Trip Overview

Travel to Mongolia, a land where time has stood still with landscapes that appear today much as they did when Genghis Khan led his horde across its plains 800 years ago. Mongolia holds some of the last true wilderness areas on Earth; vast tracts that are utterly untamed, untouched, untrodden, unfenced, and unspoiled.

Gobi Desert

The austere beauty of the Gobi Desert in the south is matched by the awesome breadth of the oceanic grasslands on the central steppe and by the grandeur of the 14,000-foot Altai Mountains in the far west. Also frozen in time are the traditional lifestyles of the nomadic pastoralists that still live here. Explore their magnificent country and share meals with them before retiring each night in the comfort of your own ger, the time-tested, portable shelters designed centuries ago, and still used today.

Arrive early or stay late at the Gobi Desert’s Flaming Cliffs, so named for the ruddy bluffs that seem to glow in the sunlight at the beginning and end of each day. Of all the world’s arid lands, Mongolia’s Gobi Desert (which means simply “desert”) has about it the greatest air of mystery. The Gobi holds many fascinations including sites of some of the most important paleontological discoveries of this century. The Flaming Cliffs, also known as Bayan Zag, are famous for yielding the first discovery of dinosaur eggs. The red-orange color of the sandstone cliffs, give them their name.

Watch breathlessly as some of the world’s finest horsemen thunder by and let fly their arrows in astonishing feats of archery. Follow traditional Mongolian Eagle Hunters as they ride out with their trained eagles in search of quarry. Learn about the woman who, while still a young girl, broke an ancient gender barrier by becoming the first Eagle Huntress in the world.

Ulannbaatar

Begin your adventure in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. The contrast between ancient traditions and the dawning of a 21st-century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries coexist with modern high-rises. Visit the Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia, and explore the monastery grounds, where you will hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras (teachings of the Buddha).

Tolbo Lake

Head west to Tolbo Lake and explore the rugged Altai Mountains, home to eagle hunters who still practice a centuries-old tradition (named a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Site). This isolated area has preserved the language, culture, and traditions of the Kazakhs and provides some of the most spectacular scenery in Mongolia. You will have ample opportunity to meet local families and experience the unique Kazakh culture, including learning about the art of the Kazakh women and the ancient tradition of hunting with eagles. The Altai mountains have an array of habitats and are home to diverse fauna, including the Siberian ibex, moose, forest reindeer, Siberian musk deer, and Siberian roe deer.

Stay in the Three Camel Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World to experience a luxurious version of a traditional nomadic yurt.

While in the Gobi, attend the local Naadam Festival celebrations. Naadam is the most widely watched festival among Mongols, and is believed to have existed for centuries. Naadam has its origin in sporting competitions such as archery, horseback riding, and wrestling.

Visit a nomadic family living nearby the lodge where you will spend an entire day learning to make traditional handicrafts. Begin with a hands-on lesson on thread making and spinning wool. Afterward, learn about felt making and how felt is used as an insulator for gers and as a textile for clothing and boots.

Near the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, drive to Hustain Nuruu National Park, home to the last remaining species of wild horse, the takhi – commonly known as Przewalski’s horse. Twenty-five years after becoming extinct in the wild, the takhi was reintroduced to the Mongolian steppe from zoo populations. Learn about current conservation efforts and the status of the herds found within the reserve at the visitor’s center, before trying to spot these beautiful horses in their natural habitat.

Main Attractions

  • Meet Kazakh eagle hunters to learn about their ancient practice of training and hunting with golden eagles
  • Witness live horseback riding, wrestling, and archery competitions at an authentic local Naadam festival in the Gobi Desert
  • Spend time with a local nomadic family for a demonstration on making traditional handicrafts and felt products
  • Look for dinosaur fossils at Flaming Cliffs, a site for important paleontological discoveries.
 

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Handicrafts
  • Local Delicacies
  • National Parks
  • Natural History
  • Spa Element
  • Walking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar
The contrast between ancient traditions and the dawning of a 21st century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries coexist with modern high-rises.

You will be picked up at the Ulaanbaatar Airport by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Spend the evening relaxing after your long flights. Meals will be on your own today as you rest after your journey to Mongolia.

Overnight: Best Western Premier Tuushin

 

 

Day 2

Ulaanbaatar
Begin the day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Woven through Mongolia’s nomadic culture is a rich Tibetan-Buddhist tradition with ancient Shamanist practices still evident. Explore the monastery grounds, where you will hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and can observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras (teachings of the Buddha). Continue to the recently renovated Chenrezi and Kalachakra Temples, as well as the magnificent statue of Migjid Janraisig (“the lord who looks in every direction”). This 82-foot high statue, gilded in pure gold and clothed with silk and precious stones, completely fills one of the Gandan’s biggest temples.

Visit the National History Museum for an excellent overview of Mongolia’s history and culture. The newly remodeled museum displays traditional implements of daily nomadic life including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, sacred religious relics, and agricultural, fishing, and hunting equipment.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

This afternoon, visit the Mongolain Art Gallery which was started in order to encourage and promote local artists to showcase their talents. The gallery is home to many works of modern and contemporary artists that depict images representing a country emerging from a rigid socialist tradition to a free
democracy confronting globalization. The collection includes traditional paintings, figurative pieces, and contemporary sculptures.

Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening with your group!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Best Western Tuushin Hotel

Day 3

Ulaanbaatar to Tsambagarav Mountain
Fly from Ulaanbaatar to Ulgii this morning. The flight is about three hours.

Upon arrival in Ulgii, drive through stunning mountain valleys to your camp which is located at the base of the permanently snow-capped Tsambagarav Mountain (13,783 ft). This mountain valley is home to two ethnic monorities of Mongolia: the Kazakhs and the Uuld people. Your camp sits in the autumn pasture of the Uulds, a Mongol-speaking people belonging to the Oirat ethnic group. They still use animals for carrying loads, and they are very proud of their rich history and the Uuld king Amarsanaa Khan, who led the rebellion against the Qin Dynasty’s invasion of Mongolia.

After lunch, explore the surrounding area on foot.

After settling into your camp, head out on a short hike to explore the surrounding area followed by dinner at your camp.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Tent with Sleeping Bag

Day 4

Altai Mountains
The Altai Mountains, in Central and East Asia, are where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan come together, and are where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their headwaters. “Altai” means “Gold Mountain” in Mongolian. The Altai mountains have an array of habitats and are home to diverse fauna, including the Siberian ibex, moose, forest reindeer, Siberian musk deer, and Siberian roe deer.

Learn about the ancient tradition of hunting with eagles. Kazakh hunters ride dressed in traditional dark coats and scarlet hats with eagles perched on their arms. Weighing as much as fifteen pounds, these magnificent birds are trained from a young age to respond to hand signals and return to their owners after capturing small game.

After lunch with the group, you will witness the horsemanship of the local nomads as they demonstrate how they lasso horses and ride bareback. Join in the fun as you watch several local games that involve riding horses.

Enjoy another dinner at camp tonight.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Tent with Sleeping Bag

Day 5

Altai Mountains to Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar is one of the oldest reserves in the world; it has been protected by law since the 18th century. The forests of the mountains surrounding Ulaanbaatar are composed of evergreen pines, deciduous larches, and birches, while the riverine forest of the Tuul River is composed of broad-leaved, deciduous poplars, elms, and willows. Ulaanbaatar lies on roughly the same latitude as Vienna, Munich, Orléans, and Seattle, and roughly the same longitude as Chongqing, Hanoi, and Jakarta.

Fly back to Ulaanbaatar where you will be transferred to your hotel to check in and have lunch before having some time to relax this afternoon.

Enjoy dinner on your own this evening.
Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight: Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel

 

Day 6

Ulaanbaatar to the Gobi Desert
Fly from Ulaanbaatar to the Gobi Desert. Drive to Yol Valley National Park, cradled between the foothills of the Altai Mountains. An ancient river carved this surprisingly green valley. Now, its remnant streams create ice formations at the base of the valley that sometimes persist as late as July.

Drive to Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia’s premier eco-lodge, where you will settle in and enjoy lunch.

Spend the evening exploring the surrounding area on foot. You may want to enjoy a massage or a drink in the lounge before eating dinner at the lodge.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Three Camel Lodge

Day 7

Gobi Desert
Naadam is the most widely watched festival among Mongols, and is believed to have existed for centuries. Naadam has its origin in sporting competitions such as archery, horseback riding and wrestling, that followed the celebration of various occasions, including weddings or spiritual gatherings. It later served as a way to train soldiers for battle. The three games of wrestling, horse racing and archery are called “Danshig” games.

Attend the local Naadam Festival celebrations. Wrestling, horse racing, and archery are the three age-old competitions traditionally used to measure the courage and strength of nomads and warriors. Afterwards, enjoy lunch with the group.

If time permits, you will visit Havsgait late this afternoon to see ancient petroglyphs of the Gobi which can be seen clearly when the sun hits the rocks at just the right angle. The hike to the top of the mountain is over steep and loose gravel covered ground.

Enjoy dinner at the lodge tonight.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Three Camel Lodge

 

 

Day 8

Gobi Desert
After breakfast, drive to visit a nomadic family living nearby the lodge where you will spend an entire day learning to make traditional handicrafts. Begin with a hands-on lesson on thread making and spinning wool. Afterwards, learn about felt making and how felt is used as an insulator for gers and as textile for clothing and boots. Making felt is a time-consuming process and is customarily done in conjunction with other families. Felt is first beaten by hand with wooden sticks to break down the fiber and aides in the removal or dirt deep in the wool. Afterwards, water is applied and the felt mass is rolled tightly into a long column and dragged across the ground by horse in order to join the fibers. When the felt is rolled out, it is dried in the sun and ready for household use. Have lunch before heading back to the lodge.

Enjoy dinner and then take the evening to relax at the lodge.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Three Camel Lodge

Day 9

Gobi Desert
Moltsog Els is one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. Explore the sand dunes on foot or on back of a Bactrian camel. You will also have the opportunity to visit a local camel herding family and experience their hospitality.

Learn to make delicious Mongolian Buuz (dumplings) and Khuushuur at the lodge.

In the evening, drive to Bayan Zag, commonly known as the Flaming Cliffs, to experience the orange glow of its rock at dawn and dusk. It was here in 1923 that Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the first nest of dinosaur eggs. Although not obvious to the untrained eye, the Flaming Cliffs are rich with dinosaur fossils and have been the site of important paleontological discoveries.

Enjoy dinner at the lodge tonight
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Three Camel Lodge

Day 10

Gobi Desert to Ulaanbaatar
Leave the Gobi Desert and fly back to Ulaanbaatar this morning.

MIM is a Mongolian and Irish collaboration that was formed to encourage and empower Mongolian women and their families. At MIM, Mongolian women are trained in the traditional felt-making skills as part of Asral NGO’s sustainable training program. With the support from the Irish government and the Dalai Lama, MIM’s hand crafted products have become identified as the highest quality felt in Mongolia.

Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

This evening, enjoy a traditional Mongolian Dance and Khoomi throat singing performance at a local theatre.

Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening and celebrate the end of an exceptional trip.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel

 

 

Day 11

Ulaanbaatar and Depart
Enjoy one last morning in Ulaanbaatar before departing for the US.

Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you transfer to the airport for your flights home.
Breakfast

Please note: AdventureWomen will attempt to adhere to the itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, and cultural) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. AdventureWomen reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participants.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Mongolia



Arrival and Departure Information

June 18, 2023 Departure

Arrive: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (UBN) on June 18, 2023 on either Air China via Beijing that arrives in Ulaanbaatar at 10:50 AM or Korean Air via Seoul that arrives at 10:30 PM.

Depart: Depart Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (UBN) on June 28, 2023 on either Air China that departs around 12:00PM or Korean Air which departs at 11:30 PM.

 

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Preparation and Packing  

Please use the following guides as a reference when preparing for your adventure. We also encourage you to adapt the guides to your travel style as well as the destination’s forecasted weather.  

Gratuities  

Gratuities are highly trip-dependent and details will be provided to you prior to departure. As a general reference, AdventureWomen suggests $200-250 (or more) for gratuities on most trips. As always, tipping is at your discretion. 

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Activity Level

We rate this trip as Moderate. Our Moderate adventures exercise your mind more than your body and are designed for women who prefer a leisurely, less rigorous experience. For example, you could walk up to 2 miles per day through cities and villages, stand in museums for a few hours, relax on a boat, or view wildlife from a vehicle. Please note that this is a general description of what you might encounter; for specific details about your trip, please consult the itinerary.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission!) to make the most of your adventure. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more on the FitForTrips website.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to Mongolia, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about Mongolia.

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

The deposit for this trip is $800, and is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (Photo Page)
  • Supplemental Release for COVID

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer). A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes your deposit.

Final Payment Due Date: March 20, 2023

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • Accommodations as per itinerary based on double occupancy
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guide(s) throughout the trip
  • All ground transportation
  • Activities as indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinking water available in large jugs to refill personal bottles
  • All gratuities except guide and driver

 

Not Included

  • International airfare
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Optional activities
  • Alcoholic beverages (unless otherwise specified)
  • Fees for passports, visas, or immunizations, or travel insurance
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for main guide and driver

 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel

Centrally located in Ulaanbaatar, the Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel is within walking distance of many of the attractions in the city. The comfortable rooms are an excellent place to relax between forays into the countryside.

Amenities: soap, shampoo, conditioner, hairdryer, electricity with outlet adapters, WiFi

Tent With Sleeping Bag

Your tents are Cabela's Alaskan walk-in tents. Each tent has a foldable camp cot (two in a double tent and one in a single tent). You will be provided with an inflatable air mattress, and a Creek wenzel sleeping bag with a cotton sleeping bag liner. There are separate toilet (bio-chemical, pump-flush toilet) and shower tents (solar-heated water).

Three Camel Lodge

The remote location of Three Camel Lodge is not for the impatient traveler, but those seeking a true escape which will be richly rewarded. Three Camel Lodge offers a luxurious take on the traditional nomadic lifestyle. Built in the heart of the Gobi Desert according to environmentally and culturally sustainable development guidelines, the Three Camel Lodge offers a blend of adventure and sophistication, combining traditional style with
superb service to create the ultimate expedition experience.

Amenities: private bathroom with walk-in shower, bathrobe

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686