This 10-day tour takes you through some of Mongolia's most impressive cultural and natural wonders. You'll hike to Aglag Buteel Monastery to see Buddhist art, visit Uran Togoo National Park and its extinct volcano, and ride a horse-drawn sleigh on Lake Khuvsgul. Most nights will be spent in traditional gert camps with nomadic families. Of course, you'll also get to see Ulaanbaatar, with city tours of the bustling capital.

Highlights

  • Visit two of Mongolia's most impressive monasteries
  • Enjoy outdoor activities at Lake Khuvsgul
  • Stay with nomadic families in their homes
  • Visit the world's largest Genghis Khan Statue
  • See Mongolian wild horses in their natural habitat

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Visit Aglag Buteel Monastery Ulaanbaatar
Day 3 Tour Amarbayasgalant Monastery Amarbayasgalant
Day 4 Enjoy a Scenic Drive to Khatgal Khatgal
Day 5 Explore Lake Khuvsgul Khatgal
Day 6 Discover Uran Togoo National Park Bayan-Agt
Day 7 Hike in Khustain Nuruu National Park Argalant
Day 8 Tour Terelj National Park Terelj National Park
Day 9 Sightsee in Ulaanbaatar Ulaanbaatar
Day 10 Depart Mongolia - End of Trip  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Colorful Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Welcome to Mongolia! Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. You will be met by an English-speaking guide who will accompany you 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 at the end of the itinerary, 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: Visit Aglag Buteel Monastery

Traditional ger camp
A traditional ger (yurt) camp

Rise bright and early to begin a 3-hour drive to the stunning Aglag Buteel Monastery. Founded by Purevbat Lama and built using donations from all over the world, the monastery houses an impressive collection of Buddhist art. The only way to reach it is by hiking up the mountain to the temple’s main building. After visiting the temple, you can walk through the beautiful forest surrounding it, stopping to see statues carved directly into the naked rock by the resident monk artists. Later, you will take a short drive to your campsite, where you will spend your first night in a heated ger (yurt) under the stars.

Day 3: Tour Amarbayasgalant Monastery

Statue of Buddha at Amarbayasgalant Monastery
A statue of Buddha at Amarbayasgalant Monastery

Today, you'll head to Amarbayasgalant Monastery. During socialist times, many of Mongolia’s Buddhist temples were demolished, with a few notable exceptions. Amarbayasgalant is one of them. Home to practicing Lamas, it's the final resting place of Zanibizar Lama, sometimes called the Da Vinci of Central Asia. You will learn all about the temple’s fascinating history before enjoying a night at a nomadic homestay in a traditional ger.

Day 4: Enjoy a Scenic Drive to Khatgal

Cottage in Khatgal
A cottage in Khatgal

In the morning, after saying goodbye to your host family, you'll begin the long drive to Khatgal in the Khuvsgul region. The drive will take at least ten hours, passing through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country. You will see vast mountains, expansive snowy plains, and frozen rivers along the way. If you're lucky, you may even encounter a bear in the distance or wolves running alongside the road. In the evening, you will arrive in the small town of Khatgal and settle down for the night at a local family homestay in a heated guesthouse or ger.

Day 5: Explore Lake Khuvsgul

Sunrise over frozen Lake Khuvsgul
Sunrise over frozen Lake Khuvsgul

Nicknamed the "Blue Pearl of Mongolia," Lake Khuvsgul is an immensely beautiful and vast freshwater lake jutting into the Siberian forests of northern Asia. During your visit here, you can meet a local shaman, hike through the landscape, ride horses, and even try sledding on the frozen lake. In the evening, you'll enjoy a traditional meal of khorkhog (whole sheep cooked with red hot stones) with a local nomadic family.

Day 6: Discover Uran Togoo National Park

Sunset over gert camp
Sunset over a ger camp

Today, you'll begin the drive back south towards Ulaanbaatar. But the adventure is not over yet! Along the way, you will stop at Uran Togoo National Park, where you will visit the extinct volcano that gives the park its name. At night, you'll be able to enjoy another homestay with a nomadic family.

Day 7: Hike in Khustain Nuruu National Park

Wild Mongolian horses grazing
Wild Mongolian horses grazing

Your long drive to the south follows a little-traveled country road that will lead you to the world-famous Khustain Nuruu National Park. Here, you will settle down in a ger camp before heading out into the twilight with your guide to try and spot takhi, the last wild horses in Asia. Remember to wear your warmest clothes for this evening journey!

Day 8: Tour Terelj National Park

Genghis Khan statue
The Genghis Khan statue at Terelj National Park

Heading back to and through the capital city, you reach Terelj National Park. Here, you'll visit the Genghis Khaan Statue, famed for being the world's largest statue of the notorious figure. Then, head further into the park for a relaxing final evening in nature. If you are traveling between December and February, dog sledding may be an optional activity.

Day 9: Sightsee in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar Government Palace
Ulaanbaatar Government Palace

It is time to return to Ulaanbaatar. After settling in at your hotel in the city, you'll go on a guided city tour. Take some time to explore the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, the palace where Mongolia’s eighth Living Buddha lived for two decades. It's a wonderful place to see traditional Buddhist paintings and sculptures. After the tour is over, you'll sample modern Mongolian cuisine in one of several excellent restaurants.  

Day 10: Depart Mongolia - End of Trip

Genghis Khan Square, Ulaanbaatar
Genghis Khan Square, Ulaanbaatar

Squeeze in some more sightseeing or souvenir shopping before heading to the airport. The trip has come to an end! Safe travels!

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Map

Map of Northern Mongolia Adventure - 10 Days
Map of Northern Mongolia Adventure - 10 Days