DAY 1 ARRIVAL IN ULAANBAATAR (L/D)
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian capital city. At the airport, meet the local guide and head to the city center. The driver starts through vast open plains and rolling hills before reaching the rapidly developing city outskirts and then, the very heart of town. Arrive at the hotel and check in to recuperate from the flight to Mongolia (note: check-in at 14:00. Early check-in is subject to room availability or supplemental fees). If time permits, depending on the time of arrival in the city, take an orientation tour around town, beginning with Sukhbaatar Square, the city's main square. Right at the heart of the square, see the figure of D.Sukhbaatar, one of the heroes of the communist revolution of the 1920s, baldly raising his arm towards the statue of Chinggis Khan, whose name wasn't allowed to be mentioned during the 70years communist reign. Then visit the National History Museum, which holds a permanent exhibition on the different civilizations that have inhabits the territory of Mongolia from prehistoric times to the present. The exhibition includes a significant display of objects from the ear of the Great Mongol Empire. From here, take a short walk to the drama theater to attend an impressive folk concert featuring some traditional Mongolian art forms. After a welcome dinner, drive back to the hotel.
Day 2 KHARKHORIN THE CAPITAL OF THE EMPIRE (B/L/D)
Leave Ulaanbaatar to take the approximately five-to-six-hour driver west to Kharkhorin. 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 walks of spectacular city kings were chosen, low made, and the fate of the next city to be conquered was determined. In the afternoon, ascend to a small hill overlooking town, to visit the Monument of Empires, erected to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the coronation of Chinggis Khan as the king of all kings of the steppers. Explore the site portraying the stories of three of the largest empires that were first formed here, at the Orkhon River, and enjoy the marvelous view of the sun setting over this holy valley. Late in the evening, set in at ger camp the cozy yet simple Mongolian version of a lodge, consisting of traditional felt made dwellings the nomads of Central Asia refer to as yurt.
Day 3 TSENKHER HOT SPRING (B/L/D)
In the morning, visit the Karakorum Museum. This museum holds a permanent display of various archeological findings and compiles a picture of how the city looked like during the reign of the Mongol empire. Then talk a walk through Erdene Zuu Monastery, one of the country’s oldest Buddhist monasteries, in time for the morning puje-the chanting of Tibetan prayers while playing traditional musical instruments. After lunch, leave Kharkhorin and head towards the region the Mongolians often refer to as the ‘horse herders’ paradise’ for its lush grasses and open valleys. Driver through thick pine forests to Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at about 80℃. After setting in the camp for the night, enjoy a relaxing soak at the open hot water pools under the Mongolian million-star sky!
Day 4 THE RED WATERFALL (B/L/D)
Leave the hot springs and driver along the northern slope of the Khangai Mountains- Mongolia’s second-largest mountain range -to the trailhead for the three-and-a half hours’ hike to Tuvkhon Monastery. The monastery was established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia’s most respected religious leaders. The monastery’s wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop, unique natural features, the monastery was a perfect location for the great religious leader to meditate. Late in the afternoon, reach a beautiful volcanic canyon through which the Orkhon River flows. Enjoy a hike above the canyon, and end the walk by a pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfall. For the brave at heart, a cool swim awaits! From here, it’s only a few minutes driver (or about an hours’ walk) to the camp for the night.
Day 5 THE EDGE OF THE GOBI DESERT (B/L/D)
From the Khangai Mountain Range, the Orkhon River runs all the way to Lake Baikal in Siberia. AUNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, the Orkhon valley has been at the center of several kingdoms and empires that have ruled much of Central Asia. The UNESCO committee states: “Collectively, the remains tin the site reflect the symbiotic links between nomadic, pastoral societies and their administrative and religious centers, and the importance of the Orkhon valley in the history of central Asia” (UNESCO website). After breakfast, driver along the river valley to Elsen Tasarkhai stretches over 130km north into the heart of Central Mongolia. Arrive at the dune and take a hike for a marvelous view over the dune, that seems as if it’s locked between two mighty mountain ranges. If lucky, get to see plethora of waterfowl in the small seasonal lake by the dune. In the afternoon, take a sunset ride on the back of a two-humped Bactrian Camel before setting in the camp.
Day 6 ANCIENT NOMADS (B/L/D)
From the send dune, take a four-hour driver to, or actually, a journey back in time to a place that recreates the lives of Mongolian nomads during the beginning of the 20th century. Here, after lunch, attend a demonstration of how the nomads lives their lives during this ear and learn about some traditions that are carried on these very days. In the evening, set in for a last night in Mongolian Ger.
Day 7 DEPARTURE FROM MONGOLIA (B)
After breakfast at the camp, driver to Chinggis Khan International airport for the departing flight back to Korea