Get to the heart of Mongolia's nomadic culture and desert landscape on this exciting 10-day tour. It starts in Ulaanbaatar, where you'll see the giant Buddha statue at Gandan Monastery and visit the imposing monument of Genghis Khan. Then, you're off to the Gobi Desert for hiking, followed by a day trip to the Naadam Festival—the country's ultimate nomad celebration. From here, you'll trek through the Khongor Dunes, meet (and ride!) camels, and observe endangered horses at a national park.


  • See ancient artifacts from the Mongolian empire at Chinggis Khaan Museum 
  • Watch the fiery Gobi sunset against the backdrop of the Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
  • Learn traditional games and watch horse races at the annual Naadam Festival 
  • Take a deep dive into Mongolia's nomadic lifestyle at a camp and cultural show

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the City Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Guided City Tour: Monasteries, Museums & Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex Ulaanbaatar
Day 3 Fly to Bayanzag, Yolyn Am Gorge, Cooking with a Nomadic Family  Bayanzag
Day 4 Day Trip to Bulgan for the Naadam Festival Opening Ceremonies Bayanzag
Day 5 Khongor Sand Dunes Excursion Bayanzag
Day 6 Hike to the Khavtsgait Petroglyphs, Visit a Camel Breeding Farm  Bayanzag
Day 7 Fly to Ulaanbaatar, Free Time for Sightseeing Ulaanbaatar
Day 8 Day Trip to the Mongol Nomadic Show & Hustai National Park Argalant
Day 9 Visit a Cashmere Store & Climb Zaisan Memorial Hill, Folklore Dinner Show Ulaanbaatar
Day 10 Depart Ulaanbaatar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Explore the City

Start your adventure in Ulaanbaatar and get ready to explore

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 transport you to your hotel for check-in. Once you've had a chance to settle, 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 showcases Mongolia'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: Monasteries, Museums & Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex

Snag panoramic views from the larger-than-life head of Genghis Khan 

Today 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 stunning 85-foot (26 m) gilded statue of the Buddhist sage Megjid Janraisag. If you didn't go on your own yesterday, you'll have another chance to visit the National Museum of Mongolia and take a stroll around the bustling Main Square.

From here, you'll stop by the newly opened Chinggis Khaan Museum and marvel at its collection of archaeological artifacts from the Mongolian Great Empire, led by the legendary Chinggis Khaan (Genghis Khan). Stop for a hearty lunch at a local Mongolian restaurant, where you'll find a wide range of cuisine on offer, sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Wrap up the tour with a one-hour drive to the magnificent Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex. Towering at an impressive 150 feet (46 m), this equestrian statue of 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 and Xiongnu cultures and an exhibit on the Great Khan period. 

Day 3: Fly to Bayanzag, Yolyn Am Gorge, Cooking with a Nomadic Family 

Prepare a traditional meal with a nomadic Mongolian family 

Your next destination is the Bayanzag region, which is part of the Gobi Desert. In the morning, you'll take a private transfer to the airport and make the three-hour flight. A driver will meet you on arrival to transport you along the southern side of the Altai Mountains and the Yolyn Am Gorge. Located in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, this narrow canyon, whose name translates to "Vulture's Mouth," towers at more than 650 feet (200 m), with 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 flora and fauna, as well as dinosaur fossils and remains found in the area. 

After all that outdoor activity, you're probably ready for some sustenance, and what better way to dive into Mongolian cuisine than with a cooking class? Your guide will take you to Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs, a gorgeous area where the surrounding cliffs appear to blaze like fire at sunset. Meet a nomadic family and learn about their lifestyle while helping them prepare a traditional Mongolian dish. Sit down together and enjoy your meal, watching the Gobi sunset as you dine. Your guide will then take you to your ger (desert camp) for the night. 

Day 4: Day Trip to Bulgan for the Naadam Festival Opening Ceremonies

Take part in the excitement of the festival's opening day

This morning, drive to the nearby village of Bulgan for the opening ceremonies of Mongolia's Naadam Festival. This yearly event, celebrated throughout the country, is easily the most popular national holiday, commemorating Mongolia's independence, tradition, and nomadic culture. The festival includes Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery exhibitions, and you'll find attendees dressed in their finest traditional attire. 

Spend the day watching the ceremonies and rooting for your favorite competitors as you learn more about the history behind the festival. Meet the horse trainers and chat about Mongolian horse culture and the nomadic lifestyle, take photos of the gorgeous costumes, and enjoy traditional Mongolian food and drink. Return to your camp in time for another incredible Gobi sunset.

Day 5: Khongor Sand Dunes Excursion

Walk and ride a camel amid the otherworldly Khongor sand dunes

Today, you'll explore the Khongor dunes, a more than 120-mile (200 km) stretch of desert tracking through the arid Gobi. The dunes are Mongolia's largest, with high peaks that offer incredible views against ever-shifting sands. You'll start early in the morning with your guide, making the three-hour drive via a dirt track that takes you across the rugged badlands.

Along the way, you'll encounter lone nomads on camelback, which seem mirage-like against the desert horizon. The desert floor is also scattered with a range of colorful rocks and unusual minerals, adding to the otherworldly atmosphere of the landscape. 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 returning to camp.

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Day 6: Hike to the Khavtsgait Petroglyphs, Visit a Camel Breeding Farm 

Say hello to curious camels at a local breeding farm

Today's adventure starts at the Khavtsgait Petroglyphs, a remarkable display of ancient art that showcases the enduring legacy of the people who lived in the region during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Meet your guides in the morning and head out, hiking along the captivating landscape until you reach the petroglyphs. Learn more about the people who lived in this region thousands of years ago and the meanings behind these surprisingly intricate paintings. 

Afterward, visit a local camel breeder, where you'll have an opportunity to meet the breeder and their family, experience their daily lives, and get to know the creatures that are such a vital part of nomadic culture. Say hello to the camels and take a ride around the ranch as your hosts explain the history of camels in Mongolia and their role in desert life—you can even try some camel yogurt if you'd like! Afterward, you'll return to camp for one final evening in the desert.

Day 7: Fly to Ulaanbaatar, Free Time for Sightseeing

Walk through the city's Sukhbaatar Square and visit the Government Palace

It's back to Ulaanbaatar this morning, as your guides take you to the airport for your 1.5-hour flight. Once you've arrived and gotten settled at your hotel, take some time to visit some of the sights you might have missed during your initial stay here. 

For more insight into Mongolian art, start at the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, a contemporary museum that showcases works by Mongolian artists, including paintings, sculptures, and installations. Then, continue to the Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum, which houses a collection of Buddhist art and artifacts, including works by the famous Mongolian sculptor and artist Zanabazar.

You can also visit the Mongolian National Library, the country's oldest and largest, which houses more than three million books, as well as what are the world's only remaining copies of many ancient Buddhist texts. End with a walk through Sukhbaatar Square, home to a statue of Damdin Sükhbaatar, who declared Mongolia's independence from China, as well as the State Parliament House and the Government Palace

Day 8: Day Trip to the Mongol Nomadic Show & Hustai National Park

Observe the wild takhi horses of Hustai National Park

Head out of the city for another nomadic adventure and a visit to Hustai (Khustai) National Park, located in the Khustai Mountains and home to the endangered takhi horse, otherwise known as Przewalski's horse. The park was declared a protected area in the 1990s after an initiative went through to reintroduce the horses to the region. 

Together with your guides, you'll drive to your first stop, the Mongol Nomadic Show. Offering an authentic Mongolian cultural experience since 2011, visitors and locals alike can enjoy an immersion into nomad life. Visit local families, try traditional foods such as airaq (fermented mare's milk), watch live performances of folk songs and dances, and listen to the lively music of the morin khuur (horse fiddle). Learn about the process of making dairy products, and try your hand at milking a goat or sheep! Finish with fun national games like "ankle bone" before continuing into the park. 

Hustai National Park encompasses 195 square miles (506 sq km) with wide-open expanses of grasslands and hills. 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 the area, do some bird watching, and have dinner at a ger camp before returning to Ulaanbaatar.

Day 9: Visit a Cashmere Store & Climb Zaisan Memorial Hill, Folklore Dinner Show

Climb the 500 steps of Zaisan Memorial Hill for epic views

Make the most of your last day in Mongolia with some shopping and sightseeing 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. Then, head to 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 delicious 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 the mystical world of Mongolia

It's time to say goodbye to beautiful Mongolia today. After breakfast, your private driver will transfer you to the airport to catch your flight home or to your next destination. Safe travels! 

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Map of Experience Mongolia’s Gobi Desert & Naadam Festival - 10 Days
Map of Experience Mongolia’s Gobi Desert & Naadam Festival - 10 Days