Almost a century has passed since Roy Chapman Andrews led his Central Asiatic Expeditions through the vast plains of Mongolia, but Mongolia still remains one of the last true wilderness lands, with its well-preserved nomadic way of life and rich history beckoning the adventurous spirits in for a generous treat of the extraordinary and unforgettable.
One of the most celebrated explorers of the 20st century, Roy Chapman Andrews had an uncommon hunger for adventure and a gift for storytelling. Named after his book “Across Mongolian Plains” and inspired by his love of exploring, this journey follows in the footsteps of his Central Asiatic Expeditions on a beguiling blend of history, unique culture, scenic wilderness and active adventures.
We will trace the historic Beijing-Kalgan-Urga trail where camel caravans, - some carrying the Central Asiatic Expeditions’ supplies and fossil finds, - traversed back and forth between China and Mongolia for centuries. After exploring the ancient cities of Beijing and Kalgan, the modern day Zhangjiakou, we will travel on the historic trail on train and on car, stopping by places like the dinosaur park of the border town Erlian, or a famous Buddhist temple of Hamriin Hiid. Once we reach Ulaanbaatar, we will first drive northward to the “strangely restful valleys and rounded hills” of Gorkhi Terelj region, today a beloved National Park. Continuing on to the Gobi, for our very own camel caravan in the magnificent sand dunes and bonfire cocktails under the starry Gobi sky, we will re-discover the scenic Flaming Cliffs where Roy Chapman Andrews found the first ever dinosaur eggs world had ever seen.
The architectural and historical wealth of China would take a lifetime to explore, but certain monuments are not to be missed on even the shortest visit. Among these are two of Beijing’s most famous sights, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, as well as the fascinating contents of Emperor Qin Shihuangdi’s tomb in Xian - three of China’s more than three dozen World Heritage Sites.
The Forbidden City, the Great Wall, and the Terracotta Warriors represent some of the most awe-inspiring achievements of China’s great dynasties, and you will experience all three on this exclusive exploration of Beijing and Xi’an.
Beginning in China’s dynamic modern capital, roam the halls of the Forbidden City, where for over 500 years emperors resided within the palace’s 9,000 chambers. Then head deep into the hutongs, narrow lanes of courtyard houses where the city’s architectural and cultural past endures, and become immersed in the atmosphere of these traditional neighborhoods. After exploring the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall on foot, a morning helicopter flight will provide a bird’s-eye view of this incredible edifice.
Our next destination will be storied Xi’an, a city lying at the end of the Silk Road where emperors ruled for thousands of years. Here in this ancient historic and cultural capital, the Terracotta Warriors stand within their subterranean mausoleum. You will be granted special private access to the museum’s lower level for an up-close examination of this incredible archaeological discovery.