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jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk

The Gobi Desert provides the backdrop as you explore, discover and understand the Gobi as well as meet some of the people that make their home in these remarkable landscapes.

The Gobi principally spans six of Mongolia’s aimags (provinces) and our Gobi Insight trips takes in three of them - the eastern Gobi (Dorngobi), the Middle (Dudgobi) and the Southern (Omnogobi). Mongolians say they have at least 33 different types of desert - with the types frequently varying depending on water supply, minerals and location. For certain it is huge open expanse of extremes. Granite and limestone rock formations, vast gravel plains, sand dunes, 2800m mountains, gorges and canyons and Saxaul forest - this itinerary is designed so you experience the variety and diversity of the Gobi.

Good to know

  • Two day camel trek
  • Explore Mongolia's national parks and nature reserves
  • Homestays with local families
  • Book with flexibility & confidence: advanced Covid-19 protocols in place

What's included

  • Included All meals
  • Included Guided excursions
  • Included Accommodation
  • Included Ground transfers
Days

16

Starting from

$2,455 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Speak to Jess for expert travel advice
Enquire now
Destinations
Mongolia
Activity
Adventure, Hiking & Trekking, Active, Overlanding, Camping, Camel Trekking, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Culture, Indigenous Tourism, Responsible Travel, Community-led Tourism, Solo Travel
Tour Type
Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour
Physical Level
Mild

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

This is a customisable trip

Use the following itinerary for inspiration. Remember: all days, hotels and activities can be altered to suit your requirements. A Eternal Landscapes travel specialist will be happy to advise.

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar is home to roughly 45% of Mongolia’s population and our free city walking tour will give you a more local introduction to this vibrant frontier style city with a strong Mongolian identity of its own.

Yes, the city is chaotic and loud and not as glamorous as other capital cities but it is the beating heart of Mongolia and the hub of contemporary Mongolian urban life. The reality for many Mongolians takes place in this urban context, in a city they are striving to develop and improve.

Our informal and relaxed city walking tour will give you a contrasting insight into a way of life, compared to that of the rural population. This day is not about museums or shopping – it’s about getting out and about and exploring and discovering.

Today you’ll spend the day in the company of one of my Mongolian trip assistants. The day will include Nogoon Nuur (Green Lake) community project - a community space created for the local population of the nearby Bayangol ger districts by Ulzii - a Mongolian philanthropist - as well as other areas of the city including Gandan Monastery.

Included meals: Lunch

Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

As you head south out of Ulaanbaatar - following the route of the Trans-Mongolian - you will start to get an understanding of the diversity of Mongolia’s natural habitats. You could observe wildlife native to the Gobi - especially herds of White Tailed Gazelle.

Your destination is Ikh Nart - a wildlife region of rocky terrain and canyons. Located in Dornogobi Aimag, this reserve harbours a wide diversity of flora and fauna and is a long-term study site between Denver Zoo and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

The studies aim to understand the ecology of the region, the behaviour of the resident species and to improve conservation management in the region.

Three projects are on-going - the Argali Sheep / Siberian Ibex Project, the Carnivore Project and the Cinereous Vulture Project. Although small (66,000 hectares), Ikh Nart represents a strong-hold for the globally threatened Argali Sheep - the largest mountain sheep in the world. It is also one of the most significant breeding sites for the CinereousVulture (European Black Vulture).

Spend the second day exploring independently. We usually also plan a short safari with Batbold the protected area ranger but this does depend on his own schedule.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is characterised by extensive granite rock formations and surrounded by steppe and semi-desert habitat with local protection. The views between the rock formations and expansive and this provides a great location to explore as well as just to relax and soak up the solitude.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

A transfer day through epic landscapes down to the southern Gobi – see it as a Mongolian road trip. We recommend removing your watch and let the day and the journey unfold. Do not spend time in the van thinking ‘when will we get there’- you are already there; surrounded by the beauty that is Mongolia.

On arrival into Dalanzadgad why not visit the surprisingly great Camel Museum with its presentation of the Gobi. The square with its dinosaur statues is where locals of all ages come to take the air. It is worth spending time in, especially in the evening and you may well be approached by local students wanting to practice their English or who just want to interact with a foreigner.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Simple

Dalanzadgad Apartment

Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park

Explore the interior of the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park before heading to the home of the Batsuuri herding family. Gobi Gurvan Saikhan is Mongolia’s largest national park – a mountainous terrain rising out of the extensive desert plains and a region of incredible biological diversity. This mountainous region was formed by the same tectonic activity that created the Himalayas and is part of the Gobi Altai Range – the outer crumple zone of the Himalayan geological activity.

This includes exploring Yolyn Am – meaning Vultures Gorge/Mouth/Canyon it takes its name for the Lammergeier’s (Bearded Vultures) that you may see circling on the thermals. It is renowned for its sheet of ice several meters thick that forms during the winter in the narrow defile (often preserved until early July as the overshadowing peaks of Yolyn Am ensure a slow melt). The water tables beneath the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan were laid down by ancient processes – when the mountains began to lift, and fault lines cracked open, water squeezed up from below sought the easiest route downhill.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Batsuuri Homestay
Simple

Batsuuri Homestay

Camel trekking at Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes

Drive to Khongoryn Els where you will saddle up for your one and a half day/one night camel trek. Why do we do this? Khongoryn Els itself has become a magnet for tour groups ... including 50-seater coaches. We still think that the sand dunes are worth including in an exploration of the Gobi but by exploring on a camel trek you’ll discover a more hidden side to the dunes.

During the trek there is plenty of flexibility and time for climbing and exploring the dunes. Not sure? Don’t be! The camel trek will be vehicle supported so if you need to hop off and take a break you can.

These are Mongolia’s highest dunes with the range stretching over 180km - known locally as Duut Mankhan - the singing sands. Mongolians say the Gobi consists of 33 different types of desert but only 3% is sand dunes.

Khongoryn Els dunes make up a large proportion of that percentage. What’s our favourite experience? Climbing to the top of the dunes for an outstanding view – best at sunrise or sunset. It’s not easy though and will require at least an hour’s challenging physical exertion!

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Gurvantes, Khermen Tsav and Sevrei

Spend four days exploring the remote Gobi region that form Sevrei, Khermen Tsav and Gurvantes. These are spectacular landscapes - treasure troves of significant paleontological and geological importance. You will have two camping nights at Khermen Tsav - a canyon flanked with beautiful oases, 6km in width and 15km in length. The canyon is characterised high natural formations of cliffs, of eroded sandstone. American scholar and palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews named this place "The End of the World." The beauty of the cliffs is accentuated by small groves of native Gobi Saxaul trees.

These four days combine to make the ultimate road trip. Don’t be put off by the thought of all that time spent in a van - they’ll be plenty of opportunities for stops and its the only way to explore these remarkable landscapes. We recommend removing your watch and let the day and the journey unfold. Do not spend time in the van thinking ‘when will we get there’- you are already there; surrounded by the beauty that is Mongolia.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Petroglyphs, Bayanzag and Flaming Cliffs

Bayanzag is an ancient rock formation, one of the most important areas in Mongolia for dinosaur fossils. Bayanzag means ‘Rich in Saxauls’ and the name shows what is important for the Mongolian people – not the red sandstone cliffs named the ‘Flaming Cliffs’ by Roy Chapman Andrews but the small desert shrub that is nurtured by the rare outwash from the surrounding gullies.

En-route, visit the spectacular Khavtsgait rock petroglyphs en-route to the Flaming Cliffs. The petroglyphs show the culture, art and religious beliefs of the Bronze Age people who lived in the Mongolian Gobi and its neighbouring areas starting about 4000 years ago. The views are stunning.

You can also visit the small, windswept town community of Bulgan where the documentary A Weeping Camel was filmed. Enjoy a meal at the local family run restaurant that we’ve supported for over a decade - although it’s not luxurious in anyway, it helps show you what local life is like.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Gelgegarash Ger Camp
Basic

Gelgegarash Ger Camp

Erdenedalai is Mongolian for ‘Jewel Ocean’ and although far from the ocean this tight knit and traditional community located in the middle of the Gobi steppe provides a genuine insight into everyday life in Mongolia.

Even though annual precipitation in this area is low, with no permanent lakes and very few springs, roughly 5880 herder households make their home in this transition zone between steppe and desert. It is a beautiful region little visited by other international visitors as it's not considered a highlight by guidebook writers or tour companies and that's exactly why we make it one of our bases. As mentioned, it’s great for slow travel experiences of a more immersive kind. Although just wide stretching semi-desert steppe, the views are expansive.

Having arrived, the rest of your time will be spent at the homes of the herding families that we work with in the area - roughly 14km from the main centre of Erdenedalai. We don’t detail what you will do on your arrival - that’s because we do things a little differently and leave the plan flexible as this leads to a more respectful experience but expect to spend the second day exploring the local way of life through the eyes of the rural families we work with in the region.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Erdenedalai Homestay
Simple

Erdenedalai Homestay

Return to Ulaanbataar

On arrival back into UB, we’ll transfer you to your accommodation in UB and the rest of the day will be yours to create your own experience. Remember you could use our UB guide to help you to explore the urban side of Mongolian life in downtown Ulaan Baatar. Alternatively, one of our trip assistants could be made available but please let me know in advance.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...
  • Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

    Ikh Nart Nature Reserve

    ...
  • Ikh Gazriin Chuluu

    ...
  • Dalanzadgad

    ...
  • Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    ...
  • Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes

    Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes

    ...
  • Khermen Tsav

    Khermen Tsav

    ...
  • Flaming Cliffs

    Flaming Cliffs

    ...
  • Erdenedalai

    ...
  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
3 Sep 2022 18 Sep 2022 Enquire
More dates available   Enquire

Looking for a different date?

Not sure when you're travelling yet? Looking for a different date? Contact Eternal Landscapes for more information.

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Good to know

Speak to a Mongolia specialist about this trip

Eternal Landscapes

Call one of our travel experts for ideas and trip planning advice.

Enquire now

Reviews

What people are saying about Eternal Landscapes

O
Owen
01/07/2020

We booked a 9-day tour with Eternal Landscapes to the Khentii province, probably the most remote and challenging part of Mongolia. I was researching for a novel I'm currently writing, and my family and a friend also wanted to tag along for the adventure. And what an adventure it was! We traveled over 1,300 kms in 2 Russian Furgon vans, following the footsteps of Chinggis Khan and paying homage to the Mongol homelands. I feel somewhat forever changed on a fundamental level by the experience. We have fallen in love with Mongolia and its wonderful people, who are so resilient, resourceful, friendly and forever helpful.

Booking the trip was a lengthy process as our itinerary had to be custom-designed and the owner, Jess, was immensely patient, informative, and extremely helpful. After looking around at a few different tour companies, we decided with Eternal Landscapes because of this and also because of the philosophy that the company operates with. They are very environmentally conscious, taking measures to minimise waste during our travels. They do everything they can to try to give back to the country and the community, giving work to small local businesses and employing women as trip assistants. In a country where it is difficult for women to find work as guides, Eternal Landscapes provides training and support to those that want the opportunity to work in tourism.

J
Jeny B
01/09/2018

A trip that exceeded all my expectations! I cannot thank Eternal Landscapes (Jess Brooks) enough for blessing us with two of the most knowledgeable, friendly, funny and caring people. Please do not hesitate in booking with EL, you won't be disappointed.

N
Nadja
01/01/2020

We had the most amazing time with Eternal Landscapes. We booked with them because of their ethical and empowering way of working and giving back to the community. If you want to be more than a tourist, we highly recommend them. Jess, the owner was extremely patient and helpful in customising our trip. And even though we never met her, her philosophy and absolutely love and knowledge for the country and its quirks shines through the whole experience.

With such vast landscapes and different way of life, winter is a fantastic way of seeing, appreciating and experiencing the country. And as photographers it was mind blowing. Our tour assistant and driver were both lovely, incredibly accommodating, with a great sense of humour.


How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from $2,455 and $2,925 pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

What's included

Included All meals

All meals outside of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Mainly prepared and cooked by your local team so they are fresh and it means we offer more flexibility for any dietary requirements.

Included Guided excursions

All activities mentioned with a local team of English speaking trip assistants.

Included Accommodation

A mixture of homestays, family operated ger camps, local hotels and camping.

Included Ground transfers

Transportation to and from the airport on arrival and departure days and all overland transportation throughout the trip. Each vehicle has a charger for cameras and phones.

Learn more

Contact us now for expert advice on how to tailor this tour to your requirements and budget.

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