Pioneering through the Wild West

The far west of Mongolia is a remote and unique geographical area with a population of nomadic people equally as interesting and diverse as the land they inhabit. The landscape includes high glacial mountain peaks, large lake basins, steppe grassland and desert sand-dunes. One of the main minority groups in this area is the Kazakh minority, who are as well the largest one in Mongolia, inhabiting the province of Bayan Ulgii since the mid 1800s. Still maintaining their traditional customs and traditions, they live in large felt gers and hunt with the aid of huge, golden eagles in the winter months to supply themselves with fur from the prey.

On this journey we will take you through some of the most spectacular peaks of the Altai Mountains and then into the flat arid plains of the Gobi desert. We will set up tented camps by vast, clear blue lakes and visit many of the minority groups in the area and learn about their ancient customs. The journey will be on horseback, camel and by jeeps to allow the traveler to experience this land in all its brilliant diversity.

Day 1             

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar – sightseeing and welcome dinner

You will be met at the airport and transferred to your 4-star hotel. After lunch at the hotel, there will be sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, including the National History Museum and the Bogd Khan Palace, a series of beautiful traditional buildings where the last religious king of Mongolia resided. The Palace is now a museum displaying fascinating artifacts and costumes associated with the king, as well as his collection of European furniture and stuffed animals. There will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant, before heading back to the hotel for the night.

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Day 2             

Sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar

A full day of sightseeing in the city including Gandan Monastery, the Fine Arts Museum, and the Dinosaurs Museum. Lunch at the hotel. There will be time for art and cashmere shopping before the evening program of a folklore show, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

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Day 3

Flight to Donoi of Zavkhan ( Mon & Fri only) -Zavkhanmandal

Today we will get a flight to Uliastai town either in the morning or afternoon depending on the domestic flight schedule. On arrival in Uliastai town we will me our local staff and driver and drive to the Zavkhanmandal soum, where the great sand dune, Mongol Els ( also known as Mukhar River)lies. Dinner will be served and we will have our first tented night in the wilderness in this area. _________________________________________________________________________________

Day 4             

Day Leisure

Today we spend the day exploring the area. We will take a hike through the sand dunes to see the source of the river Mukhart River. Later we will meet our horseman and horses. _____________________________________________________________________________

Day 5-6             

Horse ride along the Sand dune

After breakfast we saddle our horses and for the next 2 days we will ride from the Mukhart Gol River past the enormous and picturesque sand dunes. The Bor Khyaryn sand dunes are about 100 miles long and 8 to 10 miles wide. These are   some of the biggest sand dunes in Mongolia. Our goal is to reach Zavkhanmandal by the end of the second day. Those who don't wish to ride, can stay in the vehicles and drive the same direction, meeting the riding party at night. _____________________________________________________________________________

Day 7       

Drive to Khyargas Nuur 

Today we will drive to Khyargas Lake located in the far northwestern aimag Uvs – named after the largest lake in Mongolia, Uvs Lake. Parts of the region are within the mountain basin Ubsunur Hollow protected as a World Heritage Site for being “one of the largest intact watersheds in Central Asia where 40,000 archaeological sites can be found from historically famous nomadic tribes such as the Scythians, the Turks and the Huns.”  Khyargas Lake is a 543 square mile saltwater lake up to 154 feet deep and with a 3300 foot elevation. The sunsets are spectacular here.  We camp by this lake tonight.

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Day 8     

Drive to Turgen Sum

After breakfast we head towards the small town of Turgen.  This is the traditional Autumn place for local nomads. We meet our horses and horseman here and test our horse riding skills to make sure we are matched with the right horse.  We camp by a local river.

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Day 9-10                       

Ride to uureg Lake

We have two full days of horse riding down the mountain valley towards the stunning Üüreg Lake. Each day we will ride 13-16 miles, our support vehicles will follow us and serve meals on the way. The scenery is full of grazing herds of livestock. We will ride through here around the time when those families move back to their seasonal settlement, and will be able to see how nomadic people move their gers using camels. The second night we will camp by the gorgeous Üüreg Lake. Surrounded by tall mountains it is a 92 square mile saltwater lake in an endorheic basin–”a closed drainage basin that retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but converges instead into lakes . . .”  If we get here on time, we can take a refreshing swim.

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Day 11           

Achit lake

Today we drive toward Achit Lake. . It is the largest freshwater lakes in Mongolian Altai Mountain Range, covering 311 square kilometers. The length of lake is 30km, width is 16km and it lies at 1,464 meters above sea level. The lake is home to few unique Mongolian fish that can typically only be found in the Altai region.

The lake shore is covered with steppes, mostly hilly but also swampy on the northwest and northeast. Several rivers also flow into the lake. This area is known to be liked by mosquitoes, so bring protection.

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Day 12                      

Drive to Sagsai Town

After a relaxed breakfast we drive to Sagsai village via Ulgii town. This is the center of Bayan Ulgii Province, and the only Muslim province in Mongolia. On our way to Ulgii town we drive to a nomadic settlement of Kazakh families. Their gers are slightly larger than Mongolian gers, and are decorated with brightly colored rugs. Their traditional dress is also slightly different to the Mongols as the men tend to wear large, black dels (the traditional Mongolian coat-dress) and small, bright hats. _____________________________________________________________________________

Day 13                       

Visit Eagle hunters/ drive to Ulgii 

Today we will visit Kazakh families of which many are eagle hunters, then saddle up your horses go with eagle trainer and his assistant to the beautiful snowy high mountains, where can observe the hunting training  with your guide.

This is one of the oldest and most spectacular customs of Mongolia's Kazakh people, passed down from generation to generation, hunting with specially trained eagles. The animal works in a similar way as hunting falcons do. While eagle are used for hunting in other part of the world, this area is arguably the birth place of eagle falcons. Late afternoon drive to Ulgii camp shore of the Khovd River. .

Note: For June departures there are no eagle hunting training is available, we will look at the birds outside the gers and watch the Kazakh men with them and for August departures able to see part of training- hunting season starts in November and December, when the first snow covers the ground. _____________________________________________________________________________


Day 14           

 

We will drive to the local airstrip of Ulgii town for the flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival you will be taken to your 4-star hotel for dinner and rest.

Day 15

International Departure

After breakfast at the hotel you will be taken to the airport for you international departure.

Departure codes and dates:
NSA-002, 16-30 June, 2018
NSA-006, 15-29 Aug, 2018

Price per person for a group more than 9 people: USD3.499

Single supplement: USD360

Prices include the following

2 domestic flights, transportation within Mongolia, twin accommodation in a 4 star hotel. Single accommodation can be arranged at an additional cost. Tented accommodation while on trek, three meals a day, English-speaking guide, all sightseeing costs, transfers, camel or horse hire where specified, support staff including drivers, horse /camel men and camp assistants.


Prices do not include

International transportation, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, items of a personal nature.It is the responsibility of the client to be fully covered with travel and medical insurance while traveling in Mongolia.


Please note

Upon request, single supplement in the countryside can be provided at the additional cost. In case single accommodation in ger camps was not provided the amount would be calculated based on the missing nights and reimbursed. Nomads cannot be held responsible for over bookings, as long as the company can prove with sufficient documentation that overbooking has been the error of the third party.Should circumstances beyond our control, such as the imposition of quarantine restrictions, any changes of domestic flight or train schedules, require a change of itinerary, we will inform your agent and propose an equivalent itinerary. Again, Nomads cannot take over the responsibility for the Airlines or the National Train Company. The traveler is responsible for having proper travel documents, such as a valid passport, proper visa and the necessary passport pictures.

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