SELF-DRIVE BY NOMADIC MONGOLIA
The Culture of Mongolia has been heavily influenced by the Mongol nomadic way of life. Other important influences are from Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, and from China. Since the 20th century, Russian and, via Russia, European cultures have had a strong effect on Mongolia.
Horses have always played an important role in daily life as well as in the arts. Mongols have a lot of epic heroes from the ancient time. Hospitality is so important in the steppes that it is traditionally taken for granted. Mongolians traditionally were afraid of misfortunes and believe in good and bad omens. When passing ovoos (cairns) on a journey, they are often circumambulated and sweets or the like are sacrificed to have a safe trip. Certain ovoos, especially those on high mountains, are sacrificed to obtain good weather, ward off misfortune, and the like. Mongolian dress has changed little since the days of the empire, because it is supremely well-adapted to the conditions of life on the steppe and the daily activities of pastoral nomads.
Day1. Arrive Ulaanbaatar
On arrival at Ulaanbaatar, meet by our local representatives and transfer to 4*Kempinskii hotel.
Today we will do city site seeing tour. Explore Gandan Monastery, Buddhist center in Ulaanbaatar. See,
Chojin Lama temple. Lunch time in a typical Mongolian Restaurant
The winter Palace
Buda Big Statue on the Hill
Central market (black) (one or two hours if we have time)
Typical folkloric Mongol performance (songs and dances), at the restaurant, during Dinner time (optional),
Overnight at 4* hotel.
Day2. Drive and Explore Kharkhorin (470kms)
Today is a long drive west, through big open steppe area. We will move from the desert steppes to Khangai Mountian. The nomads live from livestock herding. However, by international standards, it is not densely populated. Near the sands they keep Bactrian Camels. We will stop new small sand dunes and have a picnic lunch.
Aftre driving few hrs. /about 120kms/, we reach KharKhorum. Mongolia's ancient capital, Kharakhorum, Chinggis Khaan's fabled city, was founded in 1220 in the Orkhon valley, at the crossroads of the Silk Road. It was from there that the Mongol Empire governed, until Khubilai Khaan moved it to Beijing. The symbolic ruins of Kharakhorum (Harhorin), monumental walls (400 m of length) with 108 stupas, surround the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia Erdene Zuu Monastery, built in 1586. In 1792, it housed 62 temples and 10,000 lamas; since 1990, it has become an active monastery again. Turtles carved from the stone marked the boundaries of the complex. Nearby, Turkish monuments and rock inscriptions erected in 8-9th centuries in memory of outstanding fighters for independence. Quite a surprise for the scientists was the discovery of a burial of a Mongolian woman which dates to approximately the 14-th century where also two Egyptian masks, a wooden comb and a bronze mirror in a silk case were found. Overnight at ger camp. (BLD)
Day3. Drive to Khorgo/Terkhiin Nuur Nat.Park/ and Tosontsengel Village (475kms)
Driving westwards, you will stop next to 'Taikhar chuluu', a huge rock which related to the local mythology. The next stop of the day will be the 'Chuluut canyon' observation point, and the holy "100 branches tree" which stands next to it for hundreds of years. Khorgo Volcano is a dead volcano covered with basalt lying in the east of the Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan (National Park) in Arhangai aimag. Interesting bubbles of solidified lave named “Basalt ger'. Possible a visit to yak's herders. Arhangai aimag, the northeast slope of the Hangai chain, is called “the Switzerland of Mongolia” for its forests, rivers and wooded hills. Overnight at local hotel. (BLD)
Day4. Drive to Khyargas Lake (400kms)
Driving from Altai Mountains to Hangai Area, admire the wilderness, mountains and steppes. Meet the nomadic families and learn how they have adapted to live on these remote wild places. Today we will reach Lake Khyargas (300kms, 5-6hrs). The lake abounds with fishes like pikes and herrings as well as migratory birds. Overnight at ger camp. (BLD)
Day5. Drive to Olgii (300kms)
Driving a full day towards to west, on the way, we will stop near Achit Lake, where you will have a picnic lunch. The lake is home to many kinds of waterfowl, which can be viewed from the shore line.
Achit Nuur is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Mongolia. There are stunning sunsets and sunrises and good fishing for grayling, lenok, Altai osman and others. You can enjoy seeing spectacular and beautifull landscapes.
In the evening, we arrive Olgii. The bazaar in Olgii is interesting, as well as the mosque, which has been renovated in recent times. There are some very interesting back street handicraft shops and a well-stocked local museum. During a dinner you will enjoy with Kazakh short concert. Overnight in gercamp. (BLD)
Day 6. Drive to Altai Tavan Bogd (200kms)
Today after driving about 6hrs, we reach our road end. This is home place of Tuvan people, who don’t have any religion. On the way we will stop near Mountain Shiveet Hairhan (Holy Mountian). Tuvan people respect this mountain like their god,so no hunting. There are about 400 ibexs. On the southeast side of this mountain, you will see the biggest rock printing (petro-glyphs) from the period of the Huns (approx. 200 B.C.). The Huns were the reason for the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huangdi to build the Great Wall of China.
Soft hike along Potanin Glacier, that runs down from the highest mountains in Mongolia. We will pitch our camp right here. Tavanbogd means “The Holy Five” referring to the peaks of Huiten (4374m and the highest), Naran, Ulgii, Burget and Nairamdal. It is a stunning setting with the awe inspiring massif of high snowcapped peaks. In evening come back to camp side.
Overnight in tent. (BLD)
Day 7. Drive to lakes Hoton and Hurgan (180kms)
After early breakfast, start to drive nearby western side of HurganNuur and HotonNuur, where many Nomadic Kazakh families spend summer. There are many ancient Turkic stones with face on the way. On the right side we see the snowcapped mountains with forest, which make the wall between China and Mongolia. Overnight in tent near small mountain Biluut Tolgoi, where you have a chance to see numerous rock-printings. Overnight in tent. (BLD)
Day 8. Drive to Hovd Town (350kms)
Drive to South and reach Hovd town. The Hovd town was a trade center, located on the northern Silk Road with connections to Russia and China. In 1763 the Manchu administration built the fortress Sagijn Cherem (Castle). An area of about 4 ha was fenced with 3m high and 2m wide walls. Now all 18 Mongolian ethic groups live in this province. Have a lunch.
After driving to south about 30kms from Hovd town, we will see the Khar Us Nuur National Park, where WWF Mongolia is very active. The largest of the lakes is Khar Us Nuur (Black Water Lake).The great lakes basin has the largest reed beds in all of Central Asia, with many bird species as well as Saiga Antelope, the rare Wild Boar (in the reeds!), Snow Leopards, Gazelle, Wolves etc. We will move from the desert steppes to Altai Mountains. The nomads live from livestock herding.
We continue our driving and reach small village Darvi. Overnight at local hotel. (BLD)
Day 9. To Delger Valley (380kms)
Drive about 380km by desert open area between two bigmountian ranges and reach the Delger valley-big open steppe area. Overnight near village Unen Us (true water), which only water-well around and why many nomads with their animals live here. You have a chance to visit one of nomadic families. Overnight at local hotel. (BLD)
Day 10. To Gobi lakes (330kms)
Today is a long drive to east, through big open steppe area. We will move from Altai Mountains to steppe areas. We will reach the remote Lake Orog and camp. The nomads live from livestock herding. However, by international standards, it is not densely populated. Near the sands they keep Bactrian Camels. Orog Lake and its immediate surroundings. The lake sits next to Ikh Bogd (Big Holy) Mountain (3957m) at 1200m above sea level. There are also some nearby sand dunes. Tuin River empties into the lake from its journey from Hangai Mountains. The abundance of food attracts plenty of birds. There is a small island with some 60 pairs of Grey Herons nesting on the ground! The world's longest fault line is visible through the terrain. It came about in 1957 and extends for some 270km westwards from Orog Lake. Overnight at local hotel. (BLD)
Day 11. To Hongoryn Els (150kms)
Full day driving to south-east, we come out from mountain area into gobi area with small hills. Reach Khongorin Dunes, the biggests sand dunes in all Asia.
The 800-meter high sand dunes in Sevrei soum, South aimag, are called Khonguryn Els. These dunes are 20 km wide and 100 km long. The Khongurun River flows along the sand dunes and gives birth to oases. Visit the dunes with camel riding. Visit a local camel breeding family and learn about their breeding programs. Overnight at ger camp. (BLD)
Day 12. Drive to UB (650km)
Full day drive to north and reach UB. Overnight in Kempinskii hotel. (BL)
Day 13. Depart UB
After early breakfast, transfer to UB airport and depart UB. (B)
My price is: 3275 USD per person, if your group size is 2 people
Includes: English speaking guide, 4x4 Japanese land cruisers and nissan patrols, support 4x4 car/truck with mechanic and auto-services, 3 meals per day, accommodations at wooden house/ger camp/local hotel, all border and national park permits.
Excludes: Personal needs, laundry and alcohol drinks. Single occupancy is 720$.
For a confirmed booking, a deposit of (10%) is required. Deposit is paid by credit card (secure payment via Stripe, no credit card fees). The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon start of the trip - unless Host & Traveler agree on different payment methods.
Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 30 days prior to the beginning of the booked service. The deposit (10%) is only refundable if the booking is canceled at least 30 days in advance.