Itinerary Details

  • Day 1 Kunming

    Border Information: if joining in Kunming, you will most likely enter China at Kunming Changshui International Airport (IATA code: KMG). There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting. The rest of the day will be free to explore the city of Kunming, its museums and its parks. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kunming before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kunming. In Kunming we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

    Activities(Optional)
    Overnight stay in Yunnan's laid back capital, Kunming - Cost: CNY 6
    Visit the Yunnan University Wu Mayao Museum of Anthropology in Kunming, and learn all about the history of the province - Cost: CNY
    Learn all about the area's minorities at the Yunnan Provincial Museum, and visit the nearby markets - Cost: CNY

  • Day 2 to 3 Dali

    Today our journey begins with a morning drive to the beautiful Naxi town of Dali, where we will stay for 2 nights. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!). On the following day we will have a free day to fully explore the area and for optional activities such as some short treks in the nearby Cangshan mountains or hiring bicycles to ride around the Dali lake. In Dali we stay in a friendly hostel or guesthouse with good facilities.

    Activities(Optional)
    Time for sightseeing in the lakeside town of Dali, home to the minority Bai people - Cost: CNY 40
    Learn how to make dumplings and traditional Yunnanese cuisine at one of Dali's fantastic cooking classes - Cost: CNY 150
    Discover the ornate 9th-century Three Pagodas of Chongsheng, some of the tallest pagodas in China's history and the symbol of Dali - Cost: CNY 120
    Head out by bicycle to explore the region in depth and visit various Bai villages and Qing Dynasty bridges en route - Cost: CNY 50
    Experience the incredible ancient art of cormorant fishing with the fishermen of Xizhou on Lake Erhai - Cost: CNY 100

  • Day 4 to 6 Lijiang

    Today we drive further north through Yunnan province to the beautiful 'Old-China'-style town of Lijiang, the base for visiting the world-famous Tiger Leaping Gorge. Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours. On the following 2 days we will have free time to explore the town of Lijiang and its surroundings. One very popular excursion here is to go on a 2 day/1 night trek along the high trail above the Tiger Leaping Gorge - this is by far the best way to see the gorge from some truly incredible vantage points, and we will have the opportunity to take this trek during our time here (staying in a local guesthouse on the trail on the first night and returning to Lijiang for the second). For those that don't want to do the full trek, your crew will also be able to arrange a trip to the low sections of the gorge, where there is a flat walkway to various viewpoints. In Lijiang we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

    Activities(Optional)
    Explore the beautiful natural scenery and traditional buildings in the Black Dragon Pool Park - Cost: CNY 80
    Head out for a day of trekking around the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, taking in some of the most incredible scenery in China on a clear day - Cost: CNY 80
    Explore the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain area by cable car - Cost: CNY 280
    See the incredible 'Impressions Lijiang' cultural show, demonstrating the traditions and lifestyles of the Naxi, Yi and Bai peoples of the area - Cost: CNY 270
    Freely explore the area by bicycle and discover the Naxi villages surrounding Lijiang, such as the beautiful village of Baisha - Cost: CNY 20
    Head out for a 2-day self-guided trek along the high ridge of the sensational Tiger Leaping Gorge - Cost: CNY 200
    Go on a shorter trek along the flat base of Tiger Leaping Gorge to enjoy the scenery from below - Cost: CNY 125

  • Day 7 Panzhihua

    Today we have a long drive north through stunning mountain scenery towards China's Sichuan province. We will aim to wild camp en route near the town of Panzhihua tonight. Estimated Drive Time - 7-9 hours.

  • Day 8 to 9 Emei Shan

    Today we will continue our drive to the small town of Emei Shan. Estimated Drive Time - 8-10 hours. On the following day we will have a full day to explore Emei Shan Mountain, one of the holiest sites in Chinese Buddhism and the site of hundreds of temples and an incredible golden statue of the deity known as Samantabhadra. It is possible to walk all the way up the stairs from the base of the mountain, joining the many pilgrims in their journey to the temple complex at the mountain summit, or take the cable car up instead! In Emei Shan we will stay in a local guesthouse.

    Activities(Included)
    Day trek up the lush mountain of Emei Shan, one of the most important pilgrimage treks in China

    Activities(Optional)
    Take a cable car ride to the top of Emei Shan - Cost: CNY 120

  • Day 10 to 11 Chengdu

    Today we continue our journey north to the town of Leshan to visit to the Leshan Grand Buddha - at 71m tall, this statue is the largest Buddha rock carving in the world! After our visit we will continue to the incredible city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, where we will stay for 2 nights. On arrival we will have a free afternoon to explore the city's parks, streets, and museums, and visit the fascinating and incredibly photogenic Jinli Old Town. Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours. On the following day we will have an included visit to the fantastic Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre. We'll then return to Chengdu for another free afternoon to further explore the city. In Chengdu we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    Visit to the Giant Panda breeding centre in Chengdu
    See the colossal Dafo Great Buddha in Leshan, the world's largest rock-carved Buddha statue

    Activities(Optional)
    Ferry trip down the river to see the huge Dafo Buddha in Leshan - Cost: CNY 70
    Explore the Jinsha Archeological Site, the capital of the Bronze Age Shu Kingdom who were one of the most ancient civilisations to settle in the area - Cost: CNY 80
    Freely explore the narrow streets of the atmospheric Jinli Ancient Street and visit the nearby Wuhouci Shrine - Cost: CNY 60
    Explore the cobbled streets of historic Lijang - Cost: CNY 85
    Explore the mountain complex of Qingcheng, one of the ancient cradles of Taoism in China - Cost: CNY 190
    Visit the impressive Tang Dynasty Buddhist temple of Wenshu, containing more than 450 Buddha statues - Cost: CNY 5
    Head out for an evening performance of a traditional Sichuanese Opera - Cost: CNY 220

  • Day 12 Dazu

    From Chengdu we will continue to the small village of Dazu, where we visit the Bei Shan and Baoding Shan caves, famous for their brightly-coloured freizes and carvings. In Dazu we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

    Activities(Optional)
    Side trip to see the amazing sleeping Buddha in the Dazu Caves - Cost: CNY 135

  • Day 13 Chongqing

    Today we will drive on the Chongqing, where we will have time to explore the city and prepare for tomorrow's ferry cruise on the mighty Yangtze River! We will most likely stay in a local hotel in Chongqing tonight, but on occasion our ferry may need to depart tonight, in which case we will have a spare day later in the trip that we can use at our discretion. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.

  • Day 14 to 16 Wanzhou

    Today we embark on our Yangtze River Cruise. We travel on a local ferry boat used by local people, a much more authentic and interesting way of travelling than on a tourist cruise. We stay in shared cabins (4 members of the group to each cabin) with private bathrooms and air conditioning where possible. The journey itself usually takes 3 days/3 nights and heads through some areas of stunning scenery, especially near the Three Gorges - the Qutang, Wu and Xiling Gorges. The boats usually stop at the Fengdu (Ghost City), Shibaozai Tower, home to the Lanruo Dian (Orchid Temple) and at the three Lesser Gorges at various points on the trip. However due to local conditions, stops cannot always be guaranteed. We will arrive in the city of Yichang and disembark our ferry to rejoin our truck and co-driver and have some free time to explore Yichang and the surrounding area. We will most likely have an included visit to the incredible Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, on the last day. In Yichang we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    Cruise down the mighty Yangtze River for 3 nights on a local sleeper ferry
    Stop off to visit the 1700-year-old Zhang Fei temple, famous for its exterior red-light decoration
    The cruise visits the main sites of the Three Gorges & new Yangtze Dam

    Activities(Optional)
    Stop off at the White Emperor City, a very scenic spot featured on the Chinese 10 Yuan banknote! - Cost: CNY 180
    Stop off to take a boat ride through the stunning Three Mini Gorges - Cost: CNY 220

  • Day 17 Xiang Fan

    This morning we will have some free time in Yichang or visit the Three Gorges Dam if we did not have time yesterday. After lunch we will drive to the town of Xiang Fan, en route to Wudang Shan.  In Xiang Fan we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

  • Day 18 to 19 Wudang Shan

    Today we will continue our journey with a drive to the beautiful Wudang Shan Mountain Reserve, the birthplace of the martial art of Taichi and the location of the filming of 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon'. We will also try to stop at the Purple Cloud Monastery en route if time allows. Estimated Drive Time - 2-4 hours. On the following day we will have a full day to explore the mountain's sights, temples and martial arts schools. In Wudang Shan we will stay in a local hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    Trek up the Tianzu Peak to visit the Taoist martial arts school and numerous temples on Wudang Shan

  • Day 20 Xi'an

    Today we will drive to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! We will have a free afternoon on arrival to explore the city of Xi'an, its famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter. In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

  • Day 21 Xi'an

    Border Information: if leaving in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY). This morning we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour. We'll return to Xi'an in the afternoon and have some more free time to further explore this incredible city! Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Xi'an. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

    Activities(Included)
    Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife

    Activities(Optional)
    Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China - Cost: CNY 30
    Learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an at the Shaanxi History Museum, without doubt one of the finest museums in China - Cost: CNY 30
    Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties - Cost: CNY 80
    Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world - Cost: CNY 80
    Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset - Cost: CNY 40
    Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures - Cost: CNY 90
    Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057 - Cost: CNY 50
    Visit the huge former Tang Dynasty royal palace of Daming, and explore its vast parks and gardens - Cost: CNY

  • Day 22 Xi'an

    Border Information: if joining in Xi'an, you will most likely enter China at Xi'an Xianyang International Airport (IATA code: XIY). Welcome to the amazing city of Xi'an, the ancient capital of Shaanxi province and the end of the 'Silk Road'! There will be a group meeting today at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting. This afternoon we head out of Xi'an on the truck to the site of the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, where we have an included visit and a guided tour. Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Xi'an before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Xi'an. In Xi'an we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

    Activities(Included)
    Explore the world-famous site of the Terracotta Warriors, an army of 8000 life-size figures built to protect the Emporer Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife

  • Day 23 Xi'an

    Today we will have a free day to explore the city of Xi'an, it's famous walls, bell and drum towers, pagodas and Muslim Quarter.

    Activities(Optional)
    Visit the ornate 14th-century Bell and Drum towers, which originally marked the sunrise and sunset - Cost: CNY 40
    Wander through the atmospheric Muslim Quarter and visit the Xi'an Great Mosque, the first mosque constructed in China - Cost: CNY 30
    Learn about the fascinating history of the ancient Chinese capital of Chang'an at the Shaanxi History Museum, without doubt one of the finest museums in China - Cost: CNY 30
    Visit the mind-blowing Tomb of Emporer Jingdi of the Han Dynasty, containing 50,000 doll-sized terracotta figures - Cost: CNY 90
    Walk or cycle around the Ming Dynasty Xi'an City Wall, the largest city wall in the world - Cost: CNY 80
    Visit the impressive Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi'an's most famous landmark dating from the Tang and Ming Dynasties - Cost: CNY 80
    Visit the Forest of Stelae Museum, a collection of 3000 stone tablets of Chinese calligraphy that has been collected here since 1057 - Cost: CNY 50

  • Day 24 Yan'an

    Today we make our way to the city of Yan'an. Yan'an is famous for being the ending point for those on the 'Long March', and became the CCP headquarters for a brief period. During our time here we have an included visit to the Revolutionary Museum and the CCP Headquarters site. In Yan'an we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-6 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

    Activities(Included)
    Visit the Revolution Museum and the Yangjialing Headquarters site, the former headquarters of Mao Tse Tung's Communist Party during the revolution

  • Day 25 Lijiashan

    Today we continue our journey to visit the ancient village of Lijiashan, famed for settlement of cave dwellers and still home to more than 600 families. In Lijiashan we will stay in a cave room, run by a local family and set up for guests. Please note that some caves include a traditional 'Kang Stove bed'. The Kang bed is a hollow platform made from bricks that is used both as a bed and as a work area, these are common in remote villages in Northern China. In winter a coal fire can be lit under the bed, providing a huge amount of warmth day and night and it is very common for the whole family to sleep on one large bed. This means there may be times that members of the group may have to share 1 large bed with others in the group. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours.

    Activities(Included)
    Stay overnight in a local guesthouse built into a cave, in the cliff-side village of Lijiashan

  • Day 26 to 28 Pingyao

    We will set off early this morning for an included visit to the Black Dragon Temple just outside of Lijiashan. We will then drive to China's best-preserved ancient walled town, Pingyao. Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours. We will stay for 3 nights in Pingyao, giving us plenty of time to explore this ancient town and surrounding sites such as the Mian Shan Mountain Resort and the Zhangbi Underground City. In Pingyao we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    Visit the beautiful and ornate Black Dragon temple near Lijiashan
    Freely explore the old town of Pingyao, a well preserved walled city that offers a fantastic glimpse into 'Old China'

    Activities(Optional)
    Visit the incredible Shuanglin Temple near Pingyao, with its 2000 colourful sculptures of various gods and warriors - Cost: CNY 25
    Visit the 10th-century Zhenguo Temple, one of the oldest wooden buildings in China - Cost: CNY 25
    Take a day trip out to the impressive Wang family compound and the Zhang Bi underground village near Pingyao - Cost: CNY 205
    Take a day trip to the photogenic Mian Shan Mountain Resort, and explore the incredible array of buildings and scenery there - Cost: CNY 160

  • Day 29 to 30 Wutai Shan

    This morning we continue to the stunning mountainous area known as Wutai Shan, one of the holiest sites of Chinese Buddhism and a major centre of pilgrimage in the country. Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours. On the following day we will have a full day to explore the area and visit its incredible array of temples and religious sites. In Wutai Shan we will stay in a basic local hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    Explore the myriad of temples at Wutai Shan, one of the Four Sacred Mountains of Chinese Buddhism

  • Day 31 to 32 Datong

    Today we will drive to the city of Datong. We will have an included visit to the incredible Hanging Monastery en route. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours. On the following day we will head out of Datong in the truck on an included visit to the awe-inspiring Yungang Buddha Caves.  In Datong we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    2 nights to explore Datong's Hanging Monastery and the stunning Yungang Caves
    Explore the phenomenal site of the Yungang Caves, a network of 252 caves containing over 51,000 incredibly crafted sculptures of Buddha from the 5th and 6th centuries

    Activities(Optional)
    See the beautiful and ornate Nine Dragon Screen, a screen of glazed tiles depicting nine multi-coloured interweaving dragons - Cost: CNY 10

  • Day 33 Jinshanling

    This morning we will drive to one of the world's most incredible sights - the Jinshanling section of the Great Wall of China! We will have time this afternoon and the following morning to thoroughly explore and walk along the Great Wall. In Jinshanling we will stay in a basic local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

    Activities(Included)
    Fully explore the awe-inspiring Great Wall of China at Jinshanling, one of the most spectacular stone sections of the wall

  • Day 34 to 35 Chengde

    This morning we will spend some more time exploring the Great Wall of China. We will then continue with a short drive to the city of Chengde. Estimated Drive Time - 1-2 hours. On the following day we will have a full day to explore the Puning Temple and the famous Imperial Summer Resort. In Chengde we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

    Activities(Included)
    Explore the Imperial city of Chengde, summer home to the Emperor's family
    Explore the incredible Imperial Summer Resort in Chengde, a vast park with a variety of gardens, pagodas, temples and palaces from various regions of China

    Activities(Optional)
    See the beautiful Putuo Zongcheng Temple, modelled after the famous Potala Palace in Tibet - Cost: CNY 80

  • Day 36 to 37 Beijing

    Today we complete our journey to China's chaotic and evocative capital, Beijing! Estimated Drive Time - 3-5 hours. On the following day we will head out on the Beijing metro to the city centre's famous Tiananmen Square, which we will walk through and then take a tour of the Forbidden City. We will then have a free afternoon to fully explore the many sights, sounds and flavours of Beijing. In Beijing we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

    Activities(Included)
    Guided visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing

    Activities(Optional)
    Discover all about the varied and interesting history of China at the National Museum, with its huge collection of over a million artifacts - Cost: CNY
    Head out to see an acrobatic or martial arts show in Beijing, always an incredible mix of athleticism and choreography - Cost: CNY 250
    Explore the Ming Tombs - Cost: CNY 60
    Explore the vast Temple of Heaven, once the site of an annual religious ceremony conducted by the Emporer to pray for a good harvest - Cost: CNY 10
    Visit the beautiful Tibetan-style Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple) in Beijing - Cost: CNY
    See the iconic modern 'Bird's Nest' Stadium, the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games - Cost: CNY 50

  • Day 38 Beijing

    Border Information: if leaving in Beijing, you will most likely exit China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK). Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Beijing. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact the Dragoman Sales team if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.

  • Day 39 Beijing

    Border Information: if joining in Beijing, you will most likely enter China at Beijing Capital International Airport (IATA code: PEK). There will be a short group meeting today at 10:00am - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting. The rest of the day will be free to explore the incredible city of Beijing! Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Beijing before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Beijing. In Beijing we will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities.

    Activities(Optional)
    Explore the Ming Tombs - Cost: CNY 60
    Guided visit to the Forbidden City in Beijing - Cost: CNY 60
    Discover all about the varied and interesting history of China at the National Museum, with its huge collection of over a million artifacts - Cost: CNY
    Head out to see an acrobatic or martial arts show in Beijing, always an incredible mix of athleticism and choreography - Cost: CNY 250
    Explore the vast Temple of Heaven, once the site of an annual religious ceremony conducted by the Emporer to pray for a good harvest - Cost: CNY 10
    Visit the beautiful Tibetan-style Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple) in Beijing - Cost: CNY
    See the iconic modern 'Bird's Nest' Stadium, the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympic Games - Cost: CNY 50

  • Day 40 Erlian

    Today we leave the Chinese capital behind us as we begin our overland journey towards Mongolia. Today will be a long drive day to reach the border town of Erlian. We will either wild camp outside Erlian or stay in a basic local hotel, depending on weather conditions and group preferences. Estimated Drive Time - 10-12 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

  • Day 41 Sainshand

    Border information: Exit China at Erlian, enter Mongolia at Zamyn-Uud. This morning we cross the border into Mongolia. Please be aware that border procedures can take around 5 hours here. Once we have made it into Mongolia we will continue our overland journey north. We will aim to wild camp near the town of Sainshand tonight. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.

    Activities(Optional)
    Visit the Khamaryn Khiid Monastery near Sainshand, dedicated to Danzan Ravjaa, a 19th-century religious leader of the 'Red Hat' branch of Buddhism - Cost: MNT
    Visit the modern working Buddhist monastery of Dechinchoinkhorlin Khiid, near Sainshand - Cost: MNT

  • Day 42 Ulaanbaatar

    This morning we may have the opportunity to visit the Dechinchoinkhorlin Monastery in Sainshand before we continue our drive to Mongolia's vibrant capital of Ulaanbaatar (please note this is not always open for visitors). In Ulaanbaatar we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 6-7 hours.

  • Day 43 Ulaanbaatar

    Today will be a free day to explore UIaanbaatar.

  • Day 44 Ulaanbaatar

    Border information: If you are joining in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely enter Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport. There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting, but please do not be alarmed if the note is not there as this is often a travel day for the tour leader and they may arrive in the afternoon. If you arrive early, the rest of the day will be free to explore the Mongolian capital! In Ulaanbaatar we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

  • Day 45 Ulaanbaatar

    This morning we head out on a guided tour to see some of Ulaanbaatar's best and most treasured sights, including the Gandan Monastery and the National Museum. This afternoon we will spend a few hours exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian may need, so a trip here will certainly give visitors a fascinating insight into peoples lives, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers.

  • Day 46 OEgii Lake

    Today we drive out of the city and into the vast plains of Mongolia. We hope to arrive at Khar Bukh Balgas ruins in the early afternoon. Khar Bukh Balgas was built during the Kitan period in about 1000CE, and was part of a chain of fortresses that were used to govern and control the northern region and borders of the Kitan state. Upon arrival at the site, we will explore the ruins and learn about the various kingdoms that dominated Mongolia during that era. After our visit to the ruins we will drive to Ögii Lake where many nomadic families spend their summer. The Lake is famed for it's great bird watching opportunities where it is not uncommon to spot at Swan Goose, White Spoonbill and Dalmatian Pelicans. In Ögii Lake we will stay in a local nomadic ger-tent camp set up for guests. These are large gers, each usually containing 2 or 4 beds. Please note that we cannot give any accurate drive time estimations for our Mongolia trip as the journey times are heavily dependent on the state of roads, which is in turn heavily dependent on the weather. The roads in Mongolia are mostly dirt tracks in very poor condition, which means that an even greater degree of flexibility is needed for this trip in all regards.

  • Day 47 Kharkhorin

    Today we have an early start as we head to Mongolia's earliest capital, Kharkhorin (otherwise known as Karakoram). Our first stop on the way to Kharkhorin will be at the Kultigen monument. This massive stone tomb was built in honour of a Turkic prince and warrior killed in a nearby battle. We then continue on a fairly short drive to Kharkhorin. Kharkhorin was famed throughout Asia at the capital of the Mongol Empire. We will visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery, and other historical monuments in the area. In Kharkhorin we will stay in a ger camp.

  • Day 48 to 49 Orkhon Valley

    Today we head south, driving into the stunning region of the Orkhon Valley. We will drive to the beautiful volcanic canyon that runs along the Orkhon River and we can take an easy hike along the canyon ending near a pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfalls where we can take a cool swim! We will wild camp in a remote area of the Orkhon Valley tonight. The following day we will continue our journey through the Orkhon Valley to the Tuvkhon Monastery, which we can embark on a two and a half hour trek to visit (the first hour will be uphill!). This monastery was established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia's most respected religious leaders. The monastery's wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop, from which you have beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests. After our visit we will wild camp nearby. Please note that on occasion it is impossible to rech the Tuvkhon Monastery due to river flooding or the ground being impassable - the roads are in a particularly bad state here and are very susceptible to being rendered impossible to drive on if there has been rain recently. Although we will do our best to make this visit, your understanding is appreciated if we cannot. Please also note that the order of our visits to the 2 main highlights in the Orkhon Valley is interchangable, depending on the road conditions.

  • Day 50 to 51 Tsenkher

    Today our trip heads north, crossing the Khangai Nuruu Mountains through a series of passes until we reach an area that Mongolians call 'The Paradise of the Horse Herders' due to its lush grasses and open valleys. We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at 82°C, and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak. The following day we will take a short, easy walk to meet one of the many nomadic families that spend their summers in the region. The afternoon is free to explore the valley and surrounding hills either by foot or by horseback. In Tsenkher we will stay at a ger camp.

  • Day 52 Tsetserleg

    This morning we drive to Tsetserleg, the provincial capital, where we will make a short visit to the local market. If time permits, we will also visit the provincial museum. We will then continue our journey north past the Tamir river, and will wild camp tonight.

  • Day 53 Chuulut Canyon

    Today we continue noth past Taikhar Chuluu (a massive rock which is connected to local mythology) and the Chluulut Canyon to arrive at our ger camp near the Khorgo volcano. In Khorgo we will stay at a nearby ger camp.

  • Day 54 Khorgo

    This morning we will take a hike to the top of the Khorgo Volcano and take in the incredible views over its perfect crater. From the top of the volcano we continue our hike though fields studded with pine trees, stopping off en route at the Yellow Dog Cave, an interesting volcanic phenomenon. We will then return to the truck and continue our journey north. We will aim wild camp tonight in the remote plains north of Khorgo.

  • Day 55 to 56 Moeroen

    Over the next few days we continue driving north on one of Mongolia's most beautiful routes, crossing high mountain passes, vast grasslands, and small creeks! We will pass by the beautiful alpine Lake Zuun en route.  We hope to arrive at Mörön, the provincial capital, the following afternoon. We will visit the local market, Danzadarjaa Monastery and the local museum. If we don't have time on this section of the trip, then we can visit the town after coming back from Khövsgöl Lake. We will aim to wild camp near Zuun Lake and near the town of Mörön.

  • Day 57 to 58 Khoevsgoel Lake

    This morning we will drive out to an ancient burial site featuring Mongolia's mysterious deer stones, these are memorial stones representing important leaders and warriors, carved with deer motifs. After visiting the site, we continue our trip northward to one of the world's biggest fresh water sources, the stunning Khövsgöl Lake. Khövsgöl Lake and its amazing surroundings are home to several of Mongolia's ethnic minorities as well as a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife. One of the most interesting ethnic groups living near the lake is the Tsaatan, also known as 'The Reindeer People'. A small tribe of Tsaatan consisting of about 40 families lives with its herds of reindeer in the forests around the lake. These graceful animals provide the tribe with all its basic needs - milk, meat and transportation. As there are very few Tsaatan left and this is a mobile population, we may meet them but there are no guarantees - however, the scenery of the area is well worth the exploration. The following day we will take a hike around the forests and meadows near the lake. Lying at about 1650m above sea level, surrounded by mountains rising above 3100m, the waters of Khovsgol are deep and spectacularly clear and pure. We will hike through thick pine forests carpeted with flowers and explore the setting of Mongolia's 'Blue Pearl'. In Khövsgöl Lake we will stay at a ger camp.

  • Day 59 to 61 Bulgan

    We will spend the next 3 days crossing central-northern Mongolia on our way back towards the capital of Ulanbaatar. The long road offers diversified landscapes, from vast, open steppes to beautiful sand dunes. We will aim to wildcamp in the plains east of Mörön on the first day of this journey, by the Selenge River on the next day, and on the outskirts of the town of Bulgan on the day after that.

  • Day 62 Amarbayasgalant Monastery

    This morning we will try to visit the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. Built between 1727 and 1736 by the Manchu Emperor Enkh Amgalan, Amarbayasgalant is among the largest monasteries in Mongolia to have survived the purges of the 1930s. With about 60 monks living and studying here, the monastery functions today as one of Mongolia's central religious institutions, and consists of 29 different temples, all built in the classic Tibetan style. Tonight we will wild camp near the monastery.

  • Day 63 Ulaanbaatar

    Today we have a full day drive from northern Mongolia back to the city of Ulaanbaatar. This evening is free to relax and explore, and to have a well-earned final meal and drinks in one of the city's many restaurants! In Ulaanbaatar we will stay in our comfortable joining hotel.

  • Day 64 Ulaanbaatar

    Border information: If you are leaving in Ulaanbaatar, you will most likely exit Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khaan International Airport. Today is a free day to further explore the city of Ulaanbaatar. Please note that if you are leaving in Ulaanbaatar, today is the last day of the trip and there is no accommodation included tonight.  

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