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This trip encompasses the many stunning highlights of the world famous Gobi Desert and the lush, green surroundings of Central Mongolia. Driving south from Ulaanbaatar, you will pass through the Middle and Southern regions of the desert, allowing you to experience the vastness of this special landscape. Among the rolling sand dunes and hills, activities include riding two humped Bactrian camels through the desert, visiting a Nomadic family, as well as enjoying the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that are on offer each day. Included is a trip to Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park, known for its iconic sand dunes, ice canyon, flaming cliffs, limestone formations, as well as many geological & archeological sites. After wandering around Gobi, we will then head north to Central Mongolia. Here you will enjoy spectacular and lush greenery, swimming in waterfalls, as well as many famous cultural sites. Highlights include the ancient capital Khar Khorin and the Erdenezuu monastery.
The richly historic Orkhon river basin is the cradle of Central Asia’s unique nomadic Culture which has developed in harmony with the natural landscape and social environment since prehistoric times. There are a variety of historic sites and ruins, including monuments, monasteries and temples which are outstanding in universal value within this cultural landscape. The Orkhon Valley bears an exceptional testimony of the existence of human beings in Central Asia.
As a Mongolian company we prefer to support Nomadic families financially, and help support their livelihoods. We are sure this resonates with our travellers who enjoy engaging with their culture on The Steppe. It is therefore our preference to stay with these families if they have an extra Ger. As well as directly supporting local herders, you can experience this rich traditional way of life first hand.
Tour departure times can be flexible, however, 8 am on the morning of departure is recommended. The driver and guide can pick you up from the airport, train station, or your accommodation to suit your requirements.
Most of the meals on this tour are included in the tour price. All included meals will be prepared from fresh local produce. The majority of the shopping for food will be done before the trip departs, and fresh goods, such as meats, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products, will be bought en-route during the trip from supermarkets, local shops and markets. Breakfasts will generally consist of breads and cereals, if time allows a warm breakfast may be prepared. Many lunches will be provided en-route and will be light meals such as sandwiches and/or salads or local restaurants. All evening meals will be freshly-prepared hot meals, and will consist of a variety of continental and local dishes. Our GUIDE will organize the meal preparation and lead the way here. Vegetarian meals and other dietary requirements can be catered for but need to be specified prior to arrival.
Summer months in Mongolia are from early June to mid September. Although the Mongolian summers are hot and dry with occasional rain, the temperature can fluctuate as much 14-20 degrees centigrade between day and night. So be prepared for all weather conditions.
Sleeping bag (we can provide sleeping bag, if your luggage is full), sleeping bag liner, sunscreen, a hat, long underwear, shorts, comfortable footwear, lip balm, sanitary hand wipes, sunglasses, prescription medications (if needed), rain gear, flashlight.
After an early 7:30am breakfast, the tour begins at 8am with the drive to first destination in the Middle Gobi province. Baga Gazriin Chuluu is a range of granite hills surrounded by the desert. It is believed Chinggis Khaan grazed his horses here. These hills are a good place for scrambling and hiking. We stay in a nomadic family ger camp.
Today’s drive will be on the paved road. After packing up the camp site, will be driving to Tsagaan Suvarga – a formation about 30 meters tall and 100 meters long and shaped very strangely, as a result of wind and water erosion over thousands of years. From a distance, it can be mistaken for the ruins of an ancient city. Lunch will be in the town of Mandalgovi city.
Today we will be entering South Gobi Desert – Umnugovi province. After having breakfast, we will start the drive to Dalanzadgad city where you can have a shower, and guide will restock supplies with some fresh food. Lunch will be in a local restaurant, and we then continue to Yoliin Am (“vultures’ mouth”), which is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park in Southern Mongolia. Yoliin Am is notable for a deep ice field. This ice field reaches several meters thick by the end of winter and is several kilometers long and can sometimes remain frozen throughout the summer. Camping and supper will in the Valley.
Driving on this day can be adventurous, because the road is unpaved. We will start driving at 8am after breakfast. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the gorgeous canyon, and then continue to the last destination of the day. Khongoryn Els.
These dunes are the largest accumulation of sand in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. The spectacular dunes are bordered by lush green vegetation supported by the Khongoryn Gol river, which is fed by underground sources from surrounding mountains.
Stay in a ger camp run by the local community, including a shower.
Take the opportunity to relax and truly appreciate the surrounding landscape. You will spend the day camel riding for the day, hiking, sand sliding or hanging out with a local nomadic family. There will also be an opportunity to enjoy a shower and cold drinks from the bar/restaurant as well as a night safari tour, where we will see some of the local wildlife.
Your destination on this day will be the aptly named “Flaming Cliffs”. The adventure across the vast desert landscape will continue, this time across what was a prehistoric sea bed. The flaming cliffs are a dream for fossil hunters. They were named by American adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews who found the first fossils here in 1920. The Bayanzag area is great for hiking and hunting for fossils. Stay in a family ger camp.
Early morning start at 7am after breakfast. A day to take stock in this unique city, with free time to explore the market, museum, as well as enjoy a beer while reflecting on the desert experiences. Lunch and dinner will be in a restaurant in the town, while accommodation will be in a local guesthouse.
Be ready for a refreshing swim in the waterfalls. ‘Red Flows’ is the English translation for this river. The area was formed by volcanic activity that dates back 20,000 years. This location is amazing for trekking, fishing, relaxing, and indulging your inner photographer if the weather is right for the day.
Accommodation will be in a family guesthouse.
After breakfast, we begin the 130km drive to the next destination of Khar Khorin, the local town that was once the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire built by Chinggis Khan in the 13th century. Visit the magnificent Erdene Zuu monastery, Khar Khorin museum, as well as some of the rock monuments in the town. Lunch in a local café. After big day of exploring the town and its incredible history, enjoy dinner at a local family home.
Return to Ulaanbaatar with nothing but fond memories, enjoying a Mongolian lunch on the way and one last day in the wild! The driver will take you to your accommodation. Enjoy rest of your travels!
Great stay and great journey!!
My friend and I strolled into Meg’s to look into a 9 day journey around the Gobi and Central Mongolia and were greeted by Bunny who was super friendly and gave us some traditional Mongolian snacks while showing us our options. We needed to leave the next day and they arranged everything including a three day Naadam package at the end. The next morning we met Meg who sat down to get to know us and share her story with us. My luggage was lost and Bunny sorted it out for me with several calls to the airport. While we waited for word of the luggage, Meg took us to a cool coffee shop. Angie, our driver and Dari took us for my luggage at the airport and we were able to secure the luggage. For the next nine days Augie and Dari took care of us- making sure we were comfortable and well fed as well as entertaining us with stories. I highly recommend Meg’s tour company- it’s like traveling with family- the family you actually like and want to spend time with!