June 30 - July 12 2017

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppes

10 unforgettable Mongolian
summer nights

Ulaanbaatar - Hovd - Altai Tavan
Bogd and many adventures in between!

From 2,900 USD per person

Please apply by 23rd June, 2017.

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppes

10 unforgettable Mongolian
summer nights

Ulaanbaatar - Hovd -
Altai Tavan Bogd and
many adventures in between!

From 2,900 USD per person

  • Overall


    • Experience Nadaam -- the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians
    • Visit Mongolian Kazak and Tuva nomadic families
    • Enjoy camel trekking and horseback riding
    • Hike the great mountains (with views across to Russia and China)
    • Swim in mountain lakes and rivers
    • Explore the Altai and Bayan Ulgii region of Mongolia
    • Construct and sleep in a traditional Mongolian ger (yurt)
    • Marvel at the skill of local eagle hunters
  • Itinerary

    Day 1 of 13
    1. Friday 30th June

      Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

      Upon landing in Mongolia’s capital, we make our way to our centrally located hotel to recharge before our adventure begins. If you’re feeling energetic, you can take our optional walking tour to get your first taste of this fascinating city, before returning for our 4pm hotel briefing.

      Here we’ll give you an overview of the country and culture, along with some etiquette tips for visiting the homes of the shamans, Kazakhs, and Tuvan people we’ll meet along the way. Then join us for another city walk, this time by night. Get a glimpse of Sükhbaatar Square, named for revolutionary hero Damdinii Sükhbaatar; its perfect geometric angles make this – technically – the world’s largest square. The statues of Genghis Khan and other Mongolian generals are even more impressive when all lit up.

      Meals: dinner


    2. Saturday 1st July

      Tour of the city, and then fly to Hovd Province

      We start our day at Gandantegchinlen, Ulaanbaatar’s largest Buddhist monastery, where we can see practicing monks and learn about the role of Mongolia’s largest religion. Then it’s back to the city centre, where we’ll stop off for supplies at the State Department Store. Today privately owned, this is a throwback to the old Soviet sales system, where everything is under one roof, and you pay with multiple receipts before returning for your purchases. This is an ideal time to stock up on trip supplies, even outdoor gear, so if you’ve discovered your sleeping bag has a hole, now’s the time to upgrade. We’ll see Sükhbaatar Square by day, and then head to the National Historical Museum, which takes us through Mongolian history from the Stone Age right through to the collapse of Communism. We’ll also see the Natural History Museum, filled with those dinosaur artifacts the country is known for.

      After lunch, we’ll take a two-hour flight to Hovd province, and pile into Russian jeeps to visit a local Uriankhai shaman and his family. Here we can witness some of the ancient and mysterious rituals the community still holds dear, such as mirrors that repel evil spirits, or sacred fire and water. His son is trained in the incredible art of Mongolian throat singing – he’s a bit modest, but can usually be talked into an impromptu performance. After dinner with the family, we’ll drive to our camp, and spend our first night in a ger, or traditional Mongolian tent – the way most locals still do.

      Meals: breakfast, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)

    3. Sunday 2nd July

      Drive to Tolbo Lake

      After a hearty breakfast, we’ll stop at Hovd (also Khovd) and check out the local market, formerly the Soviet-era black market, where you can buy traditional fabrics, textiles, Mongolian buttons, and other souvenirs, all sold out of shipping containers. There are few Westerners in this area, so be prepared for curious locals. We’ll also take in the local Hovd museum to get a sense of the area, and then drive to Tolbo Lake. With an altitude of 2,080 meters, Tolbo is famous not only for its remote beauty, but as the site of a crucial 1921 battle between the Bolshevik and White Russian forces – the locals still find belt buckles and buttons in the field. We will stop for photographs along the way, as nomads lead their herds across the vast lands, or make their way to the Naadam festival, then we’ll spend the night in a lakeside tourist camp where you can swim or bathe in the clear waters, or just unwind and take in the mountain views.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      ger (yurt)

    4. Monday 3rd July

      Khar Us (Little Black Lake) and Khar Nuur (Black Lake)

      After breakfast, we head towards Sagasi village, near Khar Us Lake and the magnificent Altai Mountains. Bayan-Olgii (or Uglii) province, known locally as the ‘Roof of Mongolia’, is a remote land of glaciers and mountain peaks; travellers can go for days without seeing a soul. This area is home to the Kazakh people, practicing Muslims and Mongolia’s largest ethnic minority; here we’ll learn about how nomadic life in the mountains differs from life in the steppes.

      We’ll stop by mud brick winter houses Kazakhs use when the temperature drops below minus-30 when even their felt-lined gers can’t keep out the cold. We can also ride horses and learn about eagle hunting – not what you think! Up here, food is scarce, and the locals need a little help. Most families keep their own golden eagles that hunt for rabbit, hare, and even small deer, and they’re happy to show us how it’s done. Then we’ll pitch our tents next to the local families and share a traditional dinner.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    5. Tuesday 4th July

      Khurgan and Khoton Lakes

      Today’s journey takes us through wild lands, over moraines (glacial debris) and past ancient burial sites, with stone-age rock carvings of animals and hunting scenes covering the mountainside. The spectacular Khurgan and Khoton Lakes lie at an altitude of 2,073 metres, and are surrounded by snow-capped mountains.

      We set up camp on the shores of Khoton Lake, and spend the afternoon relaxing, exploring, or swimming in crystalline waters. After dinner, we meet the local Kazakh people and see the comparative affluence (by Mongolian standards) of lakeside Kazakhs, with their multiple gers and fertile land.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    6. Wednesday 5th July

      Tsagaan Gol and Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain

      After breakfast we work our way through the mountains to reach the mouth of Tsagaan Gol (White River), a mighty water source with enough limestone deposits to give the milky river its name. We’ll stop for pictures at the stunning Shiveet Khairkhan, with more rock carvings and an unforgettable view of Tavan Bogd (Five Saints), a mountain massif on the border of Mongolia, China and Russia. To the indigenous minority Tuvan, Shiveet is sacred – as are the 400 mountain ibex, which are never hunted. Each year the Tuvan climb Shiveet’s summit and perform shamanistic rituals, making offerings to the local ghosts and paying ancestral respects. The Tuvan are herders, and known for their archery skills; tonight, they’ll teach us to cook some of their favourite dishes. And after days of having the locals watch us pitch our tents – and comment on how long it takes us, how thin the material is, and how we’ll never survive the night – today we’ll build our own felt-lined ger (with a little help), to see how the nomads do it.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    7. Thursday 6th July

      Hike to base camp of Altai Tavan Bogd

      Today we leave our vehicles and heaviest luggage behind, load everything else onto camels, and then trek up Tavan Bogd with a local Tuvan guide. It’s about 15 kilometres to our base camp (camels can also carry tired trekkers), which is located at the edge of Potanin Glacier, the longest in Mongolia – listen carefully, you might hear it cracking. Potanin is at the foot of Malchin Peak, one of Tavan Bogd’s five sacred mountains. This hike will take us through lush alpine tundra, and past herds of camels, providing fantastic views across the glacier to the peaks. Our camp is a great starting point to other area hikes in one of the world’s best trekking areas. We’ll also meet another Tuvan family, who can teach us more about raising and training golden eagles.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    8. Friday 7th July

      Soak up the scenery

      Today we absorb the natural wonder that is Tavan Bogd, either by hiking with local guides to neighbouring mountains, glacier fields, or Potanin Glacier River, or by just relaxing and soaking up the scenery.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    9. Saturday 8th July

      Return trek to Tsagaan Gol (White River)

      Today we follow the camels back down to our camp in Tsagaan Gol. Passing through Tavan Bogd’s numerous valleys, we can see how the melting glacier transforms into the roaring White River. Upon arrival, we celebrate our adventure with a traditional feast – a reward for all our hard trekking work. Here we’ll try a Kazakh delicacy called beshbarmak, or “five fingers”, a delicious assortment of stewed meat, vegetables and flour we eat with our hands.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: tent

    10. Sunday 9th July

      Drive through Bayan Olgii

      Today we bid farewell to our Tuvan friends and take a relaxing drive back to Olgii, where we’ll spend the night in a Kazakh tourist camp, stopping for pictures and greeting nomad families along the way.We may also catch a local festival nestled in this mountainous region.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)

    11. Monday 10th July

      Experience the Kazak Naadam

      We end our adventure with one of the world’s most fascinating festivals, an annual event that draws tribes from all over Mongolia to compete in traditional skills and feats of strength – especially wrestling, horseracing and archery. Here, families reconnect, share their news and favourite foods, have parties, and compete in games together. Naadam has become a world-famous tourist draw, but while Ulaanbataar is filled with tour busses and day visitors, Bayan Olgii’s event is still a local affair, virtually unchanged over generations.

      Here we’ll learn the secrets of Naadam, such as the unusual wrestling costume of undershorts and an open waistcoat. Legend has it that a woman in disguise once outwrestled all the men, and to prevent future humiliation, outfits were altered – these tops have no secrets. Also, if you see a sumo-sized wrestler defeated by a delicate youth, don’t be surprised; the loser is probably from another area, and it’s disrespectful to beat others at their own Naadam.

      Tonight we sleep in Kazakh gers but you can enjoy cold beers and hot showers, easing you back into civilisation.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)

    12. Tuesday 11th July

      Fly to Ulaanbataar

      Leaving our horses, camels and Russian jeeps behind for good, we board a plane and return to Ulaanbaatar. This is a free day where you can shop ‘til you drop at the city market – you’ll never find cheaper cashmere, and you might pick up a shamanistic or Buddhist artifact or a relic from Soviet times. History lovers can stop by the winter palace of the Bogd Khan (1869-1922), who became Khagan (theocratic ruler) when the country split from China in 1911. Or you can simply relax with a coffee or cocktail at an outdoor café and watch this fascinating city unfold before you. Then we’ll meet up for dinner at a local family’s home, so we can see Mongolian homelife away from the steppes.

      Meals: breakfast, dinner with city family

      Overnight: hotel

    13. Wednesday 12th July

      Departure day

      We end our adventure in the morning, with transfers to the airport for international flights. Pack your souvenirs, your dirty clothes and your memories, and have a safe trip home!

  • What is / is not included?

    • Included
      English speaking guide
      Western tour leader
      All meals outside Ulaanbaatar
      Camels for luggage
      Internal flights
      Horse riding
      All included sight seeing
      All taxes & entrance fees to protected areas All camping equipment (not sleeping bags.)
    • Not included
      Sleeping bags
      International flights
      Any alcoholic beverages
      Meals where specified
      Medical insurance (can be arranged.)
      Visas (if needed)
      Airport pick up 25 USD one way
      Helmet rental 30 USD
      Sleeping bag hire (incl cleaning 30 USD for tour)
      Items of personal nature
  • Notes

    Please note!

    This tour has been specifically arranged to visit these areas it may have elements of an expedition about it due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. As such any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will keep to the advertised itinerary as closely as possible, although please be aware that things are subject to change, especially if we encounter any extreme weather conditions. Along the way all tour decisions will rest with Rich (tour manager) and an expedition leader. We will also be taking advice from local people on the ground whose expertise will far exceed our own.

Please apply by 23rd June, 2017.

info@koryogroup.com | + 86 10 6416 7544
27 Bei Sanlitun Nan (East Courtyard).
Chaoyang District. Beijing 100027. P.R China

中国北京市朝阳区北三里屯南 27 号 (东侧院),
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