Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

From Yak to Kayak (13 days)

Nomadic Expeditions

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia To Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar None

The contrast between ancient traditions and a 21st-century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries sit side by side with modern high-rises. Upon arrival at the airport you are welcomed by your Mongolian guide and transferred to a centrally located hotel within walking distance of various museums and shops.

Day 2
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin the day with a visit to Choijin Lama Temple Museum. Located amidst the modern high rises, one of the architectural gems of Mongolia was originally built by the order of the last king of Mongolia the Bogd Khaan dedicated to his brother and the state oracle Luvsan Haidav Choijin Lama. Choijin is an honorary title given to the high rank monks. Consisting of a group of five temples, the Choijin Lama Temple museum houses various Buddhist artifacts dating back to 1800–1900s, including the masterpieces of the famous Mongolian sculptor Zanabazar, some fine thangkas, and the best collection of tsam masks for the religious ceremonies in the country.

After lunch drive to Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Named in honor of Zanabazar, the renowned 17th-century artist and politician who was the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia, the museum contains one of the best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts in the world, including many of Zanabazar’s original works. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3
Muren, Mongolia
Local Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Begin the day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Although Buddhist monasteries were either destroyed or converted into museums during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, Gandan Monastery continued to operate as a showpiece for government officials. In spite of the government’s efforts to suppress Buddhism and other religious beliefs, Mongolia’s spirituality persisted and a significant resurgence of Buddhism began in 1990 when Mongolia became a democracy. Monasteries across the country are again opening their doors to worshippers, and the few lamas who survived the purges are training a new generation. Experience these exciting developments first-hand at Gandan Monastery. Strolling through the monastery grounds, 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 and the teachings of the Buddha. Visit the recently renovated Chenrezig and Kalachakra Temples, as well as the magnificent statue of Megjid Janraisig, “the lord who looks in every direction.” This 82-foot high statue, gilded and clothed with silk and precious stones, completely fills one of Gandan’s temples.

After lunch, fly north to Murun (1.5 hours), the capital of Hovsgol Province, and continue overland to Lake Hovsgol (approximately 4 hours), experiencing the Mongolian steppe land, forested mountains, and passing by the Uushgiin Deer stones. Mongolia’s largest lake by water volume, it extends 85 miles in length and 18 miles in width, and is fed by over 90 streams and rivers. Water exits the lake through only one river, the Egiin, whose waters eventually reach Lake Baikal in neighboring Siberia. Known as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl,” Lake Hovsgol is situated among some of the most pristine forests, mountains, and meadows in the world. Bird life and wildflowers abound, and there will be ample opportunity to discover the lake’s secrets in the following days. Overnight at ger camp.

Day 4
Muren, Mongolia
Local Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Horse trek, Khoridal Saridag Mountains Begin the horse trek into the forested peaks of the Khoridal Saridag Mountains. Bordering the western shore of Lake Hovsgol, the mountains offer spectacular views of the lake and surrounding forests. Overnight in tents. Guides will set up tents for every two people, outfitted with high-quality sleeping bags and mats.

Day 5
Muren, Mongolia
Local Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kayaking on Lake Return to Murun for an afternoon flight to Ulaanbaatar. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way at Lake Irkh, a small pristine lake in the midst of the steppe that attracts a variety of birds. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar in the late afternoon, transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel. ovsgol After breakfast, return by horse to the base camp and enjoy an afternoon of kayaking on Lake Hovsgol using quality one and two-person Folbot™ expedition kayaks. Explore the shoreline and photograph the surrounding mountains from the lakeside. Return to the base camp in the late afternoon. Overnight in gers.

Day 6
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Return to Murun for an afternoon flight to Ulaanbaatar. Stop for a picnic lunch along the way at Lake Irkh, a small pristine lake in the midst of the steppe that attracts a variety of birds. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar in the late afternoon, transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Gobi | Yol Valley National Park In the morning, fly over vast steppes to the Gobi (1.5 hours), Mongolia’s southernmost province of semi-arid desert. Contrary to the sameness that the word ‘desert’ suggests, the Gobi is a fascinating and diverse region, and includes the most important paleontological discoveries of the 20th century. Explore the stunning landscapes of the Gobi, a habitat for Bactrian camels, Argali mountain sheep, goitered gazelle, Golden Eagles, Saker Falcons, jerboas (similar to kangaroo rats), and many endemic reptiles. The Gobi is also home to some of the Northern Hemisphere’s most rare and elusive mammals, such as the dhole, snow leopard, wild camel, and Gobi bear. Upon arrival, drive to Yol Valley National Park (45 minutes), cradled in the foothills of the Altai Mountains. An ancient river carved this surprisingly green valley, and its remnant streams create ice formations at the base of the valley that persist as late as July. Hike through the valley to the habitat of indigenous vulture-like Lammergeiers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks, and Argali mountain sheep, before driving to the Three Camel Lodge (2.5 hours), an award-winning eco-lodge located near Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. sites of some of

Day 8
Bulgan, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Moltsog Els | Flaming Cliffs Begin the day with a drive to Moltsog Els (1.5 hours), one of the few regions of the Gobi covered by sand dunes. After exploring the area continue to the legendary Flaming Cliffs (1 hour), named for the red-orange sandstone that glows brilliantly at sunrise and sunset. 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 the world had ever seen. To the trained eye, the ancient rock formations of the Flaming Cliffs are rich with fossils, and paleontological expeditions continue to make significant discoveries at this site. After a picnic lunch, meet the camel wranglers and become familiarized with the camels and riding equipment before beginning a camel trek across the Gobi towards Tugrugiin Shiree. Overnight in tents.

Day 9
Bulgan, Mongolia
Three Camel Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Camel Trek to Tugrugiin Shiree Wake early to the sight of the sun rising over the vast Gobi landscape. After breakfast, continue by camel, the traditional mode of transport in the Gobi, to Tugrugiin Shiree, the site where the famous “Fighting Dinosaurs” fossil of a Protoceratops and Velociraptor locked in combat was discovered in the 1970s. Explore this white-sandstone escarpment and nearby sand dunes. Return to the Three Camel Lodge in the afternoon, stopping to visit Bulgan, a small town near a natural spring. Bulgan has one of the only farms in the Gobi, which supplies local ger camps with fruits and vegetables – an example of local businesses supported by ecotourism. Arrive at the Lodge in time for dinner and overnight.

Day 10
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ulaanbaatar Transfer to the local airport for the return flight to Ulaanbaatar. In the afternoon, visit Bogd Khan Winter Palace Museum, home of Mongolia’s last theocrat, Bogd Jabzan Damba Hutagt VIII. The museum displays elaborate ceremonial robes and other personal effects of “Mongolia’s 8th Living Buddha.” In the evening enjoy dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 11
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hustain Nuruu National /hustain nuruu national park | ulaanbaatar Continue exploring the park on foot in the morning. After lunch, drive back to Ulaanbaatar and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and khoomi throat singers followed by a farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel. Park In the morning, drive to Hustain Nuruu National Park (2 hours), 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 by the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of Przewalski’s Horse. Sixteen horses were flown from the Netherlands to Mongolia in 1994, and around 280 now roam the re-introduction sites in Hustain Nuruu. 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.

Day 12
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hustain Nuruu National Park | Ulaanbaatar Continue exploring the park on foot in the morning. After lunch, drive back to Ulaanbaatar and spend the rest of the afternoon at leisure. In the evening, enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and khoomi throat singers followed by a farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 13
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
None Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature

Description

From Yak to Kayak is one of our most unique adventures, exploring the diverse landscapes of Mongolia with traditional modes of transport. Kayak across the pristine waters of Lake Hovsgol, considered to be the cleanest freshwater lake on Earth, and travel on horseback through the forested mountains surrounding its shores. In the south, camel trek through the mysterious Gobi, an incredible region of canyons, sand dunes, and a deep desert valley sheltering frozen rivers and rare wildlife.During horse trekking days, approximately four to six hours will be spent in the saddle atop Mongolian horses – small steeds legendary for their sturdy build, stamina, and ability to negotiate difficult terrain. The kayaking portion of the trip will feature two to four hours of kayaking on Lake Hovsgol in quality one- and two-person Folbot™ expedition kayaks. Riding two-humped Bactrian camels through the Gobi is easier than riding horses and requires no prior skill, but it is an experience never to be forgotten.

About Us

Nomadic Expeditions is an award-winning tour operator that has been crafting trips of a lifetime to Mongolia, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Siberia, Sri Lanka, and India for 25 years. Founded by Mongolian-American Jalsa Urubshurow, Nomadic Expeditions pioneered luxury adventure travel to Mongolia shortly after its democratization in 1990. As developers and owners of the Three Camel Lodge, Nomadic Expeditions continues its commitment to providing exceptional experiences coupled with sustainability in this hidden corner of the world.

Insider Tip

Ask us about the remote luxury private camp in remote corners of Mongolia

Terms & Conditions

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to Nomadic Expeditions. Cancellation charges are based on the number of days from the date we receive the written cancellation notice until the main trip departure date.

Cancellation charges:

  • 90 days or more Full Deposit
  • 89-60 days 25% of land
  • 59-30 days 50% of land
  • 29-0 days No refund
  • After trip departs - No refund

In addition, any unrecoverable charges or fees imposed by suppliers or vendors on advance payments will be assessed. Airfares are refundable in accordance with the policy of the airline carrier being used, subject to a $50 handling charge. If full payment is not received 90 days prior to departure, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to consider this a cancellation. A Late Payment Fee will apply to all payments made less than 90 days prior to departure. Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to cancel or postpone any travel services prior to departure for any reason, including insufficient number of participants. In the event that a trip cannot depart on the dates specified due to unforeseeable events that render the itinerary inoperable or inadvisable, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to postpone services until such time as it is deemed appropriate by Nomadic Expeditions. Trip payments will be held by Nomadic Expeditions, and subject to the same conditions as for the original scheduled trip. Nomadic Expeditions is not responsible for any unrecoverable expenses incurred by trip participants due to trip cancellation or postponement, including non-refundable airline tickets, medical expenses and visa fees, or additional arrangements, made either through Nomadic Expeditions or another provider, purchased to coincide with this scheduled departure. This trip is subject to the cancellation, refund, and other policies set forth on our Departure Guide. We urge you to read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions.



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Highly Recommended

By: CW


Reviewed on: 02 May 2014

The tour group offered helpful advice about Mongolia and organized a VIP immigration service on arrival in Ulaanbaatar. The guide was experienced and very friendly and worked hard to get me to see all the sights I wanted to see (quite a feat as I tend to want to see everything).
Travel Advisor:  Ilana Valo