Essential South: The Gobi tour - 12 Days

Through authentic human encounters, and on the paths of Mongolian history and spirituality, this route transports you to the heart of the deserts of Mongolia. A 12-day tour in an all-terrain vehicle to let you fully enjoy the most beautiful sites of the “Gobi“.

Day 1
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

As you arrive at the Chinggis Khaan international airport in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, your guide-interpreter and driver will welcome you at the airport and lead you on to the city tour. The capital has plenty to offer. You can walk around the National History Museum and the Chinggis Khaan Square in front of the Mongolian Parliament house to help you get a general knowledge and information about the Mongolian history and culture. at the end of today’s tour we invite you on your first dinner of the tour with your guide.

FB, Night in a tourist hotel

Day 2
Ulaanbaatar – Elsen Tasarkhai

You will begin your journey in the steppes by leaving the capital to go in search of a first small “Gobi”, meaning desert in Mongolian. Just a few kilometers away from the city you will be surrounded by the vastness of nature. Freely grazing herds, small white yurts and nomadic horsemen dot the landscape all along your road.

Once you reach our Sweet Gobi geolodge camp, you can roam freely on foot or camel-back along the 80km-long sand dunes of Elsen Tasarkhai; or nearby, around the small Tara lake. Here, you will spend your first night in a charming yurt surrounded by this diverse landscape.

FB, cozy night in a DOUBLE, SINGLE or TWIN yurt at “SWEET GOBI”

Day 3
Elsen Tasarkhai – Karakorum – Orkhon Valley

Today you’ll stop by the city of Karakorum, founded by the legendary Genghis Khan as the capital of his empire, the biggest of all of his time. At the city, you continue on and visit the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the country, which was the first erected on Mongolian soil: Erdene Zuu.

Finished with the Karakorum tour, you go further into the Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, at the slow pace of warm nomadic encounters.

Upon arrival at our Ursa Major geolodge camp have a little break and you can go for a walk or horse ride in the green landscapes. At the end the day, you can take a look at the great starry sky with a powerful telescope, one of the best in the country.

FB, cozy night in a DOUBLE, SINGLE or TWIN yurt at “URSA MAJOR”

Day 4
Orkhon Valley - Arvaikheer

You leave the green valleys of the Orkhon, journeying through other, more desert like landscapes, but just as breathtaking! You move forward at a quiet pace, while meeting nomads, who warmly invite you in the intimacy of their yurt to share some home made “aarul” (small dried cheeses). You will finally reach the small town of Arvaikheer, famous for its felt crafts. Here, the most curious may be willing to try the sidecar taxis!

FB, Overnight at a local hotel

Day 5
Arvaikheer - Ongi Monastery

You’re driven further down to the ruins of the Ongi river’s Buddhist monastery. On the riverbanks was a large complex of 28 temples that could accommodate hundreds of lamas (monks) before the communist purges of the thirties. Here, taken in by the emotion of this particular place you can discover that religious activities gradually arose from the ashes, now with a small school in which young monks are taught once again.

FB, Overnight in a yurt camp.

Day 6
Ongi Monastery - Bayanzag

This morning, you will explore a different part of the history of Mongolia, taking in the spectacular Bayanzag “fire cliffs” also known as the “Valley of the Dinosaurs”. The rocky landscape gives a glowing orange color, like its name suggests. This is the region, in the Gobi Desert, where dinosaur fossils have been found. American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews gave this region its name after he visited it and found dinosaur eggs in 1920. These eggs not only established that all the dinosaurs were oviparous, but also inspired a certain Steven Spielberg for Jurassic Park. Other discoveries have also been made in the area such as the remains of a velociraptor. Then, you’ll go for a walk in a Saxaul forest, a desert tree native to Central Asia.

FB, Overnight in a yurt camp.

Day 7
Bayanzag – Khongor sand dunes

Today you head to the “Gurvan Saikhan” (3 beauties) nature reserve housing the finest treasures of the Gobi. You’ll begin your discovery of the famous Khongor “singing dunes”, so named because of the whistling sound they produce on windy days. At the foot of the dunes you can discover small oases where birds, camels and horses come to quench their thirst.

FB, Overnight in a yurt camp.

Day 8
Day around the Khongor Dunes

This day will be spent in the area, climbing and walking the dunes. Some are up to 200 meters high. The dunes cover an area of approximately 20 kilometers wide and more than 100 kilometers long! It is intense to climb to the tops of the sand dunes and with much effort, you can overcome the sand hills. In the end, the reward is the incredibly beautiful view of the whole desert. If you want, you can choose to have a tour riding a camel /OPTIONAL/

You can also take advantage of this day to make friends with the camel herders who live in the region, and to understand their particular traditions and way of life.

FB, Overnight in a yurt camp

Day 9
Khongor Dunes - Yol Valley

You continue your journey into the vast Gurvan Saikhan through the famous Yol Valley, a strictly protected area. The park hosts more than 200 bird species and you can find more than 600 different plant species. There are gazelles, gerbils and even snow leopards. After visiting the small museum of Yoliin Am (“Vultures valley” in Mongolian), you can take a nice stroll through the valley which ends by a chasm. If you are lucky you can see one of the massive vultures who habit there, which also gives their name to the valley.

On foot or on horseback, you move into the groove formed by the riverbed, and might be surprised to find a small hidden glacier believed to be eternal.

FB, Overnight in tent

Day 10
Yol Valley - Dalandzadgad - Ulaanbaatar

At dawn, after admiring the splendor of the Gobi and the generosity of its people one last time, you leave for the airport in Dalandzadgad, where you will board your plane back to the capital.

In the afternoon, you arrive at the capital Ulaanbaatar and set up at your hotel. Take this time to have a little rest.

Afterwards, you go to the Choijin Lama Monastery Musuem, a complex of ancient Buddhist temples located between modern high glass buildings and has a unique and peaceful atmosphere.

FB, Overnight at a hotel.

Day 11
Ulaanbaatar city tour

You start this last day with a morning visit to Gandan, the most active Buddhist monastery in the country, during which the prayers of the faithful take you into a different world. Exiting this place of worship, you can go shopping in the State Department Store, the largest shopping mall in Mongolia, a leftover of the Soviet occupation. There, you can find cashmere, leather, and whatever you want for souvenirs, presents and gifts.

In the evening you’ll indulge in Mongolian culture with a folklore show, concert of traditional music and contortion. You’ll hear performances with the Traditional Mongolian instrument Morin Khuur, a two-string fiddle adorned with a carved horse’s head; overtone singing, previously only used by shamans to enter into communication with the spirits.

At last, a farewell dinner with your team to wrap up an excellent journey full of memories.

FB, Night in a tourist hotel

Day 12
Departure from Ulaanbaatar

After having breakfast in the hotel, your team will drive you to the “Chinggis Khaan” international airport 2 hours before your departure.

Have a safe journey back!

Included services

  • Sightseeing and attractions entries
  • English speaking guide
  • Cook /Available from 5+ pers./
  • Driver
  • Private vehicle
  • Gasoline
  • Tourism hotel in UB
  • Local hotel in countryside
  • Tourist camp
  • Geolodge
  • Full board / stay
  • Transfer to airport

Not Included

  • International transport (flight, train)
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Optional activities (Horse, Camel riding, etc.)
  • Sleeping bag (for guest yurt and tents)
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Extra drinks and food

You can personalize this trip, for you and your companions, on the dates of your choice in complete freedom.

Depending on the number of people accompanying you the price then can be calculated in accordance with the rates below.

Rates for this tour:

Number of tourists2 pers3-5 pers6-7 pers8-10 pers
Price per person1890€1650€1490€1390€

Price From EUR  1,400/per person
Group Discount Available
Group Discount Guide
Cost Per Adult Traveler:
1400 EUR
1400
Total 1,400 EUR

Trip Facts

  • 12 days / 11 nights
  • 2-10
  • Easy
  • Tourist hotel
  • Yurt camp
  • 4x4 vehicle

Would you like to arrange your trip by your preference?

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