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 2-5 BATTSENGEL SUM NOMADIC FAMILY
Drive to Battsengel Sum Nomadic Family. Stay at Nomadic Family from the valley. During your stay, you will discover their way of life and you will be proposed many activities, such as milking, making traditional dairy products, or rounding up the animals with a horse. You will also attend the preparation of a Mongolian barbecue that you will enjoy with yours hosts.
DAY 6 TERKH TSAGAAN LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Drive to Terkh Tsagaan Lake. Visit Zaya Gegeen Monastery, 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 7 TSENKHER HOT SPRING
Drive to Hot Spring Spa. Visit Zaya Gegeen Monastery. It’s the lama Zayan Gegeen who created in 1616 the monastery and the village Tsetserleg that surrounds it near Bulgan Mount. He’s reported to be reincarnated three times.
The old temple of Zayan Gegeen was restored in 1951. It was used as a warehouse during the communist system, and then was transformed into an ethnic museum. So today it ceased all its religious activities. Made of wood, stone, blue bricks and tiles, its style was inspired by the Tibetan, the Mongol-Tibetan, and the Sino-Tibetan styles. The first floor of the central complex is composed of three temples containing the corpses of the three Zayan Gegeen. The site was composed of several temples and was able to welcome 1000 lamas, and even 4000 for some special religious ceremonies. Two Tibetan-styled wings were added during the 19th century. They were composed of two floors, but at the beginning of the 20th century, they were brought back to one single floor. In the museum, we can find a turtle that comes from the vestiges of Bugatiin Dursgal, a whole of standing stones located in the plain of Bugat, ”the deer plain”.
Bugatiin Dursgal contains the oldest vestiges we know, of the Turkish empires. The oldest steles found there date back from 582.
The museum also contains other historic vestiges, an exhibition about the modern history of the region, and a room dedicated to the local fauna and flora. At the first floor, in the old library, are shown old liturgical objects.
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 8-9 ORKHON VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
Drive to Orkhon Waterfall. Visit of Tovkhon Monastery. Vehicles can’t go until the top of Ondor Ulaan Hill and we will walk until there to discover Tovkhon Ermitage, where Zanabazar, the first religious leader of Mongolia, created the Soyombo alphabet. The monastery is located 2312 metres (1,44 mile) above the sea level and from that place we’ll have a wonderful view on the whole Khangai range. We’ll picnic in exceptional surroundings, facing Orkhon Valley.
Orkhon Falls or ”Orkhonii Khurkhree”, white waves flowing on the black stone, transformed in rainbow by sunrays… These 16-metres (52,5 feet) high and 5-metres (16 feet) wide waterfalls are just magic. Orkhon waterfalls formed 20.000 years ago after a unique combination of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. In the heart of summer, their flow is very important, but they can dry up during spring. It’s the Ulaan Tsutgalaan River, ”Red Confluence”, which forms these falls by flowing into the Orkhon River. From the camp of the families living in the surroundings, they can be an ideal hike along the river, or a ride among the steppes.
Stay at Nomadic Family from the valley. During your stay, you will discover their way of life and you will be proposed many activities, such as milking, making traditional dairy products, or rounding up the animals with a horse. You will also attend the preparation of a Mongolian barbecue that you will enjoy with yours hosts.
DAY 10 ELSENTASARKHAI SANDS NATIONAL PARK
Drive to Elsentasarkhai Sand. Visit Erdenezuu 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.
The Elsen Tasarkhai is a part of the Mongol Els Sand Dunes, that continues 80 km long 5 km wide. The nature in this area is really spectacular and great for relaxing and located in Burd soum in Uvurkhangai Aimag (Province) 280 km west of Ulaanbaatar. The area is surrounded by sand dunes, hills covered with rare bushes and a small forest near a river.
Together this presents a unique combination of Mongolian mountains, forests and Gobi-type landscape in one location. This area is 80 km east of Kharakhorum, the ancient Mongolian capital. The area is populated by the Maral stag (elk), wolves, deer and fox. The Elsen Tasarhai literally means “an isolated torn-off piece of sand” and it is a small sequence of real desert in the midst of green steppes. It feels like in the Gobi Desert, and visitors can hike in the sand dunes.
DAY 11 BACK TO THE ULAANBAATAR CITY
Drive to Ulaanbaatar. Rest of the day free. With our guide, you can go shopping in the center of the city.
DAY 12 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