Enter a land where the sky is always blue and people live much as they did in the days of Genghis Khan. Welcome to Mongolia and a journey through the driest desert in the world to the lush green hills of the Khangai Mountains. Keep your camera at the ready as you explore untamed lands and journey through the stunning Mongolian countryside. This is a trip that will stay with you forever!
The adventure begins in the capital city of Ulaanbataar, home to nearly half of the country's population. After a cultural orientation, you will leave city life far behind and head into the rolling steppes. Here gers (traditional Mongolian homes) dot the landscape and the true majesty of the country is revealed.
Horses helped Genghis Khan quell regional warlords and unite the country centuries ago, and these majestic animals still hold a special place in the hearts of the local people. What better way to explore this immense country than on horseback? You will saddle up and head off on an epic journey across ancient riverbeds, through the Orkhan River Valley, and into the heart of rural Mongolia. Rise to the early morning sun painting the empty landscape in rich hues and spend your day immersed in the beauty of this faraway land. As evening falls, sit on the top of mountains and chat with our friendly local guides about Mongolian life. The journey will come to an end on the shores of the White Lake, where you will rest from the long journey and get ready for the next phase of the adventure.
Leave your modern contraptions at home and discover what life is like without electricity, running water, and even automobiles. For hundreds of years the Mongolian people have lived on what Mother Earth has provided, and their simple way of life is sure to teach you a lot about what you truly need. As you travel from ger to geracross the countryside, you will become immersed in local life. Milk the goats in the morning, bring in a herd of horses in the evening, and collect prairie chips for the fire at night. By the time you leave this magical place, you will feel like a local!
Throughout the journey you’ll feast on Mongolian cuisine at traditional barbecues. Mongolians primarily survive on a diet of meat and dairy products, so students should be prepared to explore a different world of cuisine. Feast on a goat cooked Mongolian style, munch on fresh cheese, and sip yogurt. We will cook almost all of our own meals and provide tasty alternatives for the vegetarians among us.
This is a rustic trip that takes place far away from the civilized world, so an adventurous spirit and positive attitude are key for this program. Everything else you will learn as you go. You’ll spend nights in tents and gers, and our staff will cook your meals. Come join the adventure of a lifetime!
After meeting and greeting your flight leader and the other students traveling to Mongolia and China, you’re off to Hong Kong! This is an easy, nonstop flight across the Pacific – most students find that after dinner and a movie, they’re able to manage dozing off to sleep for a while. So sit back, have a chat with your new friends, and enjoy the flight!
This day is 'lost' as you cross the International Date Line. But don't worry – you'll get it back when returning home!
Arrive at Hong Kong International Airport, where you’ll meet your program leaders and have time for a long awaited stretch. You will have a few hours in the airport before we grab our bags (preferably small and manageable!) and check in for the connecting flight to Mongolia. You will arrive in Ulaanbaatar in the early afternoon and transfer to the guesthouse. The remainder of the day will be spent relaxing and recuperating from your long journey. In the evening, you will have an orientation about the exciting adventure you are about to begin.
Today we will transfer to Karakorum, where we will settle in for the night with our Mongolian host family and enjoy a personal concert by a local folk musician.
In the morning you will visit Mongolia's first Buddhist monastery, Erdene Zuu Khiid. After taking in the sights at the monastery, you will head to the markets for a little shopping. This will be the last large town you will see for days, so you will want to pick up any essentials you may have forgotten at home before you leave. Then we will depart for Orkhon Khürkhree, where our adventure begins.
Today will be our first day in the heart of the Mongolian countryside. You will learn the basics of horse riding (no experience is required). The Mongolian riding and saddle style is a little different than Western style, but today we will help you get the hang of it. In the afternoon we will take a short trek to a beautiful waterfall and come back to help our host family with their chores.
Today will be the start of our epic horse trek through the steppes. We will set off to an area known as the Eight Lakes. The journey will take two days and we will stay with another host family on the way.
On Tuesday, we will arrive at the gorgeous Eight Lakes. We will spend the next two nights here, relaxing from the long journey and enjoying the rich Mongolian culture.
Today, we will now begin our journey back to Orkhon Khürkhree, where our trek began. The journey will again take two days and we will stay with the same host families.
Today we will rest at the waterfall. Tonight you will have a chance to camp next to the river, and if you brought your fishing pole, this is a great place to fish!
Over the next two days, we will jump back on our horses for a last trek to a hot spa, about a day's ride from our base camp. This will also be our last day in the countryside.
In the morning, we will say our goodbyes to our generous host family and transfer back to Karakorum, stopping along the way at a temple hidden in the lush forests of the Khangai Mountains.
Today, you will return to the hustle and bustle of Ulaanbataar. We will visit the local market to pick up any last-minute souvenirs for friends and family, and then enjoy a final dinner with the group.
It's time to say goodbye to Mongolia and continue on to your next adventure. You will carry the memories of your adventures here for a lifetime!
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
A medium sized duffel bag or large back pack will be most efficient. Wheeled bags are not recommended due to the rough terrain, but is acceptable if that is what you have. It is important that you try to keep your total luggage to one piece of checked luggage, and do your best to keep it under 40 pounds. You will be carrying it with throughout the program and you want to keep it movable.
Traveling through a very dry country such as Mongolia, we will be sure that you will receive the proper amount of water, and we will only be drinking bottled water or pure natural spring water.
On arrival to Mongolia you will receive a stamp that will be valid for thirty days. No other paperwork is necessary.
We will be staying in tents, tourist ger camps, and with local families. The accommodations at best will be rustic.
There are no immunizations required for this trip.
You should bring your own money to buy souvenirs or for any snacks.
There will be a flight leader that will escort the students to Korea. In Korea someone from the rustic pathways team will be there to pick them up and take care of them for the night. The next day they will be escorted back to the airport and put on the flight to Ulaanbaatar. At Ulaanbaatar their program leaders will be waiting for them at the terminal.
Due to the somewhat secluded nature of Mongolia, we recommend starting your Rustic Pathways summer in Mongolia and then connecting to other programs.
Total flight time should be around 14 hours.
We will stock up on our own food before we depart for the countryside. Most of our meals will be prepared by our staff. Breakfast will be your typical western breakfast (toast, pancakes, yogurt, ect. ). Lunch will usually consist of sandwiches. Dinner will be cooked by our staff (pasta, stir fry, and ect.). We also enjoy traditional Mongolian cuisine which is typically meat and dairy products. If you have any food allergies or are a vegetarian please let us know before you arrive so we can properly cater to your food requests.
This is the first year for our Mongolia programs and we are uncertain of what the ratio will be. However, we expect it to be fairly even between the amount of girls and boys.
Contact Us: For more information about Off the Map: Mongolia you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Off the Map: Mongolia combines well with the following programs.
Ages: 16 to 18 years old
Length: 17 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 8 hours awarded
International airfare is not included in the above cost. Please check our Travel Desk for airfare pricing and specifics.
|Departs Tue||Returns Thu||Availability|
|18 Jun||4 Jul||Available|
|9 Jul||25 Jul||Very Limited|
|23 Jul||8 Aug||Available|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States. Most Rustic Pathways trips interconnect, allowing you to design your own perfect summer program.Apply Now