Jurgen and Yvonne's another visit to a local nomadic family

Jurgen and Yvonne’s another visit to a local nomadic family

After being offered fermented mare's milk, Yvonne gets a little bit merry. So did Jurgen.

Lunch in Shargiin Govi, Govi-Altai province, Western Mongolia

In the sacred Mt Eej Hairhan or Mt Mother

Monolith in in Tsogt, Govi Altai province, western Mongolia

The Lake Hovsgol

The Lake Hovsgol

The deepest (262m) and one of the cleanest fresh water lake in Central Asia.

The Lake Ereen, Govi-Altai province, Western Mongolia

A view from the top of singing sand dunes which emits humming sounds when its surface is disturbed by wind.

Assembling a ger

A wooden structure of a ger, Mongolia's traditional dwelling

Mt Tsambagarav in Altai Mountain Range

A view during Grand Tour Mongolia, Uvs province, Western Mongolia

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, Western Mongolia

A view of Mt Huiten (4,374 m) during Grand Tour Mongolia

The Lake Tunamal in Zavkhan province

Sunrise at a beautiful lake of Tunamal in North-western Mongolia.

Wild Camel (Camelus ferus) in the Great Gobi National Park, South-western Mongolia

Wild camel is an endangered species. You can see captivated wild camel near Mt Mother in Govi-Altai province.

Grand Mongolia tour is for a true adventurer. Epic odyssey to a land of yak herding nomads, Buddhist monasteries, ancient caves, and dramatic landscapes allows you to explore stunning countryside of Mongolia. We will have plenty of opportunities to encounter and interact with local nomadic families while learning from their cultures and traditions. Highlights of the trip include, among other, visit Kazakh eagle hunters in Altai Mountains, a stunning Lake Hovsgol and the vast Gobi Desert with singing sand dunes. Horse riding with nomadic families will also be one of the most rewarding experiences.

Grand Mongolia tour advantages 

  • Attend Golden Eagle Tour
  • Authentic small group and personalised itinerary
  • Responsible tour operation for the places you visit
  • Freshly cooked meals from locally sourced ingredients by a private cook during camping trips
  • Comfortable Thermarest mattresses

Day 1. Ulaanbaatar Upon arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport, you will be welcomed by your ZENDMEN TRAVEL guide and transferred to a comfortable, centrally located hotel within walking distance of various museums and shops. Enjoy welcome dinner at local restaurant.

(Hotel****; Full Board)

Day 2. Volcano Tulga Our journey will start driving to northwest through a great variety of geological formations including rolling hills and wooded rocky mountains. A dormant volcano Tulga is on our way. Enjoy a dramatic scenery and go camping in the wilderness.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 3. Ih Uul via Mt Tulga After breakfast, drive to Ih Uul. Your journey will start driving to northwest through a great variety of geological formations including rolling hills and wooded rocky mountains. A dormant volcano Tulga is on our way. Enjoy the scenery and camp alongside the largest river of Mongolia, Selenge which feeds the Lake Baikal in Russia.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 4. The Lake Hovsgol Today you will arrive at the Lake Hovsgol, a pristine lake in the east of breathtaking mountains of Horidol Saridag (3,000m). A length of 136 km and a width of 36 km make it the second largest lake in Mongolia and it is also known as the deepest lake (262m) in Central Asia. The latest research suggests the lake could be the cleanest on earth beating its rival the Lake Baikal in Russia. Meals are served in the warm and comfortable restaurant of the ger camp. Overnight in a ger.

(Ger Camp; Full Board)

Day 5. The Lake Hovsgol/Walking and Boating Enjoy an adventurous day with strenuous walking around the Lake Hovsgol and explore its wild life. Boating on the lake will give you an idea of how pure the lake is. You may spot some wetland birds. Meals are served in the warm and comfortable restaurant of the ger camp. Overnight in a ger.

( Ger Camp; Full Board)

Day 6. The Lake Tunamal via Buren Haan Mountains We will continue the overland adventure with an en-route stop at the Deer stone monument-a Bronze Age site-while driving across Buren Haan Mountains, over 3,000m wooded area. In the evening you will settle at a pretty small lake- Tunamal.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 7. The Lake Telmen Our journey takes you to the longest earthquake crack in the world. In 1905, the earthquake in Bulnai Mountains left 350 km long open wound on ground and you will witness this healed geological event. The area is the coldest part of Mongolia and winter temperatures drop below –57C. However, the area is well known its legendary racing horses that regularly win 24km races in the country.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 8. The Lake Hyargas The wooded area will be replaced by undulating hills and wide open steppes. Eventually, you will arrive at the third largest fresh water lake in the country, Hyargas. Legendary Altan Hohii Mountains is in the north overlooking the lake basin where many famous Mongolian wrestlers were born. The northeastern shore of the lake- Hetsuu Had offers a magnificent view of the lake where Black Cormorant other wetland birds spend their summer.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 9. Shaazgai Lake and Harhiraa Mountains You are in Uvs province now. Explore a beautiful yet small lake Shaazgai which reflects the snow topped Harhiraa Mountains, uprising over 4,037 m above ocean floor. The area has been inhabited by ethnic Mongolians, namely Dorvod, Bayad and Hoton who speak in own distinct dialects.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 10. Walking in Harhiraa Mountains You are now already in a UNESCO’s Natural Heritage site of the Uvs Nuur Basin (1,068,853 ha) that is the northernmost of the enclosed basins of Central Asia. It takes its name from the Lake Uvs, a large, shallow and very saline lake, important for migrating birds, waterfowl and seabirds. The steppe ecosystem supports a rich diversity of birds and the desert is home to a number of rare gerbil, jerboas and the marbled polecat. The mountains (Harhiraa and Turgen) are an important refuge for the globally endangered Snow Leopard, Wild Horned Sheep and Ibex. This breathtaking scenery can be an ideal trekking in the wilderness. Depending on your physical strength, you can choose easy or challenging paths in the area.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 11. River Hovd and the Lake Achit Our journey continues to west through another amazing landscapes varying from snow capped mountains to an arid depression with turquoise lakes. Mongolia’s westernmost region Bayan-Olgii is our next quest. The province is inhabited by predominantly Kazakhs who have settled in the region since the 1900s. We will camp at the bank of Hovd river, which is an ancient Turkic word meaning strong current of water. Alternatively, you can stay with a local family who lives in the town of Olgii while experiencing renowned Kazakh hospitality.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 12. Visit Kazakh Eagle Hunters family A rare and unique experience awaits us today. Hunting with eagles is very much an ancient tradition of the Central Asian nomadic tribes that is still kept alive among Mongolian Kazakhs. Golden Eagles are trained for catching foxes and some well-trained and skilled ones are believed to be capable of catching wolves. You can stay with hospitable nomadic Kazakh family.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 13-14. Altai Mountains Throughout the journey you will come across prehistoric rock engravings dating back 12,000 years and the ancient Turkish stone men ‘balbal’ which witness the passing of Mongolia’s rich history. Also, moslem burial tombs made from adobe, with their distinct architectural style. You will trek in the crown of Mongolia, Altai Mountains with the country’s highest peak of Mt Huiten-4374m in Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. Making a visit here will mark that you are reached the extreme west and height of Mongolia at the same time. Enjoy trekking in the breathtaking mountains.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 15. Hovd Return from the extreme west of the country to Hovd via an en-route stop at the lake Tolbo where the famous battle took place in the 1940’s between Mongolian army and Chinese Gamin Army. Hovd is the largest town in Western Mongolia, which was initially a military base of Manchu Empire of the 17th century. Hovd is also renowned by multi-ethnic culture of Mongolia’s eight different ethnic groups. The snow dome of Mt Tsambagarav stretches on our way. Also the area is one of the most important fruit growing areas including famous watermelon, mini-apple and organic vegetables. In the evening you will arrive at the Lake Har Us where you could spot wetland birds over the summers namely Pelican, Stroke, Heron, Corm3orant, Buzzard, Sand Grouse and many more.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 16. Tsenher Cave We will explore the Tsenher Cave, famous for its prehistoric mineral colour paintings, dating back 40,000-12,000 years. The paintings of Ostrich, Elephant and Camel by Palaeolithic or Old Stone Age people witnessing the tropical climate of Mongol land in these times. The cave is also enormously big that could easily fit several vehicles inside. The area is inhabited by Zahchin Mongols whose name derived from the word of “Peripheral Guards”, their responsibilities were to secure the border land of Mongol Empire in the 13th century.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 17. Visit Camel herders. Our journey continues to south east via the Depression of Great Lakes – a vast grassland. En-route we will visit camel-herding nomads. A part the Depression of Great Lakes is Huis Gobi where endemic Saiga Anthelopes inhabit. You may encounter this endangered species and so be alert.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 18 -19. Stay with horse herding Nomads We will visit a horse herding nomadic family and ride around their campsite. Her we can experience Mongolian nomads’ daily animal husbandry chores of catching horses, herding and watering animals. We can also experiment how to distil ‘milk vodka’ from fermented milk. If you find it comfortable, you can make visit a local school where children can get some inspirations of speaking in English from you.

(Ger or tent; Full Board)

Day 20. Singing Sand Dunes and the Lake Ereen Our next adventure continues to the Lake Ereen, a stunning fresh water lake, surrounded by the large pyramid shaped singing sand dunes of the Mongol Els, which emits a humming sound as a result of wind disturbance of its surface. Local peoples believe that a giant cow looking water creature lives in the lake and make an appearance at the end of summer.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 21. Sacred Mountains of Hasagt Hairhan Hasagt Hairhan Mountains (3,576m), otherwise known as Bogd or Hairhan, another name for the holy mountains in Mongolia. Beautiful, curative, natural springs and the meditation caves of Buddhist monks make the area very sacred for local people. The area has been protected since 1965 in order to conserve not only its contrasting natural landscapes of gobi desert, alpine meadow and tundra which exist in a single mountain but also to protect its rare endangered species of Ibex, Wild Horned Sheep, Snow Leopard and Maral Deer.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 22. Biger via Altai After a long camping journey, refresh yourself in a local guest house in Altai- a provincal centre town of Gobi-Altai and the highest elevated town in the country, at 2,181m above sea level. You could visit a local museum while expedition crew restocking somebasic provisions for next couple of days.

(Ger camp or camping; Full Board)

Day 23. Remains of Biger Nomun Haan/ Water fall Explore the remains of Biger Nomun Haan Monastery in Biger Depression, a beautiful scenery of colourful sand stones and blue mountains of Mt Burhan Buudai (3,765m) that is a sacred place for local people and home to many endangered wild species including Ibex and Maral deer. We will visit a village of Biger- the only area, where Mongolia’s whiskey from seabacktorn is distilled. Unless this local delicacy is sold out, we could taste the local whisky at Gorgeous Tsagaan Haalga waterfall in the evening.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 24-25. Craters in the Mt Mother Our travel will continue through undulating mountains, with an en-route stop at the burial sites of Hunnu period. The landscape will switch into arid gobi area in the afternoon.You will arrive at Eej Hairhan or Mother Mountain that has always been sacred to the Mongols, a place of pilgrimage whose visitors seek wisdom and inspiration from its wind-blasted rocks sculpted into remarkable shapes – here a dove, there a crocodile – that defy explanation. A sublime series of interlinked rock pools show that in the midst of this burning heat and dust, life survives. Even more remarkably, a few miles away, in the lee of the mountain, water piped from a dam far away in the Altai – a legacy of the Soviet period – irrigates fields of melons and tomatoes, surely one of the most remote farmlands in the country.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 26. Wild Camels Our journey will continue from north western part of the Gobi Desert, inhabited by a few camel herding nomads and rare wild species. The extremely rare Gobi bear, which lives off wild rhubarb and other succulent roots, is occasionally spotted and just a few dozen miles to the south is the domain of the wild Bactrian camel. Wild Ass, Lynx and wolves harry the black-tailed gazelles, while bustards and sand grouse abound. In order to conserve the endangered Bactrian Camel population (only 700 left in Mongolia), the Great Gobi National Park is breeding wild camels in Bayantooroi area. You will an exclusive opportunity to see these rare animals.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 27. Amarbuyant Monastery We will visit one of the most remote Buddhist monasteries in south-western province of Bayankhongor in Mongolia-Amarbuyant Monastery. The monastery was established in 1695 and served as a centre for worship, meditation and medicinal consultation. During its peak it was home to 1500 monks, but it was largely destroyed in 1938. In 1904 the 13th Dalai Lama, after fleeing Lhasa in Tibet due to the invasion of the British, visited here for ten days before proceeding to Urguu which is now Ulaanbaatar. After the Mongolia’s peaceful democratic revolution in 1990, the monastery was reopened and restoration work was done in 2010.The monastery is now home to about a dozen monks.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 28-29. Rock art of Bayan Uul You will see one of the most remarkable rock drawings in Mongolia. A mountain valley of Bayan-Uul in the Gobi Desert has being kept these valuable prehistoric relics to date. Bronze age petrogclyphs are themed around ancient peoples’ daily life, practices of hunter gathering, animal herding, farming and festivity. Started from a simple ritual, these drawings had being developed to the sofisticated rock drawing cultures of ancient people.

(Camping, Full Board)

Day 30. Hongoriin Els Diverse colour contrasts of dark brown and blue mountains in the horizon merge with white sands, red flaming cliffs which is blurred by enigmatic mirage making thirsty creatures more agitated. This is the picture of the Gobi Desert-earth’s most extreme temperatures range here making its amplitude up to 100degree. Such harsh climate still attracts many endangered species away from human disturbance. As driving across the Gobi Desert you will reach to Hongoriin Els, breathtaking sand dunes (130 km long) between remarkable mountains of Gobi Gurvan Saihan and Sevrei.

(Ger Camp, Full Board)

Day 31. Flaming Cliffs The Gobi Desert is home to some of the most famous discoveries including the first ever dinosaur eggs and fossils of interlocked dinosaurs in their combat. It is still considered one of the richest and the most well preserved fossil nests because the Gobi Desert is the oldest known dry-land area. Its remote location and awkward terrain keeps it rich and unexplored until today.

(Ger Camp, Full Board)

Day 32. Remains of Ongi Monastery Start driving to the north with a stopover at the remains of historic Ongi Monastery, one of 750 worshipping places of Mongolia that were destroyed by communists in the 1930s. Overnight in a ger camp.

(Ger Camp; Full Board)

Day 33. Harhorin Explore the famous Orhon Valley in Central Mongolia, a nest to rich historic and cultural sites. The area is full of the history of the ancient statehoods of Central Asia including the first known writing culture of nomadic tribes, Orhon-Enisei scripts and the memorial of Turkic general Tonukuk and the King Bilge,the 8th century AD. You will see the remarkable archaeological discoveries of the 13th century Kharkhorum, the capital city of the Mongol Empire. Experience the daily chanting of Buddhist Monks in the stunning Erdenezuu Monastery.

(Ger Camp; Full Board)

Day 34. Hustai via Elsen Tasarhai You will head to east via Elsen Tasarhai which is considered the closest desert landscape to the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Wild life exploration in Hustai National Park will be one of the highlights of the trip where you will encounter the Wild Horse ‘Takhi’, the only wild species of horse in the world. Takhi have being reintroduced since 1991 and this is the only place you can see this beautiful animal in the wild.

( Ger Camp; Full Board)

Day 35. Ulaanbaatar In the morning, we will head to Ulaanbaatar. Various art and cultural activities await us in Ulaanbaatar. You visit Mongolia’s Fine Art Gallery and Zanabazar’s Fine Art Museum. Last minute shopping in Ulaanbaatar can be fitted to our itinerary. In the evening, you will enjoy Mongolia’s traditional folk concert with religious Tsam Dance by Tumen Eh ensemble followed by a farewell dinner.

(Hotel****,Full Board)

Day 36. Departure After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure. (B)

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      Tour Length: 36 Days
      Tour Dates: May-October
      Tour Price: from $ 6.990
      Group size: Max-12 persons
      Tour Grade: Moderate
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