Gobi Express, 5 days LET'S PLAN YOUR TRIP
Gobi (Southern Mongolia)
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.
Drive to Gobi
After meeting your guide at your hotel’s lobby at 7:00 am, board the vehicle and travel south to the Gobi desert. We will drive for about 8 hours (550 km), & stop for lunch, which is the mid-point of today’s drive and in the South Gobi’s provincial capital of Dalanzadgad, where you will be able to get some snacks and other supplies. Arrive at the nomadic family for dinner. The family’s location is usually very close to the entrance of the Yol Am gorge, where you will venture tomorrow, but since they are nomads, it will vary depending on the time of the year. For dinner enjoy nomadic homemade food – if you wish, you will also have a chance to try your hand at Mongolian cooking. In the evening there will be time to socialize with your nomadic hosts over homemade vodka made of fermented mare’s milk, or alternatively for some incredible stargazing of the clear, Gobi sky.
Overnight you will stay at an authentic guest ger next to a nomadic family. Lunch and dinner are included.
EXPLORE YOL AM VALLEY (ICE WALK) AND TRAVEL THROUGH GURVAN SAIKHAN NATIONAL PARK
After a homemade Mongolian breakfast, travel 10-20km to Yol Am, the Vulture Valley. The vehicle will wait at the gorge’s entrance, from where you will need to venture on foot. Yol Valley is notable for a deep ice field, which is several meters thick by the end of winter and is several kilometers long. In the summer there is usually less ice, but you should still be able to walk on it. The area is also a habitat of ibex and birds of prey and you may be spot wildlife on top of the cliffs. After returning to the vehicle, continue your journey deeper on the trails to the Khongor Els dunes. Keep a lookout for gazelles and birds of prey as you drive – the scenery is beautiful and populated by a plethora of wildlife. Tonight you will stay in a guest ger next to a local camel herding family. Enjoy the hospitality in their ger where you will be able to try camel milk and other traditional Mongolian specialties. After dinner, if you wish, drive to the dunes and enjoy the spectacular sunset view from the top – or you can see the sunrise over the dunes tomorrow morning.
Overnight you will stay in a guest ger next to a camel herders family. (B,L,D)
RIDE CAMEL ALONGSIDE THE KHONGOR ELS DUNES
Before breakfast, if you didn’t see the sunset last night, drive a short distance to the dunes for the spectacular sunrise. Otherwise, enjoy home cooked breakfast while your camels are being prepared and take a 2-hours camel ride alongside the dunes. Afternoon schedule is flexible: You can visit a camel herding family living nearby.Alternatively, you may want to go for a longer hike in the area, along the river or to the dunes and take amazing photos, or just rest and enjoy the beautiful scenery – discuss your preferences with your guide.
Overnight stay in a guest ger next to a local family. (B,L,D)
EXPLORE BAYANZAG FLAMING CLIFFS
After breakfast, say goodbye to your hosts and travel off-road to Bayanzag for 5 hours (150km). During the scenic drive, you are likely to see wild gazelles as they run along – it’s difficult for vehicles to catch up with them! On the way, you will stop at an ancient sacred site of Khavtsgait, where on top of a rocky hill there are hundreds of ancient stone engravings, called petroglyphs. Some of them are as old as 3000 BC and were painted by hunters while waiting for prey. The site also offers wonderful views over the desert. Have lunch in a village of Bulgan and soon after you will arrive at Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs. It was here that the first dinosaur eggs were discovered by an American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews, and the area remains one of the most famous pale ontological sites in the world. Stroll for an hour or two among the flaming-red cliffs where the dinosaurs once roamed and in the evening travel a short distance to a nomadic family living nearby, where you will stay tonight. Arrive on time for dinner and settle in your ger for your last night in the Gobi.
Overnight you will stay in a guest ger next to a nomadic family.(B,L,D)
Drive Back to Ulaanbaatar
Breakfast and lunch are included.