Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

Archaeological Treasures of Mongolia (14 days)

Nomadic Expeditions

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia To Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia


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 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. However, in spite of the government’s efforts to suppress Buddhism and other religious beliefs, Mongolia’s spirituality persisted and a signi cant 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 began training a new generation.

Experience these exciting developments rst-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, the teachings of the Buddha. Also visit 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 Gandan’s largest temples.

Next, drive east from Ulaanbaatar (2 hours) to the famed Tonyukuk Monument, one of the most valued archaeological sites of the early Mongolian Turkic nation. Erected in 744, the monument and nearby statues were built by a renowned scholar and statesman, and is inscribed with a brief history of the Turkic state. The statue is considered to be one of the world’s most signi cant examples of runic inscription. Return to Ulaanbaatar in the evening and enjoy dinner at a ne local restaurant.

Day 3
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


After breakfast, explore the National History Museum with a local historian to gain 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. Next, drive to Ulaan Herem (4-5 hours), a newly discovered archeological site from the period of Turkic tribes (VI-VIII century A.D). This is the first time a wall painting was found in Mongolia and this sensational discovery was made by a joint Mongolian- Kazakhstan team in the summer of 2011. Next, transfer to your ger camp located near an ancient ruin of the Har Buh Fortress (1 hour). Har Buh ruins date back to the time of Uighar’s domination (IX Century of A.D.) in central Asia. Overnight in ger camp.

Day 4
Orkhon, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


After breakfast, drive to Kultegin Monument via Ugii Lake (2 hours) and visit Kultegin Monument, erected during the Turkic Empire in the 8th century. Built in honor of a prince, this magni cent statue has been the subject of research by archeologists from around the world, and many roof tiles can be found during a walk in the area. Continue driving in the afternoon (1 hour) to Kharakhorum and Erdene Zuu Monastery.

The empire created by Chinggis Khan and his descendants was the largest contiguous land empire in recorded history, and its scope has never been matched. The great Khan’s son, Ogedei, created Kharakhorum to serve as the heart of this monolithic empire, and at the time it was one of the largest cities along the Silk Route. The capital was ultimately abandoned by Khublai Khan and later fell into ruin, and while only a few traces remain of this once great capital, Mongolia’s largest monastery – neighboring Erdene Zuu – was reputedly constructed from the ruins of Kharakhorum in the 16th century.

Erdene Zuu Monastery is surrounded by 108 stupas and has been a place of Buddhist activity for centuries. Explore the monastery grounds and observe the monks as they perform prayers and rituals in temples richly decorated with spectacular Buddhist art. Just behind the monastery compound, visit the site of archeological work being conducted by German archeologists at the former site of Kharakhorum. The entire foundation of a house with a brick stove was found about three meters beneath the ground. Among the most signi cant nds was a beautifully forged gold bracelet. Overnight in gers.

Day 5
Orkhon, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Begin the day driving west to the ruins of Har Balgas (2-3 hours) in the Orkhon Valley. Meaning “Black Ruins,” Har Balgas was the site of the 9th-century Uigur capital. After the decline of the Uigur Empire, the Uigur people moved southwards to China, near the Turfan depression, where they traded on the Silk Road. Chinggis Khan greatly admired the Uigurs and adopted their script as the official script of the Mongols, which is still used in Mongolia today.

Joint Russian-Mongolian archeological expeditions have studied Har Balgas since the late 19th century and believe the city was once a large settlement and walled fortress, stretching 25 km in length and comprising palaces, government buildings, and monasteries. Drive northwest to the village of Hoton Village, site of this journey’s first deer stone. Although half of the stone is missing, the locals brought the remaining part to their village for display and preservation. Twelve deer are among the beautiful carvings along all sides of the stone.

Continue to Tsenheriin Rashaan Hot Spring, located in the forested Khangai Mountains. Known for its high mineral content and rich therapeutic value, the Tsensheriin Hot Spring is a wonderful spot to relax, or from which to explore the area on horseback. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 6
Orkhon, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Wake up early for another day of exploration. Drive north to the town of Tsetserleg, the capital of Arhangai Province, one of the most beautiful and archaeologically rich areas of the Mongolian heartland. Arhangai Province is home to hundreds of ancient square burial mounds, deer stones, monuments, and petroglyphs. Stop at the 19th-century monument of “Maidar” Buddha, located on the bank of the South Tamir River, before visiting the picturesque Zayayn Gegeenii Temple and exploring a ‘wolf stone’ located in front of its main temple.

After lunch continue driving north to the Shivertiin Deer Stone site, crossing over Tsagaan Burgasnii Davaa Pass. Explore one of Mongolia’s most studied archaeological sites, where many second and third century stone burial mounds and deer stones have been found. One of the most notable is the square enthronement of a nobleman surrounded by deer stones. Overnight in gers.

Day 7
Orkhon, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


After an early breakfast, venture west towards the Chuluut River basin to visit a solitary deer stone. Four and a half feet high, this stone is decorated with a variety of elaborate patterns, daggers, belts, and deer. Arrive in the evening at Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake for dinner and overnight in gers.

Day 8
Orkhon, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Terkhiin Tsagaan, the “Great White Lake,” is the highlight of Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park, established for the conservation of spectacular mountain scenery and endangered flora and fauna. The lake was formed thousands of years ago when lava from the nearby Horgo Volcano owed into the Terkh River, creating a natural dam. Spend the afternoon exploring the nearby dormant Horgo Volcano and its unique caves on foot or horseback. Overnight in gers.

Day 9
Orkhon, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Continue driving northwards to Jargalant, crossing several mountain passes, including Mongolia’s highest, Tariat Pass. Stop along the way at the ruins of Ariin Huree. Although little remains of this monastery, you can see some remnants, including a staircase leading to a hilltop. Overnight in gers. Approx. 5 hours driving.

Day 10
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Drive towards Murun, the capital of Hovsgol Province, stopping to visit nomadic families. After visiting the local museum in Murun, continue to the Uushgiin Deer Stones, about 30 km to the west. Of the many magni cent deer stones in Hovsgol Province, Uushgiin is one of the highlights.

The Uushigiin Deer Stones are comprised of 14 remarkably preserved deer stones, lined up from north to south and often referred to as the “graveyard of deer stones.” The front stone is carved with a human face at the top, and is the only one of its kind. The renown of the Uushigiin Deer Stones has increased recently as a result of the Smithsonian Institute’s research at the site. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the monuments, which are decorated with deer, moons, suns, and various human accessories. Overnight in tents. Approximately 6 hours driving

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


Drive about 40 minutes north to the site of the Hyadagiin Deer Stones, ve well-preserved relics, some of which are an extraordinary nine feet tall. After a brief visit, continue driving to Lake Hosvgol (3.5 hours.) Mongolia’s largest lake by water volume, Hovsgol extends 125 km in length and 30 km in width, and is fed by over 90 streams and rivers. Water exits the lake through only one river, the Egiin, which eventually reaches Lake Baikal in neighboring Siberia. This crystal-clear alpine lake, known as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl,” is situated among some of the most pristine forests, mountains, and meadows in the world. Overnight in gers.

Day 12
Muren, Mongolia
Ger Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Spend the entire day exploring the lakeshore and surrounding mountains and meadows. There will be opportunities to visit local nomads’ dwellings, sample horseback riding, or sh for Siberian grayling and lenok (please bring your own rod and tackle). Overnight in gers.

Day 13
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast return to Murun for the afternoon ight to Ulaanbaatar. Stop along the way for a picnic lunch at Lake Irkh, a small lake in the midst of the steppe that attracts a variety of birds. Upon arriving in Ulaanbaatar in the late afternoon transfer to the hotel. Enjoy dinner at a ne local restaurant.

Day 14
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
None Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for departure.

Tour Features


  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing
  • Wildlife & Nature


An exploration of Mongolia’s ancient history and unforgettable landscapes, this overland expedition passes through vast grasslands and forested mountains to the sites of fascinating archaeological treasures. Monuments to heroic deeds, mysterious stone carvings, and the ruins of the capitals of once-great empires await discovery on this remarkable journey.

Travelers will explore ancient burial sites, stone men, the ruins of legendary cities, and nely rendered deer stones erected thousands of years ago by Turkic-Mongol tribes. Amidst the stunning scenery of Mongolia’s lakes, mountains, and steppes, Archaeological Treasures of Mongolia provides a unique perspective of the country’s history and culture.

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.

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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