MONGOLIA: Nomadic Essence

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16 August 2024
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14 days
Availability : 18 to 31 August 2024
Max People : 12
General Information

Mongolia is one of the last almost pristine places on our planet, a place where we can still travel and live like our ancestors from centuries past. Once the largest empire in the world, today reduced to steppes of infinite shapes, caressed by lakes and rivers of ancient tales.

This is a circular expedition that shows the best that Mongolia has: it passes through lakes, volcanoes, deserts, forest, hot springs and glaciers.

Departing from UlaanBaatar heading west to the great Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake, thence south to the great Gobi dune, a little east to the Yoliin Am Glacier where we turn north to the Genghis Khaan Equestrian Complex before returning to UlaanBaatar.

Tour highlights:

Despite being a classic route, there are several unique and peculiar moments on this trip – get ready for an eccentricity of nature, that the trip passes through Glaciers next to deserts, volcanoes near lakes that look like beaches, lost oases and very particular rock formations. A mix of family stays and wild camps punctuates the trip with the privilege of cultural contact and with nature. A short but memorable trip!

  • Khögnö Tarna National Park (oases and rocks)
  • Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park (volcano and lake with beach)
  • Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park (glacier)
  • Ikh Gazriin Chuluu National Park (mineral rocks)
  • Bayan Zag (Flaming Cliffs - dinosaur fossil zone)
  • Gobi Desert
  • Tsagaan Sumiin Hot Springs
  • Orkhon Waterfall
  • Kharkhorin - former capital of the Mongol Empire
  • Mongolian Nomadic Show - meeting of Mongolian arts and cultural traditions

Day 1 : Arrival at UlaanBaatar

Welcome to UlaanBaatar!
You will have the driver waiting for you at the airport, to take you to the accommodation, where you will meet the rest of the group and the leader of this trip.
UlaanBaatar is a rapidly growing city, no longer just the capital of the nomads it is now a major capital on par with any other Asian city, a growth that has been increasing in recent years.
Accommodation: hotel

Day 2 : Mongolian Nomadic Show + Khögnö Tarna National Park

We leave the city in the morning to begin our nomadic adventure. Our first stop is a ger camp where to do a cultural show of the nomads – the perfect introduction to our journey through the Essence of Mongolia! After the visit we continue our journey to the Khögnö Tarna National Park, an incredible area with dunes, forest and cliffs. We visit the Erdene Khamba Monastery and then we will meet the family with whom we will spend our first night of nomads.
Accommodation: family ger
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3 : Kharkhorin + Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

After an early breakfast, we head to Kharkhorin, capital of the ancient Mongol Empire. Here we will visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery, the oldest active monastery in Mongolia, followed by a visit to the Kharkhorin Museum where we will learn a little more about Mongolia’s Past and Present. We had lunch at a local restaurant and then visited the monument of the Mongol Empire, with its spectacular view over the Orkhon Valley. We then continue our journey to our destination, the Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park, where we will spend the next few nights.
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast and dinner

Day 4 : Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

We have all day to explore this peculiar area of lakes and volcanoes – we take a picnic lunch to the volcano crater, our reward for the hike, and we even see the surrounding volcanic formations. At the end of the day we still have time to swim in the fresh waters of the huge lake with sandy beaches.
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5 : Tövkhön Monastery + Tsagaan Sumiin Hot Springs

Early departure for the Tövkhön Monastery, founded by Zanabazar, one of the most important spiritual leaders of Mongolia, in 1648. Zanabazar is widely recognized as one of the greatest Tibetan sculptors and painters, and it was also he who created the Soyombo symbol, which is still today, the symbol representing Mongolia, included in the national flag. The Monastery was partially destroyed in the invasions of the Mongol Oirats in 1688 and again in the 30s in the Stalinist purges, except partially perhaps due to its location at 2600m. After the Monastery we continue to the thermal baths of Tsagaan Sumiin where we can recover from the ills of the ascent in a relaxing thermal bath in the endless Mongolian steppes.
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6 : Orkhon Waterfalls

We leave for the Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO heritage site due to the exceptional contribution of its natural landscapes and cultural legacy in the History of Humanity. This entire area has been the scene of important chapters of history, and it keeps immaculate one of the most incredible landscapes in Mongolia. We visit the Orkhon waterfall, the largest in Mongolia, and we still have time for a horseback ride.
Accommodation: family ger
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7 : Ongi Monastery

Our path today leads us to the Ongi Monastery, one of the many monasteries decimated in the purges of 1939. We will stay in a ger camp near the Monastery.
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8 : Bayan Zag, the Flaming Cliffs

We continue south, our destination is the Flaming Cliffs (Bayang Zag / Flaming Cliffs).
Bayan Zag gets its nickname “Flaming Cliffs” from its reddish color that contrasts with the rest of the landscape. This is also one of the places in the world where several dinosaur fossils have been found, from the first nest of eggs – thus proving Darwin’s theory – to the first discovery of swimming dinosaurs, which is curious because now, 80 million years later, this is one of the areas furthest from water and with the lowest moisture content in the atmosphere. Undoubtedly a place that allows us to travel in time and in the imaginary. ___________________________________
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 9 : Khongoryn Els – Gobi Singing Dunes

This is the part of the Gobi Desert where the great dunes rise to almost 300 meters. The winds cause mini-avalanches in the dunes, which in turn produce a sound that the Mongols say is the singing of the dunes. The ascent to a dune to contemplate the sound of the desert is a unique experience.
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 10 : Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park: Yoliin Am, the Ice River and the 3 Beautiful Mountains

I could have invented this title, but that’s still what it’s called. Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park is the largest in Mongolia with about 27,000 kms of protected area. The name “Gurvan Saikhan” translates to “three beauties”, referring to the mountains of the western part of the Park. It is here that we find the Yoliin Am, a gorge that despite being in the Gobi region, the largest sand desert, has a year-round river of ice, protected by the high and narrow structure of the cannon and favored by the almost non-existent precipitation of the area. Once again we do wild camping, to make the most of this incredible phenomenon of nature.
Accommodation: wild camping
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 11 : Tsagaan Suvraga – White Stupa

The limestone formations of Tsagaan Suvraga are also known as “White Stupa”. Formed by wind erosion, in the distance they resemble the ruins of a city. With the right light we see horizontal lists, in pink and cream tones, of small crystals that reflect the light, further enhancing the spectacularity of this place.
Accommodation: ger camp
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 12 : Ikh Gazriin Chuluu National Park

More than 300kms from Ikh is the Ikh Gazriin Chuluu National Park. This national park has some granite rock formations, some named with peculiar names according to the formation they resemble, such as fish-mouth, mother’s belly or penis. In 2012 it became a protected Nature Reserve, due to the geological uniqueness of the region. It will be our first night of wild camping, to absorb to the maximum the power of nature around us.
Accommodation: wild camping
Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 13 : Return to UlaanBaatar

Early in the morning we start our return trip to UlaanBaatar, rest of the day free.


Accommodation: hotel
Meals: breakfast and lunch

Day 14 : End of trip, departure from UlaanBaatar

The day has come for us to pack up and return home. A transfer will take you to the airport for your flight.
Meals: breakfast




  • Accommodation 2x hotel, 2x family ger, 7x ger camp, 2x wild camping.
  • TransportsAll-road vehicles for overland travel, drivers, fuel, tolls and parking included; transfers to / from the airport within the dates of travel.
  • Food16 breakfasts, 8 lunches e 11 dinners.
  • Drinks1.5 lt of drinking water per person, per day, tea and instant coffee during meals also marked as included.
  • Activitiesall the activities mentioned in the programme.
  • Entrances and special permits for access to protected/restricted areas
  • All the necessary material for camping and cooking.
  • Local guides, drivers, cooks and translators.
  • Accompaniment throughout the tour by Tânia Neves.


  • International flights.
  • Travel insurance: mandatory - I recommend IATI Insurance.
  • Extra meals (5€ to 15€ per meal).
  • Single supplement (optional)only available for hotel and camping nights (single room and single tent), subject to availability.
  • Activities not mentioned in the programme.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Tips and gratuities.


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