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The Mysteries of the Gobi
 An Overland Expedition to the Highlights of the Great Gobi Dessert

Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (D)
Arrival to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to hotel. Depending on time of arrival, we may have a short city sight-seeing tour. Evening welcome dinner. Overnight in a 4-star hotel.

Day 2. Ulaanbaatar/ Baga Gazarin Chuluu (B,L,D)
Today we leave the Mongolian capital city, and head down, to the Gobi Desert. Located in the Central Gobi, Baga Gazarin Chuluu (The Small Place of Stones) is a marvelous geological oddity, characterized by impressive rock formations rising from the desert steppe. During the last three years, lams have been at work reconstructing a monastery within the formation that was formerly one of Mongolia’s most important religious centers. Dating from the15th century, the monastery was destroyed in the 1930’s during the communist purges. As the area is quite rich with water sources, many nomadic families spend the summer here, and it is a great opportunity to visit nomads and learn about their unique way of life. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 3. Baga Gazarin Chuluu/ Bayan Zag (B,L,D)
Known to westerners as The Flaming Cliffs, Bayan Zag (Rich with Saxaul) is famed for its’ red sandstone cliffs which take on beautiful red and orange hues during sunset. Sculptural Saxaul trees grow in the arid rocky soil. The area is also recognized as one of the world’s largest dinosaur graveyards. In 1921, the American Roy Chapman Andrews discovered here some of the most important Paleontological findings of the last century. Since then, hundreds of archeological expeditions have come to this remote desert location, and even today with the assistance of local people dinosaur fossils continue to be found in the area. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 4. Bayan Zag/ Yolin Am (B,L,D)
Located in the southernmost province of the Gobi Desert, Yolin Am (The Vulture’s Mouth) is part of the Great Gobi National Park. The area is an oasis, attracting wildlife from the area all around with water, good grazing, and sheltered canyons. The wonder of this beautiful valley is the river of ice stretching across the canyon floor, which survives the desert heat well into the month of August every year, better known as the Gobi Glacier. A hike down the valley offers us a great opportunity to observe wildlife, and enjoy the cool waters of the stream that emerges from under the glacier. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 5. Yolin Am/ Khongorin Els (B,L,D)
Approximately six hours of driving through the Gobi’s typical cold desert landscape, so called because the Gobi receives its moisture in the form of snow, brings us to the Khongorin Els (Singing Sands) sand dunes. After a late lunch at the ger camp where we will spend the night, we will go explore the towering dunes on foot. If the breeze is blowing just right, we may hear the dunes singing to us. The rugged desert plants of the Gobi at the edges of the sands are beautiful in their own sculptural way. Overnight in ger camp.

Day 6. Khongorin Els - Camel Riding (B,L,D)
The Khongorin Els sand dune stretches for over 100 kilometers, and rises to heights of over 130 meters. Today we will ride the desert ship, the Bactrian two-humped camel, through the spectacular Khongorin Els. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 7. Khongorin Els/ Ongiin Khiid (B,L,D)
Driving out of the Gobi Desert, and into an area of open steppes, we arrive at Ongiin Khiid on the bank of the Ongiin River, once the Gobi region’s biggest monastery. We visit the ruins of this monastery where reconstruction has just begun. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 8. Ongiin Khiid/ The Orkhon Valley (B,L,D)
Today we will reach the Mongolian steppes. Here there is a great variety of birds of prey, including eagles and falcons, constantly on the watch for a meal. After lunch we head into an area dominated by volcanic scenery, which takes us along the Orkhon River. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 9. The Orkhon Valley/ The Red Waterfall/ Tuvkhon Monastery/ Kharkhorin (B,L,D)
Leaving our camp, we take an hour's drive to the beautiful volcanic canyon through which the Orkhon River flows. Here we will take an easy hike along the canyon floor, and end up at the pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfall. For the brave at heart, a cool swim awaits! Driving along the Orkhon River, we will visit one of Mongolia’s most impressive monasteries, where we take a 2.5 hours hike. Located at the top of a high hill with a view of endless pine forests, Tuvkhon Monastery was established during the 1650’s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia’s most respected religious leaders. Fleeing the Manchu Emperor, the Zanbazar built a monastery in this hidden place, using a natural system of caves and adding small wooden buildings. In the afternoon we keep on driving up the river to Kharkhorin. Overnight in ger camp.

Day 10. Kharkhorin/ Ulaanbaatar (B,L,D)
Built by Chinggis Khan about 800 years ago, Kharkhorin, better known as Karakorum, was famed throughout Asia as the capital of the Mongol Empire. Within the walls of this spectacular city kings were chosen, laws made and the fate of the next city to be conquered were determined. We will visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery and other historical monuments in the area. After lunch, we take the 4-5 hours’ drive back to the Mongolian capital. Overnight in a 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

Day 11. Departure from Ulaanbaatar (B)
After early breakfast at our hotel, we drive to Chinggis Khan Airport for our international flight back home.

Choose your type of journey in Mongolia:
Active Adventures
Overland Journeys in Mongolia
Trips to the Gobi Desert
Familiy Hollidays to Mongolia
Winter trips to Mongolia

Blue Bandana Expeditions Co. Ltd. --- Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia --- --- Copyright 2012