Central Mongolia and South Gobi Tour - 12 Day Tour

Route: Ulan Bator - Gobi Desert – Ulan Bator

• Region: Central and Southern Mongolia

• Tour Highlights: Waterfall, Gobi Desert – Yolyn Am – Khongor Sand Dunes – Bayanzag, Flaming Cliffs

• Available: Available throughout the year

• Length of tour: 11 nights / 12 days

• Travel Style: Classic

Travel to the heart of Mongolia for one week of discovery, in the Orkhon Valley where you will live as closely as possible to the nomads. Discover Przewalski's wild horses, visit the former capital of Mongolia and Erdene Zuu Monastery and ride a camel along the sand dunes of Elsen Tasarkhai.

American expedition led by Roy Chapman Andrews returned home with the first dinosaur eggs ever discovered, from Mongolia's Gobi Desert. Imagine yourself sitting at the top of flaming cliffs where the expedition discovered the first dinosaur eggs while enjoying the sunset. Furthermore, the highlight continues to Khongor sand dunes or Singing dune that lies within Gobi Gurvan saikhan National Park. At Khongor sand dunes, you will enjoy beautiful sand dunes, mountains, two-humped Bactrian camels, nomadic lifestyle and narrow streams look, unlike Sahara desert.

Day 1. Discovering wild horses

Journey to Khustai Reserve that houses the Przewalski horses (takh). Twilight is the best moment to observe them. We will walk to the river where they drink, and observe them with no fear to bother.

On the road to Mini-Gobi 160km

We arrive at the beautiful rock formations of Khogno Khan. Discovery of the park: semi-desert steppes, taiga, stunning rocky formations, 80-kilometres (49,71 miles) long sand dunes, are characteristic of this arid area nicknamed "Mini-Gobi".

Walk until Erdene Khambiin Monastery. "Monk Erdene's Monastery" dates from 17th century and was built on the mountain. Zanabazar built it in honour of his teacher, monk Erdene.

Camel ride and hike along the sand dunes of Elsen tasarkhai. 

You will discover their way of life, and you will be proposed many activities, such as milking, making traditional dairy products, or rounding up the animals with a horse.

Stay overnight: Nomadic family’s ger or tourist camp

Day 2. Kharkhorin ancient capital city 

Journey to Kharkhorin, the former capital of Mongolia. The legendary city of Genghis Khan was founded in 1220 and was one of the stages of the silk road. The Mongolian Empire was governed from this town until Kubilai Khan set up the capital in Beijing. Today, there are only a few vestiges left of the former capital.

Visit of Erdene Zuu Monastery, built in 1586 by a nomad prince. The Chinese and Tibetan-inspired buildings are surrounded with 108 sacred stupas.  Visit the Museum of Kharkhorin.

Stay overnight: Gaya ger guesthouse or tourist camp.

Day 3. Orkhon waterfalls

Journey to Orkhon Valley. Inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Valley is a land of nomadism, and many breeders set their summer camp there. Visit of Ulan Tsutgalaan falls, white flood flowing on the black stone, transformed in the rainbow by a little sunray... These 16-metres (52,49 feet) falls just magic! They formed 20.000 years ago, as a result of a unique combination of earthquakes and volcano eruptions.

Stay overnight: Nomadic family’s ger or tourist camp

Day 4. Stay among nomads in Orkhon

Those who wish will go horse trekking along Orkhon Valley, from the camp until Orkhon waterfalls.

Stay overnight: Nomadic family’s ger or tourist camp

Day 5. Ongi Monastery

We will drive to Ongyn hiid, where you can see the ruins of a great monastery on the bank of the Ongiin River. This monastery has 28 temples and other buildings on the south slope of the Rocky Mountain like Balsa country and stupa which are not broken. This monastery had about 1000 lamas and it was destroyed during the Stalinist purges in the 1930s. The Ongyn hiid was one of the biggest temples in Gobi’s area of Mongolia. Stay overnight in camping out.

Day 6. The Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag

Visit of the Cliffs of Bayanzag, today best known as "flaming cliffs", owing to their ochre red colour, where is located the "cemetery of dragons". The cliffs and the saxaul forests that surround them are the evidence of the time when huge creatures: dinosaurs still inhabited Earth. Palaeontologist Roy Andrews Chapman was the first man to discover in 1922 some bones and eggs of dinosaurs that we can see today in the Natural History Museum of Ulan Bator and other museums in the world.

Stay overnight: Nomadic Family’s ger or tourist ger camp

Day 7-8. Hongor sand dunes

We ride towards the west of the park to reach Khongor sand dunes, "light bay sand". These dunes extend at the foot of the "Three Beauties".

Day 7 Hongor sand dunes

Visit of the dunes of Khongoryn. These dunes are the most spectacular ones of Mongolia, they extend on more than 180 kilometres (111,85 miles) long and 20 kilometres (12,43 miles) wide, and have an average h of 80 meters (262,47 feet), the highest one being 120 meters (393,70 feet) high. From the top, the view on the desert is quite amazing. From this place, it is also possible to hear the moving masses of sand, hence the name of "singing dunes". Beyond the dunes, the steppe extends for as far as the eye can see.

Day 8 Hongor sand dunes

Camel ride and hike in the Gobi Desert is an unforgettable experience. The nonchalant animal will take us with its peaceful gait along the dunes and the Khongor River, "light bay", that flows alternately on the surface and under the ground. We will go to a small oasis at the foot of the dunes, where some bushes grow, such as saxaul. Camels are very fond of saxaul and Mongolians think it is the most precious wood. We will walk until the top of a dune and will have a beautiful view of the desert. Far away, we will see the peaks of the Three Beautiful and, if we listen carefully, we might hear the song of the dunes.

Stay overnight: Nomadic Family’s ger or tourist ger camp

Day 9. Three beautiful mountain 

Last day of track before reaching Great Gobi and its "Three Beauties", the three highest peaks in this part of the Gobi-Altai range : Baruun Saïhan, "the Western Beauty" ; Dund Saïhan, "the Middle Beauty" ; Züün Saïhan, "the Eastern Beauty", the highest (2846 metres, 1,77 miles).

Hiking in the canyon of Yol am, the bearded vulture's canyon. We will walk in the bottom of the canyon that is covered with perpetual snow. The canyon is so steep-sided, that sun rays make the ice melt only in August. The rest of the year, there's ice everywhere in the canyon. Journey on the track towards the east of "the Three Beauties" to reach the area of canyons. Stop at Dungenee Canyon. We leave the vehicle to start our first magic hike along the river that flows between huge canyons.

Stay overnight: tent camping or tourist ger camp

Day 10. The great white stupa in the desert

We travel in one of the emptiest areas of Mongolia. Between rock desert and semi-arid steppes, we reach the white stupa, Tsagaan Suvarga. For centuries, this 30-metre (98,43 feet) high, abrupt, stupa-shaped mountain, is honoured by the Mongolians. The traveller will be surprised by the magnificent lunar landscapes that evoke the end of the world, and by the many fossils. This area was covered by the sea a few million years ago.

Stay overnight: Nomadic Family’s ger or tourist ger camp

Day 11. The granite formations of Baga Gazriin Chuluu

Visit of Mountains Baga Gazriin Chuluu, where we will observe stunning granite rock formations eroded by the violent elements of this area. In the 19th century, two respected lamas lived here, and we still can see their inscriptions in the rock. According to the legend, Genghis Khan is supposed to have lived in this beautiful area where it is pleasant to walk.

Stay overnight: Nomadic Family’s ger or tourist ger camp.

Day 12. Back to the Mongolian capital

Back to Ulan-Bator. Last herds of wild horses are crossing the road outside our astonished eyes, last yurts smoking far away, the steppe will be with us until the last moment. Arrival in town and settling in at your accommodation, where you can rest a few minutes.

Rest of the day free. With our guide, you can go and shop in the centre of the city.


Discounts: 30% off for children under 2-6 years old


• Transfers upon arrival and departure

• English speaking guide at all times.

• In the countryside, all lodging will be in ger camps and nomadic family’s Ger.

• All meals are provided as stated in the itinerary.

• Ground transportation: in the countryside by driven 4WD van, bus in the city area.

• Park entrance fees

• Horse and Camel ride

• Sightseeing as per itinerary

• 1.5 litre of drinking water per day per person

Not included

• Accommodation in a hotel or hostel in Ulaanbaatar

• Hotel extras, such as telephone calls, bar bills, and laundry services

• Travel insurance, medical insurance

• Visa application fees

• Alcoholic beverages

• Personal expenses such as IDD call, the internet, laundry, items of a personal nature

• Gratuity to local guides and drivers

• Airfare or train ticket

• Airport taxes, excess baggage charges (over 44pound / 20kilo)

• Changes of arrival/departure flights

• Additional services

• Any charges of major force beyond our control (e.g. imposition, quarantine restrictions, etc…)

Packing list

This is a suggested packing list, which you should feel free to adjust to suit your needs. Please refer to our travel guide for more detailed information. 

• Backpack or soft bag

• Waterproof bag cover

• Daypack

• Headlamp/flashlight

• Spare batteries/bulb

• Personal medications

• Waterproof hiking boots

• Waterproof jacket with hood

• Waterproof over pants

• Fleece jacket or wool jumper

• Cotton t-shirts

• Long sleeve shirts

• Lightw trousers

• Shorts

• Socks

• Underwear

• Sun hat

• Sandals

• Sunglasses

• Sun cream

• Insect repellent

• Resealing (Ziploc) plastic bags

• Binoculars/Camera

• Watch/ alarm clock

• Money belt/ pouch

• Insurance confirmation copy

• Emergency contact number


Included services:
Beverages (non-alcoholic)
Car (with driver)
Fuel, Petrol
Bus/train tickets
Domestic flight tickets
Entrance fees (i.e. parks, events)
Accommodation (Homestay)
Accommodation (Hotel)
Transport: Bus/Minibus
Payment Method

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.

Cancellation Policy

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.