Upon arrival at the airport you will be welcomed by our team. We will bring you to your comfortable, centrally located hotel. Ulaanbaatar is fast-growing modern city with more than 1.3 million habitants. Depending on your arrival time, city tour can be organized. City sightseeing includes Bogd Khan's Winter & Summer Palace, a series of beautiful traditional buildings in which the eighth Living Buddha and the last king lived. It is now a museum displaying fascinating artefacts and costumes associated with the last king as well as his collection of stuffed animals.
We will stop at the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. It is the largest and the most important monastery of Mongolia. We will scroll through the different monasteries and see the magnificent statue of Migjid Janraisig, an 82-food high statue gilded in gold and covered with silk cloths. We will finish city tour with Zaisan hill to have a view of whole Ulaanbaatar. The city sightseeing tour takes about 4 – 5 hours. In the evening your tour guide will give you a short briefing about the trip and answer all your questions before he takes you to a famous Mongolian restaurant for the first taste of Mongolian food.
(Hotel, L, D)
After an early wake up, we will set of for a driving day to Kharkhorin (also called Karakorum). Karakorum is the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire created by Chinggis Khan. The founding of Karakorum started on the ruins of Turug and Uigur cities in the Orkhon valley at the eastern end of the Khangai Mountains in 1220 by the Chinggis Khaan's order. It was completed 15 years later during the Ugedei Khaan's reign. The town was a very cosmopolitan and religiously tolerant place. The silver tree, part of Möngke Khan's palace has become the symbol of Karakorum. The highest peak of its prosperity was from 1220 to 1260. The specific feature of this stage is that Karakorum existed as the great capital of the Euro-Asian Empire with Mongolia as its core and as the centre of politics, economy, culture, religion, intellect, and diplomacy and the prominent tie of international relations.
Between 1260 and 1380 Karakorum lost the status of the Great Mongolian Empire and became the capital of Mongolia. When Kublai Khan claimed the throne of the Mongol Empire in 1260, as did his younger brother, Ariq Boke, he relocated his capital to today's Beijing. Karakorum was reduced to the administrative centre of a provincial backwater of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1368, the rule of Mongolian Yuan Dynasty collapsed and the centre of Mongolian government was shifted to its homeland after 110 years since Khubilai Khaan moved the Empire capital to China in 1260. It gave Karakorum a chance to prosper again.
In 1388, Ming troops under General Xu Da took and destroyed the town.
Today nothing is left from this legendary city. In 1580, when Abtai Sain Khan together with his brother, lord Tumenkhen, visited the 3rd Dalai Lama and expressed their wish to build a temple in Mongolia, he advised them to reconstruct one old temple in Karakorum. The temple in Takhai ruins that was restored in 1588 according to the Dalai Lama's recommendation is the Main Zuu temple of Erdene Zuu monastery. Now Erdene Zuu Monastery is all that remains of what once was a huge monastery of 100 temples and about 1.000 lamas residing there. We will explore the grounds of Erdene Zuu Monastery surrounded by its massive 400 m X 400 m walls. We will be guided around the 3 remaining temples: Dalai Lama, Zuu of Buddha and Lavrin Temple.
Another place we will visit will be Kharkhorin's New Archaeological Museum. It is a small museum but housed in a modern well-run building with good lighting and display cases with clear English labels. The exhibits include dozens of artefacts dating from the 13th and 14th centuries which were recovered from the immediate area, plus others that were found from archaeological sites in other parts of the provinces, including prehistoric stone tools. You'll see pottery, bronzes, coins, religious statues and stone inscriptions. There's also a half-excavated kiln sunk into the museum floor. Perhaps most interesting is the scale model of ancient Karakorum, which aims to represent the city as it may have looked in the 1250s, and is based on descriptions written by the French missionary William of Rubruck. Another chamber exhibits a most recent addition, a Turkic noble tomb with wall paintings and artefacts, including gold items and jewellery. There is a short video of actual burial site.
We will also see the Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock, visit little market behind walls exposing local arts by locals.
(Ger camp B, L, D)
We’ll drive a little and reach our canoeing expedition starting point. Orkhon valley is registered as world cultural heritage by UNESCO due to its ancient findings, artefacts related to early 6th century and even before that. As well as, 12th to 13th century great Mongol empire had expanded its capital Karakorum here. Moreover, pasture nomadic lifestyle still remains here and it keeps both historic and nomadic view of life. This area due to its central location and its generous soil is a thriving grassland host significant amount of cattle among other horses. While on river canoeing we not only enjoy the diverse landscapes unfolding in every direction but interact with locals, children with their huge herd watering by the river.
We will have chance to visit during these 3 days a nomad family. We will spend an evening with nomads. Barbeque cooked over hot stones is on the menu. Engage a friendly chat & listen to their amazing life stories over one or two shots of vodka. Herders make local vodka from fermented milk.
Our support team and vehicle travelling not far from us can always be joined by radio when needed.
(Tented camp B, L, D)
Canoeing will continue.
(Tented Camp, B, L, D)
Canoeing will continue.
(Tented Camp, B, L, D)
Elsen Tasarkhai and Khogno Mountain
Today after breakfast we will put our canoes back on roof of our vehicles and start driving to do some sightseeing before returning to capital. Khogno Khan Mountains is an impressive massif in the open steppes. Not far from here runs the Tasarkhai Els, a 100 km long sand dune.
End the afternoon we will hike in the region of Khogno Khan Mountains, walk up the mountain and enjoy the incredible view over the plains, the sand dune and grasslands. We will also visit the nice little Uvgun Monastery.
(Ger camp B, L, D)
Drive to Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast we will drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Afternoon is free time for last minute sightseeing. At 6 pm we will go and see the beautiful cultural show enjoy the colourful and rhythmic Mongolian dance, throat singing and admire & contortionists. For our last evening we will have a fare well dinner at one of the city's best restaurant and share some unforgettable moments of the trip.
(Hotel, B, L, D)
Depart at any time. Our team will take you to the airport (train station).
Ger camp stay
Tented camp stay
Meals – 7B, 7L, 7D
Camping and kitchen equipment
National park entrance fees/Museum and Monasteries entrance tickets