The untamed Gobi desert Khermen Tsav to the Mongolian western part Altai mountains adventure.
Activities: Off-road drive, visit nomadic families, visit Stone age, Bronze age caves and natural art gallery of rock painting. Horse riding in the Altai mountain range. Camel trek through sand dunes. Mountaineering in Altai mountains, hiking, Watch eagle hunting.
Heritages of human evolution; natural art gallery, ancient petroglyphs, Northern Tsenkher cave…
From Jurassic period to Ice age’s well-preserved places. Every day is different wild nature and discovery of nomadic culture. This tour includes the most remote and unknown destinations. Most of the destinations are protected nature reserves.
Tour starts from Ulaanbaatar. We will drive through southern part of Mongolia; Gobi desert to western part Altai Mountain range. We will drive 3450 km, mostly by off-road by Russian van. You will fly from the western end of Mongolia - Ulgii town (Altai range) to Ulaanbaatar. Mostly we will cook outside and 10 days stay in a tent, 10 days in camp, hotel and guest house.
Destinations are remote and unpopular. In the far-south Gobi, nearby 200 km there are no cities, no people and no petrol station. The edge of the planet Hermen Tsav, Nemegt valley is Gobi’s hidden treasure. On the way to Altai, we will visit the great treasure of human civilization history. Those are Bichigt valley petroglyphs and the home of primitive people - White cave, Hoid - Tsenher cave.
Wild, a beauty of nature continues in Gobi Altai province. The Eej khairhan uul, Red clay and hot springs in Hasagt mountain are the most unpopular destinations for even locals. Because they are very remote and infrastructure is undeveloped.
The last 5 days are in the biodiversity of nature Altai mountains, lakes, and eagle hunter nomad family. As 2 days horse-back riding, camel trek through sand dune, visiting ethnics of nomad families and see eagle hunting. We will see wild animals; deer, gazelle, ibex, birds, and raptors.
Tour necessity: In the Gobi desert, road dust is very loose. A car can stuck into dust. This tour requires quite experienced, countryside road well-known driver and guide. And enough reserve of petrol, liquid, and food. Russian van - Purgon is the most reliable car in this off-road trip. You should bring something for a long drive in a bumpy road.
Day 1 Wander around rocky mountain range – Baga gazriin chuluu
Morning driver and guide will pick you up from your accommodation and drive to Middle Gobi. Around lunchtime we will arrive in camp. In stony mountains, we will visit a cave and ruined temple in the tiny valley. Evening, a free activity you can hike through lush vast steppe or relax in camp. (Middle Gobi province)
Road length 270 km
Day 2 Hike in valley of Vulture Gorge- Yliin am
In the morning we will drive to Vulture gorge. We will have lunch in a local restaurant in the capital of South Gobi. When we arrive in Vulture Gorge, we will visit Gobi - natural museum. Hike through beautiful meadow valley, stream and gorge. The birded vulture on the huge rocks, pikas on the green land will entertain you through hiking. Gorge is narrow as just 3 or 4 people go through at a same time. Relax in Ger camp. (South Gobi province)
Day 3 Camel trek, climb up to Hongor sand dunes
We will drive morning hours along with sand dune and Three Beauty Mountain range by off-road. After lunch in camp, we will visit to camel herder nomad family. You will ride a camel through the bottom of the sand dunes. Afternoon or evening, when bright sun gets down, we will climb to sand dune. The top of dune is over 200 meters high and steep. Sand is loose. Your foot will stick to it. It requires a little bit effort. After challenging yourself in hot day climb up to dune, you will see brilliant sightseeing. Sand dunes and rocky mountain stay simultaneously in the endless lush steppe. (South Gobi province)
Road length 170
Day 4 Nemegt Valley
We will drive to Nemegt valley for 200 km. There is no families, no village and no petrol station nearby 100 km. Only wild animals as fox, gazelle, ibex etc. will appear. We will cook in the middle of nowhere. The nemegt valley has lots of barren canyons and rifts, small vegetation. It seems like a dead sea. You will see the fog of dust not humid fog. From this place, big carnivorous dinosaur skeletons were found entirely in mid XX century. It was a one of homeland of dinosaur. South Gobi is preserved for millions years fresh and wild. Local people name this place as a grave of dragons. We will hike and wander around. And cook picnic lunch and dinner, sleep over in tent. (South Gobi province)
Road length: 200 km
Day 5, 6 Hermen tsav Canyons
Morning, pack our tents and luggage to car. Drive to Hermen tsav - southern west end of Mongolia. Dust road disappears easily in a ceaseless storm. Dust in the Gobi is loose. So seldom car might stuck in dust. While cooker is cooking lunch in Zulganai oasis you can hiking through Gobi green oasis and enjoy the river.
Hermen tsav is 100 – 200 m high canyons. Those are eroded in hundred millions of years wind and water. It covers 250 km squire terrain and locates 1000 m above sea level. Surrounding 70 - 80 km radius there is no family and no domesticated animals. This place seems like lifeless. Paleontologists are still working here. They found an impressive array of fossil bones. Here we will stay 2 days to explore 10 km long canyons, oasis, dinosaur's fossils. It certainly requires a longer time. You will feel the remoteness of the world. Picnic foods, stay over in a tent. (South Gobi province)
Road length 180 km
Day 7 Bichigt Valley petroglyphs; Huge natural art gallery
Today we will drive to Bayanhongor province’s volcanic mountain range. It looks like black shiny, huge dump of coal. Stacks of black rock walls of narrow Bichigt valley are literally covered in amazingly well-preserved petroglyphs from the Bronze Age some 3000 years ago. Petroglyphs are painted from 3000 B.C to 8th-century A.C by talented primitive artists. This rock painting belongs to the biggest ancient art gallery in Asia, the second biggest in the world. Scratched into the rocks' oxidized black surfaces are sun symbols, depictions of men and women, hunters, deer, wolves, gazelles, ibexes, scorpions and even wheeled carts. Exploring them requires time and liquid intake. Stay over in a tent. (Bayanhongor province)
Road length: 160 km
Day 8 White cave - years ago primitive people's home
Morning, continue to search images of ancient people's life. After lunch, we will drive to the next destination - White cave in Ih Bogd mountain. It is wind blasted surface of a pale-colored rock. Walking up a gorge there is 5 m wide cave entrance. Cave has 3 chambers. Total long is 38 meters. First chamber's ceiling towered 10 meters to a small opening to the sky. The cave's dusty walls are covered in pink crystals. In the hot Gobi, this cave is a nice place to get cool. From this cave the oldest Paleolithic or Early Stone Ages ( 0 years ago) findings are founded. Researchers recently found more than 800 stone artifacts. Those are in Mongolian national history museum in Ulaanbaatar. Back then, 0 years ago, the climate was considerably wetter and the environment teeming with primitive people and wild animals. This cave was the home of primitive. Stay over in a tent. (Bayanhongor province; Gobi-Altai mountain range)
Road length: 70km
Day 9 Bayan-Undur village
Our next Gobi-explore destination is "Eej Uul" meaning of the Mother mountain. To reach this beauty of Gobi, we have to stay in trans-village due to a long drive. Sleepover in Bayan - Undur village in tent. (Bayanhongor province)
Road length: 190 km
Day 10, 11 Discover "Eej Uul" means Mother mountain
Drive to solitary granite stone mountain - Eej Uul. Here we will stay 2 days. One day is not enough to explore this magnificent natural creation. Relax, swim, nap in the natural pools. Explore the strange, different shapes of rock formations. Visit the monk's cave who lived there entire life.
The Mother mountain locates Gobi Altai province Mongolian western Gobi. It stretches south of the Altai mountain range. Because of its remote, it is an unknown place even for locals. The highest point is 2274 m sea level, acquires 22475 hectares land. Around 100 species of plants grow in the surrounding area. It is a micro-ecological environment. Ibex, Argali- wild sheep, lynx, lizard and also lot of rare birds live here. The most attractive thing is round waterfall pools in rock plain. Local names it Nine Pots. Each situated like 40–50 cm stepping stones down the slope. First to third pools diameter is 1-3 meters, forth to h pools are 5-6 meters. Those are 2-8 meter deep. You can swim in hot weather and lie on the bank. The next mysterious thing is shapes of rock formations. Such as lizard-shaped rock, hugging couple' shape, head of pig, sea turtle, chairs of theater, uvula, womb and even penis shape. You can explore others and name the shapes through hiking. The entire mountain looks like a lying woman from far so it is named as a Mother mountain. We will visit the cave, which is 24 m squire big. There was a Buddhist monk who lived in a cave here about one hundred years ago. Thus led to this mountain becoming a popular pilgrimage destination. Stay over in a tent. (Gobi-Altai province; Isolated rock-mountain)
Road length: 240 km
Day 12 Red clay mountain –Biger; Ulaan Yvir
The morning we will drive to Biger village. Hike through 700-800 m long red clay in the slope of a mountain. Again, it is a different brilliant natural creature. Stay over in a tent. (Gobi-Altai province; Gobi-Altai mountain range)
Road length: 190 km
Day 13 Relax in natural hot spring in Hasagt Mountain
Next destination is Hasagt mountain. One of the natural beauty of Gobi-Altai province. This mountain has four different characters of nature. It starts with sand as a Gobi. And continue with steppe terrain at 2200-3000 meter high from sea level. There is a green forest, different types of grasses, rare flowers and medical plants, rivers, rock cliffs. Above 3000-3500 meter, it is a cold rocky peak. It is a natural reserve, protected area with wild animals and, medical rare plants. It is rich with deer, ibex, wild sheep, lynx, wolf and birds. We will stay in a spring treatment camp. (Gobi-Altai province, Gobi Altai mountain range)
Road length: 200 km
Day 14 Northern Tsenkher cave – rock painting art in a cave
Morning, nearly after 8 hour drive by paved road we will arrive in Northern Tsenkher cave. The cave is registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 1996. Two remarkable caves about 20 meters (66 feet) deep which were inhabited by humans between 40000 and 12000 years ago during the Paleolithic Era. The walls of the entrance cave are covered in numerous Stone Age rock paintings, drawn in deep ochre or brown paint against the yellow and white walls. Paintings of animals still prevalent today such as cattle, ibex, camel and gazelles and are now extinct mammoth, buffalo and ostrich. Others depict birds, snakes and trees. Nearby nature slope of small mountain along the banks of small river is gorgeous picturesque. Sleep over in camp. (Hovd province; Altai mountain range)
Road length: 450 km
Day 15 Ulgii town – Kazakh tribe
We will drive to Ulgii the town, where lives Kazakh tribe. Those are Muslim religious people. Who has a slight Caucasian look rather than being overtly Asian. The men wear moustaches and skullcaps. Women wear long dresses and cover their heads in colorful scarves. They speak Kazakh language, in city signage is in both Cyrillic and Arabic. Homes in residential areas are made of mud and twigs with flat roof. Ulgii has a lot of bazaar, a mosque and madrasah, or Islamic school. Outside the town, Kazakhs also live in Mongolian Ger. Their cuisine is different with the smell of flat oven-baked bread and shashlyk or kebabs. Here we will stay in hotel.
Visit to Bayan-Ulgii province is not only an opportunity to see the most magnificent mountain scenery Mongol Altai Range. But to know the Kazakh lifestyle which, in many ways, is more traditional than in their "native" country. Most Kazakhs here continue their centuries-old nomadic lifestyle herding domestic animals as sheep, goat, horses, yaks and eagle. As elsewhere in Mongolia, they move seasonally a year, returning to solid winter quarters on southern facing slopes. Their hospitality is equally legendary. Stay over in local Hotel. (Bayan-Ulgii province; Altai Moun)
Road length: 310 km
Day 16 Tsengel village, visit eagle hunter family (Altai Range)
To reach the Altai mountain Altai Tavan Bogd National park we will drive through Tsengel village. Here we will visit Kazakh Eagle hunter family. See eagle hunting. Altai is the most ethnically diverse region of Mongolia. We will stay over nomad family’s Ger guest house.
Kazakh tribe's unique centuries-old culture is their use of trained eagles for hunting. The tradition of domesticating an eagle, train and hunting prey is registered UNESCO's cultural heritage list. They catch the female Golden Eagle, which recently learned to fly. Females are brave, stronger and bigger than male. They have very bright eyesight. Training eagles for hunting require skill and patience. A trainer has to adjust a food in order to get them muscular and communicate sensibly with a bird. When eagles get 5-6 years old the age of breed, they are released to nature.
Eagles wear a hood on the head before a hunt. When it is hunting, the hood is removed often at a gallop and the eagle soars up into the sky, scanning the terrain below for its prey. The silent sweeping curves of this magnificent birds as they cut through the sky; as the target animal is spotted, they descend in a crescendo of speed to hit their prey with shocking force, engulfing and holding it until the hunter arrives and issues a reward to his eagle. The power of an eagle's strike, talons outstretched, will often kill an animal outright, even prey as large as an adult wolf.
Road length: 100 km
Day 17 Lakes of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
The morning we will have Kazakh traditional breakfast and drive to lakes in the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Hoton, Hurgan, Dayan those three lakes are pure, glacial lakes surrounded by breathtaking Altai mountains. Here you will see wildflowers, marmots, sheep and goat. Hurgan lake is the lowest, in 1800 m from sea level. We will hike, and enjoy the wilderness of Altai mountain. Stay in nomad family's Ger guest house.
Road length: 120 km
Day 18 The Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, Potanin Glacier, 15 km horse-back track
Morning, we will pack our tent and luggage to a horse or camel. Ride a horse to the National Park. Today we will ride 15 km through a mountain range. If you ride a horse very first time, don’t be afraid. The local guide instructs you well and care you. Leading horse is going to be a new challenge and adventure. As horses are friendly animals they become your good trip companion. After lunch we will hike through Potanin Ice river. Wander in a fascinating mountain range. Evening stay over in tent.
Road length: 15 km by horse
Day 19 Lakes of Altai Tavan Bogd National park 15 km by horse to car
Today we will ride horseback to our car. Have lunch on the way in nomad family. The afternoon we will arrive in the lakes and stay over guest house.
Road length: 15 km by horse
Day 20 Ulgii city
Morning, we will pack our luggage to car and drive to Ulgii town. Have lunch on the way. Stay in a hotel.
Road length: 220 km
Day 21 Fly to Ulaanbaatar
Morning, say goodbye to tour team and fly to Ulaanbaatar (4 hours). When you arrive in Ulaanbaatar airport, the driver will transfer you to your hotel.
Road length: 4 hours by plane
- Domestic flights ticket
- 4WD car drive service in the countryside (Russian van), domestic flights transfers to airport and from the airport to hotel costs
- Hot showered Ger camp stay, nomad family’s Ger guest house in the countryside, hotel stay, tent and trip equipment
- English speaking guide service, cooking in countryside
- Camel and horse trek local guide, camel and horse trek activity’s cost
- Entrance fees to protected areas, traditional folk concert fee, museums and temple fees
- Meals of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, water intake during the tour
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.