The Gobi Desert is the term for a semi-arid territory inhabited by nomads. Do you know that there are 33 different Gobi in Mongolia? Galba Gobi, the largest and most deserted part, has a strong attraction for its natural and energetic particularity but also for its historical importance; one of the most difficult passages for caravans on the legendary Silk Road.
Arrival at the Chinggis Khaan international airport in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. Our guide-interpreter and driver will welcome you at the airport and lead you to the city journey. The city has plenty to offer. The guests visit the Gandan Monastery, a historical and spiritual place in the city. Then you will visit the National History Museum and the Genghis Khan Square in front of the Mongolian Parliament to introduce the general knowledge and information about the Mongolian history and culture. FB, night in tourism hotel
Directly move to the Khogno Khan called Central Gobi, one of the 33 Gobi in Mongolia. Visit a nomadic family, installed in the middle of the pastures. Tasting « White food » and notably airag, the traditional drink made from fermented mare’s milk. Mongolians transform the milk of their livestocks (sheep, goats, cows, yaks, camels and mares) in many derivatives products that preserved well and assure their subsistance during the long and rigorous winter. The white food occupies a very important place in the alimentation of mongolians on both symbolic and ritual level. Visiting one of ancient Buddhist monasteries in the mountain. Erdene khamba monastery located in the sacred Mountain Khugnu Khan. Today there are the ruins and 3 small temples. Erdene khamba monastery had two sections: the lower one called the Zaluu khiid and the upper one called the Uvgun khiid. The Erdene khamba monastery was destroyed during middle age feuds between western and eastern Mongolians after the collapse of the Mongol Empire. FB, stay the night in place of nomads
Continue to cultural highlight place of Mongolia – Kharakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire at the time of Chinggis Khaan (1162-1227). Now it is a small town in the middle of the grasslands. There are some scanty remains of the city scattered to see. Most stones of the old buildings were later used to build the nearby Erdene Zuu Monastery. Erdene Zuu means’ hundred treasures. The building dates from 1586 and is subject to the political winds many ups and downs known. Once the complex consisted of more than a hundred temples. Part of the monastery is since 1990 active again and pressure restored. It is one of the cultural highlights in Mongolia. The complex is fully fenced and every fifteen meters there are stupas, 108 in total, into the wall. Continue to Arvaikheer, capital of the region, one of typical small towns of provinces. Visit the museum of ethnography and history of the region, as well as the memorial hall of his Holiness Zanabazar, the first Buddhist spiritual leader of Mongolia. FB, overnight in local hotel
We descend south towards Bogd, a small village on the northern edge of the Gobi desert. Arrival in Bogd, excursion to the petroglyphs of Tevsh Mountain dating from the Bronze Age. Staying in place of nomads, not far from the Bogd soum, this village of a few thousand people lives mainly from the work of the felt, the famous cashmere of the Gobi goats, and agriculture. You’ll discover the life of a camel herder. FB, night in place of nomads
The guests continue the journey to the national park of Khongoryn with its spectacular sand dunes like Duut Mankhan, called the singing dune. The dunes extending up to the foot of the high Altai Mountains range, lie about 180 kilometres from Dalanzadgad. It is at a distance of 130 kilometres along the desert tracks to Bogd in Uvurkhangai in the north, and 215 kilometres to Bayanlig on the northwest in Bayankhongor. Travel through the desert is either by camel rides or by cars with drivers who are knowledgeable about the desert. FB, overnight in ger camp
We spend enjoyable today , going on foot or by camel, to the assault of these 180 km of dunes up to 200 meters in height. We also take advantage of this day to make friends with the camels who live in the region, and to understand their particular traditions and way of life. FB, overnight in tent
The guests reach the Gurvan Saikhan National Park where they will spend the coming days through some singular places. The park hosts more than 200 bird species and they can found more than 600 different plant species. There are gazelles, gerbils and even snow leopards. After visiting the small museum of Yolyn Am, guests make a nice stroll through the Vultures valley which end by a chasm. If the participants are lucky they will see one of the huge vultures which name the valley. FB, overnight in tent
Departure for the Bayanzag, also called the Flaming Cliffs (Flaming Rocks). This is a region, in the Gobi Desert, where fossils have been found. American palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews gave this region its name after he visited it in 1920. The area has become famous as the first site of dinosaur eggs. Other discoveries have been made in the area such as the remains of a velociraptor. The rocks, which give a glowing orange colour, like its name suggests. FB, overnight in ger camp
Early in the morning, we head towards Monastery of Demchig, one of the 3 great centers of Buddhism in the Gobi Desert. This former monastery is located on energy center “scientifically proven” that would be efficient within a radius of 30km. After destroyed by the communists, it is rebuilt in 2007 and now composed of 7 stupas. The main one, sheltering a god, would be the largest in Mongolia. FB, overnight in guest house
Today we take the direction of Sainshand, via Khanbogd soum. In recent years, the small village has been strongly developed by virtue of large gold and copper mine called Oyutolgoi. On the way, we’ll pass by the gold and copper mine, recently discovered and exploited by a Canadian firm. There are a lots of trucks traveling between the mines and the Chinese border to transport these minerals. The township of Khanbogd is located in the desert of Galbyin Gobi, which was once the bottom of an ancient ocean. This is why important paleontological finds have been made there. FB, overnight in tent
Early departure to Monastery for attendance at the religious service in Khamriin Khiid, a small monastery in the middle of nowhere. Then we go to Khamariin monastery, a Buddhist architectural pearl in the tradition of the Tovkhon hermitage – or small monasteries in remote places, they become popular pilgrimage sites for Mongolians. A special feature: unlike the majority of monasteries and temples in Mongolia that belong to the sect of the “Yellow Hats,” it belongs to the sect of “Red Hats”. The latter has incorporated many esoteric practices (magic, divination, sacrifice) and the rules are less stringent than the Yellow Hats, although both are related to Tantric Buddhism. The Khamariin monastery has two “sisters”: Ulgii monastery and Demchig monastery, both are also in the Gobi region. On the same site, we finally reach one of the most important and sacred places of Buddhist mythology Shambhala, a gateway to the kingdoms of the Righteous. A Very popular place for pilgrimage, it attracts many believers who come here to relax or heal through particular magnetic energy that emanates from the Earth. FB, overnight in ger camp
We will take advantage of the day to deepen or to visit the sites of the surroundings, before returning to the ger camp We enjoy the rest of the day deepening our exploration about Buddhism and visiting the surrounding areas that are full of treasures: – Meditation caves, – “Sakura” trees – Dinosaur bones (considered sacred because “dragon bones”), fossilized wood. In Tibetan mythology, Shambhala is the name given to a legendary kingdom of Central Asia, but the precise location remains unknown; meaning a heaven of peace, where all people live in joy and harmony, a kind of Garden of Eden. Other interpretations, however, attribute Shambhala to being more spiritual and abstract in nature and do not see it as a real physical place in the strict sense. FB, overnight in ger camp
Early in the morning, we hit the road to Sainshand. On the way, we pass the Khar uul or “Black Mountain”, a sacred mountain known for its granting wishes! Write your vows on small pieces of paper before burning them in a votive stupa, and then go shout out in the wind on the flank of the mountain! After arrival in Sainshand, we visit the Danzanravjaa’s museum (1803-1856). Danzanravjaa was a famous Mongolian educator and literary figure in 19th century and was the founder of the Khamariin monastery. Writer, poet, playwright and … traditional doctor, Danzanravjaa was an influential figure, politically and artistically. In this museum, we find over 1,500 varied works (books, gods …), thanks to Tudev and his heirs, who secretly hid over a hundred boxes of art work from the communist authorities. Finally, we take the train to Ulaanbaatar in the evening. We will have a lunch and dinner in the steppe; and spend the night in the train.
We’ll have breakfast in the café after arrival in UB and take you to the hotel. After taking a rest and in your hotel, we’ll go for shopping to the State department store, the largest shopping mall in Mongolia, a leftover of the Soviet occupation. You can find cashmere and leather, whatever you want to give for souvenir, present and gift. Folklore show Concert of traditional music and contortionists. Presentation of the Traditional Mongolian instrument Morin Khuur, old two-string adorned with a carved horse’s head. Overtone singing performance previously only used by shamans to enter into communication with the spirits. FB, overnight in tourism hotel
After having a breakfast in the hotel, we’ll drive you to the Chinggis Khaan international airport 2 hours before your departure.