Arrive Beijing, China
Arrive in Beijing, where you are transferred to your hotel.
Beijing | Atop the Great Wall
Travel to the well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, a vast fortification erected to protect the region from Mongol hordes. Walk or ride a cable car to the top of the wall to take in sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. Return to Beijing to take in the sweep of history at Tiananmen Square and explore the imperial grandeur of the Temple of Heaven. Tonight, gather for a special welcome dinner at your hotel.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia | Introduction to an Empire
This morning, fly to Ulaanbaatar and transfer your hotel. After you settle in, stroll Sukhbaatar Square, exploring the Great Khan’s Memorial and the National Museum of Mongolian History. Here, a local historian delves into the saga of Genghis Khan and his Mongol Empire.
Ulaanbaatar | Life of Genghis Khan
Visit Gandan Khiid Monastery with its 75-foot statue made of copper, gold and precious stones, accompanied by a top-ranking lama who discusses monastery life. In the afternoon, travel out into the steppe to Tsonjin Boldog to see the 131-foot statue of Genghis Khan.
Gobi Desert | Dunes, Canyons & Wide Open Skies
Fly to the Gobi Desert, home to Bactrian (two-humped) camels, mountain sheep, golden eagles and many endemic reptiles. In the late afternoon, drive to Hoorhon Devseg Valley to see the Bulgan Temple. Climb atop a mountain to visit a monastery and take in the spectacular view. After twilight fades, marvel as the starlit desert sky comes alive.
Gobi Desert | Valley of the Eagles
Journey overland to the Yol Valley, a narrow, craggy chasm. Hike the valley for a chance to spot vulture-like Lammergeiers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks and Argali mountain sheep. Later, witness the construction of a ger, a traditional Mongolian home. In the afternoon, you may opt to hike through the Havsagit Valley to discover ancient petroglyphs atop a mountain.
Gobi Desert | Camel Ride & the Flaming Cliffs
Set off on the back of a Bactrian (two-humped) camel through the dunes of Moltsog Els for insight into a way of life that has endured for centuries. Visit with a local camel herding family in their home. Afterward, visit the Flaming Cliffs, a place rich with dinosaur fossils and the site where dinosaur eggs were first found.
Ulaanbaatar | Past Meets Present
Fly to Ulaanbaatar, where you see an exhibit of Buddhist artifacts at the Fine Arts Museum and browse the stalls of a local market. This evening, join fellow guests for a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and khoomi throat singers.
Ulaanbaatar | Naadam Festival
Attend the annual Naadam Festival, 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. Enjoy a traditional performance with folk dancing.
Beijing, China | Yuan Legacy of Kublai Khan
Fly back to Beijing. After settling in, Ride Like a Local on a pedicab through a hutong, a vast, yet intimate neighborhood of small winding alleyways. Beijing’s hutongs (and the term itself) trace their roots back to Kublai Khan’s Yuan Dynasty, an extension of his grandfather, Genghis’ Mongol Empire. This evening, gather with your fellow travellers to celebrate your journey with a farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight.
Program Note: Travel in this remote region entails extended, scenic drives over unpaved roads; limited access to Western cuisine; and an unpredictable climate.