Starts any day. May to October7 days from $3795.00
Arrive Ulaanbaatar, MONGOLIA
Welcome to Mongolia! You are met upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, and taken to your centrally located hotel. Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital, and only real city. Home to over a one third of the country's population, you can see traditional gers and Buddhist temples coexist with high-rise towers.
The remainder of the day is at leisure; rest after your flight, or explore this unique city on your own. (D)
Today explore Ulaanbaatar, including a visit to the Gandan (Gandantegchinlen) Monastery, the largest and most significant in Mongolia. Built in the mid-19th century, it survived Stalinist rule, and was the only place where Buddhist services continued during the communist years. The monastery has several glorious temples adorned with gold and jewels. Next, tour the Natural History Museum to see informative exhibits about Mongolia's geography, flora and fauna, as well as some of the most significant paleontological finds in human history – two immense and complete dinosaur skeletons.
After lunch, visit the Museum of National History of Mongolia for a wonderful overview of Mongolian history and culture. It houses more than 40,000 archaeological, historical and ethnographic objects, including an excellent Mongolia history display spanning from the Stone Age, through the Turkic and Mongol Empires, the rise of Buddhism, and the communist regime up to contemporary society.
The balance of the day is open for your own exploration. (B,L,D)
Ulaanbaatar to the Gobi Desert
This morning you are taken to the airport for an hour’s flight south to the Gobi Desert, one of the most famous and exotic areas in the world. Though the Gobi Desert region is known to be one of the harshest environments on the earth, it is surprisingly full of wildlife. The next three days are spent exploring the vast Gobi – home to Bactrian Camels, Argali mountain sheep, Golden Eagles, antelopes, wild sheep, ibex, Saker Falcons, and more.
Upon arrival, meet your local guide, and travel by 4-Wheel Drive vehicle to visit Yol Valley in Gurvansaikhan National Park, situated in the lap of Altai Mountains, and aside the 950-foot Zuun Saikhan Mountains. Explore the park on foot (or take an optional horseback ride), viewing its narrow river canyon, sheet cliffs, and surprisingly lush waterfalls, and the “Gobi Glacier.” You can also take a scenic hike through the valley to discover the habitat of indigenous vulture-like lammergeyers, Altai snow cocks, ibex, yaks, and the endangered Gobi bear.
After exiting the park, stop to visit the local Natural History Museum for an insight to the flora and fauna of the area. Though small, it has intimate displays of precious fossils including dinosaur bones and eggs.
Drive through a region that has no roads, and arrive at your oasis in the desert – a deluxe “ger” camp, and your home for the night. Three Camel Lodge is among the top eco lodges of the world. The lodge is solar powered and stands on a stunning landscape with sweeping views of the Gobi-Altai Mountain ranges. The lodge which is a genuine local Mongolian-Buddhist architecture has been built using local materials.
Settle into your deluxe ger, perhaps enjoying a drink in the underground bar before dinner. (B,L)
The Gobi Desert & Hongoryn Els
Following breakfast, set out with your guide on a 4WD vehicle bound for the towering sand dunes of Hongoryn Els. Travel about 60 miles alongside the Gobi-Altai Mountain range, through amazing desert scenery, to reach the “Singing Sands.” Standing up to 2,500 feet, they are probably the Gobi’s most impressive sand dunes. Isolated from the rest of the country, the Singing Sands are the best kept secret for thousand years in the history of Mongolia. Visit with a camel breeding family near the sand dunes, and enjoy a camel ride through the desert. The dunes seem to stretch on forever like a soft ribbon of sand draped over the desert. The sound of the shifting sand blown by the wind has given this place the name, “Singing Sand Dunes.”
Stop to explore the beautiful green oasis known as Seruun bulag near the Khongor River, a respite from the desert aridity. Then drive on to your desert camp for lunch.
Relish feeling silence and a peaceful in the beautiful surroundings Gobi Deserts. Tonight, sleep in a traditional Ger Camp. (B,L,D)
Gers (or yurts) are circular tents, made of a wooden framework covered by large pieces of felt. A decorative cloth covering may be laid over the felt. The ropes that go around the ger, called bus (belts), are usually made of braided horse mane and tail hair. The wooden framework consists of collapsible walls, topped by poles radiating from a central smoke hole ring. The nomads developed these unique dwellings to adapt to the difficult conditions of their daily life, and to be easily moved - A ger’s components and contents can be loaded on camels, a yak cart or a truck (more commonly used today).
The Gobi Desert & Hongoryn Els
Arise early to enjoy the beauty of the desert lands around your camp. After a hearty breakfast, drive back to the Three Camel Lodge for some rest.
After lunch, your guide takes you out to explore Bayan Zag, the Flaming Cliffs, so called for its glowing orange rock. It was here, in 1922, that archeologist Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History discovered the first nest of dinosaur eggs. Follow their trail as you investigate the Gobi’s “Cemetery of Dinosaurs.” See the petrified forests, and remains of mammals including a hornless rhinoceros, the largest known mammal in the world.
Enjoy another night at the deluxe Three Camel Lodge desert camp accommodations. (B,L,D)
The Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaatar
Bid farewell to the desolate but beautiful Gobi as you are transferred to the airport for your flight back to Ulaanbaatar.
Upon arrival late this morning, you are met by your local guide, and escorted on a visit of the Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace Museum. Completed in 1903, the Bogdo Khaan Winter Palace was the home of last Mongolian King- Javzun Damba Khutagt VII. View its large collection of artworks made by the top Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese master-sculptors of the 18th and 19th centuries, which represent the gods of Buddhist pantheon. You also see Bogdo Khaan’s private collection of gifts from rulers and kings from around the world.
Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the city on your own.
This evening, enjoy a farewell dinner along with a lively and colorful folklore dance performance. (B,L,D)
You are at leisure until time for your transfer to the Ulaanbaatar airport for your flight home or onto your next destination. (B)
Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace, Ulaanbaatar
Enjoy the world wide renowned and individualistic services Kempinski offer from the moment of your reservation and throughout your entire stay! With its 102 rooms and suites that even Chingis Khan would have been proud of, all your needs are accomodated. These spacious, cozy rooms offer a quiet place to relax. Hotel amenities include: separate shower and bath for your convenience, complimentary high speed internet and all rooms equipped with plasma screen TV with over 100 different channels for your entertainment. For centuries Mongolian culture has demonstrated its gift of personalized and exquisite hospitality. Kempinski combines this unique welcome with the finest cuisine hand crafted by our multi-national chefs, to create a dining experience beyond your expectations.
Three Camel Lodge, Gobi Desert
The Three Camel Lodge is truly an oasis in the desert. Part traditional ger camp, part hotel, a stay here will be a journey highlight. The individual gers (tents) are traditional, with wood stoves and simple style furnishings. The main lodge is built to blend into the environs, ecologically minded with solar panel and a wind-powered generator. The buildings are located at foot of a small hill - a short walk up reveals ancient petroglyph drawings and an ideal sitting area to watch the glorious sunsets and sunrises that the Gobi Desert offers.
Gorkhi-Terelj Ger Camp, Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
Enjoy a mystical night experiencing the traditional nomadic lifestyle staying in a Mongolian ger. Join the nomadic Mongolians, and discover that there’s no better way to live to envelop yourself with the environment. The ger camps are comfortable and clean, but often have only shared restroom facilities. There is a separate and traditionally decorated dining ger, where traditional tasty local foods are served family style. Everyone gets a private tent - each spacious, in the shape of a circular dome, with comfortable beds, a fireplace or stove and simple, practical furniture.