Difficulty of trip: Moderately challenging
Valid between: June 1 and October 1
Package Fee 2-4 Pax: $1558 USD for 12 days/ 11 nights
Package Fee 5-8 Pax: $1324 USD for 12 days/ 11 nights
Minimal pax: 2 persons
Day One - Rural Bus to Tsetserleg (D): You will travel from UB to Tsetserleg by the public bus at 8am, along the way you will see many scenic locations from the bus as it drives by vast nomadic pastures, the Ancient Capital City of the Mongol Empire “Karakorum”, etc. Once you arrive in Tsetserleg town around at 6pm, our local facilitator will guide you to your local guesthouse.
Day Two - Trek to Uvgun Khad (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will travel to White Lake for 185 km by rural vehicle. White Lake is an astonishingly beautiful lake - the lake is about 20 km long and 16km wide, it supports Pike and other fish as well as rare birds species can be found here. You will be served lunch when you arrive at Mr. Batbold’s ger camp in the afternoon to which afterwards you can take a short rest in your own Ger before the 5km walk along the lake. On your way, you will visit the legendary “Uvgun Had” rock formation that is a representation of an old man who is the guardian of the Lake and the locally worshipped Black Stone where guests and locals make small offerings of rocks to the Ovoo. In the evening, you will begin to make your way back to the ger camp where you will have your dinner and overnight.
Day Three - Horseback Ride to Lake’s Vantage Point “Nuurin Dund Tolgoi” (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will continue your journey by horseback for 13kms to the White Lake’s Vantage Point. On the way, you will pass by the locally renowned “Hungiin Tohoi” known for the gathering of Swans – of which you may see if you are lucky. As you continue your journey, you will be served a picnic lunch before you arrive at the next nomadic family in the evening where you will have an opportunity to learn the basics of nomadic dairy products. The family will show you how to boil milk to make “urum” which is a creamy spread used to eat on bread and in Mongolia teas. In the evening, you will return Batbold’s family and be welcomed with a farewell dinner and milk tea before retiring to your Ger.
Day Four - Horseback Ride to “Khorgo” Volcano and Yellow Dog’s Cave (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will travel by horseback for 20kms (round trip) to a volcanic crater called Khorgo which is 2100m above sea level. From the summit there is a splendid view of the whole lake region, as you continue your journey, you will also visit the famous Yellow Dog’s cave (a local legend stated that a compassionate monk kept a sick dog in this cave in order to protect it from being killed) and have a picnic lunch. In the evening, you will return Batbold’s family and be welcomed with a farewell dinner and milk tea before retiring to your Ger.
Day Five -Overland Drive to Galt Hot Spring (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will overland drive through the wooded slopes of Khangai Mountain Range and cross high mountain passes. Along the way, you will have a picnic lunch before arriving at Galt Hot Springs where you can relax in properly outfitted hot springs and overnight at the ger camp.
Day Six - Overland Drive to Lake Khuvsgul (B, L, D): Lake Khuvsgul is truly a highlight of any trip to Mongolia and today you head north to the crystal clear waters - it is the deepest lake in Central Asia, measured with a maximum depth of 262 meters. The reflections of larch forests and majestic Mountains around the lake are truly amazing; 96 rivers and streams feed into Khuvsgul Lake and the Egiin River exits from it. On the way we will pass through Murun which is the capital of Khuvsgul Province before reaching the overnight destination at the ger camp located next to Khuvsgul Lake.
Day Seven - Horseback Ride, Trek Around the Lake, or try to Visit the Reindeer People (B, L, D): Khuvsgul Lake Region is the home to the Tsaatan or “The Reindeer People” which roughly translates as “with reindeer”. The Tsaatan people are originally from Siberia’s Tuva Region, historically they inhabit this border region between Russia and Mongolia. The Tsaatan Livelihood is centered around the domesticated reindeer for nearly all of their basic needs, such as milk for food, skins for clothing and antlers for tools. Today if the Reindeer People are nearby, you can make a day trek to visit them or you can spend it trekking around the lake’s beautiful scenery. Keep in mind that as Tsaatan are nomadic and are often found high in the mountains, there is no guarantee that you will be able to meet them - but the scenery of the area is well worth the exploration time! Tonight you will overnight in a ger camp next to the lake.
Day Eight - Overland Drive to Darhan (B, L): After your early morning breakfast at camp, you will return to Murun where you will board the public bus for the 2pm departure to Darkhan. Before you depart to Ulaanbaatar, you will have a packed lunch in Murun before wishing your driver and guide farewell.
Day Nine - Overland Bus to Amarbayasgalant Monastery & Cultural Introduction (B, L, D): Upon arrival in Darhan at 6am you will have time to rest at the local guesthouse for 3 or 4 hours before your morning breakfast at an authentic Curry House. After breakfast, you will start a 160 kilometer drive to Amarbayasgalant by car or minibus and reach the Mr. Kambaatar’s nomadic family around noon time. Before departing to the monastery for the 2 kilometer walk, you will have an opportunity to spend some time with the family and have lunch. During your visit at the monastery, you will have an opportunity to meet the local monks, walk through monastery and have a short introduction in preparation for the next day of cultural immersion. Later in the evening you will walk back to the host family and spend the evening playing ankle bone games (Shagai), experience a little of nomadic lifestyle such as milking cow and/or learning how to make Mongolian dumpling (buzz), etc., before having your dinner and retiring to your tent for the night.
Day Ten - A Monk’s Life (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will walk 2 kilometers to the monastery and assist the Monks between 9:00am to 6:00pm to with their daily life (as they suggest – as activities may change depending on their needs) by cleaning the areas, cutting fire woods, participate in the daily prayers, etc. You will also be provided with a private place for meditation and the opportunity to have lunch and dinner with all the Monks as well as have special privileges to take cultural and historical photos where normal travelers are not allowed. Later in the evening you will have free time to walk around the monastery grounds before walking back to the host family and overnight in your tent.
Day Eleven - Horseback Ride to Scenic Locations and Nearby Forests (B, L, D):After breakfast, Mr. Kambaatar or his son with the guide will take your for a 15 kilometer horseback trip around the scenic location. During the horseback ride you will have opportunity to visit stupas made of stones as well as visit the locations where clays are gathered for the monastery roofs, spring water, wild berries (the growing seasons for berries are from end of July to mid of September), etc. A picnic lunch will be provided in the afternoon before you make your way back to the family for your evening dinner and retiring to your tent.
Day Twelve - Depart back to Darkhan and Ulaanbaatar (B, L): After breakfast, your driver will pick you up – once you reach Darhan (afternoon) you will be greeted with a nice Indian lunch. Your guide will then take you around Darhan to visit few handicraft and souvenir making groups so that you can both purchase as well as learn how they use the local raw materials to produce their products. This is a great opportunity to purchase souvenirs for good deals and support their efforts. Later in the afternoon you will take coach back to Ulaanbaatar.
All nomadic breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
Herder guide service on route
Horse riding according to itinerary
Pack animals on route
Cultural activities (make dried curds, pack on yak’s back etc)
Boiled water on route
One way bus tickets reservation between UB and Tsetserleg
One way bus ticket to Darkhan city from Murun
One way bus ticket to UB city from Darkhan
Russian jeep service which stated on itinerary
3 nights at tourist camp
2 night at local guest house
English speaking guide on route
National park fees
Camping equipments /sleeping bag, mattress and tent/
|Mongolian Cultural Travel Tips & Information
Horseback Riding in Mongolia
Mongolia's Gobi Desert Camels
Mongolians and horses have historically co-exist since the early times and It’s impossible to imagine Mongolians without horses. There are many horse related folk legends, stories about horses, epic literature and songs written about horses. Mongolians prohibit the cursing of horses, beating horses and whipping of horses on their heads and chests. Mongolia’s horse culture according to their traditions teaches to show to respect to the horse during its life and honorifically place the horse’s head on an Ovoo or other sacred place to show their respect to the nobility of their horse’s life. The head of a horse is often decorated with white stones or horse dung. Heads of especially fast racing horses are usually wrapped in a blue scarf. The Mongolian traditional horse head fiddle further glorifies the station of the horse by its artistic design and traditional sounds. The culture of the Mongolian horse even spreads to embroidery, handicraft, wooden carving, metal and silver crafts – Mongolia’s respect of the horse can be found everywhere throughout the country.
The world’s rare two-humped Mongolian Bactrian Camel is considered to be the tolerant and noble animal among five animals (horse, cow, sheep, goat and camel) and is sand colored herbivores mainly found in the Gobi Desert region of Mongolia. Mongolia leads the number of Bactrian camels in the world and Mongolian camels were domesticated in olden days and are traditionally used as nomadic transport. When Mongolian camels are used for nomadic transportation their noses are pegged and they are outfitted with a leading rein, halter, saddle, saddle cloth and stairs. Mongolian camels weight is between 400-800kg and camel meat is low in fat and lean. Mongolian camel milk is a staple food for Gobi Desert nomads and is more rich in fat and protein than cow’s milk. A female camel produces about 3 to 4 liters of milk a day; camel milk can readily be made into airag (fermented beverage), hoormog (yogurt diluted with milk) and dried curds. Mongolian camel wool is produced as a natural insulation against the cold and easily sheds in the heat. Mongolian camel wool has unique characteristics of silky softness and strength.
Riding Mongolian Camels
Mongolian nomads say that it’s much closer to the sun from the top of the tallest animal of desert - so while you are riding a Mongolian camel you will always have a panoramic view of the Gobi Desert. Generally, Mongolia’s camel guides are Mongolian nomads that are born and live in the Gobi Desert. Mongolians often start to ride camels at a very early age and have plenty of experience to share with you about how to saddle, groom and command to lay down a camel to mount and dismount. During your camel trek, you can help the Mongolian nomad by looking after your camel; learn how to groom it, saddle and unsaddle it as well as bring water and feed it. Kind attention between the camel and the rider always contributes towards establishing a close. Almost any traveler can ride a camel (in reasonable physical condition) and learn how to control it quickly – though its highly recommended to review the camel riding tips that can be found in the Ger to Ger Travelers’ Handbook. Its good to apply your knowledge and practice on a camel with a Mongolian nomad around their Ger (traditional dwelling) before starting a long trek. A camel trek could cover between 5 to 25kms a day between nomadic families or even for a short roundtrip for sightseeing.