) through the arid Gobi. The dunes are Mongolia's largest, with high peaks that offer incredible views against ever-shifting white sands, and they've even earned the nickname "singing dunes" due to the melodic sounds they make when the wind blows the sand. 

Start early in the morning with your guide, making the five-hour drive through the vast desert steppe of the Gobi, riding along a dirt track that takes you across the rugged badlands. Along the way, you'll see lone gers and nomads on camelback, all of which seem mirage-like against the desert sky. The desert floor is also scattered with various colorful rocks and minerals, adding to the otherworldly atmosphere.

Arrive at the dunes in time for lunch, then spend the afternoon climbing them, taking photos, and traversing the area like a true nomad with a guided camel ride before settling at your camp for the night. 

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Day 5: Explore Bayanzag's Flaming Cliffs

See the aptly-named Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs at sunset

You're off to the Bayanzag region today, home to the famed Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs, a gorgeous area where at sunset, the surrounding cliffs appear to blaze like fire. Depart your camp at Khongor in the morning, making the three-hour drive across the desert landscapes. Upon arrival, have lunch at today's camp, then begin your exploration of the cliffs. 

Hike around on foot to get an up-close look at these incredible rock formations, or you can also travel around the cliffs via car. Immerse yourself in this pristine wilderness, and you might see traces of ancient dinosaurs and actual dinosaur bones! Take in the awe-inspiring sunset over the fire-red cliffs, then relax at camp, enjoying a meal and conversation under the star-filled night sky. 

Day 6: Transfer to Kharkhorin, Hiking on the Orkhon River

Take a peaceful way along the Orkhon Valley's mighty Orkhon River

Get an early start with your guides as you make your way to the ancient capital city of Kharkhorin, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its rich history. Located in the majestic Orkhon Valley, this cultural landscape showcases the nomadic traditions of the country, with expansive pastoral grasslands, protected wildlife, and multiple ancient sites, all bisected by the mighty Orkhon River

Your driver will collect you in the morning for the scenic drive, which takes you across semi-desert terrain and open landscapes. Upon arrival, you'll check in to your ger camp, then take a hike along the riverfront. The river, which rises from the Hangayn Mountains and traverses the valley, stretches for over 700 miles (1,130 km). Take a late-day stroll enjoying the peaceful flow of water before you relax at camp. 

Day 7: Visit the Historic Sites & Ancient Ruins of Kharkhorin

Take a guided tour of Karakorum's Erdene Zuu Monastery

Today, you'll take a guided tour of some of Kharkhorin's most important sites and landmarks. Start at 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.

Continue to the Kharkhorin 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. Walk the ruins of the ancient city walls, then 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. After a full day of sightseeing, wrap things up with a delicious dinner and overnight at camp.

Day 8: Transfer to Hustai National Park, Hiking & Endangered Wildlife Viewing

Say hello to the endangered tahki horse in Hustai National Park 

Your next destination is Hustai (Khustai) National Park, located in the Khustai Mountains and home to the endangered takhi 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 horses, 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 the area, do some bird watching, and relax in this green oasis, then settle in at your ger camp for the night. 

Day 9: Transfer to Ulaanbaatar, Guided Sightseeing Tour & Folklore Show

Conclude your trip with a traditional folklore dinner show in Ulaanbaatar

Your driver will transport you back to Ulaanbaatar this morning for your last full day in Mongolia. After you check in at your hotel, make the most of your last full day here with a guided sightseeing and shopping excursion around the city.

If you're still looking for gifts and souvenirs, you'll have the opportunity to visit a Mongolian cashmere store, where you can purchase handcrafted 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 has 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 farewell to the magic and mystery of Mongolia 

Sadly, it's time to say goodbye to Mongolia. After breakfast, your private driver will transfer you to the airport and your flight home. Safe travels! 

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Map of Highlights of Mongolia: Desert, Mountains, History & Culture - 10 Days
Map of Highlights of Mongolia: Desert, Mountains, History & Culture - 10 Days