Day 1. Fri.: USA to Beijing
Day 2. Sat.: Beijing / Ulaanbaatar.
On arrival at Beijing, make connection to the continuing flight to Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. (Some passports will need visas). On arrival, make your way to immigration, clear customs and then proceed to the arrival hall where you will be met by our representative who will escort you to the hotel. Load our coach and drive a short distance to the hotel.
Overnight: The Grand Hill Hotel (D)
Day 3. Sun: Ulaanbaatar / Halehelin / South Gobi. (Full day coach)
This morning we rise early and have breakfast at our hotel. We check out by 8:00am and load our coach for a drive leaving behind the city of Ulaanbaatar.
We are headed to the famous southern section of the Gobi desert with multiple stops for photos, washroom breaks and activities along the way.
You will get to see the rural side of this unique country as we pass by towns and small villages, and farms and livestock as we get further into the south of Mongolia. We will be viewing what the locals call Grassland. See the livestock they raise and we stop for photos along the highway of our journey.
LUNCH BREAK – At 12:30hrs – we will stop and have lunch at a typical Mongolian restaurant.
13:30hrs – After lunch we will continue a drive of about an hour further as we start to enter the Gobi Desert.
14:30hrs – 15:00hrs – Karakorum Museum – This museum is probably the best museum outside the capital city. It is small but everything is beautifully laid out and well displayed. You find pottery, coins, statues and stone inscriptions. The dozens of artifacts are very interesting to learn about the history and there is a scale model of Karakorum from 1250 AD. Karakarum was once the Mongolian capital.
15:00hrs – 15:30hrs – A little further we travel and then our guide and coach bring us to our camp which is just off the highway. Drop our bags and use restrooms and then we get ready for a real experience.
16:00hrs – 17:30hrs – We will be outfitted with our very own camel as we board and set out in caravan style for a camel hike, just like they did in the old days.
Overnight: Traditional Yurt (B-L-D)
Day 4. Mon: Grass land. (Full day activities)
The entire population in and around the Gobi desert is usually nomadic tribes.
We will travel around for the next few days to visit different Nomadic tribes and their families. We have some set works that our students will be involved in to assist the locals in a community service project.
Frist we will drive to the Erdenezuu Monastery which is the earliest surviving Buddhist Monastery in Mongolia which makes it very important to everyone.
The monastery fell into disrepair through various centuries and especially during Stalin rule when communism spread through this region.
It was completely out of business during that rule. The Monastery remained closed until 1965 when it was permitted to reopen as a Museum. When communism collapsed in 1990, religious freedom was restored and the Monastery became active again.
Continue our drive to Lake Ugii where we will learn about this area of remarkable nature with wild horses, plenty of bird species and natural scenic views.
Participate in a short boat ride on Lake Uggi and watch for the birds who rely on the lake for their sustenance. Your guide will point them out.
Continue our drive to nearby Nomadic Tribe site. This is where the tribal folks set up camp but move it when it suits them for their herds of cows, sheep and other animals. They settle where there is food for both animals and humans.
Arrive at our Nomadic Tribe camp area this afternoon and be assigned to our yurts.
Overnight: Traditional Yurt (B-L-D)
Day 5. Tue: Gobi Grassland Community service.
After breakfast this morning, we will join in with Mongolian Tribal life. Today we will assist the Mongolian families in this area with morning and afternoon choses mixed in with adventures.
Many people think of the Gobi Desert as just a lot of sand. The Mongolian Gobi Desert has a lot of vegetation, along with vast Steppes. The Eurasian Steppe extends thousands of miles from near the mouth of the Danube almost to the Pacific Ocean. It is bounded on the north by the forests of European Russia, Siberia and Asian Russia. There is no clear southern boundary although the land becomes increasingly dry as one moves south.
his morning we will help the farmers with the daily horse chores, cleaning the horses, their stables and going for a horseback ride through the Gobi Desert. The family youth will show us how to ride.
Because of the size of the Mongolian Steppes, it is home to many families or clans. We will travel and visit this legendary desert with valleys, gorges and sand dunes.
Lunch break at the Yurts before we have afternoon chores with the farmer’s goats.
After lunch, we will help the farmers with the goat milking chores which consumes a few hours of hard work. First we must gather and roundup the goats, and get them ready for milking.
You will see the technique of roping the herd together with one goat on one side and the other on the other side, both of them facing each other. Most herds are large and we spend time gathering them together and preparing them to be milked. All the students will then be trained on how to properly milk the goats. As you will also find out, this is really easy once you get the knack of it. Dinner at Yurt.
Overnight: Traditional Yurt (B-L-D)
Day 6. Wed: Gobi Grassland Community service.
Another day of Nomadic keeps everyone fascinated. This morning after breakfast
we will switch to help the farmers with their herds of sheep. We will all participate in the herding of the sheep. This daily activity is necessary to lead the sheep to pastures where there is plenty of food for them to graze. You will learn all the techniques of sheep farming as well as splitting into cooking groups for lunch.
Many farmers are now learning to have cooperatives where many families join together and send their meat to market with one truck, thus cutting down on their expenses and making more money.
Up to 90 per cent of Mongolia is vulnerable to land degradation, according to the United Nations Environment Program. Before 2007, these nomadic families farmed the same way they had for centuries: working in isolation, moving four or five times a season, living in the circular ger tents that are common across Central Asia.
All morning farming chores with the sheep until a hearty Mongolian lunch break, also prepared by some of our students assisting the farmers preparing lunch.
This afternoon we will spend time doing laundry where everyone will help do this chore. You will see how quickly clothes dry in the outside elements.
Although Girls and women in the Gobi desert equally do as men, survival chores with living in the Gobi desert. Yes some of the women do mostly the Yurt laundry but everything can be done by the ladies as the same as men. You will also find this in the Gobi desert.
Visit with the ladies who are enjoying tea over a typical stove while their camels enjoy are looked after by the family members.
Overnight: Traditional Yurt (B-L-D).
Day 7. Thu: Grassland / Genghis Khan Museum / Gorkhi Terlj National Park.
This morning have breakfast and we pack up and get ready to move to another area of the Gobi Desert. Our drive of about two hours brings us to the famous Ghengis Khan Museum.
The main statue of the Genghis Khan complex is 250 tons of stainless steel used to create this sculpture. The statue stands on top of a pedestal that we access a flight of steps in small groups. At the top we emerge into the viewing platform nestled in the mane of the horse. As it is small and narrow we go up in small groups and get a 360 view of the surrounding steppes and mountains. The Khan Museum is small when compared to the National Museum but it includes artifacts and collection of arrowheads that the Mongol army used.
Lunch Break: After our drive and visit of the Museum, we will stop for lunch at a nearby typical yurt style lunch before we head out to the nearby National Park.
Gorkhi Terelj National Park: Our route from the museum will bring us to visit Three Friends Cave and Turtle rock before reaching the national park. The Park is only an hour from the Museum.
Our afternoon will be spent exploring the park which is a complete change from the Gobi desert as you will see by the lush green rolling hills, valleys and mountains. Pictured above to the right is Turtle rock which is easy to make an image of a large turtle from up close. We will stop for photos and visit this area.
Hike a short distance up to the Ariyabal meditation temple and enjoy the views.
After an hour of viewing the National Park, we drive a short distance to our accommodation once again in a Yurt, with Mongolian dinner this evening.
Overnight: Traditional Yurt (B-L-D)
Day 8. Fri: Gorkhi Terlj National Park / Ulaanbaatar. (Drive 2 hours)/ Ulaanbaatar. (3/4 day Orphanage and discover capital)
This morning we will have an early breakfast and depart this area by 08:00hrs to reach around 10:00hrs. On arrival in the capital city, we will spend a couple of hours at an Orphanage in the capital city.
10:00hrs / 12:00hrs – visit an Orphanage in Ulaanbaatar and bring some cheer to the children. We will play games with them, maybe play some soccer and help bring some warmth and charm to them for a morning.
There is a possibility of bringing some age related toy donations to the school.
This could be organized if the school wishes to do so, and left in storage in Ulaanbaatar the first night of our arrival. When we reach this day, it will be brought out of storage and deliver with us to the orphanage.
12:30hrs – 14:00hrs – Lunch break. Drive to our hotel for check in and time for hot showers and clean up. Then our group enjoys lunch together.
14:00hrs – 17:30hrs – This afternoon we will have our guide and driver escort us through the city visiting the landmarks which includes Shiiamoni Buddhism Park, Zaisan Hill, Parliament House and the National History Museum which has more Genghis Khan artifacts.
Ulaanbaatar is also known as Ulan Bator or a nickname of just UB and is the capital city of Mongolia. Population is around 1.3 million inhabitants. Natural views of the city shows you the taller buildings and the rolling mountains in the background.
Originally Ulaanbaatar was a Buddhist center, it became a permanent site in the 18th century. When the Soviets controlled the area in the 20th Century, this led to a religious purge and communism took over. It is also known as the coldest capital city in the world due to its harsh winter temperatures. But in the summer, the city bursts into life.
The National Museum of Mongolia which we visit will show you an overview of Mongolian Culture with many artifacts and traditional costumes which we have also seen for the past week as we travelled the country.
Three floors of interesting sights from the stone age, sculptures of reindeer and other animals, gold treasures. The second floor houses costumes and hats and silver headgear.
The third floor is the must see collecting of real Mongolian amour and traditional Mongolian horse saddles and other herding equipment.
17:30hrs – 19:00hrs – Return to our hotel where we have some free time to relax, freshen up and board our coach as we head to a local restaurant this evening.
Farewell Dinner – at the conclusion to the landmarks of Ulaanbaatar, we will end at a traditional Restaurant where we will enjoy a Mongolian Barbecue and a National Dance and Song show.
Mongolian Dinner and show this evening wraps up our fascinating visit to Mongolia. Memories to last a lifetime.
Overnight: The Grand Hill Hotel (B-L-D)
Day 9. Sat: Ulaanbaatar / Beijing / USA
Breakfast this morning and we board our coach at 09:00hrs and drive out to the airport. Check in for our flight to Beijing and connection to USA.