This Mongolian adventure blends two of Mongolia’s iconic destinations: the Altai Mountains in the West, home to Kazakh eagle hunters, and the Gobi, the dramatic semi-arid desert in the south. This journey begins with a cultural exploration of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital city where modern and ancient worlds collide. Next, fly to western Mongolia, where you will meet the two ethnic minorities living in the area – the Uulds and the Kazakhs. A deep cultural immersion awaits as you spend time with a local Kazakh family and learn about their ancient tradition of training and hunting with eagles. You will also have the opportunity to meet an ethnic Uuld family.
After a fascinating cultural immersion in the Altai Mountains, head to the Gobi in southern Mongolia. Staying at the award-winning Three Camel Lodge, you will have three days to explore the incredible array of memorable landscapes here. One of the most memorable is certainly Bayan Zag, named the Flaming Cliffs for the orange glow of its rock at dawn and dusk.
Breathtaking sites and once-in-a-lifetime interactions make this a journey into the heart and soul of Mongolia.
Aug 2-12, 2021
$7,200 Per Person
$6,640 Per Person
$655 Per Person
$1,995 Per Person
June 15 - 25, 2024 (11 Days)
$7,450 Per Person
$6,845 Per Person
$895 Per Person
$2,035 Per Person
NOTE: Land Price is based on double occupancy and Internal Airfare is subject to change by airlines.
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS +
Inclusions & Exclusions
LAND PRICE INCLUDES:
• Ground transportation in Mongolia as described in the itinerary;
• Transfers upon arrival and departure;
• All accommodations based on double or twin occupancy (hotel rooms and gers);
• Meals as noted in itinerary;
• Bottled/filtered water throughout the trip and soft drinks during meals;
• All excursions, entrance fees, and visits as described in itinerary;
• Extensive pre-departure Travel Guide, reading list, important information about your trip, and luggage tags;
• Bilingual Nomadic Expeditions guide throughout your stay.
LAND PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE:
• International airfare; internal airfare is quoted separately and subject to change by airlines;
• Tips to guides/drivers;
• Passport and visa fees;
• Comprehensive medical and trip insurance;
• Airport taxes;
• Excess baggage charges;
• Photography and video fees;
• Food and beverages not included in the group meals;
• Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry and telephone calls;
• Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
"I don't have words to describe my feelings. Everything was so intense and special. I really enjoyed every precious minute of my journey. "
“Mongolia, the whole of it, is an amazing place. I wouldn’t be able to mention one place over another as they all have their own charm. I have wonderful memories of the country, every single bit is wonderful and I cherish it."
Guide was excellent, knowledgeable, personable, hardworking. Wilderness camps far surpassed expectations. Interesting itinerary!
The contrast between ancient traditions and a 21st-century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries sit side by side with modern high-rises. Upon arrival at the airport you are welcomed by your Mongolian guide and transferred to a centrally located hotel within walking distance of various museums and shops.
(Shangri-La Hotel - Deluxe Room)
Day 2 - ULAANBAATAR
The journey begins exploring the cultural institutions of Ulaanbaatar, visiting the historically important Gandan Monastery. Strolling the monastery grounds, you hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras and the teachings of the Buddha. You will also see the magnificent 82-foot high gilded statue of Migjid Janraisig, “the lord who looks in every direction,” completely filling one of Gandan’s temples.
Drive through downtown Ulaanbaatar to the National Museum for an excellent overview of Mongolia’s history and culture. The museum displays traditional implements of daily nomadic life including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, sacred religious relics, and agricultural, fishing, and hunting equipment. And in the afternoon, climb the 300 steps to Zaisan Memorial, built by the former Soviet Union to commemorate fallen soldiers of World War II. It offers a beautiful panoramic view of the capital city, the Tuul River and the surrounding countryside.
(Shangri-La Hotel - Deluxe Room; B, L, D)
Day 3 - FLY TO ULGII
In the morning you fly 1.5 hours to Ulgii, capital of Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s westernmost province to spend the next few days. Dominated by the Mongolian Altai Mountains, the highest mountains in Mongolia, this isolated area has preserved the language, culture, and traditions of the Kazakh people found here. On arrival, you drive to your camp (1 hour and 10 minutes) and spend the rest of the day exploring the surrounding area on foot. There will be ample opportunities to meet local families and experience Kazakh culture.
(Nomadic Expeditions Wilderness Camp; B, L, D)
Day 4 - EXPLORING ULGII REGION / BAYAN LAKE
A cross country 1.5 hour drive brings us to Bayan Nuur Lake, located on the north-eastern side of the Tsambagarav mountain. Set dramatically with high mountains on its south and north banks, the lake is also rich with migratory birds. Spend some time walking along its shores spotting birds and visiting with nomads who bring their animals to water.
Explore Namarjin Valley that lies in the shadow of Tsambagarav mountain, and visit with one of the many nomadic families that make this region their summer home. The afternoon is spent learning and understanding the nomadic way of life through the eyes of the family. Not surprisingly, there is strong emphasis on dairy and dairy products, as the Mongol nomads for generations, have used milk products from the animals that they herd. Every region has their own ways of making dairy products. The most common of all is called “aaruul” or simply hardened milk curd. Today there are over 100 varieties of dairy products in Mongolia.
(Three Eagle Camp; B, L, D)
Day 5 - RIDING WITH EAGLE HUNTERS
In the morning witness the horsemanship of the local nomads, as they demonstrate how they lasso horses and ride bare back. Followed by “Tinge Ilu”, a game of grabbing coins from the ground while riding a horse at full gallop. Another fun game is the “Kizguar”, a Kazakh dating horse game, where the boy on a horse chases the girl on a horse and if he can catch her he gets to kiss her on the cheek and in return if the girl likes the boy, she can chase the boy back.
The afternoon/evening will be spent visiting with Kazakh falconers. For over a millennium the Kazakh’s have been practicing the art of falconry, a tradition passed down from their Turkic ancestors, using golden eagles as their choice of rapture. Female eagles are preferred for their aggression and size. Weighing up to fifteen pounds, the females are nearly one-third bigger than the males and their vision is eight times more acute than the human eye. Through the winter months the Kazakhs hunt foxes, rabbits and marmots, with their eagle.
After a conversation, where all your questions on falconry, training, care and well being of the eagle will be answered, we head outside to see a demonstration of how the eagle and the hunter interact, communicating with each other and together hunt.
We will have dinner with the Kazakh family of their traditional cuisine - Kazakh meat platter, locally known as “Besbermakh.” Kazakh are great musicians and singers and over dinner we will also be entertained by a musical performance.
(Three Eagle Camp; B, L, D)
Day 6 - RETURN TO ULAANBAATAR
If time permits in the morning, we will drive to Ulgii (about 1 hour and 10 minutes) and visit the local market and Mosque before the flight back to Ulaanbaatar.
Upon arrival, you will transfer to your hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Your dinner is independent this evening.
(Shangri-La Hotel - Deluxe Room; B, L)
Day 7 - THE GOBI | THREE CAMEL LODGE | MOLTSOG ELS
Today continue with your journey south to the Gobi (1.5 hours), Mongolia’s southernmost province of semi-arid desert. Contrary to the sameness that the word ‘desert’ suggests, the Gobi is a fascinating and diverse region, and includes sites of some of the most important paleontological discoveries of the 20th century. For the next few days, explore the stunning landscapes of the Gobi, habitat for Bactrian camels, Argali mountain sheep, goitered gazelle, Golden Eagles, Saker Falcons, jerboas (similar to kangaroo rats), and many endemic reptiles.
The Gobi is also home to some of the Northern Hemisphere’s most rare and elusive mammals, such as the snow leopard, wild camel, and Gobi bear. On arrival, drive to the award winning Three Camel Lodge located at Bulagtai Mountain on the edge of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park (1 hour). The lodge offers a wide variety of activities to travelers from reading a book on Mongolia to watching a documentary about nomadic culture, and from learning traditional Mongolian games to enjoying a relaxing massage.
Later this afternoon, drive to Moltsog Els (45 minutes), one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. Upon arrival, you will meet with your camel wrangler at his home and mount your camels and begin your trek. You will head southeast on an almost 4-hour journey before returning back to the family. Return to the lodge in time for dinner.
(Three Camel Lodge - Deluxe Ger; B, L, D)
Day 8 - LOCAL NAADAM FESTIVAL
Spend today enjoying the local Naadam Festival. True to its name, the festival is dedicated to the “Three Manly Games.” including wrestling, archery, and horse racing. These three sports traditionally measured the courage, strength, and pride of nomads and warriors, although men, women, boys, and girls all take part in contemporary Naadam games.
In the evening, if time permits, drive to the Havsgait Valley (25 minutes), site of ancient rock drawings left by early Gobi settlers more than 15,000-40,000 years ago. Hundreds of petroglyphs adorn rocks scattered on the top of the mountain. Return to the Lodge for dinner.
(Three Camel Lodge - Deluxe Ger; B, L, D)
Day 9 - YOL VALLEY | FLAMING CLIFFS
Depart early morning for Yol Valley National Park (1.5 hours), cradled in the foothills of the Altai Mountains. An ancient river carved this surprisingly green valley, and its remnant streams create ice formations that sometimes persist as late as July. A hike through the valley leads to the habitat of indigenous vulture-like lammergeiers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep. After exploring the valley, visit the local natural history museum for an overview of the flora and fauna of the surrounding area, followed by a drive to Dungenee Valley, a deep and narrow gorge where it is possible to view Argali sheep, Altai snowcocks, and ibex.
Return to the Lodge and spend the afternoon at leisure or participate in lodge-based activities, such as horseback riding, or a nature walk.
In the late afternoon, drive to Bayan Zag (40 minutes), commonly known as the Flaming Cliffs because of their orange glow at dawn and dusk. It was here in 1923 that Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the world’s first nest of dinosaur eggs. Although not obvious to the untrained eye, the Flaming Cliffs are rich with dinosaur fossils and have been the site of important paleontological discoveries. Return to the Three Camel Lodge for overnight.
(Three Camel Lodge - Deluxe Ger; B, L, D)
Day 10 - RETURN TO ULAANBAATAR
Day 11 - DEPARTURE
Transfer to the airport for your departing flight.
B=Breakfast L=Lunch D=Dinner Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to change the above itinerary if necessary.