Western Mongolia in Two Weeks

With it’s rugged landscape, raw deserts, glacier-wrapped mountains, shimmering lakes, and hardy people, Western Mongolia is a cowboy’s dream.  This two-week adventure seeks to give you a taste of it all.

Highlights: Exploring Tavanbogd and Tsambagarab National Parks, learning about Kazakh culture including eagle-hunting, visiting Tuvans who still practice shamanism, and investigating rich archeological sights.

The Altai Mountains of Western Mongolian offer beautiful landscapes and areas rich in wildlife, including the famous argali sheep and the endangered snow leopard.  In addition, Western Mongolia has an abundance of significant archaeological sites dating back to the Paleolithic Era.  There is evidence of human habitation as far back as 40,000 years ago.  There are also Bronze Age petroglyphs, Turkic man stones, deer stones, and ancient burial mounds.

Accompanied by a knowledgeable local guide, you will love every moment of this special tour.

DAY 1:  Ulgii

  • Catch an early flight to Ulgii, the capital of Bayan-Ulgii province, from Ulaanbaatar
  • Visit local bazaar and museum
  • If previously arranged, make a visit to a local Tuvan shaman
  • Sample local restaurants for lunch and dinner
  • Overnight in a nearby ger camp

DAY 2:  Baga Oigor Valley

  • Drive about 120 kilometers (4-5 hours) west towards Tavanbogd National Park passing through the village of Ulaanhus and Sogoog Valley
  • Stop to explore ancient burial sites dating back 4,000 years
  • Camp at Sogoog River after exploring nearby petroglyphs

DAY 3:  Sacred Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain

  • Investigate the best petroglyphs in the area near Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain (Sacred Mountain)
  • Between Ulaanhus and Tavan Bogd there are more than 10,000 drawings scattered over a 15 kilometer area
  • Bayan-Ulgii boasts over 150 stone men (balbals), 1,500 statues (stone burial markers), 50 deer stones, 6,300 ancient graves and tombs, and thousands of petroglyphs
  • The area around Sacred Mountain is home to a large number of ibex, or wild goats
  • There is also a large ovoo, a shrine of sorts that is important to the local Tuvans and their shamanistic faith
  • Stay in camp for two nights

DAY 4:  The Tsagaan Gol Valley and Tuvan Families

  • Visit Tuvan nomads and learn about their culture
  • Sample dairy products and taste their special milk vodka which is distilled from yak milk
  • Peruse wonderful felt crafts
  • If interested, you can ride a horse around the area
  • On the way back to camp we will stop to investigate nearby deer stones and Turkic stone men dating back to the 6th Century BC

DAY 5: Snake Valley:

  • Drive to Snake Valley across beautiful mountain passes and through ancient burial sites
  • Camp at the small mineral spring where there are more deer stones and balbals

DAY 6: Sirgali Area:

  • Sirgalia is a beautiful spot where the twin pristine lakes of Hoton and Hurgan meet
  • Eternal snow-capped mountains with larch forests and these crystal clear lakes makes the area one of the most beautiful parts of the trip
  • It is also a good place for fishing and bird-watching
  • Stay here for two nights

DAY 7: Baga Turgen Waterfall and Visit Kazakh Nomads

  • Hike to the beautiful Baga Turgen Valley where there are three waterfalls
  • Visit Kazakh nomadic families and learn about their lives
  • This will give you an opportunity to note the differences between Mongolian and Kazakh gers, which tend to be much larger and decorated with colorful tapestries and carpets

DAY 8: Sagsay and Visit Eagle-Hunter’s Family

  • Drive to Sagsay through the Khovd River Valley and camp near an eagle-hunter and his family
  • Visit the family and learn about eagle-hunting
  • See the magnificent eagles
  • Eagle-hunters typically use female birds because they are bigger, stronger, and more aggressive than their male counterparts
  • Hunters typically keep their birds for 10 years before releasing them back into the wild

DAY 9: Tolbo Lake

  • Tolbo Lake is one of the biggest lakes in Western Mongolia
  • It is a great place for fishing
  • Tolbo Lake was also the site of a historic battle between the Bolsheviks and the White Russians
  • There are a couple of monuments around the area in honor of the battle as well as an exhibit in the Olgii museum

DAY 10: Gants Mod Mineral Springs

  • Gants Mod Valley has several mineral springs that local use to treat various health problems
  • The valley is also full of more deer stones, balbals, and petroglyphs

DAY 11: Tsambagarab National Park and Visit Uriankhai Families

  • At 4,208 meters, Tsambagarab Mountain is one of the highest peaks in Mongolia
  • Afternoon hike to a waterfall
  • Visit Uriankhai nomads
  • Stunning views of the dramatic snow-capped mountains, especially at sunrise and sunset
  • Spend two nights

DAY 12: Tsambagarab National Park and Hike to the Glacier

  • Easy hike (three hours round trip) to the green lake just at the bottom of the glacier
  • Step onto the glacier and enjoy a gorgeous view

DAY 13:  Back to Ulgii and Explore Eagles’ Nests

  • Drive back to Ulgii with a stop to visit another eagle-hunter
  • Visit Onon Mountain, which is a popular nesting place for eagles as well as a place for eagle-hunters to capture birds from the wild
  • Eagle-hunters typically collect chicks in late June or early July just before the young birds are about to leave the nest
  • Back in Ulgii, spend the night in a nearby ger camp and enjoy a traditional Kazakh concert in the evening

DAY 14: Fly Back to UB

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If you are interested, Kobesh Travel can arrange to have an Ulaanbaatar-based guide meet you at the airport/train station upon your arrival in Mongolia. The guide can help you navigate Ulaanbaatar, can travel with you to your accommodation, and can show you some of the city’s sights. Furthermore, Kobesh Travel can also help you explore more of Mongolia than just the West. We are more than happy to help extend your sightseeing of our beautiful country with additional journeys before or after your trip out West.

  • Includes: English-speaking guide, cook, land transportation, accommodations, camping equipment, three meals a day with snacks in between, pack animals, camel guides, and national park tickets
  • Excludes: Domestic flights, alcohol, discretionary horse/camel rides, and laundry