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.
This 13-day journey will take you deep into the Mongolian wilderness, where you’ll experience a nomadic travel lifestyle, staying in ger camps throughout the East Gobi. Much of your time will be spent on the steppes - vast tracts of grasslands inhabited by gazelle and ibex - but your travels will take you to the edge of Siberia to Khan Khentii, where you’ll have the chance to hike and horseback ride. On this trip, you’ll visit remote communities and traverse the landscapes Genghis Khan called home - your nights spent in ger camps to allow you to truly appreciate the vastness and beauty of this little-explored region.
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. You’ll be met at the airport by your guide, then transferred to your hotel. After check-in, you’ll be briefed about your upcoming journey and enjoy dinner with your guide and the rest of your travel party. In Ulaanbaatar, we recommend staying in the modern, international-class Shangri-La Ulaanbaatar, which offers luxurious accommodation in the heart of the city.
Travel deep into Mongolia today on the Trans-Mongolian Railway to the East Gobi. Watch the landscape change from the grassy plains of the steppes to the more arid topography of the Gobi Desert. Alight from the train in Shiveegobi and drive around 35 miles to Red Rock Valley, located inside Ikh Nart Nature Reserve. Here, you’ll spend the night in Red Rock Ger Camp, where ger tents are set in a rocky plain where mountain sheep and ibex graze.
Spend the day exploring this corner of the vast Gobi Desert, home to wildlife such as Mongolian gazelles, wild donkeys, cinereous vultures and lynx cats. The reserve is the subject of various conservation and research initiatives and expeditions conducted here are always respectful of Gobi’s ecosystems. The park is especially important for migrating birds, with more than 120 different bird species spotted in the park. Spend another night in the Red Rock Ger Camp, enjoying a close connection with the spectacular Mongolian wilderness.
Travel by 4X4 to the Eastern Steppes today, heading north to the Herlen River and onwards to Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve. This relatively small reserve is composed of steppes, grassland, rivers and mountains, and home to a wide array of birds and mammals. Spend the afternoon visiting the marshlands and spotting swans and cranes. Spend the night in another ger camp, enjoying the serenity of this remarkable location.
Continue east into Khentii Province through the city of Öndörhaan and onwards into Dornod, Mongolia’s easternmost province. The landscape will continue to change the farther east you travel, until you arrive in the far-flung Toson Khulstai Nature Reserve. This is the natural habitat of various exotic animals, including Mongolian gazelles, Siberian marmots and white-naped cranes. Tonight, join the ger camp in the reserve, where the darkness of the steppes will afford you unforgettable views of the stars. This secluded camp offers wide-open 360-degree views of the largest remaining intact grasslands in the world.
Enjoy a full day of hiking the steppes today. The protected areas of Dornod are perfect for wildlife safaris and you’ll get to see the nomadic Mongolian gazelle en masse as they graze in the plains. In the wetlands, you’ll see white-naped and Siberian cranes and possibly wild boars, depending on your luck. After taking the 4X4 to various premium hiking spots, you’ll return to the ger camp for the evening, enjoying a traditional Mongolian meal with your traveling party.
Drive north today to the Onon River. From flat grasslands to more rocky, mountainous terrain, you’ll reach the Hangai Region on the edge of Siberia. A tributary of the Amur River, the Onon makes up part of the longest free-flowing river on the continent and you’ll check into a ger camp on its fertile banks. The area here is known as Ölziyt Hairhan and is considered sacred by local communities.
Explore the riverbanks of the Onon with a full day of hiking today. This region is inhabited by the Mongol Buryat - cow herders who live in log cabins. It may be possible to meet with a Buryat shaman, still an active part of the Buryat lifestyle. Enjoy the tranquil scenery of the Onon River and the mountains and birch forests of its banks before returning to your ger camp for the night.
Today, hike to the nearby Dadal village, the reputed birthplace of Genghis Khan, and a center of important conservation work. If you have the opportunity, try some of the local bread, considered among the best in the country. Return to your ger camp in the evening.
Today you’ll make your way to Öglögchiin Wall - “Almsgivers’ Wall” - at the border of Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. This expansive protected forest is three times as big as Yellowstone National Park in the US, and the Khan Khentii Mountains are believed to hold Genghis Khan’s tomb. Visit the Baldan Bereeven monastery ruins. In the park, you can have lunch with nomads before settling into a ger camp. Alternatively you can continue on closer to Ulaanbaatar to the Terelj Resort, which offers an onsite spa and five-star facilities.
Spend the day hiking the forests of Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, exploring the terrain around the nearly two-mile Öglögchiin Wall and spotting different species of wildlife, from moose to wolves. In this part of Mongolia, tourism is tightly regulated, so use your final day within the park to appreciate this rare and unique travel experience. Return to your hotel or your ger camp for the night.
Today you’ll make your way back to Ulaanbaatar, which is a full day’s drive. Check back into your hotel and enjoy the final night of your journey at your leisure. You might want to browse Narantuul Market for some local handicrafts or antiques as a keepsake of your Mongolian adventure. For dinner, find an authentic Mongolian restaurant or enjoy five-star service at the Shangri-La Ulaanbaatar.