Transfer to hotel. There are no activities planned today. (H; D)
Today we travel through the morning to reach the ruins of Kharkhorin, the capital of Mongolia in the 13-th century during the rule of Chengis Khan. However, the main attraction is ErdeneZuHiidmonastry, built in 1586, the largest monastery and first Buddhist centre in Mongolia. Over 100 temples were constructed, but most were destroyed during the Soviet era. Total distance 365 km. (G) (B,L,D) On the way to Kharkhorin we visit ElsenTasarhai - a small sand dunes. Climbing on top gives views of the desert.
After packing up camp, we continue on dirt tracks across green grasslands. Throughout this journey we have several opportunities to visit Shankh monastery-Khujirt and meet local people and join them for a cup of tea or mares milk (only during July, August and September) in their ger. We travel through valleys, cross-rivers and see yaks along the way. A spectacular sight is the Orhon falls and gorge. There is free time walk down into the gorge or watch the falls from the top. (C) (B,L,D)
As we gradually leave Orhon waterfall behind us,(we travel south to Naimannuur (8 lakes) - this is option), we travel to central Mongolia, we pass through Tsetserleg, the capital of aimag (province) Arkhangai. Picturesque mountains surround the town and a small temple (Zayiinhiid) overlooks the tree-lined streets. Arhangaiaimag is famous for its natural attractions. The territory of the aimag is located 2414 m above sea level, and the highest point is KharlagtainSaridag which is 3514 m above sea level. As we travel further Northwest, the KhangaiNuruu mountains to TerhiinTsagaanNuur (lakeTariat), or great white lake. The fresh water lake and the volcanic area around it’s highlight of Arhangai. Formed by lava flows from a volcanic eruption, the lake area is part of the unspoiltTsagaanNuur National Park and is perfect for camping. The region offers wonderful hiking and swimming opportunities. (C) (B,L,D)
We pass through undulating taiga forest and farming country, cross fish filled rivers enruote to Moron, the capital of Mongolia’s northernmost aimagKhovsgul. There are many goats, sheeps,cows, yaks, horse and the occasional Bactrian (two humped) mountain camel to be seen on the way. Tonight we camp near the Telmenlake, close to Tosontsengelsoum a small village of Zavhanaimag. (C) (B,L,D)
After packing up the camp site we drive through the morning to reach the spectacular alpine lake HuvsgulNuur 125 km long and 30 km wide, it is the deepest lake in Central Asia. To the Mongolians it is sacred and is referred to as ‘Mother’. The lake is full of fish and the area is home to sheep, ibex, bear, moose and over 200 species of birds. Surrounded by 2000 metres peaks, 90 river flow into the lake, while only one river, the EgiinGol, flows out, eventually reaching lake Baikal in Siberia. The demography of the area is unique as it is made up of Darkhand, Mongols, Buryats and Tsaatan peoples. (G) (B,L,D)
Today is a welcome rest day. Perhaps wander around the lake area, or (excluded) hire a boat to enjoy this spectacular blue lake surrounded by an alpine wilderness of forests, mountains and meadows. (G) (B,L,D)
These two days we visit Moron to see the Naadam festival. We will spend the whole day at Moron watching the National wrestling, horse and Arcehry games. In the evening we might return (depends upon your interest) either we stay at Moron to continue enjoying the Naadam festival. (G; B,L,D)
We drive back from Huvsgullake to Moron, where we will fly to Ulaanbaatar. (H; B,L,D)
We visit the Naadam festival at Central stadium. Today we will enjoy watching the National wrestling game. The wrestling in Mongolia had specific features of its own, the engagements are not limited in time, there are no weight categories, the area of the arena is not fixed and many pairs of wrestlers meet simultaneously. On starting the competition all wrestlers with the higher title-holders in front, enter the hall in a line wearing “gutuls” (decorated Mongolian boots) and hats and their wrestling costumes called “zodog” (an open-fronted, long-sleeved vest of silk) and “shuudag”(tight short trunks). There are many different titles for the wrestlers such as Titan (Avarga), Lion (Arslan), Elephant (Zaan) and Falcon (Nachin). All the names signify strength. A wrestler who wins five fights in succession during one competition has the right to have the title of Falcon, and if he wins seven fights in succession – Elephant. When a wrestler wins all the fights in a competition during one of these festivals he will honored a title Lion. If he wins in a subsequent year he merits the title of Titan. The wrestling contest will prolong about 14-16 hours or 2 days, within this period of time total of 512 or 1024 wrestlers take part. Later visit the Archery stadium. Archery bow do not has any sight, the arrows are made of thin willow twigs and the feathers of the powerful griffon-vulture. The hexahedral points are made of bone. The bow string is very tight, prepared from the tendons of three year old bulls. Archery contests are accompanied by the “Ukhai”, a choral tune resembling a drawing folk song. Men shoot at 75 and women from 60 meters. Today Mongolians use less complicated form of archery than ancient time: the target is a “wall” made of cork cylinders braided together with leather straps. Naadam archery also attracts individual archers as well as teams of 8-12 people. Every male archer has forty arrows to shoot at each target. The judges dressed in national attire, stand by the targets with hands held up after the arrows have been shot. This evening we join the National folk and dance performance, later we will visit the Sukhbaatar square for the peoples evening fair. (H; B,L,D)
We will spend few of our time in watching the horse race too. The horse race is an established system for selecting the horses, training them and for conducting the contest. Most interesting is that the riders, as a rule, they are boys and girls aged between 6-12, and the distance ranges from 15-30 kms. No special tracks are prepared, the horses cover the distance in the steppe and jump over natural barriers. Before they start the riders sing an ancient war-like song-Giingoo. The competitors start at the finishing line and at the signal to start and back to the finish line. Thus the distance is actually doubled. The horse racing can be held on saddled or unsaddled horses. Horses of two years or older take part. The winner is honored with a cup of airag which he drinks and sprinkles on the head and croup of his horse. After the races, a praise-singer extols the best riders and their horses. This day we will have opportunity to tour the Ulaanbaatar city. City is built along the Tuulriver and is surrounded by picturesque mountains. The center of Ulaanbaatar is dominated by Soviet-style buildings with extend ger suburbs on the outskirts of town. Ulaanbaatar, meaning ‘Red Hero’, became the capital of Outer Mongolia when it was proclaimed an independent state in 1924. We see Gandan monastery, one of the few operating Buddhist monasteries left in Mongolia. Bogd Khan Palace museum, the residence of the last Khan (king) who died in 1924, now houses a wonderful display of his throne, robes and crown and a luxurious ger. The Natural History museum is renowned for its collection of dinosaur skeletons and fossilised eggs. (H; B,L,D)
Manzshir Court. Trip to the Manzshir Court Monastery - One of the Mongolia’s biggest and most significant monasteries destroyed in the revolutionary purges. Visit a fascinating museum set among beautiful and spectacular rock formations on the holy Bogd mountain. In the afternoon at 2:00 pm return back to Ulanbaatar and then we drive further to Terelj Nature Reserve. Half day excursion to Terelj Nature Reserve, to touch the Nomadic lifestyle.Terelj National Park, created in 1993, borders the Khan Khentii strictly protected area, and it is one of the most visited protected areas. Terelj, on the Tereljriver, bank is a spectacular valley with high eroded rock formations, pine-covered mountains and grasslands carpeted with perennial wildflowers and edelweiss. Pony trail up to the Khan Khentiimountain. (G; B,L,D)
Our representative will transfer you to Airport three hours prior to the scheduled flight. We hope you had a memorable time in Mongolia and we wish to serve you again.