(11 days) Trekking: Wild West Mongolia

  • Discover unique Mongolian landscape on foot and from a horse and camel back
  • Experience the fast-paced changes occurring in modern Mongolia and enjoy the cordiality of the local people.

Trip Duration:     11 days
Group Size:      6-12 people

Mongolia continues to be one of the few remaining, unexplored adventure travel destinations in the World. This homeland of Chinggis Khan, the founder of the Mongol Empire, is famous for its dramatic landscape, where golden sands of the Gobi Desert clash with green ocean of steppes spotted with white gers of nomads and roaming herds of theirs livestock.

Our tour will take you to the north-western part of the country, barely 100 km away from the border with Russia. The route will lead you through numerous mountain ridges and passages covered with thick alpine tundra forest, massive glaciers and towering peaks covered with eternal snow. This experience will allow you not only to enjoy the pristine Mongolian nature and rich wildlife, but also give you an opportunity to contemplate and connect with Mother Earth to absorb some of her energy as well as feel at one with the nature.

During the trek much of the panorama will be dominated by the lofty peaks of the Kharkhiraa (4,037m/13,225ft) and Turgen (3,965m/13,009ft) Mountains and surrounding them crystal-clear alpine lakes, rapid mountain streams and monumental glaciers offering a spectacular view of a deserted Himalayan landscape opening out into rolling grasslands. The place is simply magnificent yet, since it is rarely visited by tourists, even during the peak season it is unlikely you will meet more than one or two other tourist groups.

While trekking in the area you will be accompanied by local nomads of Durvud ethnic group. They will be responsible for managing Bactrian (two-humped) camels carrying your equipment and supplies. Even now Durvud people live mainly off their large herds of yaks, sheep, goats and horses leading lives reminding greatly those of their ancestors.

Please let us know should you have further inquiries! We are looking forward to assist you with organizing your stay in Mongolia and answering any questions you might have about this tour. We want your holiday experience in Mongolia to be as amazing as it is possible.

 

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Day1. Pick you up from your hotel and fly to Ulaangom town.
Day2. Trekking, Crossing the Kharkhiraa River
Day3. Trekking, Camels and horses
Day4. Source of Kharkhiraa River
Day5. Rest Day
Day6. Olon Nuur Depression
Day7. Yamaatiin Valley
Day8. Yamaatiin River valley – Rest day
Day9. Downstream Yamaatiin River
Day10. Final trek day
Day11. Fly back to Ulaanbaatar

Day1. Pick you up from your hotel and fly to Ulaangom town.

Our adventure begins with a short flight to Ulaangom soum, the center of Uvs aimag (province). Our descent will give us an unparalleled view of Kharkhiraa Mountain, one of the many natural wonders in Uvs Province. We’ll spend some time visiting the soum’s museum and National Park Center to learn about the cultural, natural, and geologic history of the region we’ll be exploring. The province is home to more than 10 different ethnic groups, rich nomadic culture, and endangered native wildlife. Turgen Mountain (where we’ll be headed) is home to endangered snow leopards and Uvs Lake, the largest lake in Mongolia by surface area, is home at different times of the year to over 220 species of birds. In the afternoon we’ll drive 35 km south to Tarialan soum and another then on to the trailhead to set up camp near the banks of the Kharkhiraa River. Elevation – 1676 m.

Day2. Trekking, Crossing the Kharkhiraa River 

In the morning we will meet and load up several Bactrian (two humped) camels, which will accompany us during our trek. Prepare your cameras – a Bactrian camel caravan is an unforgettable sight! Next, we will follow the Kharkhiraa River upstream until we reach its bend, where we will ford to the other side. To cross the Kharkhiraa we will use the most reliable method of conveyance – strong, resilient Mongolian horses. Today we will cover approximately 16 km. During the walk we will have a chance to observe how the narrow, initial part of the Kharkhiraa River Valley gradually expands after the first 10 km, allowing numerous herder families to set up their gers on its hilly sides. We’ll set up our camp near the river bank, at the foot of Ekhen Khoroo Mountain (elevation – 1950 m).

Day 3. Trekking through Kharkhiraa Valley

We will start our day basking in the morning sun rays reaching slowly the magnificent mountains surrounding us and warming them up. As we pack and continue our trek we will have an opportunity to enjoy a spectacular view – herds of yaks and camels roaming across the Kharkhiraa Valley. We will also likely enjoy the attention of local herders, who live in this remote and rarely visited area and are interested in visitors as much as the visitors are interested in them. Most of those herders belong to Khoton, one of the smallest ethnic minorities in Mongolia. On that day we will trek approximately 18 km and set a camp near the bank of the Kharkhiraa River (elevation – 2522 m).

Day 4. At the Kharkhiraa River’s source

During the past two days of our trekking we climbed approximately 1,000 m and reached a U-shaped part of the Kharkhiraa Valley located at the elevation of 2,500 m.  Today we will cover approximately 11 km. The Kharkhiraa River, which now gushes through a narrow, steep gorge lying below us, has its source in the area. While we continue to trek through this part of the valley we will be able to see once again the Kharkhiraa Mountain, which we have not seen since we landed in Ulaangom. The Peak, hidden behind the slopes of the valley, will appear suddenly just as we pass one of the major bends in the valley. Its lofty, fairy ice cliffs towering over the surrounding glacial valley make a spectacular and unforgettable view which will accompany us as we trek past roaming herds of livestock towards a conflux of streams running at the foot of Kharkhiraa and Turgen Mountains. We will set up our camp in the area (elevation -2659 m).

Day 5. A Day of Rest at the Foot of the Kharkhiraa- Turgen Massive

We wake up in our camp, set up on a green, rather flat pasture, surrounded by glacial streams, moraine and two towering peaks of Kharkhiraa and Turgen. Both of them are famous for their rich fauna including ibex, Argali sheep and even extremely rare snow leopards. Today we will not trek any further, but stay and relax in the area. The place gives a great opportunity to hike to the bottom of a glacier located on the northern side of the Kharkhiraa Mountain, the highest peak of Uvsaimag province. This remote, hardly accessible mountain still stays pristine and safe from harmful influence of civilization, since only local herders know how to reach it safely during summer, when the Kharkhiraa River rises or in the winter, when the paths are covered with deep snow. If we are lucky, while we hike, we may have a chance to see some of the wild animals living in the area.

Day 6. Olon Nuur Depression 

Today we start our trek once again. As we hike across a vast, glacial highland spreading beneath the Kharkhiraa-Turgen massive, we will be able to see in the distance the Altai Tavan Bogd range, where Khuiten, the highest peak of Mongolia is located. After a picnic lunch at the bank of the Blue Lake leading to the Valley of Goats (Yamaatiin Khondii), which owes its name to a rich population of ibex inhabiting the area. Today we will cover a distance of approximately 20 km.

Day 7. The Valley of Goats

Our today’s trek will be 12 km long. We will cross the mountain passage and start trekking downhill through the Valley of Goats, a wild canyon surrounded by steep, lofty hills rising above our heads up to 1000 m. There are no longer herds of livestock roaming around us in this remote area. The Yamatiin Gol, or the Goats’ River flows through the valley from its source at the Turgen Mountain. We will briefly trek along it in the afternoon, after having crossed the mountain passage and start descending down through the valley, and set up our camp at its bank (elevation -2330 m).

Day 8. A Day of Rest at the Valley of Goats

Once again we will take a day off to rest and explore narrow gorges forking off the main valley. The area is known not only as being inhabited by ibex but also as a place of an active research work on snow leopards. Those of you, who wish to take a break in trekking will be able to relax in our camp. Others have a variety of options including hiking up north to one of the nearby peaks rising up to 3900 m above the sea level or trying some horseback riding.

Day 9. Downstream the Goats’ River

Following the rapid current of the Yamaatiin Gol descending through the valley towards more open areas, we will pass on our way a growing number of herders’ households and a local ranger station. We may hear some cuckoos inhabiting thick, mountainous forests stretching on the left side of the valley. Today we will cover a distance of approximately 18 km and set up a camp near the exit of the Valley of Goats.

Day10. The Last Day of Trekking

Until midday we will continue our trek to reach a local road, where we will meet our vehicles. After bidding a fond farewell to our camels and their caretakers, we will leave for Uureg, a big, saline lake located near the Russian border. There are no permanent dwellings here, only gers of the local herders. The lake is crystal clear so feel free to jump in! We will set up our final camp near its shore (elevation 1650m).

Day11. A Flight Back to Ulaanbaatar

Early in the morning we will pack our baggage and drive through the Ulaan Davaa (the Red Pass) back to Ulaangom. We will take an afternoon flight to Ulaanbaatar and reach the Mongolian capital in the evening.

Please, be aware that this itinerary is flexible, and changes may occur due to weather or other unpredictable occurrences. Flight schedules can be altered with little or no advance notice. We will make every effort to realize the itinerary the way it was designed, but it may change for reasons beyond our control. If such changes occur, your patience and understanding will be highly appreciated.

2016 TRIP DATES & PRICING OPTIONS

 
Trip Dates: This trip has 2 departures.Start Date     End Date
26 Jul 16       11 Aug 16
13 Aug 16      28 Aug 16
Pricing Options: Solo traveler:  3970 usd p.p
2 people:          3700 usd p.pSingle Supplement: 560 usdRide price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.
Inclusion:
  • Well known tourist ger camp, twin or double share
  • Three meals in a day and mineral water
  • Air conditioned off road vehicle
  • English speaking guide service
  • Round trip domestic flight
  • All entrance & activities costs
  • All camping gears (sleeping bag etc)

Exclusion:

  • Gratuity for staffs

Cancellation Policy:

Minimum fee (non-refundable) 20 usd
1-2 days prior to start 50%
3-6 days prior to start 80%

Specific for the trip

Trek grading
This 9 day long trekking route is graded as MODERATE. It is relatively easy and a person with a positive attitude and being physically fit should have no problems with getting used to the altitude changes. We will mostly follow well known paths used by the local herders and small number of outside visitors. The trek combines of walks on an open steppe and along riversides, as well as, on more difficult steep hilly terrain such as mountain passes. We will be trekking approximately for 6 hours a day, with daily ascends of around 500 meters. Previous hiking or camping experience is preferable. Participants wishing to challenge themselves will have an option of following higher, steeper paths parallel to the main trek route.

Trekking Day Plan
A typical day starts with a hot brew served in your tent at around 7 a.m. and is followed by breakfast, during which our camp is put down and baggage is loaded on the animals’ backs. We start walking around 9 o’clock. After 3-4 hours of walking we stop for lunch, which usually takes an hour or two. After lunch, we usually walk for another two hours, but with the aim to set up the next camp well before dusk. During the trek you are free to walk at your own pace, enjoying the surroundings and taking photos. A three course dinner is served at around 7 p.m. in a dining tent, giving you great opportunity to socialize and discusses the events of the passing day. After dark, the temperature drops quickly, so normally participants take their rest early.

Equipment
A detailed list of equipment recommendations and items available for rent will be sent to clients upon receiving a booking for the trip and a deposit payment. We provide everything except sleeping bags and sleeping pads, plus personal equipment and clothing. As for the personal equipment we strongly recommend to bring with you only what you really need. This will help you and the accompanying personnel during the trek. Remember also that the key to stay warm and comfortable during the trek is to wear layers of multipurpose clothes, which will help to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection, while allowing you maximum comfort. You will not need any specialist clothing for this trip. However, you should make sure that you bring adequate warm clothing and that your water-proof outerwear is in good condition. Feel free to give us a call at (+976) 70111918 or send email should you have any questions regarding our equipment list.

Carry the luggage
For those who like the idea of trekking through Mongolian landscape but wish to bring bigger amount of equipment or do not want to carry any of it on their back we provide an option of renting an additional pack animal. Please contact us for more details.

Trip Arrangement

Group size and trek crew
The maximum number of participants for this trip is 14. The participants will be accompanied by the Alpha Team Tours’ tour leader, a local guide and several members of a Mongolian trek crew, including camel handlers with their animals.

Accommodation
During this trip the group will spend 3 nights in Ulaanbaatar in a comfortable and conveniently located hotel and 10 nights camping in tents. The accommodation during the whole trip is allocated on twin sharing basis and if you join our tour by yourself you will be paired with another single participant of the same sex. If you wish to book a single room in Ulaanbaatar, please contact us to check the availability and price of the accommodation. It is also possible to rent a one person tent for the rest of the trip for an additional cost of 45 US $ (Please note that the cost of renting a one person tent cost does not include single rooms in hotels).

Tourist Ger Camps
Gers used in tourist camps are the traditional felt dwellings. Each ger is furnished with a stove and a set of furniture such as beds, a table and stools. Normally ger accommodation is based on double occupancy. All ger camps have a restaurant, western style toilets and showers. Staying in one of them will allow you to have a taste of the traditional nomadic lifestyle, while enjoying some comfort after a long day of driving.

Meals
The Mongolian diet is based mainly on meat and dairy products, although vegetables are starting to gradually play more important role in the local diet.

The price of the trip includes all meals while on trek and a farewell dinner in Ulaanbaatar. Majority of your meals will be prepared by accompanying you chef (s). The meals will be a mix of Western and Mongolian dishes and include plenty of fruit and vegetable. Typical breakfast will consist of cereals, toast and a hot dish. Lunches, eaten majorly on the road, will include sandwiches and salads. Dinners will be a variety of vegetable, meat, potatoes and pasta dishes. Meals for participants with special dietary requirements can be arranged if requested in advance.

During the trip you will have numerous opportunities to try a variety of dairy products available at local herders’ households. Please be aware that they may cause you some mild stomach aches, simply because Mongolian bacterial flora is completely different from what you are used to.

Drinks
During the trip you will be provided with purified drinking water, tea, coffee, and juices. The costs of those drinks will be included in the prices of the trip. Any additional drinks you will wish to buy during the trip, as well as, alcoholic beverages are NOT included in the tour price.

Safety

During the trip your support vehicles will be equipped with a comprehensive first aid kit and the two-way radio communication devices. Moreover, at least one member of the assisting personnel will be trained in first aid. An occasional herder, who consumed a little bit too much airag (fermented mare’s milk) will probably be the only annoyance. Please note that, during the trip you will be proceeding into areas with very sparse or non-existent medical care. This means that in case of emergency, providing you with a medical care may be delayed.

Travel insurance
You are required to provide us with a copy of your travel insurance certificate in order to prove you have sufficient protection during the trip.

Be aware! 
Mongolia is a developing country, struggling with various issues, mostly in infrastructure sector. This means that various delays and breakdowns may occur during your trip. However, if such incidents happen, we will do our best to minimalize their influence on your holiday.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will assist you the best we can, and make sure you will enjoy your experience with us. We can guarantee that with us your stay in Mongolia will become a lifetime of memories.

Here is some pictures from the previous trips. 

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