A fully escorted Small Group Tour through the highlights of Mongolia's central and southern parts with authentic cultural experiences and soft adventure opportunities. Staying in standard and deluxe Ger camps (traditional yurt tents) along the way, this overland journey of discovery will take you to through the best of Central and Southern Mongolia as well as the essential sights and cultural performances in/around capital city Ulaanbaatar.
- Fossick for dinosaur fossils around the Flaming Cliffs.
- Experience traditional life as you stay in Ger camps (Yurt tents) while out of the capital.
- Explore the vastness of the Gobi Desert and its surprising natural sights, flora, and fauna.
Small Group Tour (4-12 pax)
Accommodation, meals & sightseeing as per itinerary
Domestic flight Gobi-ULN included (prices subject to change)
Outside the capital city, tourist Ger camps are used, as they’re the Mongolian form of hotels. A Ger camp offers comfortable accommodation in Mongolian traditional dwelling Ger/yurt (felt layers, wooden construction, spacious, and is heated by a stove). Standard Ger camps have shared washing facilities (western style) and deluxe Ger camp have private facilities (en-suite bathroom).
Day 1: Ulaanbaatar
After clearing custom formalities and baggage claim, you will be met by a driver and taken to your centrally located hotel in Ulaanbaatar. The remainder of the day is set aside to unwind.
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar (B L)
Meet with your tour guide and the rest of the group this morning for your Ulaanbaatar city tour. Visit the principal sites of Ulaanbaatar including the Gandan monastery – home to the 26m gilded statue of Megjid Janraisag, the National Museum of Mongolia, and walk the Main Square. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Giant Genghis Khan monument – an impressive 46m statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, indeed the largest equestrian statue on earth. Return to Ulaanbaatar in the evening at around 6.30pm.
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar - Elsen Tasarkhai - Mt. Khugnu Khan (B L D)
After breakfast, drive to the beautiful Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. On arrival transfer to a standard Ger camp for lunch. In the afternoon visit the ruins of the Erdene Khamba monastery set in the picturesque Khugnu Khaan Mountains, with time for a hike. Return to a standard Ger camp for dinner and rest.
Standard Gur Camp
Day 4: Elsen Tasarkhai - Karakorum (Erdene Zuu Monastery) (B L D)
After breakfast drive to Karakorum and visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery, the oldest Buddhist monastery in Mongolia (founded in 1586) and take part in the morning chants. Then visit the newly opened Open Air Museum of Karakorum, which displays some interesting findings from Karakorum ruins by the Mongolian-German joint expedition. Lunch at your Ger camp. In the afternoon visit the Karakorum Museum and gain an understanding of the UNESCO world heritage Orkhon River Valley and the ancient capital Karakorum.
Standard Ger camp
Day 5: Karakorum - Ongi Monastery (B L D)
Today head southwards towards the incomparable Gobi Desert. The drive today is scenic as usual however, the terrain will gradually change into semi-desert zone. Reach the Ongi Monastery Ruins by late afternoon (picnic lunch on the way) and check into our Ger camp. After time for a rest there is some walking planned to the monastery ruins. Dinner and overnight at the Ger camp.
Standard Ger camp
Day 6: Ongi Monastery - Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs (B L D)
After breakfast continue the drive to Gobi and reach Bayanzag – one of the best known dinosaur remains site in the world. It was here that Roy Chapman Andrews, believed to be the inspiration of the sci-fi character explorer Indiana Jones, made his discovery of dinosaur eggs in the early 1920s. Arrive in Bayanzag and transfer to a Ger camp for lunch. Visit the Red Cliffs (Flaming Cliffs) and explore for dinosaur remains; it does take some walking in the badlands and many people find the real thing! Then in the early evening transfer to the Ger camp, check into your en-suite Gers. After a rest you can watch the Gobi sunset as you have dinner.
Deluxe En-suite Ger camp
Day 7: Khongor Sand Dunes (B L D)
Today visit the Khongor sand dunes, Mongolia's largest and most beautiful sand dunes, stretching over 180 km in the arid Gobi Desert. The drive to the dunes at Khongoriin takes about 3 hours one way, passing through vast desert badlands that span out into the furthest distances, where remote mountains line the horizon. Arrive at the Ger camp by the sand dunes and have lunch. Afterwards, visit the Khongor sand dunes and take a short camel ride along the Khongor springs in the little oasis. You may want to climb the beautiful sand dunes, some are as high as 300m. Lone Gers and nomads on camelback hang suspended in the mirages, whilst the desert floor is strewn with a range of colourful rocks and unusual minerals. This is the Gobi at its best – there are many opportunities to take photographs of the landscapes and people. In the evening drive back to the camp.
Deluxe En-suite Ger camp
Day 8: Yoliin Am Gorge in Gurvan Saikhan Mountains (B L D)
Experience a Gobi sun rise. After breakfast at the Ger camp, depart for the glacial Yoliin Am Gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains, the eastern end of the majestic Altai Mountains.
The beautiful narrow gorge is named for the Lammergeyer vultures – huge soaring birds in the mountains. This deep, shaded canyon offers visitors a glimpse of the Gobi's many wild flowers, raptors, Ibex, and even a glacier – like ice field in the canyon bottom. Take some hiking in the gorge. Then return to the Ger camp, dinner and rest.
Deluxe En-suite Ger camp
Day 9: The Gobi Desert – Ulaanbaatar (B L D)
After an early breakfast drive to the small Gobi Desert airport and take the flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival there is a half day city sightseeing tour that includes the fabled Bogd Khaan's Palace Museum and an optional shopping stop for cashmere/souvenir. Then see a folklore concert by the magnificent Tumen Ekh ensemble featuring Khoomei – Mongolian throat singing and contortion performance, followed by farewell dinner.
Day 10: Ulaanbaatar (B)
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
- Full-time services of your English speaking local guide (Day 2-9)
- Twin/double share accommodation: first class hotel in Ulaanbaatar for 3 nights, standard tourist Ger camps for 3 nights (shared facilities), and deluxe/en-suite Ger camps for 3 nights (private facilities).
- Meals as listed (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner)
- Sightseeing and entrance fees according to the itinerary
- Private transfers in the city with a minivan/minibus with AC
- Private transfers outside the city with comfortable 4x4 Land Cruisers
- 1hr camel riding fees in the Gobi
- Domestic flight Gobi x Ulaanbaatar, including 15 kg luggage allowance & taxes (price subject to change)
- 5l x 3 bottled water per day
- Visa support invitation letter where applicable
- Exclusive Mongolia tour souvenir!
- Mongolia Travel Notes – issued by Innovative Travel
- International airfares
- Optional tours and excursions
- Port Taxes and fuel surcharges
- Tipping/Gratuities (please refer to tour notes for a recommended guideline)
- Personal Expenses
- Departure taxes
- Hotel charges for minibar or any extra charges
- Visas (unless specified)
- Any other services not clearly mentioned in the inclusions above
Hotel selection & itinerary might change – please use this as a guide only.
Domestic flights: Book & Buy basis
Naadam Festival extension - July
Naadam, the finest of Mongolian festivals and celebrations, was registered on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO in 2010.
The Naadam Festival is the biggest celebration of the Mongols, which the nation has been celebrating since the time immemorial. It’s said that nomadic tribes gathered to tell whose men are the best wrestlers, whose archers are the finest and whose horses are the fastest; the winners were acclaimed extensively. Naadam, hence, was named as “Three Manly Games of the Mongols”, nevertheless, women also can participate in archery and horse racing. During the Great Mongol Empire time Naadam was also an important event for the Golden Horde as the Mongol princes held the Khuraldai (meeting) then.
Since 1921, the Mongols started celebrating Naadam in July to commemorate the People’s Revolution of Mongolia, and the State Naadam in Ulaanbaatar is on 11-12 July fixed, and provincial and regional Naadams taking place on 8-15 July usually (depends on the summer & pasture). Naadam is celebrated nationwide in Mongolia and is a public holiday. Naadam-goers and competitors from near and wear their best traditional costumes and head out to Naadam. And there’s lots of music and dances to complete the jolly atmosphere.
Trip prices and dates are correct at the time of the website going live, however all offers are subject to reconfirmation at the time of booking. Note prices usually display available discounted rates if any, (eg. Early Bird Deals if applicable). All featured tour itineraries and offers maybe subject to change due to seasonal variations without notice, or due to local conditions or other conditions. Please confirm all details at time of booking. Travel insurance is mandatory for all Innovative Travel bookings. All passports must be valid for 6 months prior to your return to your home country. Visas are the responsibility of the traveller. Special VIP meet and assist offers are valid for New Zealand passport holders, for other nationalities please check at the time of booking. For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Booking Conditions page.