Selena Travel

North & Central Mongolian Explorer 2024

North and central Mongolia tour | Takhi wild horses in Mongolia | endangered horses on earth

12days/11nights

Tour grade: Medium

From: US$ 2,300

Style: Traveller

  • Explore Karakorum, the historic capital of the formidable Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan's rule.
  • Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Orkhon Valley, steeped in cultural and historical significance.
  • Discover the pristine beauty of Khuvsgul Lake and the enchanting Khoridol Saridag Mountains.
  • Explore UNESCO tentative listed sites Jargalantyn Am and Uushgiin Uvur, both remarkable bronze age complexes with deer stones.
  • Witnessing the Takhi wild horses in Hustai National Park, a meticulously preserved nature reserve in the heart of Mongolia.
  • Immerse yourself in genuine cultural exchanges with local nomadic families.
  • Enjoy the comfort of staying in Mongolian Traditional Ger/Yurt accommodations.

Tour Overview

Your expedition will lead you across diverse landscapes, from the vast central Mongolian steppe to the lush northern alpine forests. Discover the tranquility of kayaking on Lake Khuvsgul, Asia’s second-largest freshwater lake. Along the way, forge connections with the Reindeer people, nomadic Gobi camel herders, and central Mongolian nomads, immersing yourself in their unique ways of life. Each day promises new experience and adventures, from serene hikes in the wilderness to intimate encounters with local nomadic families.

Tour map

North and Central Mongolian explorer tour map

Brief itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, private transfer to hotel
  • Day 2: Hustai National Park
  • Day 3: Karakorum
  • Day 4: Taikhar Rock via Tsetserleg
  • Day 5: Jargalantyn Am Natural Deer stone museum, Khorgo Terkh National Park
  • Day 6: Day in Khorgo Terkh National Park
  • Day 7: Tumurbulag, Khuvsgul
  • Day 8: Lake Khuvsgul
  • Day 9: Leisure Day in Lake Huvsgul
  • Day 10: Murun - Ulaanbaatar
  • Day 11: City tour of Ulaanbaatar
  • Day 12: Departure from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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Tour images

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Full Itinerary

Day 1:

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, private transfer to hotel

Upon your arrival in Ulaanbaatar, our team will greet you at the airport after you’ve completed the necessary customs formalities. You’ll then be transported to your hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is dedicated to allowing you to recover from any jet lag and to enjoy a well-deserved rest in preparation for your exciting journey through Mongolia. Later in the evening, at 7 pm, we’ll convene in the downtown area for a delightful welcome dinner at a local restaurant. During this gathering, your guide will provide you with a comprehensive tour briefing, ensuring that you’re fully prepared and informed for the adventures that lie ahead.

 

Accommodation: Hotel booked by clients

Meals:

Dinner

 

Day 2:

Hustai National Park

Gather in the lobby of your hotel at 9 am as we commence our exploratory journey today. Our destination is Hustai National Park, renowned as the habitat of endangered Takhi wild horses—the closest relatives to domesticated horses. Upon reaching our camp within the confines of Hustai National Park, we'll complete the check-in process. Following a satisfying lunch, we'll pay a visit to the Hustai Information Center. Here, you'll gain valuable insights into the Takhi reintroduction project and learn about the rich flora and fauna that call Hustai National Park home. Subsequently, we'll embark on an expedition into the park, keeping a keen eye out for sightings of the Takhi wild horses as they graze peacefully, accompanied by other captivating wildlife. As the day draws to a close, we'll return to our camp for a hearty dinner, culminating in a peaceful overnight stay amidst the natural beauty of the park. 

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Lunch

Dinner

 

Day 3:

Karakorum

Today, we continue our journey further west into Orkhon valley. Our scenic drive will span approximately 4-5 hours, taking us through the central Mongolian steppes before we reach the historical Orkhon valley. Along the way, we'll pause for a lunch and camel ride break by the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. Visit local nomadic family in the area and enjoy 1 hour camel ride along the dunes. Afterward, we'll press on for another short drive until we reach Karakorum. In Karakorum, we'll explore the Museum of Karakorum, offering insights into Central Mongolia's history and introducing us to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Orkhon River Valley. Upon arrival at our ger camp, we'll check in and prepare for a satisfying dinner. The evening will conclude with a comfortable overnight stay, immersed in the rich cultural and historical heritage of this region.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

 

Day 4:

Taikhar Rock via Tsetserleg

Following breakfast, our day begins with a visit to the renowned Erdene Zuu Monastery, a historic landmark founded in 1586 and Central Mongolia's very first Buddhist monastery. From there, we proceed on our journey to Tsetserleg town, the heart of Arkhangai province, boasting over 300 years of history dating back to the establishment of Zayiin Gegeen Monastery in 1680s. Upon reaching Tsetserleg, we'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, our exploration continues with a visit to Zayiin Gegeen Monastery, including its Guden Temple, home to the mummified body of First Zaya Bandita, a founding figure of the monastery. Afterward, we'll explore the town's bustling Bazaar, a gathering place for both residents and nomads stocking up on supplies. Our journey then takes us to the Tamir River valley, where we'll find our next tourist ger camp, situated near the historic Taikhar Rock. Here, you'll even have the opportunity to try yak riding. The day concludes with a hearty dinner and a comfortable overnight stay at the camp.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

 

Day 5:

Jargalantyn Am Natural Deer stone museum, Khorgo Terkh National Park

Today, we kick off our northbound expedition with an early start. Our route will take us across a distance of just over 200 kilometers, primarily on well-paved roads. One of the highlights of our journey will be a visit to the Jargalantyn Am Natural Deer Stone complex, also known as the Natural Museum. This incredible site dates back to the early Bronze Age period, offering a captivating glimpse into ancient history. It's worth noting that the Jargalantyn Am deer stone complex has been listed on UNESCO's cultural heritage list. On our route to the park, we'll take a brief break near the Chuluut River Canyon to capture some stunning photographs. Our day's travels will eventually lead us to our camp, situated beside the serene Terkiin Tsagaan Lake. Here, we'll enjoy a delectable dinner and settle in for a peaceful overnight stay, surrounded by the natural beauty and historical wonders of this region.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6:

Day in Khorgo Terkh National Park

In the morning, our day begins with an invigorating hike around the volcanic landscape that encircles Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan, often referred to as the 'Great White Lake'. This tranquil lake rests serenely within the embrace of towering hills, boasting remarkably clear water and expansive stretches of sandy beaches. Our route follows a winding road along the lake's shoreline, passing by eerie Shamanic formations of black lava, before veering slightly inland toward the Khorgo Volcano. Standing at an impressive altitude of around 10,000 feet, this volcano is now dormant but remains deeply revered by the nomadic communities of the region. A brief walk will lead us to the rim of the volcano's crater, where crimson-stained rock descends into a profound chasm, surrounded by sacred Ovoo mounds. As you gaze back towards Lake Terkh Tsagaan, you'll be treated to a splendid view of the lake framed by a small hill pass. The afternoon offers free time for relaxation or the opportunity to engage in optional activities such as boating or fishing. As evening falls, we gather for a delicious dinner at the ger camp located along the lake's tranquil shore, where we'll spend a restful night.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7:

Tumurbulag, Khuvsgula

Today, we embark on a northern journey, charting a course that leads us through the breathtaking Khuvsgul Mountains, passing through the majestic Orookh Pass along the way. The Khuvsgul Mountains exhibit a diverse range of landscapes, from rugged outcrops of earth-toned rock to steep, verdant slopes that tower above the winding river valleys and isolated ger encampments. This picturesque drive spans approximately 6-7 hours, and we'll pause for a delightful picnic lunch en route. Our next destination is the Ulziit Khishig camp, nestled within the Tumurbulag soum territory. As we reach our ger camp, we'll have the opportunity to savor a Mongolian culinary delight known as Khorkhog – an authentic barbecue preparation featuring mutton cooked with heated stones. It's a delicious taste of Mongolian tradition that we'll enjoy before coming together for a satisfying dinner and a peaceful overnight stay at the ger camp.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8:

Lake Khuvsgul

After enjoying breakfast, we set out on our journey towards the enchanting Lake Huvsgul. Before reaching the lake, we make a noteworthy stop to explore the Uushig Deer Stones, a UNESCO’s Cultural Heritage Site. Following this intriguing visit, we proceed to Lake Huvsgul, where we'll have our lunch at a cozy ger restaurant. In the afternoon, our path takes us on a picturesque drive from Murun to Lake Huvsgul, covering a distance of just over 150 kilometers. Along the way, we'll traverse a landscape characterized by lush green hills punctuated by rugged rock formations. We'll encounter river valleys with intricate networks of braided channels meandering through the fertile valley floors, while the skies above are graced by the presence of majestic birds of prey. As we approach the settlement of Khatgal and enter the forested terrain surrounding the lake, the road may become a bit uneven.

 

However, our journey will reward us with the breathtaking sight of Lake Huvsgul, with our ger camp conveniently located nearby. The remainder of the day offers leisure time by the serene shores of Lake Huvsgul, allowing you to unwind and take in the natural beauty that surrounds you.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9:

Leisure Day in Lake Huvsgul

Start your morning with a delightful two-hour horseback ride along the picturesque lakeshore. The remainder of the day is dedicated to leisure and exploration in the captivating surroundings of Lake Huvsgul. There are numerous ways to make the most of your day, including optional boat excursions, leisurely strolls, a visit to a Darkhad family, and an opportunity to meet the Tsaatan nomads, also known as the 'Reindeer People.' In the afternoon, relish a two-hour kayaking adventure on the tranquil waters of the lake, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of this remarkable natural landscape.

 

Accommodation: Ger camp

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10:

Murun - Ulaanbaatar

We leave behind the scenic Lake Huvsgul and make our way to Murun town, where we'll board a flight bound for Ulaanbaatar. The flight duration is approximately 1.5 hours. Upon landing at the airport in Ulaanbaatar, you will be smoothly transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to enjoy as you please. You can opt for leisurely relaxation at the hotel or embark on independent exploration of the city, perhaps indulging in some shopping or exploring its various attractions at your own pace.

 

Accommodation: Hotel booked by clients

Meals:

Breakfast

Lunch

Day 11:

City tour of Ulaanbaatar

Free morning for leisure or independent exploration. Gather in the hotel lobby at 12:00 PM to meet your English-speaking local guide and kick off your half day city tour. A delectable lunch awaits you at a local restaurant, providing a taste of Mongolian cuisine. From there, you'll proceed to the Genghis Khan monument, an iconic symbol situated on a prominent square. Afterward, you'll have the opportunity to explore Bogd Khaan's Winter Palace Museum, offering insights into the history of Mongolia's monarchy. Following this, a visit to the Evseg cashmere factory will offer a firsthand look at the cashmere manufacturing process, from raw wool to the finished product.

 

If time permits, you can engage in some optional shopping for cashmere and souvenirs. As the day draws to a close, immerse yourself in Mongolia's rich cultural heritage with a traditional folklore concert at the Tumen Ekh ensemble. The day concludes with a heartfelt farewell dinner, a fitting way to celebrate the end of your journey.

 

Accommodation: Hotel booked by clients

Meals:

Lunch

Dinner 

Day 12:

Departure from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Following breakfast, we will arrange your transfer to the airport or train station. This marks the conclusion of our services. Safe travels, and we hope you had a wonderful experience!

Date & Price

Tour Dates:

29th June - 10th July, 2024  
27th July - 7th August, 2024  
   

If you would arrange a private or customized tour just click the "Customize this tour" button at the bottom of the page. One of our travel advisors will get back to you shortly regarding your booking.


Tour Price:

Pax 4-12 US$ 2300 per person
Single supplement charge US$ 280 
Naadam Festival add - on US$ 590 per person

 

 

 


Included Services

 

  • The continuous services of your English-speaking local guide throughout the entire tour
  • All sightseeing activities and entrance fees as specified in the itinerary
  • Private transfers using 4WD Japanese minivans, with experienced drivers. Typically, there will be four passengers sharing one van
  • A flight ticket from Murun to Ulaanbaatar, including taxes (with a baggage allowance of 10 kg for checked luggage and 5 kg for carry-on)
  • Convenient airport transfers
  • Twin share accommodation in traditional Mongolian gers at well-regarded tourist ger camps for a total of 8 nights
  • All meals as indicated (B for breakfast, L for lunch, D for dinner)
  • Fees for a 1-hour camel ride in Elsen Tasarkhai
  • Fees for 2-hour horseback riding experience in the Lake Huvsgul area
  • Fees for 2-hour kayaking adventure in Huvsgul
  • Three 0.5-liter bottled waters per day
  • Visa support invitation letter where applicable /company invitation letter only; if needs consulate invitation letter, then additional cost shall be covered by the traveller/


Not Included in the Service

  • International Airfare/train tickets + Tax
  • Travel insurance & Visa fees
  • Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar
  • Personal expenses, including but not limited to laundry, beverages, and camera or video fees at various sites
  • Tips for your guide and driver (at your discretion).
  • Optional activities not covered in the package (yak riding, archery etc.)

DISCOUNT CONDITIONS:  

  • Children under 3 years old are allowed to stay in their parents room for free (not including an extra bed).
  • Children aged 4 to 11 years old receive a 40% discount on accommodation per night, inclusive of bed and breakfast.
  • Children 12 and above will be charged as adults.

 

Tour Background

Accommodation on Selena Travel tours 
Ulaanbaatar: Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia has many hotels ranging from basic 1* to high-end 5*. Some international hotel chains have opened such as Kempinski, Ramada, and Best Western to name a few. Some of Selena Travel Mongolia tours do not include hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar, where clients are advised to take care of their own accommodation in Ulaanbaatar. Please refer to your tour program (Included services and Exclusions section) for more details. 
Your Selena Travel advisor is happy to assist you with hotel booking on your request. Below you will find some suggested hotels in Ulaanbaatar:  
  • Best Western Gobi Kelso ***
  • Springs hotel ***
  • Ramada hotel ****
  • Kempinski Khan Palace ****
  • Best Western Premier *****

Outside Ulaanbaatar: Please take in mind that traveling in the countryside of Mongolia is often tough, a trip is conducted in remote areas where there’s no hotel and paved roads exist.

Outside of Ulaanbaatar, tourist Ger camps are the best accommodation for travelers. A Ger is Mongolian traditional dwelling made of felt layers and wooden construction, and the Mongols have lived in Gers since the time immemorial. Tourist Ger camps offer comfortable Gers with 1-4 beds with good bedding, and also have western style showers and WCs (mostly shared). A few Ger camps offer en-suite Gers at additional charge (please ask your Selena Travel advisor for this). Due to remoteness some tourist Ger camps may not excel in service, so travelers may not always expect high pressure showers, bubble baths or gourmet food etc. 
 
Food on Selena Travel tours 
During your tour in Mongolia you will be eating in good restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, we have a great variety in restaurants in the capital city. Once you are outside the capital, Ger restaurants in Ger camps and local cafes in the small towns and villages will be the places where you will be eating. Ger restaurants often have set menu, but their food is usually very good (Ger camps provide mostly continental breakfast, lunches consist of salad, soup, main course and dessert, whilst, dinners are usually salad, main course and dessert).
During your longer driving days you will take packed lunch from Ger camps (often vegetable salad, main course such as fried chicken/noodles/dumplings and a chocolate bar etc). Vegetarians are well taken care of both in Ulaanbaatar restaurants and tourist Ger camps.
 
Luggage allowance on Selena Travel tours 
When you travelling overland in a vehicle (minivan & jeep), it would be suitable if you have 20kg luggage per person (max). However, please kindly note that domestic flight luggage allowance per person is 15 kg (10 kg for the check in luggage and 5 for the carry on luggage). For 1kg extra luggage you pay US$2 - 5. 
 

 

DESTINATION & ATTRACTIONS BRIEF INFO

Lake Huvsgul, the second largest freshwater lake in the world after Lake Baikal in Buryatia, is popular for its pure water, awesome Alpine-like landscapes, wonderful wildlife and the different ethnic people living around it. Lake Huvsgul region is a destination in itself and an entire tour could be devoted to this specific part of Mongolia.

Khorgo-Terkh National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Mongolia with its crystal clear Terkh Lake and the Khorgo Volcano. The nature beauty is awesome here and is a great place for hiking, horse riding and relaxing. You can visit the Hell of Yellow Dog, Ice Hole and the Youth Cave that are pretty impressive!
 
The city of Karakorum: In 1220 great Chinghis Khaan declared it as the capital city of his vast Empire. Today there are many interesting sites left to visit; the legendary turtle rock sculptures, Buddhist stupas and the ruins of this once great city to name a few. 

Erdenezuu was the first Buddhist monastery in the Mongolian Empire. It was established in 1586. The monastery has a massive square wall, 420 meters in length each side, a total of 108 Stupas and 17 temples. Today Erdenezuu monastery still shows its glory with collections of many priceless religious objects and incredibly beautiful Mongolian arts.
 
Hustai National Park is the place where the wild Takhi- Przewalski horses have lived peacefully since 1993 when they were reintroduced to their native land Mongolia. Here we can view and photograph these beautiful wild horses at pasture and Red Deer, Wolf, Asian Marmot, various species of waterfawls & prey birds.  

Tour Map

Tour Reviews

Mar 02, 2024.  The Gobi & Karakorum Explorer

Aug 10, 2012. Gobi & Karakorum Explorer tour Our recent "The Gobi & Karakorum Explorer" tour with you was excellent, everything exceeded our expectations! It was a super trip in our lives and we loved our Mongolia holiday so much. Our guide Joe was kind, well organised, accurate and informative, polite and caring and always provided us with timely information. And our driver Jack is super, very friendly, professional and always on time. We are wild travelers, having been to many places in the world - but Mongolia is still truly unspoiled and uncontaminated. Selena Travel's services were perfect right from the very first email. We would like to thank Selena Travel, our guide and our driver for having made this Mongolia experience a truly beautiful one with so many wonderful memories.

by Rafaella, Benedetta, Lidia

Aug 08, 2012.  Gobi & Karakorum customized 11 days tour

Sending you some of our nicer pictures. Some are chosen for their beautiful scenery while the rest are just us happily playing and goofing around. There are a couple of shots of us doing some Mongolian wrestling, as suggested by Oyuna since we missed out on the mini-Naadam festival. She said since we missed it, we might as well organise our own festival by playing some Mongolian games. Haha... We had so much fun playing those games!!! :)OK, I hope you like the pictures we send you. Best regards to everyone at Selena Travel and thank you once again for all your assistance.

by Margaret Suganda

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