Mountains & Monastaries Of Mongolia (14n/15d)

Zuunmod Temple at Manzushir Monastary

Zuunmod Temple at Manzushir Monastary

Day 1    Ulaanbaatar.
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, capital city of Mongolia, and transfer to the hotel. Check in. Optional tour of the city if time permits. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2 Ulaanbaatar/Ondor Dov.
Breakfast at the hotel. Tour the Bogd Khan Winter Palace, the home of the last Khan of Mongolia, followed by an excursion to Bogd Khan Mountain National Park including a visit to Manzushir Monastery, built in 1733 at the foot of the sacred Bogd Khan Mountain. History: In order to spread Buddhism and to worship Manzushir, the God of Mentality, 21 small temples were constructed. But after the religious purges of the 1930s the temples were left in ruins until restoration began in 1991.  Since restoration of the temples began, the site has come back to life as a museum. Visit a local nature museum en route to a stopover for lunch at the Ondor Dov tourist camp. In the afternoon drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 3 Ulaanbaatar/Bayangobi.
Breakfast at the hotel. Early morning drive to Hoyor Zagal camp (280km) and arrive by midday. Local exploration and hiking along the sand dunes, which stretch for about 10km. Overnight in a Mongolian traditional dwelling, a ger.

Day 4 Bayangobi/Kharkhorin.
Breakfast at the camp. Full day excursion to the Hugnu Haan Mountain, 20km away, and a visit to the nearby ruins of Uvgun Hiid Temple. Afternoon drive to Karakorum (80km) and overnight in gers at the Karakorum tourist camp. Uvguun Hiid Temple: Here there are the ruins of two monasteries, hidden behind the rocky ridges and cliffs of the Hugnu Haan Mountain. Undur Gegeen Zanabazar erected the two monasteries Uvgun and Zaluu for his teacher. But the soldiers of Galdanboshigt the Oirad King destroyed the monasteries in 1688 and assassinated all the monks. The temple was originally called the Khugnu Tarin Khiid, but has now been reopened as Uvguun Hiid Temple. Here tourists can visit a functioning temple and meet with local monks.

Day 5 Kharkhorin
Spend a full day exploring the Erdene-Zuu Monastery, built on the ruins of the ancient city of Karakorum in 1585 and symbolic ruins of the imperial capital of the Mongolian Empire in the 13th century.  Overnight in gers at the Karakorum tourist camp.

Day 6 Kharkhorin/Middle Gobi.
Breakfast at the camp. Drive to the Middle Gobi tourist camp (300km). En route pay a visit to the Sangiin Dalai temple. This temple was built in the 19th century, in commemoration of the Dalai Lama’s first visit to Mongolia.
Arrive at the tourist camp late afternoon. Dinner and overnight in gers. History: More than 20 temples were originally built and they housed about 200 lamas. In 1937, during the communist purges most of the temples were destroyed. Up to the 1990s, when the revival of the Buddhist religion started, Sangiin Dalai temple was closed. At present, Sangiin Dalai temple, which was built without using a single iron nail, is a major centre of Buddhism.

Day 7    Middle Gobi.
Breakfast at the camp. Full day excursion to Baga Gazriin Chuluu Mountain and Sum Huh Burd.  Drive back to camp for dinner and overnight in ger. History:  Baga Gazriin Chuluu is a sacred rocky mountain, 1760m above sea level, and is famous for its unique rock formations and beautiful natural environment. There is a small wood of elms, growing on rocky slopes. There is also a 20-metre-deep cave and a spring emerging from holes up to 60cm wide. It is located 75km from the camp.  Sum Huh Burd is an oasis in the Gobi, with a small lake, which has an ancient stone fortress on an island in the centre of the lake. The fortress, built during the 16th and 17th centuries, has walls 1.5 metres thick and no roof. Legend says that all attempts to build a roof were thwarted by lightning.

Day 8    Middle Gobi/Ulaanbaatar.
Breakfast at the camp. Drive back to Ulaanbaatar (290km) with stopover at the Zorgol Khairkhan Mountain and sand dunes. Lunch on the way. Transfer to hotel. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9    Ulaanbaatar/Terelj.
Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Terelj National park, 80km from Ulaanbaatar. Explore the famous Turtle Rock and the mountains with their unique granite formations. Have lunch and drive back to Ulaanbaatar.  Free time for leisure in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

Day 10 Ulaanbaatar/Amarbayasgalant.
Breakfast at the hotel. Early morning drive to Amarbayasgalant (280km). Packed lunch. Arrive at the camp in the late afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the camp.

Day 11 Amarbayasgalant.
Breakfast at the camp. Drive 7km west of the camp and visit Amarbayasgalant Monastery, one of the most ancient and beautiful monastery complexes in Mongolia, dating back to 1727. The monastery survived through the centuries and even the communist purges of the 1930s during which about 700 monasteries and temples were completely destroyed. Thanks to restoration works, most temples of the monastery are functioning and ceremonies are regularly held inside them. Overnight at the camp.

Day 12 Amarbayasgalant.
Full day trekking to the nearby mountains with box lunch. Return in the late afternoon. Overnight at the camp.

Day 13 Amarbayasgalant/Ulaanbaatar.
Breakfast at the camp. Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Free time for individual plans and shopping in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 14 Ulaanbaatar.
Breakfast at the hotel. Full day excursion in Ulaanbaatar. Visit the Museum of Natural History with its world-famous collection of dinosaur exhibits, including the huge complete skeleton of the Tarbosaurus, an Asian cousin of the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Overnight at the hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

Day 15  Departure.
Free day until your departure transfer.

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