Day 1: Flight to Bayan Ulgii, Drive to White River
From Ulaanbatar, take a 3 hour flight to Ulgii City in the Bayan-Ulgii province in Western Mongolia. Your English-speaking guide and driver will welcome you upon arrival and introduce you to Ulgii, with its unique Kazakh culture and language (you'll be surprised to know that little Mongolian is spoken in Ulgii). You'll visit the local museum and the open air market. After a delicious meal to prepare us for the road, the journey begins! We head to Tavan Bogd National Park, through its the stunning wilderness where expansive rocky plains give way to green valley, and the rugged peaks of the Altai.
We will stop at Ulaan-khus to explore numerous petroglyphs and Turkic stone along the Sogoog River basin. It is surrounded by archaeological monuments constructed during the Bronze Age and the Hun and Turkic invasions.
In the evening, we will arrive at the campsite on the edge of the National Park boundary. We shall meet the Tuvan people who will prepare pack camels to support our trek. Enjoy a rusting fare around a campfire on the banks of the glacier White River, Tsagaan Gol. (L/D/Tent)
Day 2 Trek to Base Camp
After breakfast, we set off on a 17km trek towards the base camp on the snow-capped Tavan Bogd Massif. You have the choice to walk or ride a horse to the impressive Potanin glacier - seeing both the Potanin and Alexander glaciers. The 20km long Potanin glacier runs down from the highest mountains in Mongolia and is an excellent base for trekking and climbing the surrounding peaks.
We weill set up camp next to Potanin Glacier.
Today we climb Malchin Peak, with an elevation of 4050 metres, it is the lowest of the Holy Five Saints on Mongolia. It sits on the Mongolian-Russian border of Tavan Bogd and is a non-technical climb. Your English speaking guide and the local Tuvan guides, will lead us on a climb, mostly over rocks. At the top, enjoy marvellous views of all the Peaks and Potanin Glacier.
Day 4 Trek down to the National Park gateway
Today, we trek downhill to the Tsagan Gol valley. After our long trek, we’ll be welcomed by a nomadic Tuvan family. We’ll sample their dairy products, their special milk vodka distilled from yak milk, and peruse their wonderful felt crafts.
Day 5 Shiveet Sacred Mountain
Today, we horse ride to the Shiveet Mountain with its stunningly beautiful blue lakes, 4000 m high snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and an area rich of archaeological sites. The best Petroglyphs can be found here, and it is home to a large number of ibex and wild goats. We will also see a a large Ovoo, a shaman shrine the local Tuvans and their shamanistic faith. Our luggage will be transported by camels and handled by the friendly and helpful local people.
We head down hill and visit a local Tuvan family who follow Shamanism. We continue on to ascend up into the Khar Sala valley - a stunningly beautiful region of snow-capped peaks.
Day 7 Khar Airikh Valley
We horse ride to the Khara Airikh Valley, and over the 3100m mountain pass. (This part of the tour is conducted during post-June bookings. During the colder seasons, the pass is snow-covered and an alternative route will be planned.)
After the pass, we will see waterfalls as we ride downhill to the bottom of Asku Valley.
We cross the Altais at an elevation of 3600m. Here, we’ll enjoy broad views across the mountain range, including the Tsaagan Hairhan Uul – the “Sacred White Mountain” (elevation: 3662m).
We arrive at the scenic Bear Valley, home to glacier-fed streams and rivers, forested hills, and wooded meadows. We will spend two nights here.
We can either trek by horse, or take a short break from the horses and go hiking, through the forest to Akh Su Valley – a beautiful spot at the junction of Arshaani and Akh Su river.
Continuing through the river valley, on horseback we cross rivers to follow the lakeshore of Hulindi. We set up camp by the banks of Hulinidi.
We continue trekking down the valley through patches of larch forest. When we Green Lake, we will set up camp.
We go on a full-day trek to see the mesmerising Khoton, Khurgan and Dayan lakes. Untouched and pure, the mountain rivers gushing into the lakes, make for an impressive landscape and a fabulous place to catch a wide variety of fish.
We continue down the dramatic, steep valley along the river that drains from the Altai Tavanbogd Massif, and set up camp on the shores of Khoton Lake, under the snow-caked Ikh Turgen Uul. Our camp site will be a mere 3km away from China and will have a back drop of the beautiful snowcapped mountain range - outlining the Mongolian-Chinese border.
In the summer, the area is the pasture of Kazakh nomads, and In the evening, we will visit a local Kazakh family, observing their nomadic way of living.
Day 12 Baga Turgen valley and meet an Eagle Hunter
Enjoy a free morning on the shores and summer pastures of Khoton Lake. Learn more about the Kazakh culture, and find great fishing spots.
We will trek to Baga Durgin waterfall and then visit an Eagle Hunting family, where you'll learn about the practice and skill of eagle hunting. Get the opportunity to take photos with an eagle perched on your arm. We camp near the Eagle Hunter's family home.
Day 13 Sumd-Airikh Valley
Today, we saddle up and horse ride for 18km along the Sumd-Airakh river. Cross small and large rivers on horse back, and ride through forests, before arriving at a camp set up by the team. Enjoy our last night camping in the National Park, facing the river and the Altai mountains. Enjoy the time spent with nomads who herd their cattle or milk their mares. Enjoy a traditional Kazakh meal, including: “Kaz” (horse sausage), the national dish of “Besbarmak” (a meat plate served with root vegetables and steamed flour), and “Koumiss” (fermented mare’s milk). OPTIONAL: Sleep in a Kazakh yurt.
Day 14 Drive back to Ulgii
We return to Ulgii following the Khovd River, stopping to see deer stones, balbals, and Turkic stone men. We take a pit stop at Tsengel Soum, a small village center. After a full day of driving, we arrive in Ulgii. Rest overnight at a guest house. OPTIONAL: Stay in a ger.
We say farewell, as you fly back to Ulaanbaatar.