Mongolia
June 29, 2021 - July 12, 2021

Buy Trip
  • RSVP: Monday, February 01, 2021
  • Final Balance Due: Monday, February 01, 2021
  • Member Fees: $5,499.00
  • Non-Member Fees: $5,499.00
  • Deposit Amount: $1,100.00
  • Single Room Supplement (optional): $575.00
ITINERARY
DAY 1, June 29, 2021 | Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar

Today, you will arrive at Chinggis Khaan International Airport. After clearing immigration and customs entry formalities, you will be welcomed by our representative at the exits from customs holding a People to People International sign with your name on it. Then transfer to hotel for check in. Welcome dinner is included.

DAY 2, June 30, 2020 | Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar

Today, enjoy a full day highlight tour include the important 19th-century Gandan Monastery, one of the few Buddhist structures that survived destruction by the Communist government in the 1930s. The bejeweled 20-ton Migjid Janraisig statue, a replica of the original copper statue erected in 1911 stands as the monastery’s prime attraction.

Afternoon you will visit the Magic Mongolia child protection and development center nearby local suburban area. The center was built on donations from public and private organizations and is a nationwide project.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 3, July 01, 2021 | Ulaanbaatar – Hustai National Park
Ulaanbaatar – Hustai National Park

After breakfast we’ll drive to Hustai National Park. On the way we have a special opportunity to visit a local minority family in the nearby mountains to witness the Felt Making Ceremony.

Mongolia often calls itself the "Felt Nation". Country people make felt at the end of summer, and usually celebrate the occasion with a party or ceremony. The order is as follows: a date is announced, family members gather and some of their neighbors join them. First, tea is served and then food before the work begins. Wool is cleaned and pounded with short sticks to loosen and fluff up the fabrics. At this stage it is laid out evenly in layers on a piece of start-up felt or 'mother roll' and moistened with water. Layer upon layer is added to the 'mother roll', which is finally bound by leather straps and attached to a camel or a horse who pulls it for several kilometers, allowing it to roll along the ground. Milk or airag (fermented mare's milk) is ceremoniously sprinkled on top to ensure the felt turns out well. Riders keep the roll turning for 15-20km until the wet fabrics bind into a thick mat. When unrolled and thoroughly dried the result is a blanket of felt, which is ready to wrap around the ger.

After lunch drive to Hustai National Park with English speaking specialist (biologist) and spot the wild horses as well wild animals like steppe gazelle, deer, and marmots.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 4, July 02, 2021 | Karakorum
Karakorum

Today, you will travel overland to the ancient capital of Mongolia: Karakorum. The ancient capital of the Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan, the largest empire the world has ever seen. At it’s height in 1279 it covered nearly all of Asia and Europe (his grandson Kublai Khan moved the capital to Beijing). This area is part of A UNESCO World Heritage site. It has been known as the biggest trade center of the ancient world after the findings of the archaeological excavation.

On the way we’ll stop and saddle up our horses and ride to the ruins of Erdene Khamba monastery, also known as Khogno Tarnyn Khiid, located 18 km north of Elsen Tasarhai at the Khogno Khan Uul Mountains (1967 m ASL.) Today there are only the ruins. Erdene Khamba Monastery had two sections: the lower one called the Zaluu Khiid, or the "Novice Temple" and the upper one called the Uvgun Khiid, or the "Elder's Temple", which was built on top of the mountain. Then we meet up with monk and take a private presentation about the temple as well as Buddhism.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 5, July 03, 2021 | Ongi Monastery
Ongi Monastery

After relaxed breakfast we will drive to Ongi monastery, a large monastery known as the "Pearl of the Great Desert. Formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, Ongi monastery was founded in 1660 and consisted of two temple complexes on the north and south banks of the Ongiin Gol River. Over 1000 Buddhist monks used to live here, the older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex built in the 18th century, consisted of 17 temples-among them one of the largest temples in all Mongolia.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 6, July 04, 2021 | Bayanzag
Bayanzag

Today, we travel about four to five hours through this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to Bayanzag, with its striking Flaming Cliffs, the red-rock bluff reminiscent of areas in the American West. Internationally renowned as the place where celebrated explorer and naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews first discovered dinosaur eggs on his ground-breaking expedition in the 1920s, Bayanzag boasts a treasure-trove of important fossils that we can see all over the rocks. The character of Indiana Jones in the popular movies was said to have been based on Andrews, quintessential adventurer and director of the American Museum of Natural History. Andrews’ discovery of the 80-million-year-old dinosaur eggs stunned the scientific community by revealing for the first time how dinosaurs reproduced. His expedition also unearthed fossils of three Cretaceous Period dinosaurs previously unknown to the world: the Oviraptor, Saurornithoides, and Velociraptor. Human traces from the Stone Age also have been found in this archeologically rich site that once was the floor of an ancient inland sea. We spend time exploring this stunning landscape of canyons, cliffs, and desert floor before returning to our ger camp late today.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 7, July 05, 2021 | Khongor
Khongor

After a leisurely breakfast we will drive to Khongor Sand Dune. Like Mongolia’s nomads of the past, and present, we travel three hours through the desert today along the Altai or “Golden” Mountain range to Khongoryn Els, home of the “singing” sand dunes that dramatically rise 2,600 feet from the desert floor, creating a distinct sound as they shift in the wind. Here we’re surrounded by the classic and iconic Mongolian desert landscape. The cattle-herding nomads, along with Han Chinese farmers on the other side of the border, comprise the Gobi’s sparse population, with a density of fewer than three people per square mile. Though largely inhospitable to human settlement, the Great Gobi does support a remarkable variety of flora and fauna: more than 400 plant species, 150 bird species, and nearly 50 mammal species, some unique to this Central Asian habitat, including Gobi bears and Bactrian camels. To promote sustainable land use and conservation of the Gobi’s unique natural heritage, UNESCO in 1991 designated the Gobi Desert an international Biosphere Reserve, the largest such reserve in Asia and fourth largest in the world.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 8, July 06, 2021 | Khongor
Khongor

A wonderful day at the sand dunes, we will go camel riding, hiking the sand dune and visiting local family-make a traditional homemade cookies together (locally known as “boortsog”). Boortsog is the food that greets the visitor, that makes us feel home. It is offered in every yurt home when the traveler enters, together with tea or milk, and a silent, nirvanic countenance, that is hardly found anywhere in the West.

The Bactrian camel is a large, even-toed ungulate native to the steppes of Mongolia. Of the two species of camel, it is by far the rarer. The Bactrian camel has two humps on its back, in contrast to the single-humped dromedary camel. For the Mongolians, they use camel riding to move from one place to another. In the morning, we will ride camels at the Khongor Sand dune. When we are riding camels, we are going to stop and visit local herder family and learn more about their lifestyle, culture and traditions. On this special program, you will have an opportunity to learn traditional ways of making homemade dairy products such as dried curd, cheese, cream and cookie. It will take 20 kilometer from the camp. Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 9, July 07, 2021 | Eagle Valley
Eagle Valley

This morning, you will be transported to the Eagle Valley, locally called “Yolyn Am” (English direct translation is Vulture Mouth). We will explore Eagle Valley’s great arid region, look for wild sheep and goats grazing high on the cliff walls, and soaring eagles hunting for prey. Here, the small Natural History Museum displays information about the animals in the area.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 10, July 08, 2021 | Tuul Riverside
Tuul Riverside

This morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Ulaanbaatar then introduced to vibrant young entrepreneurs at WorkCentral Mongolia office in Ulaanbataar where you have the chance to discuss and find out more about start-ups and entreprenuership in Mongolia.

On the way back to Tuul River lodge, you will visit the Zaisan Hill where you can see the beautiful panaroma of the capital city from top of the hill while learning about the historic Soviet Russian - Mongolian diplomatic relationship.

Just before the lunch, you will be transferred Tuul Riverside Lodge at Gachuurt in Maikhan Tolgoi in the Khentii Mountain range. Situated within an hour’s drive east of Ulaanbaatar, the Tuul Riverside Lodge is a small, fully sustainable, traditional Mongolian camp surrounded by a sea of grass and rolling hills, which stretch down to the nearby River Tuul and beyond. Here you can see the Mongolian gers and the Kazakh gers, which are constructed from a wooden lattice frame, 88 roof poles, and are covered with layers of felt to insulate against the harsh Mongolian climate. Both strong and reliable, they are perfect places to spend your time in Mongolia. In the afternoon, try your hand at some archery. Legendary for their prowess with the bow, Mongols perfected this ancient practice with bows constructed from wood, animal sinew, bone, and glue made from fish bladders in a process that could take up to a year. A stone inscription dating from the 13th century claims that one of Genghis Khan’s generals hit a target from a distance of 1/3 of a mile. After dinner leisurely do some botanical hike around camp area.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 11, July 09, 2021 | Tuul Riverside
Tuul Riverside

We will saddle up our horses riding towards the mountains and hills (optional ox-card ride, hiking). On the way, we’ll stop and visit local herder family, and learn more about Mongolian traditional lifestyle. Then we have the special opportunity to set up a traditional Mongolian ger. The ger’s structure comprises an angled assembly of pieces of wood or shrubs for walls, a door frame, poles, and a wheel, possibly steam bent. The roof structure is often self-supporting but large yurts may have interior posts to support the crown. Modern yurts maybe permanently built on a wooden platform and use modern materials such as steam bent, wooden framing or metal framing, canvas and wire rope.

Enjoy a private traditional concert in the afternoon, including Tsam dancing, throat singing and contortion. Throat singing has been a part of Mongolian culture for centuries; these singers are able to produce more than one pitch simultaneously. The art of contortion, here called “Uran Nugaralt,” means artistic bending. Contortion has been an art form since the 12th century. It is believed that the art of bending and contorting was first observed in Mongolian royal palaces during festivals and celebratory events during the time of the great empire.

Tonight, we will dine on traditional Mongolian barbecue around the lodge’s campfire. For the traditional Mongolian barbecue, “khorkhog” is prepared by cutting up the mutton and placing it in a container together with hot stones while heating the container over a fire. Khorkhog was a cooking method commonly used by soldiers on military campaigns centuries past, as the meat of a large animal, such as a deer or gazelle, could thus be cooked in its own stomach, eliminating the need for carrying heavy pots or special utensils.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 12, July 10, 2021 | Tuul Riverside - Ulaanbaatar
Tuul Riverside - Ulaanbaatar

After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll drive back to Ulaanbaatar and explore the preview of the Naadam Festival. You will visit central stadium to see the archery and, "shagai" shooters. There will be also a parade of locals with traditional costume in the central square.

Lunch and dinner are included

DAY 13, July 11, 2021 | Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar

Spend a full day at the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar. In the morning we will see the flag ceremony on the main square, and then go to the stadium to see the opening ceremony, and the wrestling and archery competitions.

After lunch drive to the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar to witness of the most popular sports of the locals: horse racing! The races take place outside the city on the steppe over distances from 15 to 30 kilometers, and are a test of endurance for the horses and riders, boys and girls- who have been riding since they were infants. Both child and horse are decorated in bright silks and ribbons for race day. During the races, up to 1000 horses gathered from every corner of Mongolia can be chosen to compete divided into six categories based on the age of the horses.

Lunch and dinner are included.

DAY 14, July 12, 2021 | Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar

Today, you will be transferred to the airport for your departure flight.

  • Mongolian
  • Mongolian Togrog
  • Mutton, Khuusur, Kabobs, Cheese
  • Altai Mountains, Gobi Desert, Khogor, Bayanzag
TRIP DETAILS
TRIP LEADER(S)
Patrick Westerfield

Patrick L. Westerfield serves his community as a lawyer. He is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Menaul School in Albuquerque, Member of the Board of Trustees of Sandia Prep in Albuquerque, and a Member of the Board of Directors of People to People International.

Patrick has been an active volunteer for over thirty years in New Mexico. Patrick obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley School of Law.

Patrick has been married to Sharon for 32 years and is the proud father of five children from around the globe. His hobbies include travel, music and photography.

Patrick has been traveling with People to People International since 2003.

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