The vast desert region of the Gobi features diverse terrains and this 6-day itinerary explores the Hongor Els - the desert’s spectacular sand dunes. Stay in comfortable ger camps - the traditional form of housing for nomadic Mongolians, trek by camel into the Gobi dunes and spend time with local herders. On this trip you’ll also get to explore the rugged Yol Valley and climb the Flaming Cliffs - a prolific archeological site. End your stay in the capital, Ulaanbaatar.
This itinerary begins in Dalanzadgad, in the sparsely populated Ömnögobi - southern Gobi - area. A guide will meet you at the airport and drive you to your accommodation for the night - a traditional ger camp. On the way to the lodge, stop for a sunset trip to the Flaming Cliffs, so-called for the bright red hue of the sandstone at sunset. This is also where the first discovery of dinosaur eggs was made.
Today you’ll return to the cliffs and hike to the top for spectacular views. Next, visit the nearby saxaul groves to enjoy lunch before embarking upon the half-day drive to the sands of Hongor Els. An immense dune almost 75 miles long, Hongor Els is located inside the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park.
Explore the dunes today, meeting local herding families and enjoying views from the tallest dunes. You’ll have the chance to enjoy tea with the camel herders in one of their ger tents, and even use their camels to trek to more remote desert areas. The Hongor Els - Singing Dunes - got their name from the humming noise the wind makes as it passes over the sand. Spend the night at Three Camel Lodge.
You’ll drive across the Gurvansaikhan Mountains to the Yol Valley area today - a full day’s journey. Also known as the Valley of the Vultures after the lammergeier vultures who inhabit the area, Yol Valley is a strikingly beautiful gorge with a deep ice field, which often remains year round. After traveling all day, you’ll enjoy a relaxing evening back at the lodge.
Today you’ll get to explore the Yol Valley properly with a full-day excursion into the Gurvansaikhan Mountains and the gorge itself. Spot lammergeier wheeling above the ravine, as well as wallcreeper birds clinging to the cliffs. Depending on the amount of ice and snow, it may be possible to hike the entire length of the valley today before returning to camp.
After breakfast, we’ll drive you to Dalanzadgad airport for the 90-minute flight to Ulaanbaatar. Here in the Mongolian capital, you can catch up on shopping before your onward flight.
Camping is the best accommodation option in this remote region. These ger tents typically have en-suite western-style bathrooms, king size or twin beds, wooden furniture, heaters and air-conditioning. The low-impact campsites are basic and some may feature various facilities such as a restaurant, communal baths, and laundry service. Alternatively, if you are looking for something a little more indulgent, Remote Lands can arrange for a luxury ger to be set up for your trip.
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).
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.
Choose somewhere you’d like to visit, something you’re interested in, and when you’re planning to travel and we’ll suggest sample itineraries to inspire your bespoke journey.
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