Altai Mountains and West Gobi
11 days / 10 nights
Explore the Altai mountains in the rugged north-western part of Mongolia, close to the border with China and Russia and learn about the natural ecosystems and wildlife, as well as the culture of the native Kazahk nomadic tribes. Then head to the western fringes of the vast Gobi desert and experience the stunning beauty of Mongolia's Great Lakes basin, and go on a camel safari at the Mongol Sands, the longest sand dunes in Mongolia.
Day one : Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
12:00 PM : Transfer from airport to your hotel
1:00 PM : Check in to your hotel
3:00 PM : Sukhbaatar Square
Day two : Ulaanbaatar to Altai Mountains
7:00 AM : Flight from Chinggis Khan airport to Ölgii
10:00 AM : Drive to the Chigertei Valley
3:00 PM : Check in to your 360 Wilderness Ger Camp either along the Buyant river or in the Chigertei Valley
7:00 PM : Dinner at your Ger camp
Day three : Hökh Serkhiin Nuruu National Park
Day four : Chigertei National Park & Kazakh Nomads
9:00 AM : Drive 1-2 hours upstream along the Buyant and Chigertei rivers to the summer highland pastures of the Kazakh nomads
11:00 AM : Eagle Hunters, Altai Mountains
2:00 PM : Explore Chigertei National Park and capture images of its livestock, birds and occasionally wolves and Pallas cats.
7:00 PM : Dinner at your Ger camp
Day five : Chigertei to Khovd
Day six : Khar Us Nuur National Park
8:00 AM : Drive to Khar Us Nuur National Park and the Mongol Sands
3:00 PM : Check in to your Ger camp
Day seven : Camel Safari at Mongol Sands
Day eight : Drive back to Khovd via Khar Us Lake
Day nine : Fly back to Ulaanbaatar
9:00 AM : Flight back to Ulaanbaatar from Khovd
1:00 PM : Check in to the Shangri-La hotel
2:00 PM : Spend the afternoon at your leisure in Ulaanbaatar
Day ten : Explore Ulaanbaatar
Day : Depart from Ulaanbaatar
9:00 AM : Check out from the Shangri-La hotel
9:30 AM : Ground transfer to the airport or train station for your departure
Key sights to see
Founded in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist monastic centre, Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia’s capital, and cultural, industrial and financial heart. Key sights include Sukhbaatar square, the National Museum of Mongolia, the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the Zaisan memorial, which offers panoramic views of the city, and the Ger districts, full of nomadic tents that lack plumbing or electricity.
Nestled in the Altai mountains, this small city was established in the 1840s by Kazakhs fleeing the expanding Russian Empire. Nowhere else has Kazakh art, music, and the tradition of hunting with Eagles been preserved better. Ölgii is also the starting point for expeditions to the snow capped Altai mountains, and its many glaciers.
Chigertei National Park lies near the main ridge of the Altai Mountains, and the border with China’s Xinjiang province. It serves as the summer highland pastures of Kazakh nomads, who herd their sheep and goats, and hunt with eagles here. Wildlife in the region includes snow leopards, wolverine, grey wolves, pallas cats, and golden eagles.
Khovd province is a region in north-western Mongolia where the majority of inhabitants are not Kazakhs but Mongols. Khovd town itself is an appealing, multi-ethnic town of Halkh Mongols, Myangad Mongols, Kazakhs and other peoples. It boasts both Buddhist temples and a mosque, and the only university in West Mongolia.
The Gobi is a large desert in Central Asia. On the western fringes of the Gobi is Mongolia’s Great Lakes Basin, where one finds the Mongol Sands, the longest sand dunes in Mongolia which descend directly into the lakes, with the snow-capped Jargalant Hairkhan massif in the background.
Exciting and memorable things to do
Great places to stay
The Shangri-La Hotel is Ulaanbaatar’s only international-standard five-star property. Located in the heart of the city, the hotel is within strolling distance of Sukhbaatar Square and Government Palace, a modern shopping mall with an IMAX cinema, and several enticing restaurants.
360° Wilderness Ger Camps are ﬁve-star pop-up accommodations that are flexible and lightweight enough to be loaded onto a truck, yak caravan or camel cart, and deployed anywhere in the country. The gers are stylishly decorated with colorful Mongolian crafts, and furnished with proper beds and full bedding. Meals are served in a separate ger.
Steppe Hotel in Khovd is the first small hotel to offer something approaching international comfort in West Mongolia. It sports a two-star lobby, a three-star restaurant, spacious, four-star rooms, and a roof top terrace with a bar.
- English-Mongol speaking guide
- Accommodations specified (double-occupancy) in the itinerary
- Cook and all meals specified in the itinerary
- All transport outside of Ulaanbaatar (Toyota Land Cruisers), max 3 guests per vehicle
- Entrance fees to national parks and monuments
- Lunches and dinners in Ulaanbaatar