Difficulty of trip: Moderately challenging
Package Fee 2-4 Pax: $1372 USD for 13 days/ 12 nights
Package Fee 5-8 Pax: $1136 USD for 13 days/ 12 nights
Minimal pax: 2 persons
Day One - Traditional short folk songs: (L, D): In the morning at 08am you will depart from UB by public bus for 260kms to Dundgovi province. Upon arrival at Mandalgovi bus station you will meet with a receptionist and a driver. You will start your journey after departing from Mandalgovi (Dundgovi province’s center) by jeep for 46 kilometers to Mr. Uuganbold’s Ger. She will serve you a nomadic lunch and tea. Afterwards his wife Mrs.Oyun-Erdene will sing you Mongolian traditional songs and show you how to make traditional embroideries and sewing. Overnight Ger (Munh-Od): Then the local driver takes you to your overnight family (13 km drive) where you will be greeted to welcoming tea and a nomadic dinner. During your stay with Mr. Munh-Od, you will have a chance to play National Game called “Shagai” that is a lot like a game “marble” that children play but with the ankle bone of sheep.
Day Two - "Shagai" competition and melodies of the Horse Head Fiddle (B, L, D): After breakfast you will trek to next herder family with him for 2 kms. He will take your luggages by motobike. Tea Ger (Munkhochir): Upon your arrival at Mr.Munkhochir’s home you will have a nomadic lunch and tea while enjoying the horse fiddle melodies. You can enjoy the opportunity to try your hand with a rustic head fiddle and learn songs about the spirit of Mongolian horses. The afternoon will be filled with the lessons on “Shagai”, traditional game. You will play “Shagai” with his family and compete with them. Mr.Munkh Ochir’s wife Mrs. Daariimaa will guide your journey for 8 kilometers to your overnight place by camel cart. Overnight Ger (Gundsambuu): In the evening at your overnight place you can have a chance to play nomadic style volleyball and enjoy with children’s singing.
Day Three - Learn the art of wood carvings: (B, L, D): This morning you will wake up to a hot cup of milk tea and fried nomad bread (like small donuts). Before departure Mr. Gundsambuu will show you how to make Mongolian traditional wooden carvings. You will trek for 12 kilometers and reach tea ger, Mr. Tsogtsaikhan’s ger. Tea Ger (Mr.Tsogtsaikhan ): You will be served a nomadic lunch and tea at Mr.Tsogtsaikhan’s family. You have an opportunity to learn to assemble intellactual wooden games. Mr. Tsogtsaihan will lead you to your next overnight Ger by horse or horse cart (11km). Overnight Ger (Mr. Chimiddorj): Mr. Chimeddorj’s Family will welcome you for dinner. Then you will have an overnight.
Day Four - Learn how to assemble a Mongolian ger and art of felt making: (B, L, D): After having breakfast you will have a rare opportunity to take part in the art of making Mongolian felt. In the early afternoon you will begin your trek by foot around 13kms through some of the most amazing rock formations of Ih Gazriin Chuluu like Tangad rock, Chinggis Khan Rock, Khur khartsag’s memorial place and monument, Open air theatre etc and have the opportunity to take some incredible photos. You will have picnic lunch on the way. You will be surrounded by densely packed massive formations that averagely range 400 meters and higher! Overnight Ger (Mr. Tsembeldorj): Upon your arrival Mr. Tsembeldorj’s family will serve you a dinner and tea. He worked as a local National Park ranger for 37 years. After dinner you will learn the art of assembling a Mongolian ger by small maket with him.
Day Five - Gurvansaihan village tour: After your breakfast you will surround caves and famous long singer Mrs. Norovbanzad’s monument by trekking along with him. On the way you will meet the local “Ovoo” (stone mound of shamanistic culture, it believes that local deities listens to the people’s wishes and fulfills them) and put small stones or go out for a short trek. Around 11 a.m. local driver will pick you up and drive to Gurvansaihan soum for 30kms. Upon arrival at Mr. Namjilsvren’s ger you will welcome a nomadic lunch and tea. Then Mrs.Rentsen or her son Ms .Munkh-Erdene will introduce and guide you her\his native village. In the evening you will have opportunity to play Basketball, “teveg” (traditional hacky sack kicking game), ankle bone game which called Shagai in mongolian. As well as you can use other paid services like hot shower, telephone and medical shop etc. Dinner will be served with family.
Day Six - Visit Leader Monk house of Gandanchoinhorlin monestary and do some desert sun bathing at the silky Uush Sand Dunes: After breakfast Mr.Namjilsvren will bring you to Mr.Ravjir’s house (leader lama of Gandanchoinhorlin monastery). He has been working at monastery as a leader monk for many years. He will wish you good blessing for your journey. Then Ms.Namjilsvren shows you the monument (god picture) top of the (ovoo). Afterwards local driver will pick you up to continue your journey (2-3 hours) to Uush Sand Dunes. Around 1 p.m. you will reach at Mr. Jugdernamjil’s ger. After lunch Mr. Jugdernamjil will guide you to Uush sand dunes and Zag Mod by trekking for 2kms. The Uush medicinal sand dune is used for treating back, rheumatic fever, kidney etc. Therefore domestic people go to Uush sanatorium which locates near sand dune and are treated. In the evening driver will bring you to overnight ger Mr. Batbekh’s house. Overnight ger Mr.Batbakh’s house you will have dinner with his family and his wife Mrs.Byambatsetseg show you how to make kind of airag named (Khoormog) by camel milk. Khoormog is very good for the health and Mongolian people mostly using their illness for treating and costs of khoormog is increasing year by year.
Day Seven - Listen to traditional 'long song' and melodies of the Horse Head Fiddle at sunset: Before the breakfast Mrs. Byambatsetseg will show you milking Camel and if you want you can milking your hand then her husband Mr.Batbekh will guide you to ruin of the Hutul monastery for 4kms by jeep with his motocycle. We will trek to “Tagtaa Amni Agui” (cave) for 1km by feet from ruin of monastery. Afterwards you will continue your journey to Ulziit soum for 75kms. Upon your arrival at Mrs. Uigarmaa’s family you will served a lunch and tea. In the late afternoon we will drive to Ban cliff around 6kms. You will have opportunity to listen traditional long song and the melodies of fiddle at sunset there. Then back to her home and rest for the evening. Apart from the above you can use other paid services – hot shower, laundry, telephone and medical shop etc.
Day Eight - Yoliin am: After breakfast you will continue your driving to Dalanzadgad , center of South Gobi province. Transfer to the “Khanbogd “tourist camp. After lunch you will start an excursion to Yol Valley (Eagle Valley) National Park. In the evening back to camp and have a dinner and overnight in the gers.
Day Nine - Khongorin Els (B,L,D): In the morning you will drive to Khongor sand dune which has an extraordinary length of 180kms and 15-20 meters wide. The huge sand dune is part of the desert zone, which takes up 2.7% of the country’s territory. Upon arrival at camp, you will a late lunch. Then we will go explore the towering dunes on foot. If the breeze is blowing just right, we may hear the dunes singing to us. The rugged desert plants of the Gobi at the edges of the sands are beautiful in their own sculptural way. Overnight in ger camp.
Day Ten - Bayanzag -Ongiin Monastery (B, L, D): After breakfast we will drive to Ongi monastery through Bayan zag which is internationally famous for dinosaur remains complete dinosaur skeletons, eggs and hatchlings, of the Cretaceous Period. Bayan Zag is famed for its’ red sandstone cliffs which take on beautiful red and orange hues during sunset. Sculptural Saxaul trees grow in the arid rocky soil. In 1921, the American Roy Chapman Andrews discovered here some of the most important Paleontological findings of the last century. Since then, hundreds of archeological expeditions have come to this remote desert location. Dinosaur egg with a diameter of 10 to 15 centimeters was found here in Mongolia for the first time in the world. You will be served a picnic lunch on the way. Upon arrival at tourist camp nearby Ongi monastery you will have a dinner. Overnight in a ger camp.
Day Eleven - Visit the Largest Monastery Ruins in Gobi Region (B,L,D): After breakfast you will visit the ruin of Ongi monastery which was established 300 years ago. Ongi monastery was biggest monastery in Gobi region. During the repression of 1930 the monastery was completely destroyed and around 300 monks were killed by revolutionists. Then you will continue your journey to next family by horse cart for 10kms. Arrive at Mr. Jinhuu’s herder family. He will serve you a lunch and tea. After lunch, you will have opportunity to learn how to milk animals and make dairy products with his wife. Then continue by horse back for 7 kilometers to your overnight destination. Arrive at Mr.Shinebayar’s herder family. At his ger you will learn how to play a Mongolian game called ‘Dembee’, which involves the drinking of mare’s milk! If you survive, you will have dinner at his ger and will overnight here.
Day Twelve - Visit to 16th century ruin drama theater and local museum (B, L, D): Saying goodbye to family, we will continue our journey to Baga Gazriin Chuluu, interesting granite rock formations, and visit the ruins of Khukh burd sum temple (196 km). On the way visit the Gimpil Darjaalan Monastery. Upon arrival at herder family you will be welcomed a lunch and tea. Then you will walk for 4kms and have a bounty to spend your precious time to visit the 17th century ruin traditional Mongolian long song theater. Later in the afternoon you will walk back to the host family. Then you will depart back to Mandalgovi by Russian jeep for 70km. Check in local hotel.
Day Thirteen - Ulaanbaatar (B): After breakfast you will take a public bus back to Ulaanbaatar city at 08am. You will arrive in UB around at 2pm.
Visiting nomadic families
All nomadic breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
Herder guide service on route
Horse riding according to itinerary
Traveling by camel cart according to itinerary
Pack animals on route
Cultural activities (make a felt, play ankle bone game etc)
Boiled water on route
National park fees
Two ways bus ticket between UB and Mandalgovi
Local jeep service according to itinerary
1 night at local hotel /twin share/
3 nights at tourist camp
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.