DAY 1 ULAANBAATAR CITY
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. You’ll be greeted at the airport and escorted to 3* hotel. City tour: National History Museum, Gandan Monastery, National Mongolian traditional show concert.
DAY 2 TSENKHER HOT SPRING
Drive to Tsenkher Hot Springs. Visit Erdenzuu Monastery. The first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, Erdene Zuu was established on the ruins of ancient Khar khorin city in 1586 by Avtai Sain khan, probably the most ancient surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. The monastery located Kharkhorin soum, Uvurkhangai province. It is surrounded by fortress wall sized 420m each side, with 108 stupas. In 1792, it housed 62 temples, Mongolian lords tried to have own named temple inside of wall of monastery because it means they have high reputation.
Also in 1658, the biggest ger consists of 35 walls, 1700 long pole and could contain 200 people, was built up at the middle space of monastery wall. During the communist era this monastery nearly destroyed, nowadays it contains 3 main temples, other some smaller temples, 2 tombs which were dedicated to Avtai sain Khan and his son Tusheet khan Gombodorj and the biggest stupa in Mongolia named “Golden stupa”. The temples became museums in 1947 because Erdene Zuu was allowed to exist as a museum only; the only functioning monastery in Mongolia was Gandantegchinlen Monastery in Ulaanbaatar. However, after the fall of Communism in Mongolia in 1990, the monastery was turned over to the lamas and Erdene Zuu again became a place of worship.
There are in Arkhangai many old volcanos, which explains the presence of this hot water source that flows all year long at 1860 metres (1,16 mile) above the sea level in the sum of Tsenkher. The water is at 85,5°C (185,9°F).
In a pleasant verdant wooded area, some yurts camps with equipment and baths with a less hot temperature have been set up for the travellers, but also for the nomads and the inhabitants of Ulan Bator who are very keen on these baths. Tsenkher hot springs have healing properties notably on articular diseases and nervous system’s diseases. Composition: sodium carbonate, hydrocarbonate, sulfate, fluorite, hydrogen sulfide.
DAY 3 TERKH TSAGAAN LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Drive to Terkh Tsagaan Lake. Visit Deer Stone, Mongolia Experts speculate that north-central Mongolian stone engravings, such as this representation of a deer, were created more than three thousand years ago. Originally thought to guide ancient people across the open steppe, a recent discovery has swayed opinion about the markers. An ancient human, with skin intact, was found buried north of Siberia. His skin bore tattoos similar to the Mongolian deer carving. Researchers now believe that these stones are grave markers and each engraving echoes a tattoo found on the person buried in the frozen earth below. I illuminated this engraving with a headlamp to enhance the mystery of these iconic stones. The artificial light brought out the detail of the beautiful lines, highlighting them against the waning light in the western sky., Khorgo Volcano. The landscape changes as quickly as we approach the Khorgo Volcano. We ride on a very black and very difficult soil, made of dry lava. The landscape is original and doesn’t look like anything we’ve seen so far. The vegetation around us is essentially made of high larches ; it formed on the lava rejected here more than 8000 years ago. In the morning we reach the Khorgo volcano where we dismount and tie our horses to make the ascent of the summit, 2210 meters (1,37 mile) above the sea level. After a few minutes of ascent, the view is already wonderful.
We can already see the white lake. Here, the region is more touristic and once we get back downhill, we can taste local fruit juices sold in small stands. Around noon, we ride again following the track at a slow pace. We go to the cave of Zaluus and visit it before reaching Terkhiin Tsaagaan Nuur, the “White Lake of the Terkh River”, located 2060 meters (1,28 mile) above the sea level. It’s the jewel of Arkhangai and one of the most beautiful lakes of the country.
DAY 4 OTGONTENGER MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Drive to Otgontenger Mountain. Otgontenger a Mountain with permanent snow and the king peak of Khangai mountain ranges, is elevated at the height of 4,021 meters from above sea level and is surrounded with deep forests, has plenty of fast flowing rivers and lakes, is rich with natural places with unique formation, rare plants and animals, and has many places with mineral waters. includes in territory of Zavkhan province.
Otgontenger had been worshipped since 1779 and in 1911, Bogdo Khan’s Mongolia had enacted a law to worship it every year. This tradition was revived in 1992 as a result of which the mountain and its surrounding area covering 955 sq. km was announced as a special protection area and since 1995 it has been worshipped once in every four years in accordance with the President’s decree.
Just below the border of the permanent snow of Otgontenger, there is a beautiful lake Badarkhundaga on the slope of the mountain and within the territory of the protected area. Here grow extremely rareflower vansemberuu and Mongolian arnica and, moreover, very famous Otgontenger juniper.
DAY 5-6 ULAAGCHINY KHAR LAKE
Drive to Ulaagchiny Khar Lake. Ulaagchnii Khar Lake has been protected as Strictly Protected Area since 2010. Ulaagchnii Khar lake is located in the northeast of Erdenemandal soum in western plateau of Khangai Mountain Range. This lake is fresh water lake and one of the most beautiful lakes of the country. We can see amazing sand dunes in the southern and northern parts of the lake. The lake is 23.9m long and 3.5m wide in average. Depth of the lake is 47m in the west 23-30m in the east and the deepest point is 57m near the Gatsaa. There are 2 big and small island called “Small and Big Avgash” in the middle of the lake. Great Avgash is quite sandy and suitable place for the roedeer for their rebirth in springs, they habitat in the mountain in the autumn. Shoreline of the lake is rocky and has a lot of different peninsulas and bays that penetrate into the lake water. On the bottom of the lake, there are sand and mud and gravel, and some water plants occur on the shallow parts of the lake. The clarity of the lake is 8m and colors are seen as green and blue emerald. Some migratory birds such as Whooper swan, Greylag goose, duck and others come to the lake in summers and other mammals such as deer, roe deer, fox, wolf, corsac fox cat, and marmot are seen near the lake. Along the shoreline of the lake, there are many eye-catching places.
DAY 7 KHOVD PROVINCE CENTER
Drive to Khovd province. It is situated at the foot of the Mongol Altay Mountains, on the Buyant River. The Khar-Us Lake is located approximately 25 km east of Khovd, and is the location of a Strictly Protected Area (Mongolian Government designation), called the Mankhan Nature Preserve. As a result of administrative reforms in 1992, Khovd was accorded the status of Jargalant sum. City area is 80 km2.
Khovd has a cold desert climate with long, dry, frigid winters and short warm summers. Precipitation is minimal and very heavily concentrated in summer.
The city has a population of 26,023 (2000 census), 30,479 (2003, est.), 28,601(2007).
In 2005, Jargalant sum (the centre of Khovd Aimag) had 32,351 inhabitants (6,675 households), belonging to more than ten ethnic groups and nationalities such as Uuld, Khalkh, Zakhchin, Torguud, Uriankhai, Myangad, Durvud, Bayad, Kazak, Chantuu and Üzemchin.
DAY 8-9 KHOTON, KHURGAN LAKE
Drive to Khurgan Lake. Khurgan Lake is also surrounded by glacial moraines. It is 23 km long, 6 km wide and its shoreline is 71 km long. The depth of the lake relatively lower than Khoton lake’s and the deepest point reaches at 28 m. 60% of the total surface are the lake is more deeper than 4 m and 10% constitutes more than 12 meters in depth. Volume of the water is 536 million cubic meter and its shoreline has largely been cut. Landscape around the lake is very beautiful and picturesque, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, its shoreline has ancient moraine depressions and hills and its east shore has forest trees. The shoreline of Khurgan Lake is curved and its northern shore has full of peninsulas and bays. There are about 20 bigger and smaller islands of which the largest one Zaan Island cover 1.7 square km area. The islands are all moraine hills, 10-30 m higher than the lake surface. The lake water temperature is relatively low, 8.1̊ – 10.1̊C in June because of the lake is fed by snow, ice and glacial water. The lake water freezes in October through June with 1.3-1.6 m ice thickness.
khurgan and Khoton lakes, the second largest, are located in an intermontane tectonic depression in the northern part of Mongol Altai mountain range and joined by a 3 km long and 100-150 m wide channel called Sargaal. Geographically, Khoton Lake stretches from the northwest to southeast direction in the west side of Khurgan Lake while Khurgan Lake is located along the latitude.
Khoton and Khurgan lakes are also home to many species of red listed birds: whooper swan, goose, eagle, hooded crane and various species of ducks. During the migration, 1% of the flyway population of the birds: pelican, ruddy shelduck, northern lapwing and common goldeneyes regularly arrive to the site. The lakes belong to Altai Tavan Bogd National Park area and have been gained under state protection since 1996 according to decree number 4 of Mongolian State Great Khural.
DAY 10 TSAGAAN RIVER
Drive to Tsagaan River. TheTsagan-Gol river flows in Western Mongolia, in the Mongolian Altai and Tavan Bogd National Park, the left and largest tributary of the river Khovd-Gol. The source is in the glaciers Grene, Alexandra and Musen-Gol (Potanin)of the Tavan-Bogd-Ula mountains. The river flows to south through open and wide valey. The river Tsagan-Gol is dependent on snow and glaciers melt. Water levels are highest in June once the ice clears. In summer, when glaciers melts the water color is white like milk, from it and name of the river had (tsagan = white). The lenght of the river 111 km. The gradient in places is more than 25 m/km. The Tsagan-Gol river flows into the river Kobdo-Gol (Hovd-Gol) a bit downstream Tsengel village. The major tributaries: left – Nalii-Gol, Khatugiin-Gol, right – Mudedy-Gol. At the river is many rocks with petroglyphs.
DAY 11-14 ALTAI TAVAN BOGD NATIONAL PARK
Horse riding to Altai Mountains. Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, “the five sacred mounts of Altai”, extends on 662 square kilometers at the extreme southwest of Mongolia, and has borders with China and Russia. Khuiten Mount is the highest peak of the range and also of Mongolia, with its altitude of 4374 meters (2,72 miles). It was climbed up for the first time by a Mongolian expedition in 1956.
Altain Tavan Bogd is a high mountains area where we can find many glaciers. 96 % of the glacial rivers of Mongolia are located in the Altai Tavan Bogd. The most accessible glacier is Potanine, that we can climb up after a trek in the park. Climbing is not technical, but physical. The persons who are very keen on alpinism will also be very glad to climb up Malchin Mount, “breeder’s mount” (4037 metres, 2,51 miles), Nairamdal Mount, “friendship’s mount” (4082 metres, 2,54 miles), and Khuiten Mount, ”cold mount”(4374 metres, 2,72 miles). The two other summits that compose the Tavan Bogd are Burged (4068 metres, 2,53 miles) and Ölgii (4050 mètres, 2,51 miles).
DAY 15 OLGII PROVINCE CENTER
Drive to Olgii center. Ölgii is the capital of the province of Bayan-Ölgii. It’s located at the extreme West of Mongolia, at a height of 1710 metres (1,06 mile). The city has a population of approximately 29000 inhabitants, mainly with Kazakh roots. Kazakh is the first spoken language in Ölgii. The city provides four mosques and is known for its Kazakh music, embroideries and art, and of course for its Eagles Festival. A road connects Ulaanbaatar to Ölgii in approximately 60 hours, breaks included (real journey time, 48 hours). Ölgii has also a domestic airport that connects it to the capital with a 2.30 hours flight.
DAY 16 BACK TO THE ULAANBAATAR CITY
Flight to Ulaanbaatar. Rest of the day free. With our guide, you can go shopping in the center of the city.
DAY 17 HAVE A GOOD JOURNEY AND SEE YOU SOON
Breakfast at the hotel. We go with you to the international airport of Ulaanbaatar. The transfer can be organized at the time you want, according to the schedule of your flight.
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Mongolia Horse Trails Travel