Mountain Bike Tour to Gobi Desert - 12 days

DAY 1: Karakorum

DAY 2: Tsenher Hot Spring

DAY 3: Tovkhon Monastery

DAY 4: Orkhon Valley and Waterfall

DAY 5: Ongi Monastery

DAY 6: Bayanzag or Flaming Cliffs

DAY 7: Khongoryn Els

DAY 8: Khongoryn Els

DAY 9: On the way to Dungenee Canyon

DAY 10: Yolyn Am

DAY 11: Baga Gazriin Chuluu

DAY 12: Drive to Ulaanbaatar

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Cycling in Grassland

detailed description

Karakorum

After an early wake up, as a long adventure-packed day ahead of us, we will set off early to Karakorum (also called Kharkhorin). We will drive about 260 km on relatively good paved road and stop by noon at local restaurant. After lunch we will drive further and about 40 km before Kharkhorin we will reach start point of cycling. We will take a little time to test the bikes, make adjustments and ready to go. The road we will take was previous main road from Ulaanbaatar to Kharkhorin before the asphalt road was put in use. Now it is healed terrain not used by traffic perfect for us, going up and down between fields.

Depending on our arrival time in Kharkhorin we will visit sightseeing places. Once famous medieval prosperous capital of Genghis Khan and his successors. Kharkhorin is the site of the 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire created by Genghis Khan. The founding of Kharkhorin started on the ruins of Turug and Uigur cities in the Orkhon valley at the eastern end of the Khangai Mountains in 1220 by the Genghis Khan’s order. It was completed 15 years later during the Ugedei Khan’s reign. The town was a very cosmopolitan and religiously tolerant place.

The silver tree, part of Möngke Khan’s palace has become the symbol of Karakorum. Now Erdene Zuu Monastery is all that remains of what once was a huge monastery of 100 temples and about 1.000 lama’s residence. We will explore the grounds of Erdene Zuu Monastery surrounded by its massive 400 m X 400 m walls. We will be guided around the 3 remaining temples: Dalai Lama, Zuu of Buddha and Lavrin Temple. We will also see the Turtle Rock and the Phallic Rock. Another place we will visit will Karakorum Archaeological Museum. It is a small museum but housed in a modern well-run building with good lighting and display cases with clear English labels. The exhibits include dozens of artefacts dating from the 13th and 14th centuries which were recovered from the immediate area, plus others that were found from archaeological sites in other parts of the provinces, including prehistoric stone tools. You’ll see pottery, bronzes, coins, religious statues and stone inscriptions. There’s also a half-excavated kiln sunk into the museum floor. Perhaps most interesting is the scale model of ancient Kharkhorin, which aims to represent the city as it may have looked in the 1250s, and is based on descriptions written by the French missionary William of Rubruck. Another chamber exhibits a most recent addition, a Turkic noble tomb with wall paintings and artefacts, including gold items and jewelry. There is a short video of actual burial site.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Karakorum Temples
Monk at Monastery
Erdene Zuu Monastery

Tsenher Hot Spring

We will drive westward in the direction of Khangai Mountains. The Khangai Mountain separates the South-Mongolian arid Gobi Desert region from the fertile rolling hills of the north. With its numerous little rivers of which water comes from melting snow flows the northern side of the mountain offers a lush, fertile home to many nomads. On average, the Khangai Mountains are 2500-3000 M above the sea level and are composed of mainly granite, intrusive chert and sandstone belonging to Paleozoic era. The Khangai Mountains is about 800 km long, ranging from Zavkhan province territory to Tuv province. They function as the continental divide of the world water system.

After about an hour driving we leave asphalt road and set off to cycling through green mountainsides and the network of smaller and larger rivers offer excellent pastureland for the herds of horses, yaks and cows. We will often be greeted and observed by herd of curious yaks. Lunch on the way. 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)

Tsenher Hot Spring
Khangai Mountains
Tovkhon Monastery

Tovkhon Monastery

After breakfast in our Ger camp we will cross deep water river on our jeeps mostly inundated in summer and start our full cycling day. We will cycle through a combination of forested hills, granite formations and broad fertile valleys dotted with scattered Gers. Our journey will take us through deep in Khangai Mountains: lush, green abundant with wild flowers and plants. Our tracks will follow flowing rivers and undulating hills. To complete the perfection of nature many Gers of nomads peacefully minding their business taking care of their livestock. The area is the home to huge number of yaks of Mongolia. Today cycling will need more physical demand as we pass mountains up and down on a terrain quite rocky. As we are followed by our jeeps those who are tired can always sit in the vehicle. Early evening, we arrive at our campsite already settled for night and arranged by our team. We will sleep in spacious tents. Spend evening around camp fire and enjoy complete wilderness and quietness.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

 

Orkhon Valley and Waterfall

Leaving our campsite, we will be heading to Tovkhon Monastery on our jeeps. The monastery is established during the 1650’s by Zanabazar, 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 view of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests. On the top of the cliff, a pile of stones to worship a god of this mountain forms a hill. It is called Ovoo.

After lunch we will be cycling to the direction Orkhon waterfall in Orkhon valley. The valley is registered as world cultural heritage by UNESCO due to its ancient findings, artefacts related to early 6th century and even before that. As well as, 12th to 13th century great Mongol empire had expanded its capital Karakorum here. Moreover, pasture nomadic lifestyle still remains here and it keeps both historic and nomadic view of life. More we get close to waterfall the terrain will get quite challenging on rocky tracks. Quaternary era a volcano erupted near the beginning of the Tsagaan Azarga or White Stallion River and the lava flowed down the Orkhon valley forming the 10-meter-thick layer of basaltic rocks. The basaltic layer was crosscut by the Orkhon River continuously and the canyon was formed as a result. At the beginning of this canyon lays the 20 meters high, 10-meter-wide waterfall. The most adventures of you will climb down the canyon and swim the lake located at the foot of the waterfall. A famous Mongolian barbeque over hot stone is on the menu tonight.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Orkhon Waterfall
Cycling Group

Ongi Monastery

Today our longest driving day without cycling. After about 7-8 hours driving we will enjoy the peace and beauty of the Delger Khangai Mountains. Ongi is the collective name for the ruins of two monasteries that face each other across the Ongi river in south-central Mongolia. We will enjoy the peace and beauty of the Delger Khangai Mountains. We will explore the ruins of Hoshuu Monastery on one side of the river and the ruins of Ongi Monastery on the other side of the river. We will hike around in this massive series of rocky hills cut by the river. Southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex, built in the 18 century, consisted of 17 temples-among them one of the largest temples in all of Mongolia. The grounds housed 4 Buddhist universities. The monasteries were built in the 17th century and destroyed in 1937. They were among the largest temples in Mongolia and housed over 1000 monks. Now day between ruins little monastery was built and in Ger museum are exhibited remains of old monasteries.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

 

Ongi Valley

Bayanzag or Flaming Cliffs

After breakfast we will drive to world famous 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. After about 3 hours driving we start cycling. The day to discover Gobi Desert, the world-known place where not many visitors come. The climate is hot and dry and hardly rains. However, weather doesn’t make you tired in contrast. Gobi Desert is rocky desert most of it is covered by gravels eroded by winds as a result making the track quite difficult. However, challenging it might be, it is liberating feeling to cycle through immense open wide space. After arriving in our Ger camp in the evening we will visit Bayanzag also known as the “Flaming Cliffs” is the worldwide renowned place where paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews found dinosaur bones and eggs. The surrounding landscape is a beautiful combination of rocks, red sand and scrubs. Here we will spend time exploring the cliffs.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Bayanzag
Khongoryn Els

Khongoryn Els

Today we will head 150 km westwards to the Khongoryn Els. These are Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. Those impressive dunes of 275 meters high in some places, stretch from East to West over more than 100 km. Behind the sand dunes we will see the impressive black rocky mass of the Sevrey Mountain. Early afternoon we reach our Ger camp located in amazing beautiful place facing the massive sand dune and Rocky Mountains Sevrei. Even from your bathroom while washing hand you witness this unbelievably beautifully amazing view. Spend evening chatting with co travelers, sitting on terrace, drinking fresh drinks and enjoy sunset.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Khongoryn Els

After breakfast cycle about 20 km to the dunes. Those who are courageous will climb to highest dune equivalent of 40 store building. Once you reach the top of the dune, your effort will be rewarded. The whole environment looks full of mysteries, and you get amazed how possibly the landscape can be like that. After dune excursion will visit camel breeding family.  It is our tradition to offer food and drinks without asking the visitors.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

 

Desert Cycling

On the way to Dungenee Canyon

This will be our last day of cycling. From Khongoryn Els dune we will drive till little Gobi village Bayandalai. After lunch in a little local restaurant under curious eyes of locals we will start cycling. First 10 km is quite nice on open plains before reaching the massive mountains with endless gorges and canyons. Here terrain will become once again quite challenging: hard soil with gravels and even bigger rocks. Our road brings us to narrow gorge called Dungenee Canyon. Part of gorge is 3 to 4-meter-wide and only one car can pass with little river crossing through. The Gobi Desert measures over 1,610 km from southwest to northeast and 800 km from north to south and stretches over Mongolia and China. It occupies an arc of land 1,295,000 km2 in area, making it fifth largest in the world and Asia’s largest. Much of the Gobi is not sandy but is covered with bare rock.

The Gobi is a cold desert, with frost snow on its dunes during the winter months. Besides being quite far north, it is also located on a plateau roughly 910–1,520 meters above sea level, which further contributes to its low temperatures. An average of approximately 194 millimetres of rain falls per year in the Gobi. Additional moisture reaches parts of the Gobi in winter as snow is blown by the wind from the Siberian Steppes. These winds cause the Gobi to reach extremes of temperature ranging from –40°C in winter to +50°C in summer.

(Tented camp B, L, D)

Dungenee Canyon
Cycling in Dungenee

Yolyn Am

After breakfast we will take a ride with our vehicles through the beautiful gorges of the imposing Altai Mountain Chain. We will pass through the Yolyn Am located in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. Ancient rivers carved those green valleys. Most of summer thick ice still to be seen due to lack of sun shine through narrow gorge. We may catch a glimpse of the wild Argali sheep, the Ibex, the desert gazelles or the Golden Eagles. We will also pay a visit to the little museum of the park where you can admire a collection of dinosaur bones. You will have plenty time to hike in beautiful gorge. 

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Yoliin Am

Baga Gazriin Chuluu

After breakfast in Ger camp we set off for driving day.  Our destination will be 350 km north in the beautiful region of Baga Gazrin Chuluu. It is a huge granite formation in the middle of the Mongolian sandy plane. On open plain we will visit the remains of a small monastery named Delgeriin Chior Monastery. There is a Ger, huge impressive 12 walls Ger richly decorated and carved used by monks to chant during colder season when the stone monastery gets too cold to be inside.End of the afternoon we will drive and hike around in the area. We will visit the picturesque ruins of a small monastery that are hidden in a nice little protected valley and wander between huge endless piled granite rocky hills as if they were put.

(Ger camp B, L, D)

Baga Gazriin Chuluu

Drive to Ulaanbaatar

 We will have a driving day back to Ulaanbaatar. Afternoon is free time for last minute sightseeing. You might want to go and see the beautiful cultural show enjoy the colorful and rhythmic Mongolian dance, throat singing & admire the contortionists.

(B, L)

Ulaanbaatar

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june 1971
july 1971
july 1971
july 1971

INCLUDED

NOT INCLUDED

Our other guaranteed departures

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