Mongolia

Vast, rugged expanses

Join us as we uncover the stories surrounding this enigmatic country

We have worked closely with our carefully-selected Mongolian partners to bring you a tour which is more than just a simple visit to their country; this will be a trip that is full of excitement, adventure, and unforgettable moments.

Mongolia is an amazing gem and one of my favourite places on earth both for landscape and people. I have always felt that when I leave this region the sky never seems as blue, the mountains never as beautiful and the people never as interesting.

— Rich Beal, Koryo Tours

We have worked closely with our carefully-selected Mongolian partners to create tours which are more than just a simple visit to their country; our trips to Mongolia are full of excitement, adventure, and unforgettable moments. The journey will be unique, educational, and fun. For more information please contact us.

Our tours to Mongolia are led by our one of our most experienced tour leaders, Rich Beal. Rich has led tours all over the world since 2004, and is personally attached to this particular area, as he has over ten years’ experience in running and designing tours to the region. He has been to Mongolia over 80 times and is incredibly knowledgable about the country. And he also happens to be a great story teller — ask and he will tell you plenty of fascinating travel anecdotes from his many adventures!

Are you interested in traveling to Mongolia with us in 2019? Although we cannot confirm the exact dates of our 2019 tours just yet, we are more than happy to make sure you are the first to know when we do! Please drop us a line if you are interested and we will keep you updated!

July 2018

July 1 - July 13 2018

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppe

12 unforgettable Mongolian
summer nights

Explore Mongolia’s far West, from Hovd to Bayan Olgii and beyond! Meet Kazakh eagle
hunters, hike in the stunning Altai Mountains, and experience Mongolia’s largest
festival - Nadaam.

From 2,900 USD per person

Please apply by 23rd June, 2018.

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppe

12 unforgettable Mongolian
summer nights

Explore Mongolia’s far West, from Hovd to Bayan Olgii
and beyond! Meet Kazakh eagle hunters, hike in the stunning
Altai Mountains, and experience Mongolia’s largest festival
- Nadaam.

From 2,900 USD per person

  • Overall

    Highlights

    • Experience Nadaam -- the biggest festival of the year for Mongolians
    • Visit Mongolian Kazak and Tuva nomadic families
    • Enjoy horseback riding with the possibility to hire a camel
    • 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. Sunday 1st July

      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

      Overnight:

      Hotel 9: A local hotel situated in the heart of Ulaanbaatar, within 5 minutes walk from the main square. this hotel offers a great location from which to walk out and explore the city.  
    2. Monday 2nd 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:
      Tourist Ger camp: One of only 2 camps found around the city of Hovd. This camp has amazing views over the surrounding countryside whilst being situated on the outskirts of the main city. it has a separate shower block and facility for our chief to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
    3. Tuesday 3rd 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

      Overnight:
      tourist Ger camp: This amazing camp is situated on the shores of Tolbo lake. For those whom wish, can swim in the chilly waters of the lake or enjoy a drink watching the sun set over its crystal waters. There are also some great walks to be had in the surrounding hills. It has a separate shower block and facility for our chief to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    4. Wednesday 4th 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:

      Camping/ Tent: All camping equipment will be provided, tents, roll mats and sleeping bags (upon request.) We will build tents as a group with the assistance of our local team. All tents are on a two persons bases but single options are available upon booking. Camping next to local family on this night.

    5. Thursday 5th 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 Ger's and fertile land.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight:

      Camping/ Tent: Camping next to local family on this night.
    6. Friday 6th 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 favorite 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:
      Camping/ Tent: Camping on this night will be based around a pre booked Ger, offering us the chance to prepare meals and equipment ready for tomorrows hike. The scenery here is amazing surrounded by snow capped mountains, whilst listening to the roar of the white river.
    7. Saturday 7th 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:
      Camping/ Tent:  Camping at the Tavan Bogd base camp we stay tonight in a designated  site. toilet facilities are provided we will build a restaurant tent for dinner and breakfast. this area is remote yet beautiful being at the base of the main mountain range and only a stones throw from the main glacier.
    8. Sunday 8th July

      Soak up the scenery

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

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: 
      Camping/ Tent:  Camping at the Tavan Bogd base camp
    9. Monday 9th 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:
      Camping/ Tent:  Tonight we pitch tents with another local family located near to the town of Tsengle in a low river valley. We look at life here and experience yet another regional variation in hospitality.
    10. Tuesday 10th 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:
      tourist ger camp: We stay in one of the tourist Ger areas found on the outskirts of Ulgi city. This camp offers a shower block with warm running water and wash facilities as well as a restaurant area from where our chief can provide  
    11. Wednesday 11th 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 Ger's but you can enjoy cold beers and hot showers, easing you back into civilization.

      Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

      Overnight: ger (yurt)

    12. Thursday 12th 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 home life away from the steppes.

      Meals: breakfast, dinner with city family

      Overnight:

      Hotel 9

    13. Friday 13th 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!

  • Extras

    • Insurance (13 to 16 days)

      We're unable to take you on one of our tours if you do not have medical insurance that covers the destination in question. Issues of isolation and infrastructure where we go mean it would be irresponsible of us to do so. We can provide this if you do not have it — or you can use your own.

  • 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
      Extra horse riding
      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 remote areas. As such it may have ellements of an expedition about it, due to the nature and ruggedness of the terrain. Due to this any change in itinerary at the time cannot be helped. We will do our best to 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, 2018.

Next tour departure dates

Mongolia - Beyond the Steppe

View tour

info@koryogroup.com | + 86 10 6416 7544
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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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