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+44 (0) 7810280403

jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk

Embrace Mongolia’s glorious, limitless space on our Untamed Mongolia small group experience – a celebration of the diversity of Mongolia’s ‘eternal’ landscapes. Mongolia’s landscapes form a backdrop to any journey in Mongolia but are a central element in our Untamed Mongolia experience where the focus is about exploring and discovering the striking landscapes of the Gobi Desert, the high open steppe and the spectacular lake land and northern regions of Mongolia, including Lake Khovsgol.

This is the ultimate road trip combined with a camel trek, wild camping, day hikes and living alongside Mongolia’s herders. Join our Untamed Mongolia for an introduction to the real 21st Century Mongolia – its diversity of landscapes, its people and its way of life.

Good to know

  • Camel trekking in the Gobi Desert
  • All activities included
  • Homestays with local families
  • Book with flexibility & confidence: advanced Covid-19 protocols in place

What's included

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

23

Starting from

$2,760 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 at Ulaantaatar

Ulaanbaatar (UB) 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. 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. Ulaanbaatar deserves to be appreciated and explored as the urban centre that it is.

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 as you spend the day in the company of one of our female Mongolian trip assistants exploring the city through the eyes of a local.

Included meals: Lunch

Baga Gazriin Chuluu Rock Formations

Arrive at Baga Gazriin Chuluu – an area of extensive granite rock formations, and dry riverbeds with elm trees surrounded by steppe habitat. By-passed by most companies for the more famous ‘southern Gobi’, Baga Gazriin Chuluu is so much more than just the rock formations. The underground springs provide a water source and as a result, Baga Gazriin Chuluu is rich in history as well as the herding culture. We include our great hike into the interior where you’ll be the only people and the views are stunning.

Included meals: 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

Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes Camel Trek

For centuries, up until the 1920s, the Gobi was traversed by camel caravans – mainly on the trade route between Urga (UB) and Beijing. We still think this is one of the best ways to experience the Gobi and it is a journey well worth the effort and the sense of peace you will experience amongst the dune landscapes is one rarely found in everyday life. 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.

The camel trek is designed for one day/one night. There will always be time for climbing and exploring the dunes – best at sunrise or sunset. The camel trek will be vehicle supported so if you need to hop off and take a break you can. On the afternoon of Day Six you will return to the family-operated ger camp.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Family Ger Camp
Basic

Family Ger Camp

Petroglyphs, Bayanzag and the 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.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Gelgegarash Ger Camp
Basic

Gelgegarash Ger Camp

Erdenedalai

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.

This is the first of EL’s own ger homestays in partnership with the herding families of Erdenedalai. We focused on a region little visited by other western groups as this meant our support would have more impact. The income raised from this homestay provides an additional income to the herding families that host you during your stay. We work side by side with the family making sure our experiences are put together in a way which benefits the families, rather than disrupting their lives. As our guest you benefit from a more intimate and genuine experience.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Erdenedalai Homestay
Simple

Erdenedalai Homestay

Khogno Khan Nature Reserve and the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

Drive to explore this sacred granite mountain. within an area of secluded valleys, fresh water springs, open steppe and the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. Khogno Khan Nature Reserve was taken under state protection partly due to the specialised taiga and steppe plants that grow in this area. The small but vital Tarna River provides an essential water source for the herders in the region.

Explore the hidden interiors of the mountain on an easy 3-hour hike to the small working temple of Erdene Khambiin Khid and the ruined Ovgon Khiid Monastery. A birch bordered path leads to this location and offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of the region.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tsenkher Homestay

Galdbadrakh and his family are members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh – an NGO that works solely with yak herders in Arkhangai Province helping them to produce spun yak down thus helping to sustain and improve the livelihoods of the member herders as it allows them to diversify and increase their income (the herders being paid the full value of their harvest for a higher price than the local market).

En-route, visit Kharkhorin – the ancient capital of Ogodei Khan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. You’ll spend time at Erdene Zuu – Mongolia’s oldest monastery and visit the excellent Kharkhorin Museum with its clear and updated exhibits based on the history surrounding the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empire. Even if history doesn’t really ‘grab’ you, we recommend a visit as it helps to bring the history of the area alive.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Galdbadrakh Homestay
Basic

Galdbadrakh Homestay

Terkhiin Tsgaaan Nuur National Park

Drive to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and explore the volcano that created this beautiful area with an alpine lake at its core. Then there’s a chance to enjoy the legendary hospitality of our great friends, Batbold and Jargaa who run the Surtiin Eco Ger Camp. Both have grown up in the region and are at the centre of this rural community and it is with them and the protected area rangers that we arrange our annual two-day community rubbish collection.

There’s then the choice of a day-trek on foot or by horse from Batbold and Jargaa’s home to our White Lake campsite – exploring this diverse lake land area – especially the ridge tops with their outstanding views over the surrounding mountains and the lake shore. A natural highlight of Mongolia, White Lake National Park encompasses an area of wild nature – volcanic craters, rugged mountains, river valleys and rolling steppe. If you prefer not to join on the trek, you can always travel with the drivers to our campsite and then enjoy your own freedom to explore from there.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Family Ger Camp
Basic

Family Ger Camp

Jargalant and Zuun Nuur

A majority of companies just drive straight on through, but the region connecting Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur with Khovsgol is one of our favourite areas. Perfect for a short slower drive and early arrivals at two of our favourite campsites. You will also visit Jargalant – a lovely rural community based along the Toin River Valley. Stunning views from the 108 Steps Temple.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khovsgol Nuur National Park

Khovsgol Nuur is known as Dalai Ej – Mother Sea to Mongolians. It is a spiritual place for Mongolians and its natural beauty makes it a stunning location to take a little time out.

Khovsgol is 126km in length and represents roughly 70% of Mongolia’s fresh water and is the younger sister to Lake Baikal in Siberia and part of the same Rift System. If the sky is clear, you can stand on the shoreline and see the snowcapped Sayan Mountains – the border with Siberia. It is truly spectacular.

On your second day, why not explore the Khoridol Saridag Mountains by hiking up the 2300m Chuchee Uul (above). Although an easy trail, it takes approximately 2.5 hours of walking (with approximately 700 metres of vertical climb) to get to the top with its remarkable view. However, even for those not keen on the 700 metres of climb you can still walk part way (still with views) or just enjoy walking along the lake shore with its lagoons.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Basic

Gurvan Erdene Ger Camp

Selenge River

Tonight you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular sunset view over this magnificent river valley and Mongolia’s principal river which flows into Lake Baikal. En-route, explore Murun – the lively capital town of Khovsgol Province which bears the hallmarks of being a trading outpost close to the border with Russian Siberia, in that it is slightly wild and rough around the edges. However, this adds to its charm and unique atmosphere – especially the bustling market in the centre of town.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Uran Togoo Volcano

Uran Togoo – Tulga Uul is a national protected area consisting of the extinct volcanoes of Uran Togoo, Tulga, Togoo, and Jalavch Uul. All four mountain names allude to their volcanic past with designations borrowed from around the fireplace – a bowl shape, three mounds reminding of the traditional iron tripod kettle support and a small pot. They are part of the Khanuy-Gol Volcanic Field which has 10 cones with heights of 30–190 metres.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Basic

Local Uran Togoo Hotel

Khustain Nuruu National Park

Rather than rushing back to UB and arriving late, spend one more night out in the Mongolian countryside. Tonight camp overlooking Khustai Nuruu and an expansive view of sand dunes, seasonal pasture and mountains. As this is your final night in ‘wild’ Mongolia, we suggest you spend a little time saying good-bye to the epic landscapes of this remarkable country. Why not watch the sunset from the nearest ridgeline – taking in the views out over the steppe and back across to the mountains.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Return back to UB where we’ll transfer you to your accommodation 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 Ulaanbaatar. Alternatively, one of our trip assistants could be made available but please let me know in advance.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...
  • Baga Gazriin Chuluu

    Baga Gazriin Chuluu

    ...
  • Dalanzadgad

    ...
  • Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    ...
  • Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes

    Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes

    ...
  • Flaming Cliffs

    Flaming Cliffs

    ...
  • Erdenedalai

    ...
  • Khogno Khan National Park

    Khogno Khan National Park

    ...
  • Khangai Mountains

    Khangai Mountains

    ...
  • Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

    Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

    ...
  • Jargalant

    Jargalant

    ...
  • Lake Khövsgöl

    Lake Khövsgöl

    ...
  • Murun

    ...
  • Uran Togoo

    Uran Togoo

    ...
  • Khustain Nuruu National Park

    Khustain Nuruu National Park

    ...

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
30 Jul 2022 21 Aug 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 $2,760 and $3,655 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 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.

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. Excludes accommodation in Ulaanbaatar at the start and end of your trip.

Learn more

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

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