Legendary Mongolia: Cross Country

Legendary Mongolia: Cross Country

18 days

Time to go:
May to September

Starting at $5200 per person

Full Itinerary Download

Tour Summary

This tour is for all the adventurers that want to feel how vast the country of Mongolia actually is. In this 18 day journey by 4×4 you will experience a wide variety of landscapes as you travel across Mongolia.  Climb dormant volcanoes and vast sand dunes. Meet with nomadic people in their gers (yurts). Relax in mineral enriched hot spring water pumped from the ground. See the flaming cliffs were the first dinosaur eggs were discovered. Take a glimpse into Mongolia’s ancient and infamous history.

Our circular journey begins as we travel south into the Gobi desert. The land will change from green steppe to a vast desert. We will then head north-west into a green and lush land with rivers, mountains, steppe, and lakes. As we continue our journey north, the land will change into forested mountains that surround the pristine Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia’s blue pearl. We will end our journey by a flight back to Ulaanbaatar, the capital, where you will discover its museums, local life, and markets.

Tour Highlights

Travel through the desert, mountains, steppe, rivers, lakes, all within a few days.

Ride camels next to the enormous Hongor Sand dunes

Visit nomadic families in lush, green steppe.

Private 4x4 vehicle with a driver and guide. Enjoy the changing scenery inside your own vehicle.

Experience the Mongolian Gers (yurts) in comfortable lodges throughout rural Mongolia.

Want more details?

Click this button to download the

Full Itinerary in PDF Format

and feel free to

Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Welcome to Mongolia! You will arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital, where your guide and driver will be waiting for you. You will then be transferred to your hotel where you can freshen up. If you are not too tired from your long flight, your guide will take you to the Mongolia Museum of Natural History, the Gandan Buddhist Monastery, and in the evening, you can see a traditional Mongolian folk concert with dance and throat singing.

Accommodation: Hotel

Travel: none

Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2 Drive south to Baga Gazar (Granite Rock)

In the morning, will make our decent south into the vast Mongolian countryside. You will begin to see the lush green fields sprinkled with herds of grazing animals. Our destination for today is Baga Gazar, one of the largest and most beautiful Granite rock massifs in Mongolia. It was formed by volcanic activity and the years of harsh weather carved it into what you see today. We will check into our first ger camp and then explore the unique granite formations in this area along with some light hiking. Keep your eyes peeled for nesting vultures on the rocks.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 240 KM (150 Miles); 5 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 Tsagaan Suvarga

We will have an early breakfast and head to Tsagaan Suvarga to reach them at around noon. Tsagaan Suvarga, or “White Stupa”, is an escarpment about 200 meters high and 400 meters long made of different clay deposits giving it a beautiful display of bands forming a red and white color scheme. We will hike around the area and on the cliffs. Once we arrive at our ger camp, dinner will be waiting for us. If we want to see the cliffs in all its glory, we can head to bed early in order to catch the cliffs at sunrise to see its immense red glow.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 220 KM (136 Miles); 5 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Yol Valley

In the morning, we will head into the South Gobi and make our way to the Yol Valley (Yolyn Am). This unique valley doesn’t seem to belong to the desert at all. Containing lush vegetation and cute voles, the valley has a river running through it and remains partially frozen until late June! This area also contains a variety of other wildlife, such as the Altai snowcock, the Bighorn Argali Sheep, the wild ibex ram, wolves, and foxes. Scan the skies and keep your eyes open for the Lammergeyer vulture, for which the valley is named. There are even occasional reports of snow leopard tracks in the area.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 220 KM (136 Miles); 5 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5-6 Drive to Hongor Sand Dunes

Today we will head further south-west. The next 2 days you will spend relaxing and exploring the vast, yet beautiful Gobi Desert. You will undoubtedly notice the Khongor Sand Dunes from quite far off. These sand dunes tower over 200 meters high (656 feet) and stretch for over 100KM (62 Miles)! You will stay with one of the camel herder families near the sand dunes where you will have an amazing view of them. The locals have named these sand dunes the “singing dunes”because of the sounds they make when strong gusts of wind shift sand down the slopes. If you are feeling adventurous, you can climb some of the sand dunes yourself and make the dunes sing by shifting the sand with your feet. Don’t forget to greet your host family when you arrive. They will insist that you come into their ger! This will be your first chance to experience the unique nomads’ way of life and try some milk tea as well as other Mongolian traditional dairy products. Here you can even try out some came milk! When you are feeling up to it, you can enjoy a ride on the 2 humped Bactrian camels from a local nomadic family. They will be happy to guide you around the area while you ride these massive animals.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 180 KM (112 Miles); 5 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Drive to Ongi Monastery and the Flaming Cliffs

In the morning, we will continue our journey and head towards the world-famous dinosaur fossil sight known as the “Flaming Cliffs” (bayanzag in Mongolian). Roy Chapman Andrews, whom some say was the model for which Indiana Jones was made after, discovered great amounts of not only intact dinosaur bones, but also the very first dinosaur eggs ever to be discovered. The Flaming Cliffs, so aptly named, are red in color and almost seem to glow in the rising or setting sun. As you wander through here, keep your eyes peeled for any geodes. Fossils here are still being discovered today. After the cliffs, we will head to Ongi Monastery (Ongiin Khiid). This monastery was actually a collection of two large monasteries facing each other and was known as one of the most active monasteries containing 4 Buddhist universities and over 1,000 monks. Unfortunately, during the communist era of Mongolia, the monastery was destroyed along with around 700 other monasteries in Mongolia. After the Soviet Union fall in 1990, Mongolia re-embraced its culture and began to rebuild temples. Fortunately, there is now one temple here with a few monks.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 300 KM (186 Miles); 6 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8 Kharkhorin day

We will head to Kharkhorin, Mongolia’s ancient 13th century capital. Chinggis Khan (or Genghis Khan) set up Kharkhorin as the hub of the largest empire the world has ever known. This city became a thriving center of wealth, culture, religion, science, education, and trade. The current town of Kharkhorin contains very little of its past glory, but still remains home to one of the oldest Mongolian Buddhist monasteries, Erdene Zuu. We will spend a few hours taking in and exploring this ancient architecture. We will then visit the Kharkhorin museum, which was made as a joint venture with Japan.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 240 KM (150 Miles); 6 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Tsenkher hot spring day

In the morning, we will leave Kharkhorin and take a few hours drive west into Arkhangai until we reach the soothing Tsenkher hot springs. This area is surrounded by beautiful Khangai mountains, Khangai being a Mongolian term for a type of geography that contains lush, green mountains, rivers, lakes, and forests. The natural, mineral rich hot spring water is pumped to the spas in area, one of which we will be staying in. Enjoy soaking in the natural mineral water in which locals believe treat illness. We will spend both these days relaxing and exploring the area. During the second day, we will visit a local Mongolian family and learn about their culture and lifestyle. After spending some time with the nomadic family, we can either go trekking around the valley or a horse ride through the Khangai mountains.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 120KM (75 Miles); 3 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10 Drive to Badmaarag Ger camp

After breakfast, we will drive to a town called “Tsetserleg.” There is a local museum and you can see the market where the locals buy their food and just about everything else they could need. After lunch in the town, we will head to the beautiful Badmaarag ger camp. On the way, we will make sure to stop at the Chuluut Gorge. This gorge, created by volcanic activity, is truly a sight to behold. The Badmaarag camp is in a lesser known area that is surrounded by a small river and some mountains.

Travel: 170 KM (105 Miles); 5 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 Drive to Maikhan Tolgoi Ger camp and White lake

Today we will head towards Tsagaan Nuur, or “white lake”. Tsagaan Nuur is known to be one of the most beautiful and often visited lakes in all of Mongolia. The lake was created by a volcanic eruption by a volcano that still sits next to it. Don’t worry, the volcano died out many years ago and remains dormant. We will climb the volcano to view its amazing basalt formations. After climbing the volcano, we will head to our ger camp and have lunch. We will then have a free afternoon where you can choose to take a horse ride or small hike around the mountains or the white lake.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 60 KM (37 Miles) ; 3 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 Drive to Jargalant hot spring

Today we will head north on our journey towards Khovsgol Lake. We will stop halfway at the Jargalant hot spring. There is a beautiful larch wood forest on the mountain pass in which we can take a 1 or a 2 hour hike. Afterwards we will continue towards the Jargalant hot spring where you can relax after the hike and enjoy the soothing mineral water.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 100KM (62 Miles); 3 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13 Drive to Murun town

In the morning, we will head out on a long drive towards the town of Murun. Today you will notice a variety of landscapes along your drive. You will see bottle necked valleys, rocky hills, and forest covered mountain ranges. We will arrive at lunch time and head to our ger camp. Once at the camp, we can see local deer stones dating back to the Bronze age.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 200 KM (124 Miles); 5 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14-15 Khuvsgul Lake

Today we will finally reach one of Mongolia’s most famous sites, Khovsgol lake. This massive lake, 135KM (84 Miles) long, 35KM (22 Miles) wide, and 262M (860 Feet) deep, is one of the prize jewels of Mongolia. This high-altitude lake contains 0.4% of all the freshwater in the world. It is lined by thick pinewood forests and Rocky Mountains. Spend these two days relaxing from your long journey and enjoy the myriad of activities available; kayaking, swimming, boat rides, horse riding, mountain trekking, and we may be able to find some of the reindeer herders around with a few reindeer.

Accommodation: Ger Camp

Travel: 140 KM (87 Miles); 3 hour drive

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16 Drive back to Murun and flight back to Ulaanbaatar

Today is our travel day. We will have our breakfast and then head towards the local airport in Murun. We will take an hour long flight back to the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and check into your hotel. After having a nice dinner back in civilization, we can rest up for the night, or head out to see some nightly sites.

Accommodation: Hotel

Travel: 140 KM (87 Miles); 3 hour drive -- 600 KM (373 Miles); 1 hour 10 minute flight

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 17 Ulaanbaatar day

Today you will have time to see more of the sites and museums around the city that you may have missed! Undoubtedly, you will want to do some shopping for Mongolian souvenirs and some of the famous and inexpensive Mongolian cashmere. Let us take you to some of our favorite spots and perhaps a cashmere factory. Activities – Visit to temple, Tumen ekh and Narantuul Market etc.

Accommodation: Hotel

Travel: none

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18 Departure day

Your driver will take you to the airport 3 hours before your international flight. You will be your guide and driver goodbye and you are on your way back home!

Accommodation: None

Travel: None

Meals Included: Breakfast

Pricing

2 Travelers: $6,500 per person

3-4 Travelers: $5,700 per person

5-8 Travelers: $5,200 per person

Our tours are all-inclusive. From the moment you land till the moment you take off.

All pricing is based on twin share rooms. Please be aware that changes in the trip can lower or raise the cost per person. If your group has more than 8 people, please contact us and we will send you updated pricing for your specific needs.

Included

All accommodations based on twin share

All transportation and domestic flights

All meals in the city and out in the field

All local staff and field guides

Entertainments as shown in the itinerary

National Park and Protected Area fees

Not Included

International flights

Overweight baggage fees

Gratuities

Travel Insurance