Cycle to Khangai Mountains
(9 days)

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day 1
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day 2
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day 3
Orkhon Waterfall
day 4
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day 5
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day 6
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day 7
Khustai National Park 2
day 8
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day 9

Detailed description



We will leave early for Karakorum after an early wake-up, as we have a long day of events ahead of us (also called Kharkhorin). We’ll drive about 260 kilometers on a reasonably good paved road and eat lunch at a local restaurant by noon. After lunch, we’ll drive another 40 kilometers to the start of the cycling route in Kharkhorin. We’ll take a few minutes to test the bikes, make any necessary changes, and then we’ll be good to go.

Our ability to visit Karakorum will be determined by our arrival time.

Kharkhorin was the capital of Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Empire in the thirteenth century. In 1220, Genghis Khan ordered the construction of Kharkhorin on the ruins of Turug and Uigur cities in the Orkhon valley at the eastern end of the Khangai Mountains. It was completed 15 years later, during the reign of Ugedei Khaan. The town was very multicultural and culturally accepting.

The silver tree, which was once part of Möngke Khan’s palace, has become Karakorum’s emblem. Erdene Zuu Monastery is now all that is left of what was once a massive monastery with 100 temples and a lama population of around 1.000. We’ll walk around the grounds of Erdene Zuu Monastery, which is encircled by huge 400 m X 400 m walls. The Dalai Lama, Zuu of Buddha, and Lavrin Temple will be our guides for the remaining three temples. The Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock will both be visible. The Karakorum Archaeological Museum will be another stop on our itinerary. It’s a tiny museum, but it’s housed in a new, well-run structure with good lighting and simple English labels on display cases. The displays contain hundreds of artefacts from the 13th and 14th centuries that were discovered in the immediate region, as well as those from other provinces’ archaeological sites, including prehistoric stone tools. Pottery, bronzes, coins, religious sculptures, and stone inscriptions are among the items on display. A half-excavated kiln is also sunk into the museum floor. The scale model of ancient Kharkhorin, which attempts to reflect the city as it would have appeared in the 1250s and is based on descriptions written by the French missionary William of Rubruck, is perhaps the most intriguing. A Turkic noble tomb with wall paintings and artefacts, including gold objects and jewellery, is on display in another chamber. A short video of the actual burial site is available.

(Ger camp L, D)

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Tsenger Hot Spring

We’ll travel westward, towards the Khangai Mountains. The Khangai Mountain divides the arid Gobi Desert area of southern Mongolia from the lush rolling hills of northern Mongolia. The northern side of the mountain, with its numerous small rivers fed by melting snow, provides a lush, fertile environment for many nomads.

The Khangai Mountains are 2500-3000 meters above sea level and are largely made up of Palaeozoic period granite, intrusive chert, and sandstone. The Khangai Mountains stretch for about 800 kilometers from Zavkhan province to Tuv province. They act as the world’s water system’s continental divide.

We will quit the asphalt road after about an hour of driving and begin cycling through the green mountainsides. For herds of horses, yaks, and cows, the network of smaller and larger rivers provides excellent pastureland.

In the evening we will reach Tsenkher hot spring resort. This resort has a large open-air pool at its customer’s disposal. The hot water of the pool flows continuously in from the hot water spring. At the spring, the temperature of the water is over 80 ° C. A complex pipelines system regulates the water temperature. Some will spend hours sitting in the pool talking to their friends while staring at the stars or scanning the nightly nature around them. 

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Tovkhon monastery

After breakfast in our Ger camp, we’ll cross a river in our jeeps, which are usually flooded in the summer, and begin our cycling day. We’ll cycle through a mix of forested hills, granite formations, and deep fertile valleys peppered with Gers. Our journey will take us deep into the Khangai Mountains, which are lush and green with wild flowers and plants. The region is home to a large number of Mongolian yaks. Cycling today would require more physical exertion as we ride through mountains and down rugged terrain. Those who are exhausted will be able to retreat to the comfort of the jeeps. We arrive at our campsite early in the evening, which will already have been set up by our team. Spend the evening around the campfire, taking in the full wilderness and silence and in hopes that you find peace in your heart and healing in your soul.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

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Orkhon Valley and Waterfall

We will depart from our campsite in our jeeps and travel to Tovkhon Monastery, which was established in the 1650s by Zanabazar, one of Mongolia’s most revered religious leaders. The wooden structures of the monastery are combined with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop with a stunning view of the Orkhon Valley and surrounding pine forests. A hill is formed on the top of the cliff by a pile of stones used to worship a mountain god. It’s known as Ovoo. We will cycle to the direction of Orkhon waterfall in Orkhon valley after lunch. UNESCO has designated the valley as a world cultural heritage site because of ancient artefacts dating back to the early 6th century and even earlier. Moreover, the great Mongol empire expanded its capital Karakorum here from the 12th to 13th centuries. Furthermore, the pasture nomadic lifestyle has persisted, preserving both the historic and nomadic perspectives on life.

During the Quaternary period, a volcano erupted near the mouth of the Tsagaan Azarga, also known as the White Stallion River, and the lava flowed down the Orkhon valley, creating a 10-meter-thick layer of basaltic rocks. The Orkhon River cut through the basaltic layer twice, resulting in the formation of the canyon.

The 20-meter-high, 10-meter-wide waterfall marks the beginning of this canyon. The most daring of you will descend the canyon and swim in the lake at the base of the waterfall.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Orkhon Waterfall

Family at Orkhon valley

The region around the Orkhon waterfalls is lush and green, with mountains covered in trees. The valley is considered the birthplace of the Mongolian civilization. 

Immerse yourself completely in the culture of the region. Participate in everyday tasks such as milking cattle and making dairy products. The evening’s menu will include a nice Mongolian barbeque cooked over hot stones. Over a few shots of vodka, engage in fun conversations and stories with the nomads.

(Ger camp B, L, D)


Cycle to Khujirt village & drive to Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune

We will leave the waterfall after breakfast. The landscape will become very pleasant after about 30 kilometers of biking on rocky trails. The tracks can be muddy depending on the weather, particularly during the rainy summer months. After a while, we will stop biking and begin driving toward Elsen Tasarkhai sand dune, affectionately known as little Gobi. We’ll stop for lunch in a little village called Khujirt before continuing on our journey.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dune and Khogno Khan National Park

On our bikes, we will spend the entire day exploring this beautiful place. In the open steppes, the Khogno Khan Mountains are an impressive massif. The Tasarkhai Els, a 100-kilometer-long sand dune, is not far away.

We’ll ride our bikes to the Khogno Khan Mountains, hike up the range, and take in the breath-taking views of the plains, sand dunes, and grasslands. We’ll also pay a visit to the charming Ovgon Monastery.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Khustain Nuruu National Park

Our eighth day in Mongolia will take us to the Khustain Nuruu National Park, 130 kilometers outside of Ulaanbaatar.

The Przewalski’s Horse is a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse found in Central Asia’s steppes, also known as the Takhi horse. It has been reintroduced to its natural habitat in Mongolia, where it was once extinct in the wild. In 1993, Khustain Nuruu National Park was designated as a reserve, but in 1998, it was upgraded to a national park. In the park today, there are approximately 350 Takhi horses. There are 459 vascular plant species and 217 bird species in the park.

We will meet the park staff and be introduced to the project after arriving at the Khustain Nuruu National Park camp. In the afternoon, we’ll discover the park’s natural wonders by jeep, foot, or horseback.

(Ger camp B, L, D)  

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Drive to Ulaanbaatar

The time has come to leave and drive back to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital. You can use your free afternoon to see as you fit. You could always go see lovely cultural show and admire the contortionists while watching colorful and rhythmic Mongolian dances. 

(B, L)

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