Travel to Mongolia and experience the raw beauty and tradition of this remote region. Hidden from the world for many years, it is hard to imagine that this secluded country once created the largest land empire ever known.
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Ulaanbaatar - Amarbayasgalant Monastery - Selenge River - Khovsgol - Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake - Terkhiin - Kharkhorin/Karakorum
In and around Ulaanbaatar Sainbainuu! Welcome to Mongolia. Meet your tour guide holding Bravo Asia Tours greeting board at the Airport. We will transfer to hotel so you can fresh up after your long flight.If time permit, we will visit Gandan Khiid and the Fine Arts Museum, Winter Palace Museum of Bogd Khan and Intellectual Museum are also well worth visiting.
Ulaanbaatar - Amarbayasgalant Monastery
Today your adventure begins as you drive out through the beautiful Mongolian countryside (approximately 9 hours). Your final destination today is Mongolia's second most important place of worship (after Gandan Monastery in UB), situated in the beautiful Iven Gol River valley, at the foot of Burengiin Mountain, in the Selenge province. After seeing the monastery, you will get your first taste of nomadic life at the first ger camp of the trip. It's the quintessential Mongolian experience.
Amarbayasgalant Monastery - Selenge River
Continue to the lovely Selenge River via the copper mining town of Erdenet (approximately 8 hours). There may be opportunities to spot some interesting wildlife along the way, such as marmots and many different species of birds. You will arrive at your ger camp in the settlement of Unit in the afternoon. Stretch your legs on arrival and take a walk up to the Togoo Uul (Pot Mountain) – an extinct volcano looming over the surrounding steppe. The hike to the top rewards you with views of the crater's lush interior. From this vantage, you can only imagine what this incredible landscape must have looked like millions of years ago.
Today your journey (approximately 9 hours) brings you to the mountainous outskirts of Ikh Uul for your first stay with a local nomad family. This is a rare opportunity to see how modern Mongolian nomads are preserving an ancient way of life while embracing some elements of modernity. You will be welcomed into the family ger and shown traditional Mongolian hospitality, starting with a bowl of salty milk tea and perhaps some aaruul (dried curds). This evening you will help your hosts prepare dinner – maybe some buuz (steamed dumplings) or barbecue. Your hosts may teach you some Mongolian games, such as shooting arrows from a bow in the local style. Many nomad families keep animals, so don't be surprised if there is some interaction with goats, dogs, horses and sheep. The location is remote, with no nearby settlements or light pollution. The night sky is incredible in clear weather, so be sure to do some stargazing before retiring for the evening.
Selenge River - Khovsgol
In and around Lake KhovsgolEnjoy breakfast with your host family and bid them farewell. It's a long day of driving today, across some rough terrain, to Khovsgol Lake (approximately 9 hours). This is arguably Mongolia's most beautiful destination, a pristine wilderness area that's home to many ethnic minorities. It boasts spectacular scenery with stunning fir forests, lush green grasslands and meadows peppered with wildflowers. Since it is a popular destination for both foreign tourists and local holiday makers, you will likely come across other travellers here, especially in the peak travel months of June and July. You'll stay in a tourist ger camp just near the lake. Settle in for the night and sleep well, because there are plenty of optional activities to choose from tomorrow.
Today you might like to hike up to one of the nearby peaks, visit a local shaman, or perhaps take a boat trip out on the lake. All of these are great ways to experience this gorgeous region. Tonight you will stay in a tourist ger camp near the lake.
Khovsgol - Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
In and around Terkhiin Tsagaan LakeOn Day 7 you will set off early to drive back through the town of Murun, and on to Shine Ider (approximately 10 hours). Here you will enjoy the second family stay of your trip. Now that you know what to expect from a Mongolian homestay, you should feel more comfortable the second time around. Get to know your hosts as you help them prepare dinner. You might even have the chance to watch as the family's livestock are milked and herded.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
After breakfast with the family, you'll drive to the surreal Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan, aka the Great White Lake (approximately 7 hours). This natural volcanic lake, surrounded by mountains, is a surreal and memorable sight. Using the tourist ger camp at Maikhan Tolgoi as a base, you will drive up to one of the volcanic craters and hike to the top for spectacular views. There are plenty of nice trails to walk during your two-night stay here, so make the most of this relaxing break from the road.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
Meet local people, experience efficient public transport and see the wonders that -- has to offer!Spend the rest of the day discovering the Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake on your own.
In and around TsenkherOn Day 10, travel to the Tsenkher Hot Springs (approximately 6 hours). These are situated in the valley of the Delger River. On the way, you'll stop at Tsetserleg, a lovely provincial town with a local market and a unique little museum housed in a former temple, which you'll visit with a local guide. At this stop, there's the chance to wander around the town for a glimpse at what provincial Mongolian life is like. Perhaps stock up on some snacks and drinks for the travels ahead. If there is time and the connection is good, you can also visit an internet cafe to get in touch with friends and family back home. From here it's about another hour to the hot springs, where you'll check into the tourist ger camp on arrival.
Today is a free day to relax, explore, or simply laze about in the thermal waters of these invigorating natural hot springs. Be sure to pack your swimwear so you can take part in this activity. Surrounded by the remote beauty of the landscape, this location is perfect for slowing down to a more meditative pace, reading a book and taking it easy.
Terkhiin - Kharkhorin/Karakorum
In and around KarakorumContinue to Karakorum (approximately 4 hours), a town built by the legendary Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Ask your leader and drivers to tell you some stories about this great man on the way – after all, he's the nation's hero. In Karakorum you will visit the first Buddhist centre of Mongolia, the immense Erdene Zuu Monastery. This impressive walled compound retains much of its former glory, and within it you can inspect the three temples, each one dedicated to a different stage of a Buddha's life – child, adolescent and adult stages. Later in the afternoon, you will drive to the Khogno Khan Mountains, the location of your tourist ger camp tonight.
Karakorum just nearby is a sudden strip of sand dunes – a striking contrast to the landscape you have just travelled through. Here you will enjoy a camel trek along the dunes – an ideal way to experience this eye-popping landscape. At your ger camp, there might be the opportunity to practice the art of Mongolian archery under the tutorage of some local experts. It's certainly much harder than it looks, requiring good strength and aim! The afternoon is yours to spend as you please.
Kharkhorin/Karakorum - Ulaanbaatar
Travel back across the rolling grasslands to Ulaanbaatar (approximately 8 hours). The route will take you past 'ovoos' (roadside shrines) and ger suburbs. Arriving in the metropolis, you'll check back into your hotel. Depending on the arrival time, there might be the chance to shop for some local handicrafts such as cashmere and felt products, or check out some more of the city's sights and museums. Tonight you can celebrate your journey around Mongolia by witnessing a special cultural performance featuring throat singing and traditional dancing.
After breakfast, it is time to say goodbye. We hope to see you again in your next trip to Asia. Your beautiful memory of this trip and our best wishes will company you back home safely.