Mongolia Northern Lakes Experience
Mighty Lake Khovsgol dominates serene Northern Mongolia, a body of dark blue pearl standing amongst exquisite mountains. On one side lies nomadic families tending to their yaks and horses. To the other you find shaman and nomadic reindeer herders inhabiting the mountains.
Volcanic relics and mysterious temples dot the thick surrounding forests as Northern Mongolia’s landscape spills into Siberia. This is a remote region of wild beauty and many encounters with locals, a region that effortlessly submerges you in the country’s enchanting spell. Yet it’s a region that’s easy to explore and encompasses many sides of Mongolia into a short experiences.
You get to sleep in traditional gers, ride horses on the steppes, kayak on Lake Khovsgol, and explore landscapes that remain completely untouched and untamed. But it’s the interaction with locals that’s most memorable. Meet Tsaatan reindeer herders living in teepees, vividly dressed shaman, Mongolian nomads in circular gers, and lamas in sacred temples.
Day 1 - Outside Ulaanbaatar
Camel Riding & Archery on Mongolian Steppes
While Mongolia is undoubtedly an adventurous destination, the serenity makes it wonderfully stress free. Such a silent place can be so invigorating. Outside Ulaanbaatar you will explore an exquisite temple updated by Gankhuugiin Purevbat, admiring the dozens of Buddhist art pieces that fill its spiritual rooms. Then climb on the back of a two-humped camel and slowly ride across the steppes. Archery is one of Mongolia's “three games of men” and you spend the afternoon learning how to fire a traditional Mongolian bow and arrow.
Day 2 - Karakorum
Ruins of Karakorum History Tour
Karakorum was the capital of the Mongol Empire and relics from Genghis Khan's time still remain. Hear tales of the emperor's conquests and enjoy lunch with a view towards the mountains. Stone ruins dot the landscape, reminders of when Karakorum was the capital city of the largest empire to ever grace the world.An expert local guide joins you today and provides a detailed history lesson into Khan's marauding.Explore the Erdene Zuu monastery and admire its almost 100 temples, each of them looking resplendent beneath a rich blue sky. The vast complex is still home to practicing Lamas. Say hello to the spiritual monks in ascetic shrines and wander across picturesque courtyards that reveal a 14th century glory.
Days 3 & 4 - Lake Khovsgol
Kayak Lake Khuvsgul
Jump in a kayak and start paddling, gently traversing the calm waters. Khuvsgul is known as Mongolia's “dark blue pearl” and you will cruise along its uninhabited forest shores. Inhale the fresh alpine air, spin around for 360 degree impressions of the wilderness, and slowly paddle further along these deserted waters. In the afternoon you can travel further across the lake by motor boat and visit some of its forested islands, places of supreme silence and serenity. If you're looking to escape, this is it.
Hike & Boat Around Lake Khuvsgul
A rainbow of blue colors shine off the surface of Lake Khuvsgul. It's dark and pearly in the center, flickers with sapphire and azure tones, then gets softer still as the lake disperses into numerous rivers. Khovsgul is the size of Switzerland and contains 1.5% of the world's fresh water. But you will not be thinking about statistics as you sit on the water's edge and marvel at the alpine landscape. You can hike in the nearby pine forests and take a dip in the calm water. A local guide will take you by boat onto the lake. Afterwards you can simply rest in the sun outside your ger, drink lots of salty yak butter tea and watch dozens of eagles in the sky above.
Day 5 - Lake Khovsgol
Meet Shaman and Tsaatan Reindeer Herders
Out on Mongolian mountain slopes you spot hundreds of reindeer. They appear then disappear into the trees and you follow. You are visiting a Tsaatan family of reindeer herders.Step inside their teepee to meet the family. Then head out into the forest and track the reindeer.The Tsaatan also brought shamanist customs to Northern Mongolia and you will meet a local shaman. His clothes are weighed down by dozens of trinkets and metal objects. The shaman comes from a different culture. And like the herders, this is a very unique world experience.
Days 6 & 7 - Horseback Expedition
Multi-Day Mongolian Horse Trek
Mongolia is a land of nomads and wild horses, a place of untouched wilderness that stretches over supreme mountains and monumental steppes. Where you are riding there are no roads and no permanent houses. There is no finer place to ride a horse. It's just wide open space and dramatic passes, for as many days as you choose. Saddle up in Genghis Khan's 13th century capital of Karakorum, then ride across the legendary Khangai Mountains to the iconic Buddhist Tuvkhun Monastery. Accommodation is a mix of nomadic family gers and there's absolutely nothing modern to break the cultural and natural spell. Riders of all abilities are welcomed; Mongolian horses love these journeys as much as the riders. Just come with an open mind and ride with Mongal guides.
Stay in a Traditional Ger
Combine tradition with a little bit of comfort, on the wild Mongolian steppes. You will be staying in a traditional ger at a private ger camp. In some countries these circular homes would be called yurts. Ger camps are surrounded by prime wilderness and far from any semblance of civilization. They can be packed up and moved to new locations in less than half a day. Sit outside your ger and admire the space and silence, breathing in the clean air as the sky tumbles from blue to black. Solar panels provide electricity for lights and charging cameras but don't expect wifi - part of the Mongolian experience is to leave behind the Western concept of instantaneous communication. You will have hot showers, traditional food, a private ger and absolute silence. This is the ideal way to experience Mongolian living yet still have your own space and a certain degree of comfort.
Day 8 - Ulaanbaatar
Best of Ulaanbaatar Tour
The capital city is very different to the rest of Mongolia. Explore its eclectic treasures on a flexible city tour. Your guide will craft a route based on your interests. There's the spirituality found in Choijin Lama Temple, the sense of history at the massive Genghis Khan statue outside the city, and evocative tales to read at the National Museum. The State Department Store is an ideal place to finish a Mongolia trip and pick up all manner of souvenirs.