Naadam Sands

Flat, arid plains stretch for hundreds of miles, interrupted by an occasional nomadic tent or a herd of camels. Kites circle overhead in the cloudless sky and the sun beats down relentlessly on everything below. The Gobi desert is the least populated area of Mongolia and despite its arid climate it supports a diverse array of bird and animal life. The people have a reputation of being the most friendly in Mongolia - as visitors are a rare treat they are often welcomed like the prodigal son. The sites of the Gobi are varied and unique, like the valley known as Eagle Valley, whose depths support huge glacial sheets, sometimes even in the hottest summer months, or the massive sand-dunes called “The Singing Dunes ”. Of great interest to travelers and scientists alike are the dinosaur remains scattered throughout the Gobi rocks and desert floor. We return to Ulaanbaatar for the Naadam Festival.

Day 1             

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar from Beijing on the train or the on a MIAT flight; transfer to a 4-star hotel for dinner and the night.

Day 2

Fly to South Gobi – visit sand-dunes and ‘flaming cliffs’

Today we will take either a morning or day flight to the capital of the South Gobi Province, Dalanzadgad depending on the domestic flight schedule. The flight takes one and a half hours. On arrival at the local airport you will be met by our local jeeps and drivers and taken to the ger camp for lunch. In the afternoon you will visit the sand-dunes and the flaming, red cliffs at Bayanzag. Dinosaur remains were found in this area on the famous American expedition of the 1930s. There will be opportunities to meet local nomadic families and camel breeders. The wildlife in the area is abundant and the desert plants are vibrant and varied. The areas you will be visiting are situated in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, which encompasses the ‘Three Beauties’ peaks and the most easterly points of the Altai Mountains. Return to the ger camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 3

Yolyn Am ice gorge

Today we will make a day trip to the valley at Yolyn Am. This is a long valley with high cliff walls, which shade some areas of the valley floor from the sun for the entire year. Walk through the valley, see the ibex grazing on the cliff faces and visit the Natural History Museum. Return to the ger camp for dinner and the night.

Day 4

Khongoriin Els sand-dunes

We will drive to the west today, along the Altai Mountain range until we reach Khongoriin Els. These are Mongolia’s largest sand-dunes. The drive is about 6 hours long. We will stay overnight in a nearby ger camp.

Day 5

Explore Khongoriin Els sand-dunes

Explore these massive sand-dunes, which rise to a height of 800 meters in some places, before returning to the Gobi ger camp, near Dalanzadgad for dinner and the night.

Day 6

Return to Ulaanbaatar

Today you will take the return flight from Dalanzadgad to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival you will be taken to your hotel.

Day 7

Naadam opening ceremony & games

A full day at Naadam in the city. In the morning you will see the flag-carrying ceremony at Sukhbaatar Square, followed by the opening ceremony of the Naadam Festival in the stadium. We will then go to see the archery competition, close to the stadium. After lunch you will be taken to the horse racing competition and see the finish of the race. The evening program will be the folklore show performed especially for Naadam. Dinner at a local restaurant and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8

Central Mongolia

Today we begin the drive into the central areas of Mongolia. The scenery is wide-open steppe with rolling hills in the background. We will stop for lunch on the way and reach a place called ‘Piece of Sand’ in the late afternoon. This stretch of sand is a long strip that originates in the Gobi and stretches all the way into the central aimags of Mongolia. It is about a 6-hour drive from Ulaanbaatar, mainly on paved roads. We will have dinner and stay overnight at a ger camp.

Day 9

Karakorum – Erdenezuu Monastery

Continue on to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, from where Chinggis Khaan launched his cavalry. The most obvious landmark in Karakorum is that of the massive walls of the Erdenezuu Monastery. After breakfast at the ger camp you can explore this monastery. It was built in 1586 and is surrounded by an immense 400m x 400m wall. Not a single nail was used in the construction of the ornate temples, only a few of which remain standing after the communist purges. In earlier times the grounds held over 60 temples with 10,000 monks using them for their daily worship. Dinner and overnight at the ger camp in Karakorum.

Day 10

Orkhon Waterfall, Orkhon River

Today we will make a day trip to the Orkhon Waterfall, which is situated in the Orkhon Valley. This valley is known as the cradle of Mongolian civilization as many of Mongolia’s ancient monuments lie within its borders. Today we will visit some of its natural beauties. The Orkhon Waterfall marks the halfway point of the Orkhon River, the longest river in Mongolia. The area surrounding the waterfall is green and forested and we will spend the day walking in the area and having a picnic lunch. This area of Mongolia is well known for producing the best ‘airag,’ or fermented mares’ milk, in the country. Many locals love to challenge you to singing games - the loser has to consume a whole bowl of ‘airag’ so beware when visiting local families! Return to Karakorum in the evening for dinner and the night.

Day 11

Khustain Nuruu National Park

After breakfast we will leave Karakorum and drive for about six hours to Khustain Nuruu National Park. This place is famous for its successful project reintroducing the Przjevalski horses (Takhis). They hold not only the love of locals but attract the sympathy and support of many world wide people such as Julia Roberts who shot ‘Out in the Wild’ with our company here. Dinner and overnight will be at a local ger camp.

Day 12

Return to Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast we will return to Ulaanbaatar in the vehicles. It is about a 2-hour drive, on paved roads. On arrival in the capital you will be taken to your hotel.

Day 13                       


After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure.

Departure code and date:
NCA-007, 5-17 July, 2018

Price per person for a group more than 9 people: USD 2849

Single Supplement: USD 390
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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