The Thousand camel festival, held in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia is already one of the most famous winter festivals in the world. This thrilling festival was first initiated in 1997 by the locals of Umnugovi (South Gobi) to celebrate Mongolian camels and protect the species and pass the rich Mongolian camel breeding heritage to the next generation. It’s an entertaining 2-days of event that features various contests related to Mongolian camel culture and lots of local music and dances.
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar the capital city of Mongolia. Our guide and driver will greet you at the airport. Transfer to your hotel. Depends on time of your arrival, taken on city sightseeing tour including a visit the Gandantegchilen Monastery or “Great Place of Complete Joy”. It features a 26.5-meter-high statue of Avalokiteśvara. Then our tour takes you to the Chinggis Khan monument on the Sukhbaatar square which is heart of the city, and visit the Museum of National History. In the evening, you will enjoy a Mongolian Folk Music and Dance Performance “Tumen Ekh”. Then welcome lunch in a Mongolian restaurant.
Transfer to airport and taking a flight to the South Gobi. Arrival in Dalanzadgad, capital city of South Gobi. Meet with your driver /s/ and drive to mountain range Gurvan Saikhan or Three Beauties. First images of a huge desert and arid stony plateau. Then walk in deep of Yoliin Am, where are inhabited by the magnificent lammergeier, or bearded vulture. The park is a haven for some endangered species like the argali sheep, snow leopard and Siberian ibex, also pikas.
The picturesque valley is an amazing natural creation where it has meter thick ice almost year around. There is great hiking opportunity from the parking areas to the glacier following the stream. In winter time glacier is up to 10 m high and remains frozen for all year around. Return to Dalanzadgad.
The road passes through arid and large plaine. Arrival to the majestic dunes Khongor, a huge range of sand dunes – 6–12 km wide, 180 km, and rising to a height of 220 metres Approaching them, you may hear the melody of the movement of the melody appears, hence the nickname “Singing Sands”. Camel riding and sunset in a surreal setting.
Drive to Bayanzag, one of the famous places, ancient sea bed which excited 60-70 million years ago where a lot of Paleontological findings have been discovered. The place is known as Flaming Cliffs so named by Roy Andrew Chapman American explorer, who had visited Mongolia in 1920. The barren cliffs look strikingly as if they are aflame during sunset. Not so far from the Flaming Cliffs, there is a forest of saxaul trees –Gobi trees with extremely deep roots.
This morning we drive to Bulgan sum and attend the opening ceremony of the festival and parade of camel riders. This festival will continue 2 days, held in the Gobi Desert, is a celebration of the endangered Bactrian camel and the role it plays in the lives of the Gobi’s nomads. Camel races and polo competitions, as well as performances of traditional Mongolian music and dance, are among the highlights of this annual event. We will watch the camel race and competitions among local nomadic Bactrian camel herders, competitions for the “Most Beautiful Couple on Camels”, the “Best Camel Bull” and the “Best Camel Cow”, “Camel Relay” competition featuring camel breaking and loading and unloading traditional style, camel market opens for camel products including clothes and diary goods, Gala concert by local artists and more.
You begin your ascent to the north, and enter the basin of the river Ongii. It used to be a big Buddhist monastery compound built by Bari Yonzon Khamba Lamaist bishop at the Ongi river. The monastery was built in 1666 on a steep rocky slope of a mountain. Unfortunately, the Ongi Temple had the same fate of destruction during the communist purges of 1930s as other 700 Buddhist monasteries in Mongolia.
Drive to Kharkhorin, the ancient capital of Mongolian Empire. This capital was built as far back as the 8th century, and was the city with the name “Takhil Shivee”. In 1220 Chinghis Khan declared it as the capital city of his Empire. Karakorum was destroyed a century later by the Ming troops. It remains today the remains. Visit the Erdene–Zuu, the largest and first Mongolian Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. This architectural gem surrounded by 108 stupas dates from the sixteenth century and is built on the ruins of the former imperial capital.
Drive to the Khustain Nuruu. It’s our last stop on the way. Khustain Nuruu National park is famous for the successful reintroduction project of the Takhi or Przewalski’s horse. Walk through the forests of larch and observation of these semi-wild horses in their pasture in the evening.
Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Shop at cashmere and souvenir shops.
Farewell dinner with your interpreter and driver in a Mongolian restaurant.
Transfer to the airport