Mountain Bike Tour to Gobi Desert
(12 days)

Guranteed Departure

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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
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day 8
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day 9
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day 10
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day 11
day 12

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 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 B, L, D)

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Tsenher 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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Ongi Monastery

Today will be our longest driving day without cycling and you will travel to Ongi Monastery. The ruins of two monasteries that face each other across the Ongi river in south-central Mongolia are known as Ongi.

The peace and beauty of the Delger Khangai Mountains will enchant you. On one side of the river, you’ll visit the ruins of Khoshuu Monastery. This vast series of rocky hills cut by the river can be explored on foot. The monastery’s southern complex contains numerous administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex, which was built in the 18th century, included 17 temples, including one of Mongolia’s largest temples. There were four Buddhist universities situated on the grounds.

The monasteries were constructed in the 17th century and were demolished in 1937. They were among Mongolia’s largest temples, housing over 1000 monks.

Today, a small monastery has been built between the ruins, and the remains of old monasteries are displayed in the Ger museum.

(Ger camp B, L, D)


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Bayanzag or Flaming Cliffs

After breakfast we will drive to the direction of the Gobi Desert. We will see the landscape changing dramatically from semi grassland to the inhospitably rocky land. The number of families and cattle we will see along the road will gradually reduce. Camels will slowly replace cows. The climate is hot and dry and hardly rains.  After about 3 hours of driving we will start cycling. Gobi Desert is a rocky desert most of it is covered by gravel eroded by winds as a result making the track rather difficult. However, challenging it might be, it is liberating to cycle through the immense open wide space. After arriving in our Ger camp in the evening we will visit Bayanzag, also known as the “Flaming Cliffs,” the world-famous site where palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur bones and eggs. The local scenery is a lovely blend of rocks, red sand, and scrubs. Spend some time exploring the cliffs while you’re here. We’ll spend some time walking around the cliffs here.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Khongoryn Els

After a hearty breakfast, we’ll travel 150 kilometers west to the Khongoryn Els. Mongolia’s biggest sand dunes can be found here. The dunes, which can reach a height of 275 meters in some areas, extend for more than 100 kilometers from East to West. The sands have appealing curves that end in a sharp point, resulting in wave patterns on the sand. The impressive black rocky mass of Sevrey Mountain can be seen behind the sand dunes. The Gobi Desert is the world’s coldest desert, with cold winds blowing almost the whole autumn, winter, and spring without any shelter uncovered in the plains, necessitating extreme survival methods of living. Gobi nomads are well-known in Mongolia for their dedication to hard work.

In the early afternoon we will reach our Ger camp. Spend the evening chatting with co travellers, sitting on the terrace, drinking fresh drinks and enjoying the sunset.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Khongoryn Els

After breakfast we will cycle about 20 km to the dunes. Those who are courageous will climb to the highest dune. Here, we’ll meet two humped camel breeding families and learn about their sweet, modest, hard-working, but incredible way of life.

(Ger camp B, L, D)


On the way to Dungenee Canyon

This will be our last day of cycling. From Khongoryn Els dune we will drive to the little Gobi village Bayandalai. After lunch in a local restaurant we will start cycling under the curious eyes of locals. First 10 km is quite easy cycling on open plains before reaching the massive mountains with gorges. Here terrain will become once again quite challenging: hard soil with gravels and bigger rocks.

Our road brings us to the narrow gorge called Dungenee Canyon. Part of the gorge is 3 to 4-meter-wide and only one car can pass at the time.

The Gobi Desert extends through Mongolia and China, measuring 1,610 kilometers from southwest to northeast and 800 kilometers from north to south. It covers an area of 1,295,000 km2, making it the world’s fifth largest desert and Asia’s largest. although most of the Gobi is coated in bare rock rather than sand.

During the winter months, the Gobi is a cold desert with frost snow on its dunes. In addition to being far north, it is situated on a plateau between 910 and 1,520 meters above sea level, which leads to the cold temperatures. The Gobi receives around 194 millimetres of rain per year on average. In the winter, snow blown from the Siberian Steppes enters parts of the Gobi, providing additional moisture. The Gobi experiences temperature extremes ranging from –40°C in the winter to +50°C in the summer due to these winds.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

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Yolyn Am

We’ll take a trip through the majestic Altai Mountain Range’s breath-taking gorges. The Yolyn Am in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, will be visited. Those green valleys were carved by ancient rivers.

Wild Argali sheep, Ibex, desert gazelles, and Golden Eagles are also possible sightings. We’ll also pay a visit to the park’s small museum, which houses a collection of dinosaur bones as well as local flora and fauna.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Baga Gazriin Chuluu

Our destination will be 250 kilometers south in the lovely region of Baga Gazriin Chuluu. It’s a big granite formation smack dab in the center of Mongolia’s sandy plain.

The remains of a small monastery known as Delgeriin Choir Monastery can be found on an open plain. You will be entering in a Ger by with a massive 12-walled structure. Monks use the ger, which is richly decorated and carved, to chant during the colder seasons when the stone monastery becomes too cold to be inside.

You can drive and hike around the area in the late afternoon. You’ll walk between massive endlessly piled granite rocky hills that appear to be placed, and see the picturesque ruins of a small monastery hidden in a peaceful little protected valley. In the rocks of Baga Gazriin Chuluu, there is a small spring known for its eye-healing properties. Try dripping some magic water into your eyes to cure your eyes like the locals do.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

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Drive to Ulaanbaatar

We will drive back to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city. Our team will take you directly to your hotel. You may enjoy the free afternoon to catch up all the places you haven’t visited yet. You might as well check the beautiful cultural show enjoy the colourful and rhythmic Mongolian dance, throat singing & admire the contortionists. 

(B, L)

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June 2024