- Hike to the dormant volcano of Mount Khorgo
- Soak in the ancient pools of Tsenkher Hot Springs
- Search for dinosaur fossils in the Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi Desert
- Ride a camel through the magnificent Khongor Sand Dunes
- Stay in traditional ger (yurt) camps along the way
- Discover the rich cultures & incredible hospitality of Mongolia's nomadic people
|Day 1||Arrive in Ulaanbaatar||Ulaanbaatar|
|Day 2||Ulaanbaatar City Tour & Genghis Khan Statue||Ulaanbaatar|
|Day 3||Drive to Hutug-Undur & the Bulgan Province||Khutag Undur|
|Day 4||Drive to Lake Khuvsgul||Khuvsgul Lake|
|Day 5||Free Day on Lake Khuvsgul||Khuvsgul Lake|
|Day 6||Drive to Jargalant Hot Springs||Jargalant|
|Day 7||Drive to Khorgo-Terkh National Park||Tariat|
|Day 8||Drive to Tsenkher Hot Springs via Tsetserleg Town||Tsenkher|
|Day 9||Free Day at Tsenkher Hot Springs||Tsenkher|
|Day 10||Drive to Karakorum & the Erdene Zuu Monastery||Kharkhorin|
|Day 11||Drive to the Ongi Monastery Ruins||Saikhan Ovoo|
|Day 12||Drive to Bayanzag & the Flaming Cliffs||Dalanzadgad|
|Day 13||Drive to the Khongor Sand Dunes||Sevrei, Gobi|
|Day 14||Day Trip to the Yoliin Am Gorge & Gurvan Saikhan Mountains||Gurvansaikhan|
|Day 15||Fly to Ulaanbaatar, Half-Day Tour & Folklore Performance||Ulaanbaatar|
|Day 16||Depart Ulaanbaatar|
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
Welcome to Mongolia! Upon arrival in the capital of Ulaanbaatar, you'll be bet at the airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the city center. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore. You'll go on a guided city tour tomorrow, but in the meantime, you could head out to see a few sights this afternoon if you're up to it. Consider stopping into the National Museum of Mongolia for an overview of the country's history and culture, or wander around the colorful temples in the Choijin Lama Temple Museum complex. Then have dinner in a local restaurant before getting some rest.
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar City Tour & Genghis Khan Statue
Meet your guide this morning for a fascinating tour of the Mongolian capital. You'll visit some of Ulaanbaatar's most important sites, including the Gandan Monastery (home to the towering gilded statue of Megjid Janraisag), the National Museum of Mongolia, and the city's central Genghis Khan Square.
After a lunch of modern Mongolian cuisine at a local restaurant, make your way east out of the city to marvel at the world-famous Genghis Khaan Statue Complex. Here you will learn about the history of the Mongolian Empire and see the world's largest equestrian statue. You can even ride the elevator up to the horse's head to take in breathtaking views over the plains, before returning to Ulaanbaatar for the evening.
Day 3: Drive to Hutug-Undur & the Bulgan Province
Your epic Mongolian road trip starts today, as you meet your driver and head north towards the Bulgan Province. Stop en route at Bulgan Town for lunch, and take a stroll through the local market for an introduction to the local Mongolians’ day-to-day life. In the late afternoon, you'll arrive at the tourist camp and get settled in. Spend the rest of the evening exploring your surroundings and visiting a nomadic family as they go about their evening chores. You can even try your hand at milking the cows and goats before heading back to camp for dinner and rest.
Driving time: 7 hours
Day 4: Drive to Lake Khuvsgul
Today you'll continue the drive towards Lake Khuvsgul, passing through the beautiful Khangai region. Admire the natural beauty and wilderness of this area as you take in mountainous scenery rich in forests, wildlife, and waters. Stopping for a picnic lunch along the way, you'll also stop to meet a local nomadic family and witness their remarkable hospitality.
The scenic drive takes you across a landscape of green hills studded by rocky outcroppings, river valleys with braided channels that crisscross the lush valley floors, and skies filled with hunting birds of prey. The road can get bumpy as it passes the settlement of Khatgal and enters the forests surrounding the lake, before emerging on the banks of Lake Khuvsgul itself with your ger (yurt) camp close at hand. After getting settled into your accommodations, the remainder of the day is free for you to spend relaxing on the lake's shores.
Driving time: 7 hours
Day 5: Free Day on Lake Khuvsgul
Today is free for you to spend at your leisure, enjoying your lakeside surroundings with optional walks, boat expeditions, or a visit to the local Tsaatan people and their reindeer herds.
Day 6: Drive to Jargalant Hot Springs
After breakfast, get back on the road and head south toward central Mongolia, passing Mörön and continuing into the astounding Khangai Mountains. The mountains themselves vary in character, from stark outcroppings of dun-colored rock to steep green slopes that rise over the river valleys and isolated ger encampments. Every new turn in the road reveals a vista of astounding beauty along the drive, as you cross the Tsagaan Burgas (White Bush) Pass to reach Jargalant Hot Springs and your ger camp nearby.
Driving time: 6 hours
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 7: Drive to Khorgo-Terkh National Park
Continue the drive south today and reach the Khorgo-Terkh National Park—a breathtaking protected area that's home to an extinct volcano and freshwater lake. Arrive and check into your camp by the afternoon, where you'll enjoy a late lunch before embarking on a hike to Mount Khorgo. The remainder of the day is at your leisure, relaxing at your camp on the shores of Lake Terkh.
Driving time: 4 hours
Day 8: Drive to Tsenkher Hot Springs via Tsetserleg Town
After breakfast, head to Tsenkher Hot Springs via lovely Tsetserleg Town (its temple and bazaar are worth a visit). You'll arrive at the hot springs and check into your camp in the late afternoon. You can opt for a short horseback ride around the hot springs before enjoying dinner. End your evening with a soothing soak in the springs under a starry night sky.
Driving time: 5 hours
Day 9: Free Day at Tsenkher Hot Springs
Spend today at your leisure, enjoying the Tsenkher Hot Springs and their surroundings.
Day 10: Drive to Karakorum & the Erdene Zuu Monastery
After breakfast, you'll set out west towards Karakorum, the capital of the Mongol Empire between 1235 and 1260, and of the Northern Yuan in the 14th to 15th centuries. Its ruins lie in the northwestern corner of the Övörkhangai Province and are adjacent to the Erdene Zuu Monastery. Together they form the upper part of the World Heritage Site of Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. Upon arrival, you'll visit Erdene Zuu, the oldest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia founded in 1586, and take part in the morning chants. Then stop at the newly opened Open Air Museum of the Karakorum, which displays some interesting findings from the ancient past. After checking into your local camp, enjoy lunch and a quick rest before continuing to the Karakorum Museum to learn more about this fascinating area.
Driving time: 2 hours
Day 11: Drive to the Ongi Monastery Ruins
Today's scenic drive turns south towards the great Gobi Desert. As the terrain gradually transforms into a semi-desert zone, you'll reach the Ongi Monastery Ruins by the late afternoon (stopping for a picnic lunch on the way) and check into camp. After a rest, take a stroll to the monastery ruins before dinner.
Driving time: 6 hours
Day 12: Drive to Bayanzag & the Flaming Cliffs
After breakfast, you'll continue towards the Gobi Desert and reach Bayanzag–home to some of the most famous dinosaur remains in the world. It was here that Roy Chapman Andrews (believed to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones) discovered dinosaur eggs in the early 1920s. Upon arrival, check into your camp and have lunch. Afterward, take a visit to the dramatic Flaming Cliffs and spend some time searching for fossils. While it does take some time trekking into the badlands, many people are lucky and find a souvenir to take home with them! As evening falls, return to camp and watch an unforgettable Gobi sunset as you sit down to dinner.
Driving time: 4 hours
Day 13: Drive to the Khongor Sand Dunes
Today you'll take a trip to the dramatic Khongor Dunes—Mongolia’s largest and most beautiful sand dunes that stretch over 111 miles (180 km) across the arid Gobi Desert. The scenic drive passes through vast desert badlands that stretch to remote mountains on the horizon.
After stopping for lunch at the camp, visit the dunes and take a camel ride through the shifting sands, passing a small oasis at the Khongor Springs. You also may also want to climb the rugged dunes, some as high as 984 feet (300 m). Lone tents and nomads on camels hang suspended in the mirages, whilst the desert floor is strewn with a range of colorful rocks and unusual minerals. This is the Gobi at its stark best, and you'll have lots of opportunities to photograph the remarkable landscapes and people before the evening drive back to your camp.
Driving time: 3 hours
Day 14: Day Trip to the Yoliin Am Gorge & Gurvan Saikhan Mountains
Rise early this morning to enjoy a desert sunrise. After breakfast, you'll drive to the glacial Yoliin Am Gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains, which sit at the eastern end of the majestic Altai Mountains.
The beautiful narrow gorge is named for Lammergeyer vultures, the huge, soaring birds that frequent these mountains. Its deep, shaded canyon offers visitors a glimpse of the Gobi’s many wildflowers, raptors, Ibex, and even a glacier-like ice field at the bottom. Take some time to hike through the incredible gorge, then return to camp for dinner and rest.
Day 15: Fly to Ulaanbaatar, Half-Day Tour & Folklore Performance
After an early breakfast, you'll bid the Gobi Desert farewell as your driver takes you to the small local airport to catch a flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival in the capital, get settled into your hotel and then head back out for a half-day sightseeing tour. Highlights include a visit to the fabled Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, where Mongolia’s eighth Living Buddha lived for two decades. You can also take an optional shopping trip to browse local cashmere and souvenirs. As evening falls, enjoy a folklore concert by the magnificent Tumen Ekh ensemble, featuring khoomei (Mongolian throat singing) and contortion performances followed by a farewell dinner.
Day 16: Depart Ulaanbaatar
Your Mongolian adventure draws to a close today as your driver transfers you to the airport to catch your departing flight. Safe travels!
More Mongolia Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Mongolia? Check out these other Mongolia itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.
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