This is a must journey for those visiting Mongolia. Traveling across steppes of central Mongolia you will cross the Khangai Mountains and reach the shores of Khuvsgul Lake. Khangai mountain range has always given shelter and water to nomads and their animals. Enjoying an abundance of rainfall the area is rich in forest and vegetation. Wildlife here is diverse including: deer, bear, boar and marten. En route we will take you to the site of the capital of the Great Mongolian Empire created by legendary Chinggis Khan in 13th century. There is now an interesting Buddhist monastery built in 16th century, one of the largest and those few monasteries that survived Communist anti-religion destructions.
The lake Khuvsgul is surrounded by 3000m peaks it holds 2 percent of worlds fresh water reserves. Reaching 267m in depth it is locally known as “The Mother Sea” or “The Blue Pearl of Mongolia” for its crystal clear waters. There live the fascinating Tsaatan whose lives revolve around the domesticated reindeer.
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, City Tour.
After checking into a cozy hotel in central Ulaanbaatar we hold a short briefing. Then an hour city tour will introduce you to the present and past history of the Mongolian capital. A colorful concert of traditional song and dance, which includes world renowned throat singing and contortion, will be presented before dinner. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Drive (6 hours) to Little Gobi by Granite Mountains of Khogno Khan.
After early breakfast we climb into our jeeps and head west of Ulaanbaatar. We mostly drive on a tarmac road which runs through wide open steppe with rolling hills in the background. It is one of the main transport veins in the country, therefore busy with cars and trucks loaded with wool, cashmere, meat and other items to be sold in Ulaanbaatar. Hundreds of horses, cows, sheep and goats graze on both sides. Soon along a side of the road there appear some stretches of sand dunes like a silken scarf laid across vast green steppes. In the early afternoon we arrive to our camp located amidst sand dunes and mountains dotted with granite rocks. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Visit Karakorum and the Monastery of “Hundred Treasures”.
Today we will drive on to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia. There is a small local township there now. This is 2 hours drive from the previous camp. This is where Chinggis Khan built his capital in 1227. An ambassador of the French King came to visit Ugudei Khan, Chinggis’ third son in 1240-ies. Then he described Ugudei’s majestic palace. Every summer since 1999 extensive archaeological digs have been conducted by Mongolian and German experts revealing a wealth of knowledge about the city. With some luck we will visit the actual excavation site.
Present day town of Karakorum is recognized by the massive walled compound of the Hundred Treasures Monastery. It was built in 1586, by a Mongolian warlord as part of his efforts to re-unite Mongols under the banners of Buddhism. Later in 1930-ies during anti-religion campaign under communists the monastery suffered almost a complete destruction of its temples. Today it is being lovingly restored by believers.
After lunch we continue and make a short stop by the ruins of Uighur Empire capital, Khar-Balgas. Founded in 715 it was destroyed in 840 by nomadic people from Siberia. The huge walled compound of unbaked brick is now covered in earth and grass vaguely reminding of the former glory of Uigurs. One more hour of driving and we arrive at a camp with some wonderful sulphur hot springs. We take a bath and shower in the springs. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Drive to White Lake.
Today we drive into the province of Arkhangai, one of the most spectacular regions, full of forests, rugged terrain, lakes and snowy peaks. Landscape is dotted with white yurts of nomads. Thousands of yaks, sheep and horses graze alongside the way. It is a popular destination to go on holidays for many Mongolians. Overnight we arrive at the White lake, an area of faults, gorges and extinct volcanoes. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Leisure at the White Lake.
White lake is about 20 km long and was formed when volcanic lava dammed a local river cutting through a large gorge through basalt. It is surrounded by extinct volcanoes. The lake is perfect for fishing and birdwatching. Today we hike to the highest volcanic crater, the Khorgo at 2100m. From the summit there opens a splendid view over the whole region and the lake. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Descending the Northern Slope of Khangai Range.
Further north our route lies through the wooded slopes of Khangai Mountain range. We cross innumerable streams and springs before arriving at Zuun Lake where we stay for overnight. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Khuvsgul Lake.
Another day of driving finally brings us to the Khuvsgul Lake, the right place to enjoy the deserved rest after days of driving. The lake is very special to Mongolians. Fed by waters of an auspicious 99 rivers it gives source to only one river which eventually links it with its “older sister”, the lake Baikal in Russia. On arrival we will relax in a well facilitated cozy setting. You will sleep in a Mongolian yurt. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Leisure at Khuvsgul Lake.
Today you may do various activities such as swimming, hiking, horseback riding or kayaking. You may as well just laze around by the vast blue expanse of the lake. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Half Day Drive to Local Airstrip.
We will have a lazy morning. After lunch we climb into our vehicles and drive to a tour camp near the provincial airstrip, Murun. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Return Flight to UB.
After breakfast we will take one and half hour flight to Ulaanbaatar. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore this vibrant city, renowned as a city of contrasts. We will meet for a dinner in one of local multinational restaurants. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 11: Leisure day in Ulaanbaatar.
This is a spare day to spend for shopping and self-exploration. You may refer to recommendations of our team in order to make most out of it. Includes: (B).
Day 12: Departure.
This morning you'll be transferred to airport for your return flight home. Includes: (B).
2 pax: USD 1566;
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Asia Mongolia Local Culture Cultural Journey Archeology/History