Day 1: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries coexist with modern high-rises. Visit the Zaisan Memorial, a monument to unknown soldiers, and enjoy views of the capital city countryside.
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar
Visit Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Visit the dinosaur halls of the Natural History Museum showcasing spectacular fossilized dinosaur bones and eggs found in the Gobi Desert and a wealth of information about the Mongolian people and culture. Visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum, one of the best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts in the world.
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar / Moron / Lake Hovsgol
Fly to Moron and transfer to Lake Hovsgol, a crystal-clear alpine lake, known as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl.” Sleep in a traditional ger.
Day 4: Lake Hovsgol
Ride on horseback into the Khoridal Saridag Mountains, set along Lake Hovsgol. Visit a local reindeer herder family.
Day 5: Lake Hovsgol
Kayak on Lake Hovsgol. Enjoy tea in a family’s home and learn how they make airag, a popular drink in Mongolia.
Day 6: Lake Hovsgol / Moron / Ulaanbaatar / Gobi Desert
Return to Moron for a flight to Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Lake Irkh, a small but pristine lake that is home to a variety of birds.
Day 7: Ulaanbaatar / Gobi Desert
Fly to the Gobi Desert. Explore the stunning landscape of the Gobi, habitat for some of the Northern Hemisphere’s rarest and most elusive mammals. Travel to Tugrigiin Shiree, the site of a famous fossil of a Protoceratops and a Velociraptor locked in combat. Explore this white-sandstone escarpment and nearby sand dune.
Day 8: Gobi Desert
Wake to the sight of the Naadam Festival, where Mongolia’s top athletes compete in wrestling, archery, and horseracing. Visit Moltsog Els, one of the few places in the Gobi Desert covered by sand dunes. Ride Bactrian (two-humped) camels. Visit the legendary “Flaming Cliffs,” where many paleontological expeditions continue to make significant discoveries.
Day 9: Gobi Desert
Spend another morning at the Naadam Festival. Go mountain biking around Bulagtai Mountain, an ancient volcanic outcropping. Alternatively, visit the town of Bulgan, one of the only farms found in the Gobi.
Day 10: Gobi Desert / Ulaanbaatar
Fly to Ulaanbaatar. Visit the Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum. Enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and hoomi singers at the National Theater.
Day 11: Ulaanbaatar / Depart for Home
Say farewell to Mongolia and depart for home.