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Mongolia: Naadam Festival & the Gobi Desert

Marco Polo Club Invitational: Exclusive trips, accompanied by A&K's most accomplished guides

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Ulaan Baatar Arrive Ulaan Baatar

Arrive in Ulaan Baatar, where you transfer to your hotel. The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Ulaanbaatar Hotel
Day 2: Ulaan Baatar | Exciting Capital City

Embark on a tour of the city, beginning at the Gandan Khiid Monastery. Discover Megjid Janraisig, a 75-foot statue made of copper, gold and precious stones. Later, visit the National Museum of Mongolian History, where a local historian discusses Mongolia and its famous emperor Genghis Khan. Tonight, attend a welcome dinner.

Ulaanbaatar Hotel   |   Meals: B L D
Day 3: Ulaan Baatar | Life of Genghis Khan

At Thirteenth Century National Park, wander the various villages, including those belonging to shaman and craftsmen, that depict life and traditions in the time of Genghis Khan.

Ulaanbaatar Hotel   |   Meals: B L D
Day 4: Naadam Festival | The Three Games of Men

Today you attend the annual Naadam Festival, one of the world’s oldest and most spectacular events, where the nation’s best athletes compete in archery, horse racing and Mongolian wrestling. Watch the elaborate opening ceremony that features dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians. This evening, attend a traditional performance with folk dancing.

Ulaanbaatar Hotel   |   Meals: B L D
Day 5: Khustain Nuruu National Park | Wild Horse Haven

Drive to Khui Doloo Khudag to watch the horse race competition, a tradition that is said to date back to the Bronze Age. Continue to the Khustain Nuruu National Park, home to the last remaining species of wild horse, the Takhi. Spend your first of six nights in a Mongolian ger, a traditional felt tent made by nomads.

Khustain Nuruu Ger Camp   |   Meals: B L D
Day 6: Kharakhorum | 13th-Century Capital

Kharakhorum was the 13th-century capital of the Mongol Empire. View what remains: Erdene Zuu, Mongolia’s largest monastery. Explore the grounds and observe the monks as they perform their prayers and rituals. Meet a top-ranking lama who discusses monastery life. Tonight, dine on traditional horhog, a Mongolian barbecued meat dish.

Munkh Tenger Ger Camp   |   Meals: B L D
Day 7: Middle Gobi | Pearl of the Great Desert

Drive to the ruins of Ongiin Khiid, a large monastery, and then meet local horse herder families.

Ongiin Nuuts Ger Camp   |   Meals: B L D
Day 8: Gobi Desert | Dunes, Canyons and Verdant Oases

Cross the vast Ongi plain to reach the stunning Gobi Desert, home to Bactrian camels, mountain sheep, golden eagle and many endemic reptiles.

Three Camel Lodge   |   Meals: B L D
Day 9: Yol Valley National Park | Valley of the Eagles

Drive to Yol Valley National Park, whose remnant streams create ice formations that contrast with the surrounding desert. Hike through the valley to see indigenous lammergeier, Altai snowcock, ibex, yak and Argali mountain sheep. Later, visit the local natural history museum.

Three Camel Lodge   |   Meals: B L D
Day 10: Moltsog Els Sand Dunes | The Flaming Cliffs

Set off on the back of a Bactrian two-humped camel through the towering dunes for insight into a way of life that has endured for centuries. Afterward, visit the Flaming Cliffs, where dinosaur eggs were first found. This evening, dine amid the red cliffs at sunset.

Three Camel Lodge   |   Meals: B L D
Day 11: Ulaan Baatar | Past Meets Present

Fly back to Ulaan Baatar and explore the Museum of Natural History’s unique collection of dinosaur fossils and indigenous flora and fauna. At the Fine Arts Museum, peruse an exhibit of Mongolian Buddhist art and artifacts. A U.S. Embassy official joins you tonight at your farewell dinner to discuss present-day Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar Hotel   |   Meals: B L D
Day 12: Depart Ulaan Baatar

Board your international flight home.

Meals: B

Note:
July 1, 2014 Departure: The Bogd Gegen Winter Palace will be visited in place of the Museum of Natural History on Day 9.
The US Embassy official will be at breakfast on Day 2 instead of at the farewell dinner.

July 8, 2014 Departure: The Bogd Gegen Winter Palace will be visited in place of the Museum of Natural History on Day 11.
The US Embassy official will be at breakfast on Day 2 instead of at the farewell dinner.

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