Mongolia, evocative of endless open space, is not as plain as it sounds. Under the big blue sky is a dramatic terrain of sweeping plains, deep gorges, crystalline lakes, snow-topped mountains, rolling plateaus, and arid deserts. This 8-day journey takes you to these amazing landscapes and reveals there is more than meets the eye. Discover dinosaur fossils and petroglyphs in the desert, see the last remaining wild horses in the world, listen to unique throat singing, sleep in an authentic ger tent, and more.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Arrive into the capital city of Ulaanbaator where you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel via private car. After checking in and freshening up, step back out to explore the city. Begin at the Black Market, said to have everything you would want. This authentic market is for the locals who come to shop for textiles, snuff bottles, carpets, horse saddles, ger materials, winter clothes, and other necessities for life in the steppes. Then, visit a cashmere factory to see the quality goods produced by the cashmere capital of the world. Finally, visit the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, where Mongolia's eighth Living Buddha and last king lived. Now it is a museum with royal relics and interestingly, an array of stuffed animals.
Explore more of the capital today. Meander through Sukhbaatar Square, named for the country’s hero, and spot the Parliament Building, the Mongolian Stock Exchange and the Royal Ballet House. Stand in awe at the famous larger-than-life Tyrannosaurus Bataar skeleton that was found in the Gobi desert and is now on display in the square. Also visit the impressive Gandan and Choijin Lama Monasteries. The monasteries contain important pieces of cultural artwork. Sample traditional Mongolian barbeque in the town center before catching this evening's performance of throat singing by the acclaimed Tumen Ekh Ensemble. This unique and ancient style of singing produces distinctive sounds in which you can hear two different pitches at once.
Fly to Dalanzagad and then embark into the Gobi desert. Get situated at your luxury eco-lodge and have an early lunch before heading out for an expedition in Yol Valley, a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvansaikhan Mountains. Explore this dramatic ravine by foot, looking out for remarkable petrified wood, the ice gorge that remains frozen most the year, and wildlife. The valley, Yol, is named after the rare bearded vulture that nests in the cliffs. Other rare animals in the area include the Siberian ibex, argalis, and snow leopards.
The Gobi desert's vast expanse actually yields few sand dunes. This morning drive an hour out to Moltsog Els, one of the few areas with sand dunes, where you can visit a local camel herding family and ride a Bactrian camel on the dunes. After lunch back at the lodge, head out for another adventure, this time to Bayanzag. Bayanzag is also referred to as the Flaming Cliffs for its red sandstone that juts into the sky sharply, an incredible sight in the tangerine sunset. These ancient formations have revealed many incredible paleontological discoveries including the first dinosaur eggs ever found and a fossil of a Protoceratops and Velociraptor locked in a fight. It is speculated that the South Gobi was a site of mass extinction where avalanche-like sandslides preserved these prehistoric wonders.
Yet another wonder awaits this morning out in the isolated Havtsgait Valley: hundreds of ancient petroglyphs created by early settlers in the Gobi Desert. Dating back as far as 5,000 years, these rock drawings depict horses pulling carts and riders on horseback. Stop by the unassuming Natural History Museum for more excellent paleontological samples.
Trade the desert for the plains today as you on are your way to Hustai National Park. Travel back to Dalanzadgad for a flight to Ulaanbaatar, followed by a short drive west. Enroute, stop by the Bayansonginot Community, a collective of just over ten pastoralist families. Meet these local nomas and be welcomed into their gers for a homemade traditional lunch. Experience and learn about the unique customs and etiquette. Continue onward to the grasslands and check into your ger lodge.
Today you will explore the varied wildlife habitats of Hustai National Park. One of the best-managed Specially Protected Areas in Mongolia, Hustai National Park is known as the home of the last remaining wild horses in the world. A successful reintroduction program in the early 1990's has resulted in the return of the wild Takhi to its native habitat. The park is also home to other wildlife including Mongolian gazelle, ibex, grey wolves, and over 200 species of birds. Hike the ridges of the partly forested mountains for views of the distant desert, as well as a gully to look-out points to spot eagles and falcons. You will also, of course, see the wild horses freely roaming the plains.
Enjoy breakfast with a view of open plains and sky one last time before your private transfer back to the capital for your flight onward.
This five-star contemporary hotel is situated in the city’s business district and more interestingly in Ulaanbaatar’s tallest building. The hotel, decorated in a classic European style, has many top quality facilities including an indoor pool, gym, wellness centre, sauna and a business centre. There are many services on offer to make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible such as 24-hour room service, car rentals, currency exchange, laundry services, luggage storage, safety deposit boxes and a 24-hour front desk. Diners will be spoilt for choice with the Cantonese, Japanese, Korean and western food on offer at the hotel’s restaurants. The rooms feature free WiFi, flat-screen TVs with cable channels, en-suite bathrooms with a bathtub and shower facilities as well as a minibar luxury toiletries, hairdryers and slippers.
In the heart of the capital of Mongolia, Shangri-La Ulaanbaatar is an urban oasis, ready to pamper business and leisure guests alike with its spacious suites, exquisite restaurants and expansive health club. The hotel features nearly 300 rooms and suites, each with an impressive vista over downtown Ulaanbaatar, and is in within walking distance of the city’s best shops, restaurants, and historical sights. Fusing contemporary and traditional design, the hotel also offers much for guests to do within its walls, from enjoying a meal and culinary show in the open-kitchen Café Park to enjoying a steam bath and jacuzzi in the luxurious health club.
The Three Camel Lodge was constructed without nails from Siberian timber and local stone using traditional techniques, and is situated within view of the Gobi Desert's stunning Gobi-Altai Mountain Range. Built under environmentally and culturally sustainable guidelines, energy for the lodge is drawn partially from solar and wind power; the main building has a large shaded porch and remains cool and comfortable even on hottest desert days. The staff is a group of well-practiced folk musicians who don beautiful costumes and play the horse-head fiddle and other traditional instruments in the evening. Guest rooms are in 30 gers (yurts), made from latticed structures covered by layers of felt and canvas and heated with wood-burning stoves. The beds and furniture are hand-painted in vivid colors. The main lodge has a bar with a selection of beers, wines and spirits, a gift shop with local crafts and artwork and a business facility including fax service. Meals of traditional Mongolian cuisine are served in an over-sized ger, with ingredients fresh from local farms. There is no fitness center but you will not want for physical activities: a number of expeditions are possible, including hiking in the foothills of the Gobi-Altai Mountains, camel trekking through sand dunes, horseback riding through mountain valleys to local springs, and excavating dinosaur fossils at the Flaming Cliffs under the guidance of a paleontologist from the Mongolian Academy of Sciences. The Three Camel Lodge is 1.5 to two hours from the airport in the provincial capital of Dalanzadgad (DLZ).
Nestled in one of the last frontiers, the HS Khaan Resort is a first-class cottage experience in Mongolia, a country typically only providing “Ger”-style tents for travelers. Guests will feel at one with nature as they sleep with an incredible view of the open prairie. The individual cottages are quaint and luxurious, while still maintaining a one-of-a-kind environment. The spacious suites are far from rustic and provide guests with all the desired comforts during their Mongolian adventure, including fantastic views of the majestic Himalayas and vivid blue sky above. Inside the rooms, guests will find a lavatory, western toilet, audio components, refrigerators, showers, bathroom, electric pot, safe box and a bar counter. There is USB Internet available for guest-use. Situated across a vast site nearby the location of the famous Naadam Festival, this is an idyllic spot for exploring the natural beauty of the area. There are seasonal wild birds migrating across the picturesque Himalayan Mountain Range every year. The open plains are perfect for taking a hike into the unending vibrant green grass. The remote location creates an uninterrupted blanket of bright stars over the prairie every night. There is also private transfer from anywhere in Ulaanbaatar City available. This is a far stretch from roughing it in the more traditional “Ger”-style Mongolian tents.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling. Prices may vary depending on season, choice of accommodation and other factors.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
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