Camel Trek in Central Mongolian Grassland - 7 days

DAY 1: Khustain Nuruu National Park
DAY 2: Khogno Khan Mountain and Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune
DAY 3: Camel riding along sand dune and mountain
DAY 4: Camel riding along sand dune and mountain
DAY 5: Camel riding along sand dune and mountain
DAY 6: Drive to Karakorum
DAY 7: Drive back to Ulaanbaatar
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Camels in Mongolian Grassland

Detailed description

Takhi Horse
Khustain Nuruu National Park

Khustain Nuruu National Park

Our first day in Mongolian countryside will take us to Khustain Nuruu National park 130 km away from Ulaanbaatar. Przewalski’s Horse (Equus ferus przewalskii, also known as the Takhi horses) is a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse native to the steppes of central Asia. The Takhi became extinct in the middle of the 20th century. They then could only be found in the zoos. Special breeding programs increased their numbers. At one time extinct in the wild, it has been reintroduced to its native habitat in Mongolia at the Khustain Nuruu National Park, Takhiin Tal Nature Reserve and Khomiin Tal. Khustain Nuruu National Park was declared reserve status (category III) for over 50,000 hectares of the Khustain Nuruu area in 1993 but after significant scientific field researches into the area it was upgraded to a national park in 1998. Khustain Nuruu National Park is located about 100 km southwest from Ulaanbaatar. It protects today Mongolian’s Takhi wild horses. Today there are around 350 Takhi horses in the park. The park is home to 459 species of vascular plants, 85 species of lichens, 90 species of moss and 33 species of mushrooms. 44 species of mammals have been recorded, including Red deer, Mongolian gazelle, Roe deer, Wild boar, Wild sheep, Ibex, Mongolian marmots, Grey wolves, Lynx, Pallas’ cat, Red fox, Corsac fox and Eurasian badger. The 217 species of birds include Golden eagle, Lammergeier, Great bustard, Whooper swan, Black stork, Daurian partridge and Little owl. There are 16 species of fish, 2 species of amphibians, and 385 species of insects (including 21 species of ants, 55 species of butterflies, 10 species of bush crickets and 29 species of grasshoppers). After arrival at the camp of the Khustain Nuruu National Park we will meet the staff of the park and be introduced to the project. In the afternoon we will explore the beauties of the Park by jeep, on foot or on horseback.

Khogno Khan Mountain and Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune

Today we will continue on driving to Khogno Khan National Park. Khogno Khan Mountain is an impressive massif in the open steppes. End the afternoon we will hike in the region of Khogno Khan Mountain, walk up the mountain and enjoy the incredible view over the plains, the sand dune and grasslands. We will also visit the nice little Ovgon Monastery.

Not far from here runs the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune affectionately called as Little Gobi, a 100 km long sand dune where our camel trek will begin. The area is a sharp contrast of natural beauties with semi-arid desert on grassland & mountains with rich flora and fauna abundant bushes and plants. Among others are “arts” renowned for its scent. Locals and monks collect them and use for blessing during religious ceremonies. Evening we will reach our camel breeding family and enjoy warm tea and meal.

(Family stay B, L, D)

Khogno Khan Mountain
Camel Trek Central Mongolian Grassland

Camel riding along sand dune and mountain

In the morning we will load our luggage on the camels and start camel riding along the dune next to which runs chain of impressive rocky mountain Khongo Khan. We will be guided by experienced camel man from the host family during our 3 days camel journey. We will start to know how to water the camels and take care of them little bit as nomads do. We will have enough time to wander around the area and then set up our first camp site. Enjoy your evening as the sun sets, the desert cools rapidly.

(Tented Camp B, L, D)

Camel riding along sand dune and mountain

We will continue the camel riding journey through rolling dunes of semi-arid desert on middle of grassland. Due to its close location from Ulaanbaatar, Elsen Tasarkhai receives mass tourism however as soon as we set out further from start point there will be no sign of life except for us, camels and small animal tracks.  A perfect place for overstressed city brain.   (Tented Camp B, L, D)

Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune

Camel riding along sand dune and mountain

On our last day of the camel riding we will be heading back to the camel breeding family at the dune. We will get there in the afternoon and bid farewell to the family members and leave to our Ger camp for shower.

(Ger Camp B, L, D)

Camel Boy

Drive to Karakorum

Today we will set off for a short driving day to Karakorum also known Kharkhorin and do some cultural sightseeing. Kharkhorin is the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire created by Genghis Khan. The founding of Kharkhorin started on the ruins of Turug and Uigur cities in the Orkhon valley at the eastern end of the Khangai Mountains in 1220 by the Genghis Khan’s order. It was completed 15 years later during the Ugedei Khan’s reign. The town was a very cosmopolitan and religiously tolerant place. The silver tree, part of Möngke Khan’s palace has become the symbol of Kharkhorin. The highest peak of its prosperity was from 1220 to 1260. The specific feature of this stage is that Kharkhorin existed as the great capital of the Euro-Asian Empire with Mongolia as its core and as the centre of politics, economy, culture, religion, intellect, and diplomacy and the prominent tie of international relations. Between 1260 and 1380 Kharhorin lost the status of the Great Mongolian Empire and became the capital of Mongolia. When Kublai Khan claimed the throne of the Mongol Empire in 1260, as did his younger brother, Ariq Boke, he relocated his capital to today’s Beijing. Kharkhorin was reduced to the administrative centre of a provincial backwater of the Yuan Dynasty. In 1368, the rule of Mongolian Yuan Dynasty collapsed and the centre of Mongolian government was shifted to its homeland after 110 years since Kublai Khan moved the Empire capital to China in 1260. It gave Karakorum a chance to prosper again. In 1388, Ming troops under General Xu Da took and destroyed the town. Today nothing is left from this legendary city. In 1580, when Abtai Sain Khan together with his brother, lord Tumenkhen, visited the 3rd Dalai Lama and expressed their wish to build a temple in Mongolia, he advised them to reconstruct one old temple in Karakorum. The temple in Takhai ruins that was restored in 1588 according to the Dalai Lama’s recommendation is the Main Zuu temple of Erdene Zuu monastery. Now Erdene Zuu Monastery is all that remains of what once was a huge monastery of 100 temples and about 1.000 lamas residing there. We will explore the grounds of Erdene Zuu Monastery surrounded by its massive 400 m X 400 m walls. We will be guided around the 3 remaining temples: Dalai Lama, Zuu of Buddha and Lavrin Temple. Another place we will visit will be Karakorum Archaeological Museum. It is a small museum but housed in a modern well-run building with good lighting and display cases with clear English labels. The exhibits include dozens of artefacts dating from the 13th and 14th centuries which were recovered from the immediate area, plus others that were found from archaeological sites in other parts of the provinces, including prehistoric stone tools. You’ll see pottery, bronzes, coins, religious statues and stone inscriptions. There’s also a half-excavated kiln sunk into the museum floor. Perhaps most interesting is the scale model of ancient Kharkhorin, which aims to represent the city as it may have looked in the 1250s, and is based on descriptions written by the French missionary William of Rubruck. Another chamber exhibits a most recent addition, a Turkic noble tomb with wall paintings and artefacts, including gold items and jewellery. There is a short video of actual burial site.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Erdene Zuu Outer Wall
Erdene Zuu Monastery
Praying Candles
Trainee Monk

Drive back to Ulaanbaatar

We will drive back to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. Our team will take you directly to your hotel. You may enjoy the free afternoon to catch up all the places you haven’t visited yet. You might as well check the beautiful cultural show enjoy the colourful and rhythmic Mongolian dance, throat singing & admire the contortionists.

(B, L)

Ulaanbaatar

INCLUDED

NOT INCLUDED

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