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Ultimate Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

Escorted by: Cindi LaRaia

Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

Join the ultimate journey across most of Mongolia’s life-zones. With our mobile pop-up camp we will cover some amazing landscapes, in full privacy, with our private chef and Mongolian bilingual guide.

The habitats are from the eternally snow-capped mountains of the Altai to the Gobi desert, longest sand dunes in the world. The lakes of the West Gobi with the largest reedbeds in Central Asia.

We will have many encounters with the remaining last nomads of Eurasia. Having dominated all of Eurasia since millennia, this pastoralist culture is still vibrant in Mongolia. In the west we will encounter the Kazakhs, who are also hunting foxes with trained Golden Eagles. We will meet the hardy herders of the West Gobi.

You will hike in the Hentii wilderness – part of the southernmost circumpolar forests, i.e. the taiga if Siberia, which mirrors the same forests in North America. There are wolverines, brown bears and elk here too!

Supported by yak carts caravan, local nomads and foldable yurts for your authentic Mongolian experience. A private chef for the field service will make sure we are well fed.

Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip
Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

Itinerary

DAY 1/ TH16JUL: TO ULAANBAATAR

Arrive by flight from XX at XXhXX at Ulaanbaatar airport. Met at the airport by our local guide and driver. Transfer to Shangri-la Hotel.

Accommodation & meal plan: Shangri La Hotel /No meals

DAY2/FR17JUL: ULAANBAATAR

In the morning, visit the Bogd Khan Winter Palace and the Gandan Lamasery. Bogd Khan was the theocratic leader of Mongolia in the early 20th century, a reincarnated Buddha, equivalent to the Dalai Lamas of Tibet. Why the palace is the equivalent of Potala in Lhasa, the residence of Bogd Khan. Gandan Lamasery is the liveliest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. In the afternoon visit the National Museum of Mongolia, which covers the rich Mongolian history. Mongolia was in medieval times the largest nation the world had ever seen. At 6 p.m. there is the famous Tumen Ekh Folk Concert.

Accommodation & meal plan: Shangri La Hotel /B

DAY 3/SA18JUL: TO HÖKH SERKHIIN NURUU NATIONAL PARK

Early morning, transfer to ULN airport and fly to Ölgii/ULG or Hovd/HVD at XXhXX. Hovd and Ölgii are equidistant with Deluun. The flight it 2 or 3 hours reliant on aircraft type. The time difference with west Mongolia is one hour. After arrival drive it is 4 hour drive to Deluun, which is a Kazakh village. Beautiful scenery at Döröö Lake or Tolbo Lakes with Sair Mountain as a backdrop. Deluun village is located on the west side of Hökh Serkhiin Nuruu National Park. We have set up a private ger camp along the Buyant River.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

Hökh Serkhiin Nuruu National Park

DAY 4/SU19JUL: HÖKH SERKHIIN NURUU NATIONAL PARK

Morning excursion on foot up the Ikh Yamaat (Big Goat) Valley, where with luck we can see hundreds of Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica). The Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon) is less numerous, but the largest wild sheep in the world. These are prey animals to Snow Leopards (Panthera uncia). The Altai Research Institute, and Dr. Barry Rosenbaum, has conducted holistic wildlife research here for a decade. Today we will have the first encounter meeting one of the many famous eagle hunters of the area.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

DAY 5/MO20JUL: TO CHIGERTEI NATIONAL PARK

Today we spend the day going up the scenic Chigertei Valley which is in the newly established Chigertei National Park. The snow-capped mountains marks the barrier to Chinese Xinjiang on the far side of the main Altai ridge. Chigertei Lake, has an estuary with nice birds. We will reach the summer pastures of local Kazakh nomads. Always something going on herding sheep and goats. The Kazakhs are sunni-muslims. Unlike Kazakhstan proper here they remain as nomadic pastoralists. Some are prominent eagle hunters, who will show up at the eagle festival. Chigertei is bordering with KekeTuoHai National Park on the China side. The so-called Yosemite of China. The habitat is greener. Camera traps here are for the on-going research on Wolverines (Gulo gulo), by the Wolverine Foundation. Camera traps will capture images also of livestock, birds, sometimes also Wolves (Canis lupus) and the nocturnal Pallas’s Cats (Felis manul).

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

DAY 6/TU21JUL: TO HOVD

Today we will use the full day to shift habitat completely. If the river level permits we will drive the longer route through the Buyant River gorge, who carves out its course from the mountain, south of Hökh Serkhiin Nuruu National Park. Some amazing archaeology from Scythian times will be seen. Hovd is a multi- ethnic town, with several west Mongol ethnic groups and Kazakhs. Why there are both Buddhist temples and mosques here.

Accommodation & meal plan: Steppe Hotel/BLD

DAY 7/WE22JUL: TO DÖRGÖN LAKE

After breakfast, we will depart for Khar Us Nuur National Park easternmost part, to Mongol Sands at Dörgön Lake. The landscape mirrors the remote Changtang Plateau in Tibet. We explore the Dörgön plains, a large flat expanse of Gobi grasslands, where we will see Saiga Antelopes (Saiga tatarica mongolica) in the far distance. Arriving at Dörgön Lake we will stop by at the sacred unusual cairns of Janjin Ovoo, venerated by the locals.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

Hökh Serkhiin Nuruu National Park

DAY 8/TH23JUL: DÖRGÖN LAKE AND MONGOL SANDS

In the distance across the blue surface of the lake we can see the snow-capped Jargalant Hairkhan Mountain and our back-drop is the longest sand dune of Mongolia emptying itself into Dörgön Lake. There are sand beaches, and domestic Bactrian camels added to the scene. The lakes also have fishes such as Altai Osman and Graylings. Two thirds of the fish species are endemic. There are Mongolian Gulls (Larus vegae mongolicus) and perhaps the rare Relict Gull (Larus relictus). It is spectacular also for non-birders. Large congregations of Pallas’s Sandgrouse (Syrrhaptes paradoxus), sometimes descend here to drink and enjoy the water. As well as large numbers of Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea). We will take the time to drive and meet with local people, the majority of the Halkh Mongol ethnic group, quite different to the Kazakhs we befriended earlier.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360° Wilderness Ger Camp/ BLD

Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

DAY 9/FR24JUL: TO HOVD

Today, we’ll drive back, another route to Hovd. Again with opportunities to spot Saiga Antelopes as well as Goitered Gazelles (Gazella subguttorosa). Overnight in local hotel.

Accommodation & meal plan: Steppe Hotel /BLD

DAY 10/SA25JUL: TO HUI DOLOON KHUDAG VIA ULAANBAATAR

Early in the morning we will drive to Hovd for a domestic flight to Ulaanbaatar. After arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport we will exit Ulaanbatar to the west and drive 40km to Hui Doloon Hudag, the grasslands outside the city where the Naadam horse races take place. HS Khaan Resort is a boutique style lodge, with ger spacious ger suites, with windows and terrace towards the grasslands view. There is attached bathroom, and restaurant next door.

Accommodation & meal plan: HS Khaan Resort/B

DAY 11/SU26JUL: HUSTAI NATIONAL PARK

Drive for less than an hour to Hustai the west side of the national park and meet with herders and community members on the east side of the national park. We will enjoy a local lunch of traditional buuz and hushuur here, here prepared by the local hosts, who are partners in conservation work at Hustai. They produce handicraft and do felt-making courses. Continue the drive to the center of the park and spot for Wapiti Deer (Cervus canadensis) and Takhi (Equus ferus przewalskii) while hiking near the forested areas. Continue to the back country area of Moilt, an excellent spot next to the core area well suited for wildlife viewing on foot. Wolves (Canis lupus) are numerous here, yet hard to spot. We will enjoy a snack or dinner before going for an early evening game drive to see Takhi horses. We will have dinner at Hustai National Park restaurant, before returning to Hui Doloon Hudag.

Accommodation & meal plan: HS Khaan Resort/BLD

Takhi horses

DAY 12/MO27JUL: TO UPPER TUUL RIVER

After breakfast we leave Ulaanbaatar for the Upper Tuul River Valley in the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area (some 110 km away); a 3 three-hour drive by jeep. After one hour we leave the tarmac road and carry on through a beautiful steppe valley, where there are many herding families with their gers and livestock. Crossing a ridge at Zamtiin pass we now drive mainly through forests until we reach the Upper Tuul River Valley. Here we meet the local herders, who will accompany us with their yak carts. We pitch camp next to the river.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360 Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

DAY 13/ TU28JUL: TO BARUUN BAYAN

Today we load all our luggage and provisions onto the yak carts and start our walk. Each of your gers, included! You may learn how to dismantle and build these gers (yurts). Our campsite will be in a steppe valley, surrounded by the Khentii hills, which are covered with larch and birch forests. Herdsmen keep their livestock in the southern areas of Khan Khentii, following a lifestyle that has been essentially unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360 Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

DAY 14/ WE29JUL: ZARAA TOLGOI

Today we will remain in the same camp site. We will make a day walk uphill to the ridges and reach the Zaraa “Head”. We will enjoy stunning panoramic views from the ridges. We will bring a picnic lunch for the day.

Accommodation & meal plan: 360 Wilderness Ger Camp/BLD

DAY 15/TH30JUL: TO JALMAN MEADOWS

Today we will load our luggage onto yak cart and float down southwesterly direction to the Upper Tuul River Valley. We arrive at the Jalman Meadows camp at lunch time. After lunch exploring around the area by foot.

Accommodation & meal plan: Jalman Meadows Ger Camp /BLD

Jalman Meadows

Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

DAY16-17/ FR31JUL-SA01AUG: JALMAN MEADOWS

Two full day can be used for exploring the area. At Jalman Meadows multi-activities are possible. You can operate as a group, but you may split up as well. It is all-inclusive here. There is a stream-side yurt sauna, there are mountain bikes and ride horses to ride. There are also inflatable kayaks and rafts to float the river. Visiting nomadic families is possible. You may decide on the spot, who to compose the days. There is also a small library to enjoy, with Mongolica literature. There is also massage.

Accommodation & meal plan: Jalman Meadows Ger Camp twin ger /BLD

Tent - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group TripTent interior - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip
Meal - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group TripDining area - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip
Bedroom - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group TripBathroom - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

DAY 18/SU02AUG: TO ULAANBAATAR

Today after breakfast, we’ll depart back to Ulaanbaatar city. En route, we will visit the Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Statue the biggest equestrian statue in the world. After lunch at the statue we’ll continue our drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Free in the city.

Accommodation & meal plan: Shangri-la Hotel /BL

DAY 19/MO03AUG: DEPARTURE

Check-out hotel and transfer to airport for international flight.

Meal plan: B

Camel ride - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group TripCamel ride - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip
Mongolian man - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group TripMongolian man with his horses - Mongolia, July 16-August 3 2020 Group Trip

Download Detailed Itinerary

COST: PRICE 2020 per person in USD dollars in double occupancy:

4 members: $10,015 pp
5 members: $9,703 pp
6 members: $9,078 pp
Single supplement: $4,025

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