11 May MONGOLIA – The wonders of the Gobi Desert and Desert Tree Planting Trip
This innovative 10 nights/ 11 days programme takes you on an exploration of the Gobi Desert during a circular trip from Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar and back again.
Transport: Specially Adapted Ford Minibus, Hyundai Starex or Toyota Land Cruiser depending on numbers
Dates Available: May – Oct (for enquiries outside this time frame please feel free to contact us)
Tree planting in the Gobi to prevent desertification
Traditional nomadic living course
Day 1 – Ulaanbaatar
Upon arrival in the Mongolian capital you will be met by your English-speaking guide and personal driver. You will travel into the city centre, check in to your hotel and rest after your long journey. In the evening you will enjoy a traditional Mongolian meal.
Day 2 – Elsen Tasarkhai à Kharkhorum and Erdenezuu
Driving south-west from the city you pass through the iconic Khustai Nuruu National Park, home of the endangered Przewaslki’s horse before you reach the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. At the dunes you will ride the famous Mongolian, 2 humped Bactrian camel and eat a picnic lunch. In the afternoon we drive further south to the site of the ancient Mongolian capital Kharkhorum and the astounding Erdenezuu Temple complex, which your guide will show you around before you stay overnight in a local ger camp ( A ger is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by several distinct nomadic groups in the steppes of Central Asia).
Day 3 – Ongi Temple
Setting off after breakfast we will travel 3 hours to the south of Kharkhorum travelling through the northern Gobi desert. The drive will take you through small dusty towns, past nomadic camel herder communities and finally arriving at the Secret of Ongi camp beside Ongiin Khiid at Saikhaan Ovoo Soum in Dungobi province. You will eat lunch at the camp and then visit the temple in the afternoon with your guide. You stay overnight in the camp.
Day 4 – Ongi Temple
You will spend the full day near to the camp in various activities including visiting a camel herder family to learn about their lifestyle and taste their hand made camel’s milk cheese and yoghurt. You will also be taking a ger building course with your guide in the camp-grounds and will hike up a small nearby mountain to enjoy this spectacular area. During the day – at your convenience -we will be providing a complimentary, traditional Mongolian massage in our desert spa. You will stay overnight again in the ger camp.
Day 5 – Khongoryn Els
Leaving the camp on the 5th day with your driver and guide you drive south-west into the Khongoryn Els national park and straight to the world famous Khongoryn singing sand dunes. At the dunes you will walk to the top and listen to the eerie and sometimes beautiful music made by the desert winds passing over the crest of the sandy hills. After the dunes we will relax in a local ger camp under the beautiful blue sky.
Day 6 – Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
After breakfast you will be driven to the world famous Flaming Cliffs or Bayanzag in the heart of the Gobi desert. Explore the site of the first paleontological discoveries in Mongolia following in the footsteps of the famous Roy Chapman Andrews. At the top of the cliffs is a small antiques market run by local people with some fascinating items on sale. From your ger camp you will be able to watch a spectacular sunset as it spreads across the landscape.
Day 7 – Yolyn Am, Vulture’s Mouth valley
Today you drive south-east to Yolyn Am National Park for riding and sightseeing in the stunning surroundings. The name Yolyn Am means vulture’s mouth and arriving there you will soon see why as the entrance hangs over the landscape like a razor sharp beak watching you as you approach. Winding down the valley on horseback you will see wild Argali, small mammals and a host of rare bird life. Dinner and overnight stay in a local ger camp.
Day 8 – Tsaagan Suvarga white cliffs
Driving north in the morning you will reach Tsaagan Suvarga white cliffs. The beautiful white cliffs tower majestically over the stark Gobi desert. The approach feels like travelling on the moon and the scenery when you arrive does not disappoint. From the cliffs themselves you will hike across the desert to a nearby oasis, which is a haven for rare birds and surrounded by a most distinctive landscape of deep blues, whites, blacks and reds all clearly delineated from each other. This all makes for one of the most unusual, captivating and uplifting areas to visit in Mongolia. Meals and overnight stay in a local ger camp.
Day 9 – Baga Gazriin Chuluu
Driving north from the cliffs you will reach the majestic granite craters and caves of Baga Gazriin Chuluu high above the Steppe. Your guide will take you around this beautiful and sacred area pointing out the many wonderful small features that make this one of the most magical way to end your trip in Mongolia. Of particular interest are a spring water shrine, the water from which is reputed to cure blindness, a sacred cave and a ruined temple deep in a ravine. Meals and overnight stay in a local ger camp.
Day 10 – Ulaanbaatar and city tour
In the morning we will set off early back to the city where we stop for lunch followed by a city tour. We’ll take in Gandan Monastery, Sukhbaatar Square, the Choijin Lama’s Palace, The Bogd Khaan’s winter palace, Zaisan Monument, cashmere shopping and the iconic State Department Store. In the evening you will enjoy a traditional show and meal in town.
Day 11 – Depart
Your guide and driver will take you to the airport or train station and wish you well on your departure and future travels.