Mongolia:

Western Mongolia Fat Bike


Thirteen nights; ten days of exploration of Tavan Bogd National Park by fatbike, off-road vehicle, and foot. Visit archaeological sites, beautifully raw landscapes, and traditional nomadic camps.





Itinerary


Start: Ulaanbaatar, Chinggis Khaan Airport, day one, you will be met on your arrival and transferred to your hotel. Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.


Finish: Ulaanbaatar, following breakfast on day 14.


Day 1

Arrivals

Meet at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport for transfer to your hotel. Built during communist regime, the Ulaanbaatar Hotel is the first five star hotel in the country’s capital. Early arrivals will have plenty of choices for independent sight-seeing before dinner; we recommend visiting the National Museum of Mongolia, the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, and the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan. D
Ulaanbaatar Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

Day 2

Flight to Olgii, Tavan Bogd National Park (2 hr flight + 6-7 hr drive)

Start the day with an early flight to Olgii, in the far west of Mongolia. The city of 30,000 is inhabited primarily by Kazakhs, known for their warm hospitality and traditional hunting with golden eagles. After fuelling up with breakfast and supplies, travel to Tavan Bogd National Park aboard all-terrain Russian UAZ vehicles. You will drive through remarkable arid steppes on the way to Tsengel, the last populated settlement before reaching the park. After a picnic lunch, continue your journey along the meandering Hovd river until you reach your tranquil resting place for the night, a ger camp along the shores of Lake Khurgan. BLD
Ger camp, Lake Khurgan

Day 3

Acclimatization and bike introduction 26km

Today you will test out your fatbike with a ride along the banks of Lake Khurgan. The loop ride provides the opportunity to get a feel for the varying terrain, and will help you acclimatize to the 2100 m elevation. The forests along the shorelines and the hills surrounding the lake are the home of many species of birds, and lucky cyclists may glimpse pelicans, ruddy shelducks, northern lapwings, and common goldeneyes. The gorgeous backdrop of mountain range is a photographer’s dream! BLD
Same camp

Day 4

Lake Khurgan to Lake Khoton 26km + 2 hr transfer

Cycle through picturesque landscapes of nomadic herds, crossing several small creeks and passing through archaeological sites with their remnants of funerary art and ritual from the bronze age. The first part of today’s route follows rolling hills, ending on a sandy beach near Lake Khoton, a glacially-fed body of water joined to Lake Khurgan. Lunch near a petroglyph site dating from 8000 BC, depicting the transition from large game hunting to a nomadic lifestyle. After a relaxing swim, transfer to the far western point of the lake. Run by a local family known for their prize winning race horses, your resting place for the next three nights will be a ger camp nestled at the bottom of two glacial valleys. BLD
Ger camp, Lake Khoton


Day 5

Hike 14km + transfer 23km

Give your cycling muscles a break today as you explore the alpine environment by foot. The route travels along a glacial trough, with the spectacular views of conifer forests and snow-capped mountains making the excursion an unforgettable experience. One of the highlights is a white river, whose unique colouring is a result of the water’s rich minerals and cool temperatures. BLD
Same camp


Day 6

29km

After breakfast, make your way toward the higher peaks of the Altai Mountains. Archaeological finds have indicated that the Altai were inhabited by some of the earliest humans, with artifacts dating from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron Ages. The jagged mountain ridges derive their name from the Turkic-Mongolian altan, meaning “golden”. The open valley is wide, with an easy ascent, for an ideal loop ride. See if you can pinpoint animal tracks on the way up! Return along a well-defined path, following the white water river banks. BLD
Same camp



Day 7

28km + 1 hr transfer

Return to Lake Khoton, cycling to the western periphery. Pass a military control before crossing a picturesque wooden bridge leading to the south end of the lake. You will notice a pronounced shift in vegetation as the arid scarcity of the northwest is replaced with Jaragai forests, rivers, and creeks on the river’s southeast side. Enjoy the challenge of crossing without getting your feet wet! Transfer to another ger camp further along Lake Khoton for a well-deserved rest. BLD
Ger camp, Lake Khoton



Day 8

Hike 10km + transfer 5km

A quick transfer this morning will bring you to the head of the trail. From there, follow the river toward the Chinese border, through a valley shaped over thousands of years by glacial movement. Relish the scenery of rolling hills, peppered with small alpine lakes, meandering rivers, rivulets, and rock formations. If you watch closely, argali sheep and golden eagles can sometimes be spotted. BLD
Same camp

Day 9

The Great Moraine 32km

Begin today’s challenging ride by traversing Serengeti-like plains, where you will have the opportunity to explore archaeological sites of burial grounds from the Bronze Age. There may be as many as five stone-carved figures, known as Balbals, at each site, memorializing warriors. As your route moves from the lakes toward a glacial moraine, you will begin a series of short ascents and descents, winding through the lunar-like scenery. Continue along a well-defined road to green pasture plains, descending gently from the slopes of the Altai mountains to Lake Khurgan and Lake Dayan. The rocky navigation is richly rewarded with beautiful lake and mountain views. Shuttle the remaining distance to your final ger camp among a family of highly respected eagle hunters and herders. BLD
Shokhan’s ger camp



Day 10

Mini-Naadam

Today you will be included in a celebratory day for the local nomad families, a traditional festival called naadam (meaning “games”), comprised of three events: wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Historically, participation was limited to men, but women now join in archery and girls in the horse racing games. Horseback riders come from 30km away to compete in good-spirited competitions; children aged 6-13 take part in bareback horse races, and you will be able to watch a traditional Mongolian wrestling match. BLD
Same camp



Day 11

Lake Dayan

Enjoy a glimpse into local culture around your ger camp today. You will have the opportunity to become an active participant in traditional arts by milking horses, goats, and sheep; observing the care and feeding of golden eagles; and learning to stitch felt carpets. In the afternoon, challenge yourself to a hilltop climb, revealing spectacular views over Lake Dayan. The entire area is blanketed with snow in winter, allowing local families to hunt fox and rabbit. Prepare for the return trip to Olgii after enjoying dinner with your host family. BLD
Same camp



Day 12

Return to Olgii

Bid farewell to the tranquil steppe and pastures, savouring a final tableau of the Altai mountain range. Crossing the bridge connecting the Khurgan and Dayan lakes, you will leave Tavan Bogd National Park, stopping en route for a picnic lunch. Arrive mid-afternoon in Olgii, checking into your newly opened hotel to relish a hot shower before dining at a local restaurant. BLD
Hotel Silk Road (opening Spring 2019), Olgii



Day 13

Ulaanbaatar

Transfer to the airport in time for the return flight to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, shuttle to your hotel to check in before a farewell local dinner. Sleep well, dreaming of your epic adventure! BLD
Ulaanbaatar Hotel, Ulaanbaatar

Day 14

Farewell!

Following breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home. B



NOTE: Accommodations will be primarily Mongolian gers; these yurt-style huts are considered a luxury in such a remote area, and will be private, but participants should expect composting toilets and portable shower tents to be shared among the group.





Description



Nestled between Russia and China, Mongolia is known for its vast, rugged expanses and nomadic way of life. Roughly the size of Alaska and completely landlocked, three-quarters of the country’s area is comprised of the pasturelands that support immense herds of grazing livestock and their herdsmen. Boasting one of the lowest population densities of any country in the world, Mongolia is still relatively untouched by tourism, thanks to its isolated location and former communist status. Intrepid travelers will relish this explorer’s dream!

The journey begins with a short flight from Ulaanbaatar and a transfer to Tavan Bogd National Park, which stretches along the Chinese border and follows the Altai Mountains to the edge of Russia about 200kms north. Its towering snow-capped mountains, glaciers, lush valleys, and pristine lake areas are home to Kazakh and Tuvan nomadic herders. Witness their remarkably well-preserved culture firsthand as they welcome you to join their celebrations. Over a two week period you will experience incredibly varied landscape by fat bike, interspersed with several days of hiking. Your support vehicles will be UAZ, Russian off-road vehicles, and you will rest in traditional Kazakh gers (similar to yurts) that are specially erected for you every night; a luxury in such a remote area. We invite you to discover the startling, unassuming beauty of Mongolia’s people and its land on this unique adventure.



Note about the route:

Daily distances are short, averaging 20-30km, but quite challenging, with high altitude and steep climbs. Varying terrain includes some water crossings, and fatbikes are necessary.





Learn more




Costs

US 7245 C 8695

14 days, 13 nights, 13 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 13 dinners, full time vehicle and guide support, bikes, domestic air travel, maps and route notes, VAT.

Single Occupancy

US 1415 C 1695


All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.