South Gobi Sands and Mountains
9 days / 8 nights
Experience the awesome landscapes of the South Gobi desert with a camel safari at the Khongor sands. Then visit the 'Flaming Cliffs' at Bayanzag, where American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews (considered the inspiration for Indiana Jones) made the world's first discovery of fossilized dinosaur eggs in the 1920s. Explore Yol Valley and see bearded vultures, before heading to Hustai National Park to see the critically endangered Przewalski horses and meet with local nomads.
Day one : Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
11:00 AM : Transfer from airport to your hotel
12:00 PM : Check in to the Shangri-La hotel
3:00 PM : Sukhbaatar Square
Day two : Explore Ulaanbaatar
Day three : Ulaanbaatar to South Gobi
7:00 AM : Flight to Dalanzadgad, South Gobi
9:00 AM : Drive 240 km west to Khongor Sands
3:00 PM : Check in to your 360 Wilderness Ger Camp
Day four : Khongor Sands
Day five : Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
Day six : Yol Valley
9:00 AM : Day Tour of Yol Valley
3:00 PM : Check in to the Three Camel Lodge
7:00 PM : Dinner at the Three Camel Lodge
Day seven : Yol Valley to Hui Doloon Hudag
8:00 AM : Drive to the airport at Dalanzadgad
10:30 AM : Flight back to Ulaanbaatar
12:00 PM : Transfer from Ulaanbaatar airport to the HS Khaan Ger Resort
2:00 PM : Check in to the HS Khaan Ger Resort
3:00 PM : Afternoon at your leisure
7:00 PM : Dinner
Day eight : Hustai National Park
9:30 AM : Drive to the Hustai National Park
11:00 AM : Nomad Community Visit, Hustai
7:00 PM : Dinner at HS Khaan Ger Resort
Day nine : Depart from Ulaanbaatar
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.
240 km west of Dalanzadgad in the South Gobi are the giant dunes of Khongor Sands, covering an area of nearly 900 square kilometers. Sculpted by cross-winds, the dunes here are as high as 100-300 meters and are often called the “Singing Sands,” due to the sound that is emitted as the sand moves.
120 km to the East of Khongor Sands are the ‘Flaming Cliffs’ of Bayanzag. The ‘Flaming Cliffs’ get their name from their awe-inspiring red and orange hues at sunset. They were made famous by American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews, who made the world’s first discovery of fossilized dinosaur eggs here in the early 1920s.
Yol Valley is a dramatic ravine in the heart of the Gurvansaikhan mountains in the South Gobi. Ice usually blankets the narrowest parts of the ravine until mid-summer. Birdwatching is rewarding here. Visitors are sure to see the bearded vulture, known as the ‘Yol’ in Mongolian, soaring high above the ravine.
Hustai National Park is a land of arid steppe, forest, and gentle slopes located just 2-3 hours west of Ulaanbaatar. It is home to Mongolia’s last remaining population of the rare and critically endangered Przewalski’s Horse, or ‘Takhi’ in the Mongol tongue, a truly wild horse closer to zebra than horses.
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.
Three Camel Lodge is an iconic steppe retreat comprising 40 well-appointed gers, each with their own bathroom, set around a central clubhouse made from stone and wood beams. The location is in the heart of South Gobi, close to the famous sights of Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs) and Yol Valley in the Gurvansaikhan Mountains.
HS Khaan Ger Resort is located on the grassy plains west of Ulaanbaatar, a one-hour drive from downtown. Unlike other ger camps, it sits in a fixed location with huge, lavishly furnished guest gers. Each ger comes with an en-suite bathroom, windows and a terrace offering views across the plains.
- 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
- Internal charter flights
- International flights to and from Mongolia
- Lunches and dinners in Ulaanbaatar