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Mongolia: Land of the Nomad

     
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Amid the stark beauty of Mongolia's varied landscapes lives one of the world's last surviving nomadic cultures, whose customs pre-date the age of Genghis Khan. On a journey from the mystical steppe to the remote dunes of the Gobi desert, witness an ancient way of life. Ride horseback across wetlands, hike in a dramatic oasis, and watch the sun set on the Flaming Cliffs. Stay in traditional ger camps and witness the exhilarating contests of the Naadam Festival.

 12 places   |  959 miles (1.543 km)   |  visibility: public   |  created 52 months ago   |  2,968 views   |  1 follower   |  0 copies

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  • Days 1-3 Depart on an overnight flight to Ulaanbaatar and check into our centrally located hotel upon arrival. Attend the opening ceremony of Naadam. Witness a wrestling competition, then head into the countryside to watch the traditional horse race. Later, enjoy a welcome reception and dinner at the hotel.
    • Day 4 Join a senior U.S Embassy official for an introduction to the current political and economic climate over breakfast. Then drive east to Gün-Galuut, a nature reserve near the Khentii Mountains where the steppe converges with stunning wetlands. Enjoy the rest of the day to explore the area on a hike or an optional horseback ride. Tonight, stay in a traditional ger camp and enjoy a typical barbeque dinner
      • Day 5 Return to Ulaanbaatar, stopping en route at the new monument of Genghis Khan on horseback. Rising high above the surrounding fields, the 40-foot tall monument symbolizes the revival of Mongolia’s rich heritage, which had been suppressed during the Soviet era. After lunch in Ulaanbaatar, examine the fossilized dinosaur bones and eggs found in the Gobi at the Natural History Museum, and step into the paleontology lab, where local scientists prepare recently discovered fossils.
        • Day 6 Soar over the vast steppe on a flight to the mystical Gobi desert, site of some of the most important paleontological discoveries of the 20th century. Over the next four days, discover the wildlife and varying landscapes of the desert, home to Bactrian camels, Argali mountain sheep, and saker falcons, as well as rare species such as snow leopards and Gobi bears.
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            Lat/Lng: 44.087585028245 , 103.68347167969
            Day 6 Settle into your deluxe ger at Three Camel Lodge, voted in 2009 one of the Top 50 Eco-lodges by National Geographic Adventure magazine.
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              Lat/Lng: 44.148710425584 , 103.68347167969
              Travel to the legendary Flaming Cliffs, where brilliant red sandstone harbors a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils and eggs.
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                Lat/Lng: 43.771589648827 , 103.53240966797
                Day 7 Awaken early to watch the rising sun infuse the desert with glowing hues of orange and gold. Travel to Yolyn Am, or Eagle Valley, a dramatic chasm that cuts a narrow path through the foothills of the arid Altai Mountains. Set out on a hike through this lush spot, keeping your eye out for native vultures called lammergeiers, ibex, and gazelles. Stop for a picnic lunch before visiting the local natural history museum.
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                  Lat/Lng: 43.815702150529 , 103.13896179199
                  Day 8 Depart on an overnight excursion, visiting the Gegeet Valley, the habitat of the elusive snow leopard, en route to the Khongoryn Els, a 60-mile stretch of rippling sand dunes that soar up to 600 feet and trace the edge of the Altai range. Take in the sunset on this stunning and remote desert landscape and spend the night in a nearby ger camp.
                  • Day 9 After breakfast, encounter the “Singing Sands,” dunes known for the uncanny, deep groan the sand emits when the dunes’ surface is disturbed. Stop in at the camp of a camel herding family and experience traditional Mongolian hospitality. Take a ride on a Bactrian camel if you wish. Head back to the Three Camel Lodge after lunch.
                    • Day 10 Fly to Ulaanbaatar this morning, arriving in time for lunch at a local restaurant. Then venture into the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, home of Mongolia’s last theocrat, Bogd Jebtzun Damba Hutagt VIII (Mongolia’s 8th Living Buddha). In the evening, take in a performance of traditional Mongolian dance and khoomi, or throat singing.
                      • Day 11 After breakfast, travel to our ger camp in Hustain Nuruu National Park. Mongolia’s last remaining species of wild horse, the takhi, commonly known as Przewalski’s horse, was extinct in the wild until a small population was reintroduced into Hustain Nuruu in 1994. Now, nearly 400 horses roam re-introduction sites in Mongolia and China. Stop in at the visitor’s center to learn about conservation efforts and then set out into the park in search of these beautiful creatures.
                        • Day 12 After breakfast, return to Ulaanbaatar. Then, spend the morning at the Gandan Monastery, Mongolia’s largest functioning Buddhist monastery—one of very few to survive Stalin’s crackdown on religion during the purges of the 1930s. Listen to the horns calling lamas to temple, observe the monks’ daily rituals, and visit the adjoining Megjid Janraisig and Kalachakra Temples. This afternoon, get an overview of Mongolia’s history and culture at the remodeled National History Museum, where Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, sacred relics, traditional costumes, and implements of everyday life are on display. Tonight, cap off your adventure with a festive farewell dinner at the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Named for the first Buddhist leader of Mongolia—a renowned 17th-century sculptor, artist, and politician—the museum displays one of the world’s best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts, including many of Zanabazar’s original works.
                          •  total distance: 959 miles (1.543 km)

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