Trans Mongolian Adventure w/ Naadam (17 days)

(Departure June – September)
Note: Departure with Naadam is in June/July
Mongolia is a wild and rugged land with sweeping grassy plains and alpine mountains. Few tourists get the opportunity to travel to Mongolia, and even fewer can boast spending Naadam festival away from the Ulaan Baatar crowds. Start your adventure in Beijing to see the highlight attractions. A two-day trip on the legendary Trans-Mongolian Railway transports you into the fabled land of Mongolia. Meet reindeer herders, swim in alpine lakes, and ride rare camels through endless dunes. Trans Mongolian Adventure is an unique adventure you will treasure.

Days 1 – 5 Beijing
On arrival in Beijing, transfer to your hotel and meet your small group of fellow adventurers and tour leader for a welcome drink. Tiananmen Square unfolds before you as you traverse its expanse, then explore the remarkable Forbidden City. Uncover Beijing’s traditional heritage when you lunch in a family home in one of the few remaining hutongs, or backstreets, followed by a rickshaw ride. Hear the beating of the famous drums at the Drum Tower with the chance to hunt for a bargain at Wangfujing markets in the evening. Visit the beautiful Temple of Heaven, and then learn more about China’s fascinating history at the Capital Museum and White Cloud temple, which was rebuilt by Genghis Khan. Before leaving China, a visit to the Great Wall is a must, and traveling to the lesser-visited Mutianyu for this is an extraordinary experience. Finish your time with a traditional Peking Duck dinner, before boarding the Trans-Mongolian Express train early in the morning for an overnight adventure.
Hotels: Yong An, Overnight train

Your train arrives in the Mongolian capital, Ulaan Baatarin the early afternoon, where you transfer to your hotel before visiting the National Museum. A short flight brings you to Moron town, for a transfer to the stunning vistas of Khovsgol Lake. Here you are surrounded by rolling hills covered in alpine forest, with rivers flowing between them. Spend the evening exploring this magnificent terrain or just relaxing in your traditional Ger accommodation. You may choose to take a boat trip on the glistening lake in the morning, and then in the afternoon, visit a local reindeer herder family for a chance to learn about the culture and lifestyles of the Mongolian people. The Naadam festival is the most important in the Mongolian calendar, and you have the special opportunity to be a part of it outside of heaving Ulaan Baatar for a more authentic experience. Competitions consist of horse racing, archery and wrestling, with even the children participating. After a day and a half enjoying the festivities, a short drive brings you to Jargalant village for an afternoon in town, or a visit to the nearby hot springs.
Hotels: Bayangol, Toilogt Ger Camp, Altan Ulias Ger Camp, Jargal Jiguur Ger Camp

Witness spectacular views on the drive out of the hills, along steep mountain roads as you travel to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, a lake nestled in a valley and surrounded by volcanic rock and grassy slopes. Here, spend some time discovering this magical landscape on an optional hike or horse ride, ascending to an extinct volcanic crater, or take a dip in the refreshing waters of the lake. Head into the Khangai mountain range on a scenic drive, and stop to visit a local nomadic family. With most Mongolians living nomadically at least part of the time, this is a fascinating insight into the harsh nomadic lifestyle, and a heart-warming exchange with the welcoming locals. Continue to Tsenkheriin Hot Springs.
Hotels: Maikan Tolgoit Ger Camp, Altan Nutag Ger Camp

Passing through the grassed steppes, travel to Karakorum, ancient capital of the great Genghis Khan, where you will find Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia’s first Buddhist monastery. After lunch continue to the seemingly endless sand dunes of Mongol Els, which stretch all the way from the Gobi Desert to Central Mongolia. Here, take an exciting ride through the desert on rare two-humped camels. Continue across the grasslands to Khustai National Park – home of Mongolia’s wild horses or Takhi. Once extinct in the wild, these endangered horses are being reintroduced and protected here. Visit the local project which oversees this work, and uncover the Turkic stone monuments in the park.
Hotels: Hoyor Zagal Ger Camp, Kustai Ger Camp

Head back to Ulaan Baatar, stopping for a visit to the Gandan Monastery, the centre of Buddhism in Mongolia. Spend some free time wandering this amazing capital city, with its mix of modern and ancient cultures where east meets west. In the evening bid farewell to your new friends at a group dinner and traditional Mongolian concert. Hotel: Bayangol

Day 17 – Depart Ulaan Baatar
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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