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MONGOLIA

MONGOLIA NAADAM FESTIVAL and GOBI - July 10-19, 2016

Day 1, July 10: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. You'll be greeted at the airport and escorted to Hotel H9 for an early check-in.

After resting, enjoy lunch and then take a tour of Ulaanbaatar including Gandan Monastery, the National History Museum, Central Square, the Bogdo Khan Winter Palace. (B,L,D)

Day 2, July 11: Ulaanbaatar

See the Naadam opening ceremonies in the Central Stadium. Watch the wrestling and archery competitions. Visit the Museum of Fine Art. (B,L,D)

Day 3, July 12: Gobi Desert

Fly to the South Gobi, then drive to the ger camp. After lunch, head out to Eagle's Canyon and visit the museum at the entrance of the canyon. Hike through the canyon to the Everlasting Ice. (B, L, D)

Day 4, July 13: Gobi Desert

Visit the Bayanzag or Flaming Cliffs – an internationally famous place for dinosaur fossils. Then visit the sand dunes of Moltsog Els and hike through the dunes. (B,L,D)

Day 5, July 14:  Karakorum

Transfer to airport and fly back to Ulaanbataar. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, drive to Karakorum and overnight in a ger camp. (B,L,D)

Day 6, July 15: Karakorum

Excursion to Erdene-Zuu Monastery and the Karakorum history museum. Afterward there will be an opportunity to go horse-back riding. (B,L,D)

Day 7, July 16: Terelj National Park

Drive to Terelj Naitonal Park via Ulaanbaatar. Overnight in ger camp. (B,L,D)

Day 8, July 17: Terelj National Park

Explore the many extraordinary rock formations in Terelj, including Turtle Rock. Then visit a local family of horsemen, where you will have the opportunity to experience their way of life, culture, and traditions. Return to Ulaanbaatar. Overnight at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 9, July 18: Bogdo Khan

Visit Manzushir Monastery, located in the Bogdo Khan Mountains. Afterward, overnight at the Munh Tenger ger camp on in the Bogdo Khan Mountains. (B,L,D)

Day 10, July 18: Return Home

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

PRICE PER PERSON: $ 3,939 (based on double occupancy, with a minimum of 2-3 people.)

International flights are not included. Flights to Mongolia connect through Beijing, Seoul or Moscow. Escapes Unlimited can assist you with your flight arrangements or you may secure flights on your own.

9 day trip to Mongolia with Gobi Desert starting at $3739 per person, double occupancy

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbataar. Transfer to the hotel. City sightseeing tour including Gandan Monastery, Central square, History museum, and museum of nature.

Day 2: Breakfast at the hotel. Fly to the South Gobi. Drive to Gobi camp. Lunch and dinner at the camp.

Day 3: Breakfast at the camp. Drive to Yolin Am or Eagle’s Canyon, visit the museum at the entrance to Eagle’s Canyon. Visit to a camel breeding family. Return to camp. Lunch and dinner at the camp.

Day 4: Breakfast at the camp. Drive to Bayandzag or the Flaming Cliffs – motherland of dinosaurs. Drive to Hongorin Els or the sand dunes. On route: picnic lunch on the Togrog Shiree plateau. Try to find fossils of prehistoric animals (dinosaurs and etc.) Arrive in tourist camp near Hongoryn Els. Dinner at the camp.

Day 5: Breakfast at the camp. Enjoy the longest sand dunes in world. Rock climbing and camel riding available. Lunch and dinner at the camp.

Day 6: Breakfast at the camp. Fly to Ulaanbaatar, then drive to Kharakorum. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 7: Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the Erdene-Zuu Monastery, visit the museum of Kharakorum's history, visit the monument to Ancient States of Mongolia and see the Orkhon river valley, then visit nomadic family. Lunch and dinner included.

Day 8: Breakfast at the hotel. Drive to Ulaanbataar. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 9: Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport.

Valid: 2016

Recommended travel months- May to September. Prices do not apply during Nadaam Festival in July.

International airfare not included.

A TRIP BACK IN TIME TO A NOMAD LIFESTYLE

Day 1.  Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and city tour 
After arriving in Ulaanbaatar, You'll be greeted at the airport and escorted to your hotel. After light lunch, take a city sightseeing tour including a visit Gandan Monastery with its huge   gold plated Buddha, a symbol of Mongolian national pride and cultural revival. See the monks chanting, spin some prayer wheels and view the intricately embroidered thanks. Then visit to the National History Museum , where you will see artifacts from Mongolia and Central Asia from the Stone Age to the present. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Day 2.  Terelj National park and visit a local horsemen family
After breakfast at the hotel, drive to Terelj National park (70km). You'll explore the extraordinary formation of rocks and stones; some of them look quite similar to turtles. The Terelj National Park incorporates parts of Khentii Mountain Range. We will then visit a local horsemen family. There we have an opportunity to experience their way of life, their culture and traditions. Free horseback trial. Overnight in tourist camp. Full board.

Day 3.  Visit Elsen tasarkhai and camel ride trial
Up early morning, drive to Elsen tasarkhai (280km west from Ulaanbaatar ) a unique area of forest and sand dunes. After lunch in tourist camp, there is an opportunity for a camel ride trial through the sand dunes. In the evening, we will play traditional games and stay overnight in a tourist camp. Full board.

Day 4.  Visit the site of Ancient capital and enjoy a real Mongolian barbeque
Today's destination is the symbolic ruins of Karakorum, which was the capital city of Great Mongol Empire founded in the 13th century by Genghis Khan. You will also visit the oldest Monastery Erdene-Zuu built in 1586, with 108 stupas. Enjoy a real Mongolian barbeque which is grilled with hot stones, and has a unique taste. Overnight in tourist camp near Orkhon river.

Day 5. See the Takhi, the Asian wild horse 
Early morning drive to Hustai National Park and see the Takhi, the Asian wild horse. Enjoy small hiking and photographing the charming landscape and wildlife. Visit Takhi's small museum and overnight in tourist camp. Full board

Day 6. Drive back to Ulaanbaatar and city tour options 
Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. You may choose a city tour where you can visit souvenir and cashmere shops before an evening concert of National Folklore. A farewell dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Day 7. Departure back Mongolia
You will be transferred from your hotel to the airport.

Price available upon request.

TERELJ EXTENSION: 3 DAYS/2 NIGHTS at $739 per person, double occ.

The Terelj extension can be added either before or after the Mongolia itinerary.

Day 1: /L, D/

Meet at the Ulaanbataar train station.
Drive to Terelj National Park. Accommodations in a tourist camp. Visit a nomad family and Turtle Rock. There is a possibility for horse riding. Overnight in Gers. Lunch and dinner at the camp.

Day 2: /B, L/

Breakfast at the camp. Drive back to Ulaanbataar.

10:30 City sightseeing tour incl Gandan Monastery, Central square, History museum, Zaisan Hill, Winter Palace museum. Have lunch in city restaurant during the tour.

Transfer to the hotel

Day 3: /B/

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to next destination.

MINIMUM 2 PAX

Price includes all accommodations, land transportation, sightseeing and all meals.

Valid: 2016

Land
Located in the landlocked plateau of Central Asia between China and Russian Siberia, Mongolia covers an area roughly the size of Western Europe. The geography of the country is characterized by great diversity. From north to south, it can be divided into four areas: mountain-forest steppe, mountain steppe and, in the extreme south, semi-desert and desert; much of the country's territory is mountainous. Mountains and dense forests predominate central and northern Mongolia. Across the eastern part of the country stretches the vast grasslands of the Central Asian steppe. The Gobi Desert extends throughout southern Mongolia. The Gobi Desert contains large areas of sand dunes in the drier areas of the Gobi near the southern border. The country is dotted with hundreds of lakes, the largest being Uvsnuur, Har Usnurr and Lake Huvsgul which is the largest fresh-water lake in Central Asia.

Population
The population of Mongolia is 2,373,500, out of which 45% are nomadic herdsmen. Most of Mongolia's large land is very scarcely populated making the country one of the sparsest populated nations in the world. The population is homogeneous, with Mongol-speaking people constituting 95% of the total. The only substantial non-Mongol group, representing over 5% of the population, is the Kazaks, a Turkish-speaking people dwelling in the far West.

History
Mongolia's history spans 5,000 years. From nomads herding the Central Asian steppe to the formation of the powerful Mongol Empire and the gradual emergence of the Mongolian republic, its history is steeped in conflict. 
The first Mongolian state was established in 209 B.C. by Huns or Hunnu people. The name Hunnu comes from two ancient Mongolian wors. "Hun means "man" and "Nu" translates as "sun". The Huns territory stretched from Korea in the Far East to Tian Shan Mountain in Northern China and from the southern section of the Great Wall to Lake baikal in southern Siberia. The Hun stat was the most powerful nomadic nation residing in the sprawling Central Asian steppe and mountain.

Temujin was born into the Esugui in 1162 and is best know as Chinggis (Genghis) Khan. With the support of his father's friends, Temujin established the Great Mongol State in 1189. By 1206 he had united 81 different Mongolian tribes and established the Great Mongolian Empire in 1206, when he was crowned as Chinggis Khan. He died in 1227. Subsequent Mongolian Khans were chosen from following generations of Chinggis Khan's children. Known as the Golden Era of Mongolian history, during this time the Mongol Empire was the most powerful nation on earth. Chinggis Khan was a great military general, statesman and Mongolian national hero. The Mongol Empire began to fall apart in 1368. This was bound up with the collapse of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, which had been established in China after Kublai Khan named Beijing the new Capital of the Mongol Empire. The Manchurians conquered Mongolia in 1691 and the Manchurian colonization lasted for 220 years.

On July 11, 1921, the socialist revolution, known as People's Revolution took place. In 1924, the Mongolian People's Party proclaimed Mongolia a People's Republic. The congress endorsed the Republic's first constitution. As Mongolia maintained strong links with the former Soviet Union, the socialist era continued until 1990, when democratic changes first started in Mongolia. The county's first multi-party election was held in June 1990. Mongolia became a democratic parliamentary republic operating with a President.

Religion
Mongolia's religious roots are bound up in Shamanism. Shamanism was the major religion during both the ancient Mongol states and the Mongol Empire until Tibetan Buddhism gained more popularity after it was introduced in 13th century. Tibet's Dali, Lama, who lives in India, is the religion's spiritual leader, and is highly respected in Mongolia. Buddhism was introduced to Mongolia from Tibet by Kublai Khan during the late 13th century.

Ger
A round wooden-framed felt tent covered in durable white canvas seems to be the most simple description of this portable home, familiar to many from the Russian word "yurt". The history of the ger goes back to 2500 - 3000 years BC. The Mongolian ger has two key components: the wooden frame work and the felt cover. Any ger has a toono, the smoke hole and baganas, 2 columns supporting the toono. There are several felt layers, covering the wooden frame work and outer white canvas which is designed to make the ger look prettier and protect the felt covers from rain and snow. Mongolian nomads, who move several times each year, pack their gers onto the back of camels or camel and ox carts. The weight of a ger is approximately 550 lbs. It only takes half an hour to collapse an average ger and a bit longer to rebuild it.

 
 
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