Altai, Hangai and Gobi Drive, 25 days, from $2599 Book now
The Mongolian Altai mountains of western Mongolian offer a beautiful landscape coupled with three unique cultures - Mongolians, Kazakhs, and Tuvans. The area is rich in wildlife and provides one of the last refuges for the Altai Argali, the world's largest sheep, as well as the endangered Snow Leopard. In addition, western Mongolia is rich in archaeological sites that vary from ancient petro-glyphs to stone carvings from early Turkish nomads. To travel in western Mongolia and visit this area's nomadic people between the snow covered peaks of the Altai Mountains means to experience something that cannot be repeated anywhere else in the world. On a trip though this region, one discovers new horizons, will feel the beauty of unexplored wilderness and experience the freedom of nomadic life.
Northern Mongolia has attracted the hearts and minds of many travelers throughout the year. Northern Mongolia is home to the densely forested mountains of Khangai and Sayan, Khuvsgul lake that shimmers like a borderless blue pearl, the Darkad Tsenkher depression (a huge valley of rivers flowing from high mountains), and the mystical deer stones. The Taiga’s nomads, reindeer herders by trade, live here. In the deep forests of the mountains, they worship the sky and nature. The Khotgoid ethnic group live around the fast-flowing Tes River. They’re skilled pathfinders. Khalkh people who worship their colossal mountains and the hard working Darkhad people all live in this area.
The clay from the former shores, hills, and soil of the Cretaceous period look like they are on fire during the sunrise and sunset. You may feel like you are on a different planet. But it’s actually the southern region of Mongolia or Gobi Desert. Dinosaur fossils from millions of years ago still can be found here. Most are small and often hidden by Saxaul forests, which are ubiquitous with the Gobi, so you may pass them by without noticing. Desert plants look dry and withered but capable to store the rainwater for a long period of time due to their tenacity to survive in arid lands. Even though the footprint you made in a sand dunes can be erased by a wind, but the footprint of the Gobi desert will stay in your heart forever.
Arrive in UB
Fly to (Ulgii) West
Transfer to UB airport and fly 3 hrs to Olgii. (one hour time difference). Met by Kazakh crew and transfer to Blue Wolf Restaurant. Visit the local museum of Olgii town with comprehensive information of flora and fauna of Bayan-Olgii aimag as well as it colorful traditional costumes. Dinner with Kazakh Concert. Overnight in Kazakh felt gers. (B,L,D)
Altai Tavan Bogd Nat.Park
Drive the western route along Tsaagan Gol (White River). After (5-6 hrs drive if not stopping) we will arrive at Shiveet Hairhan Mountain, in Altai Tavanbogd National Park, where numerous Tuvan nomads live. Shiveet Hairhan is holy for them, so there is no hunting, and usually possible to see a lot of Siberian Ibex in the early morning. Pitch camp. (B,L,D)
Altai Tavan Bogd
With the support of camels, we will trek for 16 km to the base camp area at the edge of the 20 km long Potanin glacier, that runs down from the highest mountains in Mongolia. We will pitch our camp right here. Tavanbogd means “The Holy Five" referring to the peaks of Huiten (4374 m and the highest), Naran, Ölgii, Burget and Nairamdal. It is a stunning setting with the awe inspiring massif of high snow capped peaks. Next day, we will remain in the same camp and make a day hike up the non-technical heights of Malchin Uul, where we are likely to trek up through snow. There is also a smaller hill nearby allowing for excellent and stunning views of the mountains, mainly into Russian Altai, but in the distance also China. Overnights in tent. (B,L,D)
Altai Tavan Bogd
|Trek back on the other side of the Tsaagan River (White River) to Shiveet Hairhan Mountain, where the Tuva people live. Here we will now be able to view the biggest petrolgyphs from the period of the Huns (approx 200 B.C.). The Huns were the reason for the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huangdi to build the Great Wall of China. Overnight in tent. (B,L,D)|
To Big Lakes
Driving towards Big Lakes, we will stay on Snake Valley. There are many Turkic stones with face.
Afternoon, drive nearby western side of Hurgan Nuur and Hoton Nuur, where many Nomadic Kazakh families spend summer. Along the lakes, we see the beautiful waterfall, rock printings and some ancient Turkic stones with face. On the right side we see the snow capped mountains with forest,which make the wall between China and Mongolia. Overnight in tent. (B,L,D)
To Dayan Lake
A half day drive to Dayan Lake, near the frontier with China. Visit Kazakh Nomadic Families and feel their grade hospitality. Overnight with family. (B,L,D)
To Eagle hunter's family
Drive back to Olgii 3-4 hrs. After lunch in Blue Wolf restaurant, continue our road to south. On the way you will go around Lake Doroo-one of most beautiful and crystal clear lakes of Mongolian Altai. Specially good for photos. After one hour drive, we come to Onei's family-Kazakh Eagle hunter. Overnight with Eagle hunter and his magnificent bird of pray.
Next day stay with Eagle hunter and learn some eagle hunting history and skills. Soft hiking. Overnights in tent near family. (B,L,D)
Meet Throat Singers(260km)
Today driving towards Hovd you cross the north-west side of Tsamba-Garav Uul (one of the highest snow capped mountains in Mongolia 4208m). Have a lunch in Hovd town. After lunch,driving to will see the Khar Us Nuur National Park, where WWF Mongolia is very active. The largest of the lakes is Khar Us Nuur (Black Water Lake). We will try local hospitality at Jargalant Hairhan Mountain and hike into Rashantiin Am (Spring Valley), a sacred valley. Here is a sacred spring which is being said to have medicinal properties, including good for eye diseases Jargalant Hairhan (Sacred Happiness) is a snow-capped mountain, which is the back drop of Khar Us Lake. Rashantiin Am is an eerie valley with bolder and poplars. The great lakes basin has the largest reed beds in all of Central Asia, with many bird species as well as Saiga Antelope, the rare Wild Boar (in the reeds!), Snow Leopards, Gazelle, Wolves etc.We will move from the desert steppes to Altai Mountians. We will reach Chandman soum , where they claim throat singing originates. and camp next to some nomads. The nomads live from livestock herding. Overnight in tent. (B,L,D)
To Huvsugul Lake (850 km)
|HANGAI (Northern Mongolia)|
Driving from Altai Mountains to Hangai Area, you can see many different wild areas, where mountains and steppe areas are combined. Meeting nomadic families , you can see how they are used to live on these remote wild places. Last day, come to Moron, where you can stay in gercamp or hotel with hot shower. (B,L,D)
Drive to Ulaan Uul viilage
After driving about 160 km /5-6hrs/ reach village UlaanUul. Visit local family. Meet horse rangers and first introduction to the horses and riding training. Next day you will ride horses to meet reindeer people. Overnights in tent. (B,L,D)
Reindeer and Tsaatan Life
To Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake and Khorgo Volcano
Khorgo Volcano is a dead volcano covered with basalt lying in the east of the Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan (National Park) in Arhangai aimag. Interesting bubbles of solidified lave named “Basalt ger. Possible a visit to yak's herders. Arhangai aimag, the northeast slope of the Hangai chain, is called “the Switzerland of Mongolia" for its forests, rivers and wooded hills. Overnight at gercamp. (B,L,D)
Today we reach KharKhorum. Overnight in gercamp. Next day after breakfast, we explore KharaKhorum.
Mongolian ancient capital, Kharakhorum, Chinggis Khaan's fabled city, was founded in 1220 in the Orkhon valley, at the crossroads of the Silk Road. It was from there that the Mongol Empire governed, until Khubilai Khaan moved it to Beijing. The symbolic ruins of Kharakhorum (Harhorin), monumental walls (400 m of length) with 108 stupas, surround the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia Erdene Zuu Monastery, built in 1586. In 1792, it housed 62 temples and 10,000 lamas; since 1990, it has become an active monastery again. Turtles carved from the stone marked the boundaries of the complex. Nearby, Turkish monuments and rock inscriptions erected in 8-9th centuries in memory of outstanding fighters for independence. Quite a surprise for the scientists was the discovery of a burial of a Mongolian woman which dates to approximately the 14th century where also two Egyptian masks, a wooden comb and a bronze mirror in a silk case were found. Overnights at gercamp. (B,L,D)
To Hongoryn Els
Full day driving by open steppe areas and we reach Khongoryn Dunes, the biggest sand dunes in all Asia.
The 800-meter high sand dunes in Sevrei soum, South aimag, are called Khonguryn Els. These dunes are 20 km wide and 180 km long. The Khonguryn River flows along the stand dunes and gives birth to oases.Visit the dunes with camel riding. Visit a local camel breeding family and learn about their breeding programs. Overnight in gercamp. (B,L,D)
To Yolyn Am
Driving to east about 150 km (4 hrs), we come to The Valley in the Zuun Saikhan mountain located 45 km from Dalanzadgad, in the center of South Gobi aimag, is called Yolyn Am. The narrow Valley between high rock walls has breathtaking dramatic scenery, and no doubt is one of the beautiful places in the country. In rainy summers hundreds of small waterfalls appear in the rocky walls. Freaking camel and horse riding tours are available to the valley. Overnight at gercamp. (B,L,D)
To Baga Gazryn Chuluu
Drive to north-west about 200 km and reach Middle Gobi and BAGAGAZRYN CHULUU. Visit the stones Valley walking and runes of the Sacred Monastery. The monastery is built on the small island in the middle of Lake Burd Nuur by local Mongolians in 16th century. After picnic lunch, drive to north and reach UB. Transfer to 3* hotel. (B,L,D)
Fly to UB
Early breakfast and transfer to UB airport. Transfer to 4* hotel. (B) You will have a full day to explore the sprawling city of retro architecture, thrilling nightlife, wild traffic and exciting commerce. There’s plenty to see, do and eat – your guide will recommend some of the best places to dine at
After early breakfast, transfer to UB airport. Leave Mongolia with full of Memories. (B)