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jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk

This trip explores the diversity of Mongolia’s immense and powerful landscapes. As you head west out of Ulaanbaatar, you explore alpine lakes, river valleys, mountains, open steppe grasslands and sand dunes. The diversity of landscapes in such close relation is matched by few other places in the world.

Combined with homestays with local families within these epic landscapes and wild camping, this makes for an exciting and original road trip.

Destinations
Mongolia
Activity
Active, Overlanding, Camping, Horseback Riding, Nature & Wildlife, Birdwatching, National Parks, Culture, Indigenous Tourism, Responsible Travel, Community-led Tourism, Solo Travel
Tour Type
Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour
Physical Level
Mild

Good to know

  • Explore Mongolia's diverse landscape
  • Homestays with local families
  • Book with flexibility & confidence: advanced Covid-19 protocols in place

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

This is a customisable trip

Use the following itinerary for inspiration. Remember: all days, hotels and activities can be altered to suit your requirements. A Eternal Landscapes travel specialist will be happy to advise.

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

After arriving in Ulaanbaatar, the informal and relaxed city walking tour will give you a contrasting insight into a way of life, compared to that of the rural population as you spend the day in the company of your Mongolian trip assistant, exploring the city. You’ll also meet and spend time at the home of female shaman Javzandulam, learning more about her life and her work.

Included meals: Lunch

Orkhon River Valley Homestay

Drive to the home of Tumee and Jargaa – a herding family and strong part of the local community who move up to six times a year around the Orkhon River.

The Orkhon River Valley is one of Mongolia’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the region is considered the cradle of Mongolian civilisation and an area rich in nomadic life as the Orkhon River provides an essential lifeline for nomads and their livestock.

On the second day, there is nothing pre-planned as everyone is different in what they like to do and leaving the plan flexible leads to a more respectful and more naturally Mongolian experience. But there’s plenty of flexibility and options. Ideas include visiting Kharkhorin, exploring the area on a horse trek, experiencing the way of life of the family or a mix.

Kharkhorin is the ancient capital of Ogodei Khan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. Visit Erdene Zuu, the Kharkhorin Museum with its exhibits based on the history surrounding the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empire.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Orkhon River Valley Homestay
Basic

Orkhon River Valley Homestay

Suman Gol

Continue on to Suman Gol where you will stay with Dondov, another member of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh. He is also a small market gardener and a local historian.

Don’t try to find this location in a guidebook – you won’t. But, although basic, the location of Dondov’s small camp comes as a good surprise – next to the river and part of the Tariat volcanic field. There are petroglyphs to explore as well as the lava terraces. For those interested, only 1% of Mongolia’s landmass is dedicated to crops and here you can learn from Dondov more about the challenges of growing vegetables in the harsh terrain of Mongolia.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Dondov Gers
Basic

Dondov Gers

Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

Drive to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and explore the volcano that created this beautiful area with an alpine lake at its core. Then continue your journey around the north side of the lake to our campsite. This is the region where we conduct our annual two-day community clean-up.

Our campsite is perfectly located for exploring this diverse lake area – especially the ridge tops with their outstanding views over the surrounding mountains and the lake shore. A natural highlight of Mongolia, White Lake National Park encompasses an area of wild nature – volcanic craters, rugged mountains, river valleys and rolling steppe.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Telmen Nuur

Head west into the vast plains of Zavkhan Province – the valleys around this region are magnificent – tranquil and serene. Telmen Nuur is a shallow salt lake with peninsulas, salt marshes and sand dunes. It is one of Mongolia’s 70 Important Bird Areas and has three small islands where water birds such as Ruddy Shelduck can gather in vast numbers. One reason why we love this lake is that it feels a little bit like the lake and its atmosphere resembles the sea.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khar Nuur

Continue to the glorious Khar Nuur. Zavkhan Aimag occupies a transitional zone between the Khangai Mountains and the Great Lakes Depression. Khar Nuur is a combination of both these zones – an alpine lake surrounded by the Bor Khyarin sand dunes. The contrasting landscapes are completely unexpected and wonderful to explore and you have complete freedom to do so.

Then travel through the centre of Zavkhan Province and a series of sand dunes centring around the community of Erdenekhairkhan where you will spend time exploring the landscapes including the spectacular Mukhartiin Gol – although this brief description does not do this remarkable region justice.

These drives are rough in places, but it really is about the journey as well as the destination.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Khyargas Nuur

Uvs Aimag is one of the ‘hardest’ aimags in Mongolia – from its climate to its terrain. Khyargas Nuur forms part of a national park in Uvs Aimag and your journey today will take you along the north side of this mighty windswept salt lake surrounded by desert terrain. It’s a big driving day – see it as the ultimate road trip – but a certain percentage of the route is on good asphalt road.

Khyargas is part of the massive Great Lakes Depression. The region does not look ‘pretty’ – it is a semi-arid region. But it is one of the most important wetland regions of Central Asia with the wetlands based on a system of interconnected shallow lakes with wide reed belts within a generally desert steppe.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Shazgai Nuur

Continue through Uvs Aimag to this beautiful off-the-beaten-track lake – circled by Mongolian herding families. A perfect location for a little time out.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Kazakh Eagle Hunter Homestay

Stop in Ulgii to have a hot shower at the local town shower house, then transfer through the Altai landscapes to Sagsai – a district of Bayan Ulgii Province.

You’ll be hosted by the Kazakh eagle hunter Bashakhan. Together with his family, they move twice a year. In the summer months, their summer pasture is located within the region of the snow-capped Tsengel Khairkhan Mountain.

The landscapes of Tsengel Khairhan form the backdrop for the next three days. This mountain has an elevation of 3,943m and is one of highest glacier mountains in the Mongol-Altai mountain range. This is the Altai that few others get to see and you’ll experience it through the eyes of Bashakhan, but most importantly his wife and daughter in law. We leave the days flexible – you could take a horse trek or an extended foot trek (wild camping each night) or spend the days relaxing enjoying the rural way of life.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Bashakhan Homestay
Basic

Bashakhan Homestay

Khoton & Khurgan Nuur

Drive out across expansive rocky plains to the small windswept town of Tsengel. From here continue along through the river valley as to the rugged peaks of the Altai and the spectacular alpine lakes of Khoton and Khurgan Nuur.

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park can be divided into two regions, the Tavan Bogd Mountains in the northwest and the Lakes Region to the southeast. The lakes are fed by glacial melt and annual snow fall and form the head waters of the Khovd River.

Then explore this mountain forest steppe region – including the valleys that the local herders use for their summer and winter pastures on the Chinese border. You can take a day hike to Baga Turgen Waterfall.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Ulgii

Travel back to Ulgii where you will be hosted by your Kazakh translator, Jako, and her family.

Ulgii is a predominantly Kazakh city where a Muslim influence is widespread, from street signs to clothes and food, and gives the town its diverse atmosphere. As well as spending time at the family home do as the locals do and visit the market where you can purchase some locally made wool and embroidery crafts and take in the view from Ulgii’s viewpoint – always popular with local families. Also, consider the surprisingly interesting local museum.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
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Jako and Baurjan Homestay
Simple

Jako and Baurjan Homestay

Return Ulaanbaatar

Fly back to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival into UB, we’ll transfer you to your accommodation and the rest of the day will be yours to create your own experience. Remember you could use our UB guide to help you to explore the urban side of Mongolian life in downtown Ulaanbaatar. Alternatively, one of our trip assistants could be made available.

Included meals: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

Get in touch now for more details

Included All meals

All meals outside of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Mainly prepared and cooked by your local team so they are fresh and it means we offer more flexibility for any dietary requirements.

Included Ground transfers

Transportation to and from the airport on arrival and departure days and all overland transportation throughout the trip. Each vehicle has a charger for cameras and phones.

Included Guided excursions

All activities mentioned with a local team of English speaking trip assistants.

Included Accommodation

A mixture of homestays, family operated ger camps and camping. Excludes accommodation in Ulaanbaatar at the start and end of your trip.

Reviews

What people are saying about Eternal Landscapes

O
Owen
01/07/2020

We booked a 9-day tour with Eternal Landscapes to the Khentii province, probably the most remote and challenging part of Mongolia. I was researching for a novel I'm currently writing, and my family and a friend also wanted to tag along for the adventure. And what an adventure it was! We traveled over 1,300 kms in 2 Russian Furgon vans, following the footsteps of Chinggis Khan and paying homage to the Mongol homelands. I feel somewhat forever changed on a fundamental level by the experience. We have fallen in love with Mongolia and its wonderful people, who are so resilient, resourceful, friendly and forever helpful.

Booking the trip was a lengthy process as our itinerary had to be custom-designed and the owner, Jess, was immensely patient, informative, and extremely helpful. After looking around at a few different tour companies, we decided with Eternal Landscapes because of this and also because of the philosophy that the company operates with. They are very environmentally conscious, taking measures to minimise waste during our travels. They do everything they can to try to give back to the country and the community, giving work to small local businesses and employing women as trip assistants. In a country where it is difficult for women to find work as guides, Eternal Landscapes provides training and support to those that want the opportunity to work in tourism.

J
Jeny B
01/09/2018

A trip that exceeded all my expectations! I cannot thank Eternal Landscapes (Jess Brooks) enough for blessing us with two of the most knowledgeable, friendly, funny and caring people. Please do not hesitate in booking with EL, you won't be disappointed.

N
Nadja
01/01/2020

We had the most amazing time with Eternal Landscapes. We booked with them because of their ethical and empowering way of working and giving back to the community. If you want to be more than a tourist, we highly recommend them. Jess, the owner was extremely patient and helpful in customising our trip. And even though we never met her, her philosophy and absolutely love and knowledge for the country and its quirks shines through the whole experience.

With such vast landscapes and different way of life, winter is a fantastic way of seeing, appreciating and experiencing the country. And as photographers it was mind blowing. Our tour assistant and driver were both lovely, incredibly accommodating, with a great sense of humour.


How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from $2,980 and $3,780pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

Learn more

Contact us now for expert advice on how to tailor this tour to your requirements and budget.

  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...
  • Orkhon River Valley

    Orkhon River Valley

    ...
  • Suman Gol

    Suman Gol

    ...
  • Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

    Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

    ...
  • Telmen Nuur

    Telmen Nuur

    ...
  • Khar Nuur

    Khar Nuur

    ...
  • Khyargas Nuur

    Khyargas Nuur

    ...
  • Shaazgai Nuur

    Shaazgai Nuur

    ...
  • Altai Mountains

    Altai Mountains

    ...
  • Altai Mountains

    Altai Mountains

    ...
  • Ulgii

    Ulgii

    ...
  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...
Days

22

Starting from

$2,980 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Start planning your journey now
Enquire now

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