CLASSIC GOBI DESERT

Expedition Overview

A Classic Motoring Expedition across Asia’s Largest Desert

When was the last time you woke up to discover your neighbors were nomads? Possessing a last-place-on-earth allure that is not easy to access, Mongolia shows up on the bucket list of every veteran traveler. One of the last surviving nomadic societies and half of them still live pastoral lifestyles, little-changed since the days of Chinggis Khan. Driving yourself a Nissan Patrol 4×4 across one of the greatest deserts in the world; discovering primordial fossils hidden within the flaming-red cliffs; watching the sun setting pink and purple over a Mongolian yurt. Very few experiences bring together offbeat adventure and epic road-tripping quite like this voyage across Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. If mystery and intrigue is what you seek, then this expedition should be your pick.

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What to Expect

Motor Across Challenging Routes That Only Our Legendary 4×4s Can Travel.

Expedition Details

Country Mongolia
Dates August 6th to 15th 2022 (9 Days)
Price $6,381 per person
Expedition Vehicle Nissan Patrol 4×4
Group Size 12 Pax
Terrain Predominately Dirt Tracks
Weather Max 23°C and Min 9°C
Drive 1750 kms
Ideal for : Solo Travelers | Couples | Friends

OUR TRAVEL GUARANTEE:  We understand that the world of travel has changed, and we hope that you will continue to explore the world. By signing up with Nomadic Road, we have implemented a travel guarantee. You can either transfer your trip to another expedition at a later date, or a full refund in the event that there is a COVID-19 travel impact.

What You'll See ...

You Will See Some of the Most Breathtaking Views during Our Classic Gobi Desert in Mongolia Expedition.

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What Our Clients Say ...

Expedition Itinerary

DAY 1: FLY INTO ULAANBAATER (UB) 

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-1 Accommodation: Novotel Hotel or similar

If Mongolia’s yin is its pristine countryside, then Ulaanbaatar conforms nicely to its yang. Once you arrive in Ulaanbaatar, you will be received at the airport by our team and then transferred to Novotel Hotel. You are requested to arrive in UB by noon so that you can rest for a while and then get ready for the expedition briefing in the evening followed by a very special expedition welcome dinner. A wonderful opportunity to meet all the fellow expedition members before the start of the epic adventure.

Our Recommendation: You will not need more than a day to explore Ulaanbaatar. Depending on your time of arrival, you can explore the city and its surroundings on your own or we could help you with our recommendations. Or you can come in a day earlier if you want to acclimate to the new time zone and take some rest before the start of your adventure.

DAY 2: Flight to Gobi

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-2 Accommodation: Ger Camp (Gobi Nomad Lodge)

Distance: 90 kms | Drive Time: 2 hours | Terrain: Dirt Roads

Early morning after breakfast, you will be transferred to UB airport from where you will take a flight to Gobi (Dalanzadgad Airport) from where you will officially begin your motoring journey. The flight duration is approx. 1 hr 20 min. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your Ger camps where you will spend your first day like a typical Nomad. After checking into your respective ger camps, we will introduce you to your expedition machines followed by a detailed expedition briefing. After lunch, we will head out for a short drive (1 hr. from the Camp) to Bayanzag, also known as Flaming Cliffs, to kickstart your overland adventure. Flaming Cliffs in Bayanzag where red and orange hues come together to create an awe-inspiring sight. Home to ancient dinosaur fossils, the Bayanzag area is an exciting destination allowing you to get up close to massive dinosaur remains. You will be accompanied by one of the finest research specialists from the Mongolian Academy of Science who will give you a private tour across this world-renowned place. This is where paleontologist, Roy Chapman Andrews found dinosaur bones and eggs. The surrounding landscape is a beautiful combination of rocks, red sand and scrubs. You can spend time exploring the cliffs, and in the evening, you will enjoy a wonderful al-fresco style welcome dinner watching the beautiful sun set behind the desert. The sunset here is magical, the sun shining on the cliff creates the color of the fire and hence the name Flaming Cliffs. After dinner we drive back to our camps.

DAY 3: KhongorIIN ELS

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-3 Accommodation: Roof Top Tents

Distance: 230 kms | Drive Time: 6 hours | Terrain: Dirt Roads

After breakfast, we will begin our motoring expedition by heading towards the beautiful gorges of the imposing Altai Mountain Chain – Yol valley. This is a protected site since 1965 that lies 62 km north-west of Dalanzadgad and spans across an area of 70 square kms. Ancient rivers carved those green valleys and was named after the bearded vulture, which is called Yol in Mongolian. We will spend the morning trekking through these deep and narrow gorges of this valley which is located within the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. This mountainous region was formed by the same tectonic activity that created the Himalayas and is part of the Gobi Altai Range – the outer crumple zone of the Himalayan geological activity.

From here we will then head west towards Mongolia’s largest and most beautiful sand dunes, Khongoryn Els, and the terrain is mostly dirt tracks. “Els” is the Mongolian word for sand dunes and “Hongoryn” describes the exquisite pale tawny color of one of the world’s most beautiful dunes fields. These impressive dunes are of 275 meters high in some places, stretching from East to West for over 100 km.

We will drive along the dunes to visit a camel herding family, where with the help of our local cultural expert, you will learn more about their nomadic lifestyle and deeper insight into their day-day routine. Then we continue our drive to the western end of Khongyryn dunes, where we will be camping in an oasis called Chono Shurguul, literally means Wolf Run. After that, you can relax and walk around the ever-changing mysterious landscape and watch the sun go down behind the gorgeous dunes. We will be spending the night in roof-top tents deep in the Gobi Desert surrounded by Saxual trees and Tamarix. The temperatures at night can get really cold as we will be deep inside the desert, but we will make it really special with a wonderful bonfire and dinner.

DAY 4: ARTS BOGD RANGE - TEVSH MOUNTAIN

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-4 Accommodation: Roof Top Tents

Distance: 250 kms | Drive Time: 6 hours | Terrain: Dirt Roads

After breakfast we head north to Bayankhongor province, spend all morning driving towards Arts Bogd Mountain that lays in middle of steppe between 2 different natural zones. The drive is very scenic with sandy hills with Gobi trees and vistas of extinct volcano in distance. Enroute we will visit camel herding families and discover the life of a typical camel herder living in remote parts of the Gobi Desert. Later in the afternoon, we will arrive at our camp site that is located near the Tevsh Mountain of Altan Am valley. In the evening, we will walk near the mountains, exploring the petroglyphs that can be found here which dates back to 3000-5000 B.C. We will return back to our camps to enjoy the camp fire and sumptuous expedition dinner prepared by our team. This is also the right time when the Perseids Meteor shower tend to peak. Perseids is considered as one of the most dazzling meteor showers and spending our time in the middle of desert far makes it even more ideal to spot them. With no civilization around our vicinity which means no artificial lights which makes it a perfect location to spot this natural spectacle.

DAY 5: ORKHORN VALLEY

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-5 Accommodation: Ger Camp

Distance: 300 km | Drive Time: 7 hours | Terrain: Dirt Roads

Today will be one of the longest driving days of the expedition where we could actually see the terrain slowly change from a dry Northern Gobi landscape to a much greener Central Mongolian Steppes. This dirt trail will lead us to Orkhon Valley. In the Quaternary-era a volcano erupted near the Tsagaan Azarga 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. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its ancient findings, artefacts related to early 6th century. Moreover, nomadic lifestyle still remains here and it gives one both, a historic and nomadic view of life. We will straight head to our camps to rest as we are going to spend the entire next day exploring these beautiful surroundings.

DAY 6: ORKHORN VALLEY

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-6 Accommodation: Ger Camp

Distance: NA | Time: NA | Terrain: NA

You will wake up in the morning surrounded by one of the most beautiful natural landscapes that Mongolia could offer. Considering you have spent many hours driving on dirt roads all this while, it’s a nice idea to relax and spend the time at leisure in the camp. You can head out for a short drive towards the Orkhon Waterfalls. The adventurous can climb down the canyon and swim the lake located at the foot of the waterfall. Later in the afternoon, we will head to a nearby nomadic family who breeds horses where you will witness a short horse race. We will spend time with the family and also enjoy a traditional Mongolian barbeque dinner before returning to your camps.

DAY 7: tsagaan sum hot spring

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-7 Accommodation: Ger Camp

Distance: 210 km | Drive Time: 4 hours | Terrain: Dirt Roads

After breakfast, we will head out of the valley driving through small rivers, and volcanic boulder fields. After couple of hours of driving, you will reach a hot-spring. You might find it surprising to find it in the middle of Mongolian Desert. But there it is. The water pules out of the ground at a remarkable 86°C and contains hydrogen sulphide. The springs have been managed to give a slightly less scorching temperature making this place an ideal stop to relax after days of driving through barren desert. Soak in the hot-springs and relax for the day. 

DAY 8: KHARKHORIN - ERDENE-ZUU MONASTERY - KHOGNO KHAN MOUNTAIN

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-8 Accommodation: Ger Camps

Distance: 180 km | Drive Time: 4 hours | Terrain: Mostly Tarmac

After breakfast we drive east for approximately 2 hours, towards Kharkhorin town, a 13th century capital of the Mongolian Empire built by Chinggis Khan. At first glance it might seem like a small, nondescript Soviet-built town at first glance, but if you dig a little deeper, you will discover why this area is so important and really quite fascinating in terms of Mongolian history and culture. We will be exploring the ruins, visit Erdene-Zuu Monastery where we have planned for a private blessing by the head of the Monastery. The Monastery consists of three temple complexes covering a large area. Art historians consider this, 16th – 17th century masterpiece, to be the prime example of classic Mongolian and Tibetan art. 

After lunch we will head east towards Khogno Khan Mountain where will be spending the evening. The site of a one-time religious battle, where two Buddhist sects clashed and killed one another, Khogno Khan Mountain now sits at peace, its valleys stretching upwards into vast rock outcroppings with the lines of ancient strata clearly displayed. The ecosystem is particularly interesting because the steppe and the taiga meets here. Some of its hidden places were described in ‘The Secret History of the Mongols’, the mysterious biography of the Khans. Set on the corners of three aimag provinces, the mountain has long been a sacred place for Mongolians, but walking between the mighty rock outcroppings now you are more likely to spy reclusive wild game and birds of prey than marauding hordes.

DAY 9: hustain nuruu national park

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-9 Accommodation: Ger Camps

Distance: 250 km | Drive Time: 5 hours | Terrain: Mostly Tarmac

You will spend time exploring the Khogno Khan Mountains in the morning and we will head towards Hustain Nuruu National Park, considered as home to the wild and pretty Przewalski’s Horse or called Takhi by the Mongolians, a species that has been brought back from the edge of extinction. This is the only truly wild species of horse in the world. We will explore the national park and witness the last remaining wild horses that are kept in wild habitat. The park is 100 kms away from UB. Instead of staying in the capital we will stay in the national park in safari style tents and to commemorate our expedition we will have a special evening with traditional folk music and performance with bonfire and dinner. And to cherish all the great experiences we had during this epic expedition.

DAY 10: DEPART ULAANBAATER (UB) 

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-day-10 Accommodation: NA

Depending on your flight timings, we will organize your airport transfers from Hustain Nuruu National Park to UB airport. Incase if someone wishes to visit UB for last minute shopping before heading home, then we can organize an optional trip to the city and you can take a late evening flight so that you have sufficient time in the city before heading to the airport.

classic-gobi-desert-expedition-journey-adventure-traveler-gobi-desert-mongolia-excursion-expedition-vehicle

Your Expedition Vehicle

NISSAN PATROL 4X4

Dates & Prices

Dates Price per Person Interested?
May15th – May 27th $7,703 INQUIRE TODAY

The quoted price is per person on double occupancy basis unless otherwise noted, and are subject to change without notice. Families travelling with kids are requested to contact us for exclusive family prices. Solo travelers and groups with more than 2 members and those who need single supplement are requested to contact us for the differential pricing. Optional activities are at an additional cost. All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars.

*Go Solo : Additional US$ 5499 USD per person (An exclusive expedition vehicle for one person and accommodation on single supplement)

What's Covered & What's Not

  • Exclusive Expedition Vehicle for each team of 2 people with Fuel
  • Domestic flight between Ulaanbaatar and Dalanzadgad
  • Nomadic Road Expedition Leader throughout the trip
  • Exclusive Expedition Photographer cum Filmmaker throughout the trip
  • Local cultural expert and hospitality staff throughout the trip
  • 4x4 support vehicle
  • Field Chef & Technical Crew throughout the expedition
  • Accommodation for all nights on twin share basis in tented or Ger camps.
  • Specially prepared meals throughout the expedition. The Lunch & Dinner will be prepared on all days based on your preference keeping in mind your food restrictions if any. And almost all our lunch will be a picnic lunch somewhere in the most scenic location possible and dinners will be private expedition style setup.
  • Bottled water and refreshments.
  • Welcome Dinner and Farewell Dinner
  • Entrance fee for entry into National Parks
  • Airport transfers
  • Third party liability insurance for the expedition vehicle
  • All excursions, entrance fees, and visits as described in the itinerary
  • International Flights
  • Visa
  • International Driving Permit
  • Lunch on Day 1 and meals on Day 10.
  • Comprehensive Personal Insurance(s)
  • Personal medication
  • Extras like room service, drinks, optional excursions and items of personal nature like laundry, tips, phone calls etc.
  • Optional activities as mentioned in the itinerary.

Our other Expeditions in Mongolia

CLASSIC GOBI DESERT

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EXTREME GOBI DESERT

WESTERN MONGOLIA

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Come explore some of the least accessible places in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia.

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