Expedition Overview

Expedition Overview

SPECIAL OFFERS

Free Trekking Poles

Free trekking poles when you book your active expedition

Book your Active Expedition by November 30, 2018 to receive your trekking poles! To redeem this offer:

  • Call 888-689-2557 and reference the code TREK2018 to your travel specialist at the time of booking; or
  • Visit natgeoexpeditions.com/active, select your trip, and enter TREK2018 in the Promo Code field of the reservation form at the time of booking.

Offer Details:

  • Offer is valid for National Geographic Active Expeditions for new bookings made by November 30, 2018 for trips departing prior to October 20, 2019.
  • One pair of trekking poles/person on a booking, valid for up to two people traveling together.
  • Not valid on previously booked trips.
  • Valid for one-time use. Not redeemable for cash or cash equivalent.
  • The offer applies to bookings for active expeditions only.
  • Offer code may only be used at the time of booking.
  • View the Mongolian countryside from the perspective of a nomad, traveling primarily on horseback.
  • Listen to khoomii, or throat singing, at the National Dance Ensemble.
  • Experience the color, passion, and pageantry of a local Naadam festival.
  • Explore the 16th-century Erdene Zhu monastery and meet its head lama (his schedule permitting).

Itinerary

Itinerary

Immerse yourself in the Mongolian nomad’s timeless way of life. Set out on a four-day trek on horseback, riding through fields of wildflowers across the vast steppe to sacred Mandal Mountain. Settle into a ger camp and get to know our National Geographic and nomadic hosts. Spend time exploring the lush, beautiful valley on foot, visiting nomad families and enjoying the gentle rhythms of nomadic life. Go fishing in nearby rivers; try your hand at Mongolian archery; and get an intimate, authentic look at a regional Naadam festival at a small-village celebration.

Day 1: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, where our staff will meet you for the transfer to our hotel, located within walking distance of Sukhbaatar Square, museums, and shops. Following a full orientation with your fellow travelers and your guides, enjoy a Mongolian feast at a traditional restaurant.

Meals Included:Dinner
Accommodations:Tuushin Hotel
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar

Following breakfast this morning, explore Gandan monastery and the National Museum of Mongolia to learn about the rich cultures and traditions of Mongolia. After lunch, there is free time to shop or explore on your own. This evening, we will enjoy a magnificent National Dance Ensemble performance including the haunting sounds of khoomii, traditional throat singing, before dinner together in town.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Tuushin Hotel
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar/Kharkhorin

Today we journey west through vast grasslands, stopping for lunch in the Khagan Khan mountains, traveling through Elsen Tasarkhai, or “Little Gobi,” before arriving late afternoon in the town of Kaharkhorin. Nearby are the ruins of Karakoram, a legendary capital of the Mongolian empire, established by Genghis Khan and his son in the 13th century.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Ger Camp
Day 4: Kharkhorin/Bulgan Sum

Venture into Erdene Zhu monastery, built in the 16th century. One of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, Erdene Zhu has been a place of Buddhist activity for more than 400 years. His schedule permitting, enjoy a rare chance to meet Erdensuu, the head lama, who will talk to us about the Spirit of the Horse and Mongolia’s Buddhist renaissance. Later, settle into Lapis Sky camp in time for sunset and dinner.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 5: Bulgan Sum

Brush up on your horseback-riding skills and go for a warm-up ride in the valley of Teel. Visit with a nomad family and experience their way of life firsthand. (9 miles optional horse riding, 3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 6: Bulgan Sum

After breakfast, go fishing for grayling and lenok trout, or practice your aim with a bow and arrow. In the afternoon, hop on a horse and pay a visit to nomads camped nearby. Spend time in their gers, learning about their everyday customs. Tonight, gather for a Mongolian barbecue.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 7: Begin Horse Trek/Tolgin Butts

Saddle up this morning and set out on horseback across the sweeping steppe. We’ll ride about three hours to Tolgin Butts and camp in a lovely meadow setting. (9 miles horse riding, 3 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Camping
Day 8: Mandal Mountain

The second day of our horse trek is an invigorating five-hour ride over spectacular mountain passes and past Buddhist ovoos, ceremonial cairns often set in high places. In the afternoon, we’ll camp at the base of Mandal Mountain, a sacred place for the Mongols. (12 miles horse riding, 5 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Camping
Day 9: Mandal Mountain

Explore Mandal Mountain on foot, and attend a Buddhist ceremony at a sacred ovoo on top of the mountain. Enjoy the rest of the day at Mandal Mountain camp going for walks, fishing, or taking an optional horseback ride to visit with nomads. (3 miles optional horse riding, 1 hour)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 10: End Horse Trek/Bulgan Sum

Ride back across the steppe to Bulgam Sum today, or, if you wish, return by jeep. Settle into your gers at Lapis Sky camp and enjoy time to relax and refresh this afternoon before gathering for a hearty dinner in our dining ger. (21 miles optional horse riding, 4 hours)

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 11: Local Naadam Festival

Today, we take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience at a local Naadam festival near our camp. Naadam takes place every summer throughout Mongolia, pitting men and boys against each other in age-old contests of manliness and physical prowess. Young men train all year to compete in the three events: bareback horse racing, wrestling, and archery. Witness the excitement close-up, taking photographs in the middle of the action and even trying out some of the sports after the competition. Later, listen to a traditional morinkhuur, or horse-head fiddle concert, as you sit around the bonfire at camp.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 12: Lapis Sky Ger Gamp

Take advantage of a free day at Lapis Sky to soak up our peaceful surroundings. Set out on a final horseback ride, go for a hike or a fishing expedition, practice yoga or archery, pay a last visit with the nomads, or just relax at the camp.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Lapis Sky Ger Camp
Day 13: Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast, we begin our journey back to Ulaanbaatar, arriving in the early evening. We will stop along the way for lunch. After checking back in to our hotel, we will gather for a farewell dinner at a restaurant in town.

Meals Included:Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations:Tuushin Hotel
Day 14: Ulaanbaatar

Depart Ulaanbaatar after breakfast.

Meals Included:Breakfast