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16 Days Culinary Holiday in Mongolia and Gobi

  • Choibalsan - Buir - Numrug - Khusliin Khar Uul - Yolyn Am - Bayanzag - Karakorum - Khustai - Ulaanbaatar

Culinary Vacation in Eastern Mongolia and Gobi

This amazing holiday will take you all across Eastern Mongolia and Gobi, as you learn about this great region's history, culture and of course, culinary tradition. During this adventure, you will have the chance to see beautiful sights, interact with locals, sample authentic dishes, camp under the stars and experience the real Mongolia, as well as its nomadic heritage.

Highlights

  • Visit a local camel milk factory
  • Visit numerous historical monuments and religious sites
  • Camp in various wildlife places and sleep in a tent under the stars
  • Observe tens of different species of animals and birds in their natural habitat
  • Experience the life of an authentic nomad with a Mongolian family
  • Learn how to prepare dairy products from horse milk
  • Taste traditional Mongolian dishes
  • 15 nights accommodation
  • 15 days with instruction
  • English
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During your holiday, you will mostly be staying in Mongolian Ger camps or camping in outdoor tents. Ger is a Mongolian traditional dwelling used over centuries in Central Asia, suited to its nomadic lifestyle and extreme climate. Tourist camps have gers with 2-4 beds for accommodation for receiving and serving tourists, so that tourists can feel and taste the authentic Mongolian lifestyle.

Day 1, June 25

You will be picked up from your hotel and transfered to the airport. Then you will fly to Ulgii town, the provincial center. After you land, your local guide and driver will pick you up. After a local lunch, you will visit the museum of the town and then the local food market.

Overnight in local hotel in Choibalsan town.

Day 2, June 26

After breakfast, your driver will take you to Buir Lake. You will be driving on the Menen Steppe which is over 100 kilometers long. Buir Lake is the biggest lake in Eastern Mongolia and has fresh water. It is 40 kilometers long and 21 kilometers wide. It is a steppe lake, which is why the bottom is flat and does not exceed 10 meters in depth. You will have the chance to do some boating on the lake, while you try to catch fish. The lake has a sandy ring beach and, if you like, you can sunbathe or also go for a swim.

Overnight in local tourist ger camp.

Day 3, June 27

Today, you will head to Ikh Burkhant Monument. It depicts a giant Janraisag, a deity of Buddhism, which was carved in the hillside, facing south. There are over 20 seating deities, placed around the main image, protecting the eternal wheels and eerie shattered stone faces scattered about. If you walk up to its head, you'll see a couple entwined in an eternal stone embrace.

Overnight in tent.

Day 4, June 28

Today, your driver will take you to Numrug National Park. On the way there, you will see the monuments of the Battles of Khalkhyn Gol, including Russian hero M.P.Yakovlev's memorial monument, victory monument and 90 heroes monuments. The Battles of Khalkhyn Gol (sometimes called as Nomonhan Incident) constituted the decisive engagement of the undeclared Soviet–Japanese border conflicts fought among the Soviet Union, Mongolia and the Empire of Japan in 1939. After passing the Khalkh gol sub-provincial center, you will see the Human Stone of Shonkh Hill. It was created in 13th century and belongs to Chinggis Khaan’s era.

After arriving in Numrug National Park, you will go to 3 Rivers joint, where you will start hiking and observing the wild life. Fishing is allowed. Numrug is known for its abundant and pristine wilderness, and wildlife viewing is a must when visiting. Nowhere else can you observe tens of different species of animals including the Usurian moose, wild boars, wolves, species of antelopes and birds in their natural habitat of the Manchurian flora, as well as fauna, ecologically distinct from the rest of Mongolia.

Overnight in tent.

Day 5, June 29

Today, your driver will drive you to Dornod Mongol National Park. Eastern Mongolian Plains feature a miracle of verdant grasslands that extend as far as the eye can see as well as lakes, mineral springs and gently rolling hills. This National Park area is home to rich wildlife dominated by thousands of white-tailed gazelle (Mongolian gazelle). Between 300,000 to 1 million gazelles, one of Asia’s largest remaining wildlife populations, inhabit the steppes. You will go to Vangiin Tsagaan Mountain, which is highest place at the N.P for observing the animals.

Overnight in the tent.

Day 6, June 30

Today, you will be driven to Lkhachinvandad Mountain. It is located very near to the Mongolian border. Upon reaching your destination, you will start hiking and searching for deer.The mountain was officially proclaimed as a natural reservation in 1965, the purpose of which being to preserve and protect the deer habitat in the steppe. The area covers 58000 hectares around Lhachinvandad Mountain.

Overnight in tent.

Day 7, July 01

After breakfast, you will drive to Altan Ovoo Shiliin Bogd region. It was being worshiped by the locals until the early 20th century, when Bogd Khaan Jibzundamba, a former theocratic and political leader of Mongolia, had this cairn declared an official site of worship. Women are strictly prohibited to climb the cairn; instead they climb a small cairn southwest of it or go clockwise around it, along a particular road. Golden Cairn has a crater flowing northwest.

Overnight in the tent.

Day 8, July 02

After breakfast, you will drive to Khamryn Khiid. On the way, you will pass through Sainshand town, where you will visit the Danzanravjaa Museum. The monastery was built in 1820 by a well-known religious leader, called Danzanravjaa, and is surrounded by a vast 108 stupas. The Breast Hill, Sky Bell, Old man Stupa, Uterus Rock, and 108 Caves can be visited respectively. After taking in all of the sights, you will continue the drive to Khusliin Khar Uul.

Day 9, July 03

Today, your drive will take you deep into the Gobi desert. First of all, you will pass through a Buddhist Monastery ruin named Ulgii Monastery. It was built in 1745 by Danzanravjaa, who also built Khamar Monastery, destroyed in 1937 by communist purges. Then, you will arrive in Suikhen Mountain, home to a rare natural spectacle of petrified trees, which do not often occur in Mongolia. You will hike around the area, admiring the sights. In the evening, you will arrive in Demchig Monastery. After dinner, you will hike around the monastery. This Buddhist temple was also built by Danzanravjaa.

Day 10, July 04

Today, your driver will take you to Yolyn am gorge. On the way, you will pass Dalanzadgad town, provincial center. At the entrance of National Park and Yolyn Am gorge, you will visit a natural history museum named Gurvan Saikhan National Park. From the car park, you will ride a Mongolian horse to reach the end of the gorge, where, in the middle of the summer, you’d be walking over thick layers of ice. Mongolians are historically a nomadic people, and thus many of their cultural symbols reflect nomadic life.

The horse is probably the most central part of Mongolian culture. Mongols love horses; riding them for transportation in the villages, using them for farming, racing them for fun, and eating them for celebrations. Many Mongols own horses and keep pictures of them in their houses or offices. After visiting Vulture Gorge, you will go to Mukhar Shivert, another valley which preserves the ice longer than Yolyn Am. Upon completion the day’s sightseeing tour, you will drive to the tourist ger camp and have dinner, which will consist of a traditional food called “buuz”, which is basically a steamed dumpling.

Overnight at tourist ger camp.

Day 11, July 05

Today, you will drive to the Khongor Sand Dunes, which extend along the northern side of Sevrei and Zoolun mountain ranges. After lunch, you will start exploring the Dunes. The dunes range from 20 to 25 kilometers in width, nearly 100 kilometers in length, with crests rising 80 to 300 meters above the surrounding landscape. The direction and velocity of winds, in addition to the local supply of sand, result in a variety of dune shapes and sizes.

The sounds have been variously described as singing, whistling, squeaking, roaring and booming. Here you will have the opportunity to ride camels. The two-humped Bactrian camels are very comfortable to ride, as they walk slowly and gently, and you will be well supported by the humps, sitting comfortably between them. Gobi is home of camels and goats. Mongolia has the largest number of Bactrian in the world. Today’s dinner will be “Khuushuur”, which is a flat, fried, and traditional Mongolian dish.

Overnight at tourist ger camp.

Day 12, July 06

After breakfast, continue the drive towards Flaming Cliffs. The region consists of a saxaul forest and area of red cliffs, which together are named as “Bayanzag”. A lot of dinosaurs’ skeletons and dinosaur eggs have been found here. American zoologist, Roy Chapman Andrews, named this place the “End of the World”. Scientists believe that it was an inland seafloor some 200 million years ago. The Flaming Cliffs themselves are very imposing from a distance, and are particularly fiery in the light of the setting sun. They are an interesting place to wander about and get a closer look at one of the world’s most famous paleontological sites. Here, if you wish, your local guides can teach you some traditional Mongolian ankle bone games, such as “horse racing”, “seizing ankle bones” and “knucklebone”. Today's dinner will be “Khorkhog”, which is another traditional and respectful Mongolian dish, consisting of mutton or goat meat and large chunks of vegetables, cooked in a metal pot with hot stones from a flaming fire.

Overnight at tourist ger camp.

Day 13, July 07

After breakfast, you will head to the Ongi Monastery Ruin in Middle Gobi. Your drive will take you over the Ongi Steppe, which is over 100 kilometers long. On the way, you will pass through Mandal-Ovoo sub-provincial center. There, you will visit the local camel milk factory for a tasting of camel milk products, such as frozen yogurt and milk, ice cream, and others. The Monastery Ruin is located in the peace and beauty of the Delger Khangai Mountains, which is the point of junction between Gobi and Central Mongolian grassland. After dinner, you can take some photos wearing Mongolian traditional clothes.

Overnight at tourist ger camp.

Day 14, July 08

After breakfast, you will drive to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia. You will notice the landscape changing from semi-desert to steppe grassland. Also, you will see a rock drawing which shows 2 deers and a mountain goat early on in the morning. On the way, you will visit an authentic Mongolian nomad family to see how they produce their dairy products. You will be able to learn how to milk the horses and taste Mongolian dairy products, as well as fermented mare’s milk, known as “airag”. Central Mongolia is home to almost 2 million horses.

Upon arrival in Karakorum, you will notice the first and most obvious landmark, which is the massive wall of the Erdene Zuu Monastery. The monastery was built in 1586 by a well-known Mongolian king called Abtai Sain Khaan, and is surrounded by a vast 400-meter wall. Not a single nail was used in the construction of the ornate temples, only a few of which remain standing after the communist purges.

After visiting the Monastery, you will drop by the Kharkhorum Museum, which was newly opened with the support of the Japanese Government. The exhibits here mainly focus on the Great Mongolian Empire and ancient Karakorum city. The phallic rock, turtle rock and Golden Eagles can be visited respectively. From the top of the hill, Orkhon River Valley can be seen almost in its entirety. Today’s dinner will be “Tsuivan”, which is made with steamed noodles and meat, and is considered to be the most favorite food of many Mongolian men.

Overnight at tourist ger camp.

Day 15, July 09

Today's drive will take you to Khustai National Park. On the way, you will pass through Elsen Tasarkhai. At Khustai National Park and Resort, you will be able to ride horses again. The afternoon will be spent at leisure, hiking in the surrounding mountains, with an evening visit to see the wild horses, as they come down the mountains for water in the evening. Khustai national park is where the re-introduction of the wild takhi horses (Przhevalsky's horses) has taken place since 1992.

Takhi is last wild horse subspecies surviving in the 21st century. It was discovered in western Mongolia in the late 1870s by the Russian explorer N.M. Przhevalsky. Several expeditions since 1969 have failed to find this horse, which probably bred with half-wild domesticated horses and lost its distinct features. Specimens have been kept and bred in zoos, and Mongolia in the late 20th century managed to reintroduce them into the wild. Khustai tourist ger camp has a small museum about Takhi and the process of re-introducing them, if you are interested in finding out more.

Overnight at tourist ger camp.

Day 16, July 10

After breakfast, you will be driven to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arriving there, you will be transferred to your hotel, and your guided journey through the beautiful regions of Mongolia will come to its conclusion.

  • Travel to Khongor Sand Dunes
  • Travel to Khustai National Park
  • Travel to the Yolyn Am gorge
  • Visit Buir Lake
  • Visit Choibalsan
  • Visit Dalanzadgad town
  • Visit Karakorum
  • Visit Khamryn Khiid
  • Visit Khusliin Khar Uul
  • Visit the Altan Ovoo Shiliin Bogd region
  • Visit the Demchig Monastery
  • Visit the Dornod Mongol National Park
  • Visit the Flaming Cliffs
  • Visit the Ikh Burkhant Monument
  • Visit the Lkhachinvandad Mountain
  • Visit the Numrug National Park
  • Visit the Ongi Monastery Ruin
  • Visit the Suikhen Mountains
  • Visit Ulgii town

East Mongolia is the most untouched part of Mongolia and also the least discovered. This tour covers most of east Mongolian natural or human made landmarks as well as the Gobi desert’s most notable highlights.

Meals will consist of traditional and regional Mongolian dishes, prepared by the field chef. During your culinary journey, you will have the chance to taste locally-produced dairy products, and sample traditional dishes such as “buuz”, “Khuushuur”, “Khorkhog”, “Tsuivan”, and others.

  • Admire the sights
  • Attend local events
  • Enjoy the nature
  • Go swimming
  • Learn about Mongolian history and culture
  • Ride horses
  • Sample local cuisine
  • Sunbathe
  • Visit museums
  • 1 night in local hotel
  • 4 nights in Tourist Ger Camp
  • 6 nights in the tent
  • All activities costs for activities mentioned
  • All entrance fees and Government charges
  • Domestic flight
  • English speaking guide service
  • Food service
  • Land transportation
  • Mineral water
  • Sleeping bag and camping gears
  • External flights
  • Gratuities
  • Other meals
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance

Arrival by airplane

The nearest airport is Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN) in Ulaanbaatar.