Trekking the Eight Lakes

A 14-day introductory trekking trip

Trekking the Eight Lakes Nature Reserve

Eight Lakes Nature Reserve, Arkhangai Province, Mongolia

  • Active Adventures
  • Trekking
14 Days
0 Flights
Not Child Friendly

Recommended Dates: Mid-May to mid-September.

Next Departures

Itinerary

The Eight Lakes Nature Reserve lies high in the Khangai Mountains, Mongolia’s second largest mountain range. Barely accessible to vehicles, the nature reserve is being kept in a pristine condition, allowing the few visitors that do make the effort to climb up there to enjoy Mongolian nature at its best. As well as our 5 days trek through the nature reserve, we shall explore other sites in the Khangai (Mongolian for prosper) region, among them, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, hot springs and sand dunes. Through the trek, pack animals will carry our luggage, allowing us to enjoy the trek to the full.



Day 1. Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

  • Dinner

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to our hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, we may go on a short sight-seeing tour of the city. In the evening we enjoy a welcome dinner. Overnight in our 4-star hotel.

Day 2. Ulaanbaatar - Mongol Nomads - Elsiin Tasarkhai

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast at the hotel, we board our 4×4 vehicles. Today we drive back in time, to a place that recreates the lives of Mongolian nomads at the beginning of the 20th century. This was when Mongolia gained its independence from the Qing Dynasty and established itself as a reemerging nation under a living god-king. We shall attend a demonstration of how the nomads lived their lives during this era, and we shall see a stunning performance of Mongolian horsemanship. After lunch we head out west. Marking the northern edge of the great Gobi Desert, Elsiin Tasarkhai is a sand dune that stretches for more than 130 km northwards into the heart of central Mongolia. After having lunch at a ger camp, we visit a family who make a living from herding Bactrian (two-humped) camels. In the afternoon we go for a hike along the sand dune, and, if the weather permits, we will enjoy a beautiful sunset over the dune. Overnight in the ger camp.

Day 3. Elsiin Tasarkhai - Tuvkhon Monastery - Orkhon Valley

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Leaving the sand dune, we reach the Mongolian steppes. Here there is a great variety of birds of prey, including eagles and falcons, constantly on the watch for a meal. Our first stop is for a 3½- hour trek (the first hour being uphill) to Tuvkhon Monastery, established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia’s most respected religious leaders. The monastery’s wooden buildings are integrated into a natural system of caves near a hilltop, from which you have beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests. With its unique natural features, this was a perfect location in which the great religious leader could meditate. Continuing south, we reach the Orkhon Valley. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 4. Orkhon Valley - Red Waterfall - Khangai Mountain Range

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Leaving our camp, we take an hour’s drive to the beautiful volcanic canyon through which the Orkhon River flows. Here we will take an easy hike along the canyon floor and end up at the pool at the bottom of the Red Waterfall. For the brave at heart, a cool swim awaits! In the afternoon we leave our hosts and drive deeper into the Khangai Mountain Range to camp for the night. Overnight bush camping.

Days 5 to 9. Trekking the Eight Lakes Nature Reserve

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

For the next few days we hike at a leisurely pace in the Eight Lakes National Park. Our route takes us through the Khangai Nuruu, Mongolia’s second largest mountain range, which lies 2800 meters above sea level. The reserve consists of numerous lakes, from which the park receives its name, scattered over two big valleys, amongst thickly forested pine forests. Very few families inhabit the area, and it is a perfect place to see a large variety of wild flowers. As we hike, we carry only light daypacks, and our luggage and tents will be carried on pack animals. Overnight bush camping (5 nights).

Day 10. Uliastai River - Gyalaan Valley - Tsenkher Hot Springs

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We again board our 4×4 vehicles and head north, crossing the Khangai Nuruu Mountains through a series of passes to the trailhead where we begin our day’s hike – a truly enchanting walk up a stream, where we hop from one stone to another, to the top of the hill for an amazing view of the surrounding valleys. We then reach the area Mongolians call ‘the paradise of the horse herders’ because of its lush grass and open valleys. We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at about 80° C (180° F) and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 11. Tsenkher Hot Springs – Kharkhorin - Hustaiin Nuruu Strictly Protected Area

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Built by Chinggis Khan about 800 years ago, Kharkhorin – better known as Karakorum – was famed throughout Asia as the capital of the Mongol Empire. Within the walls of this spectacular city, kings were chosen, laws were made and the fate of the next city to be conquered was determined. We will visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery, and other historical monuments in the area. After lunch we head back eastwards. In the late afternoon we arrive at Hustaiin Nuruu Strictly Protected Area (SPA). The SPA was established as part of a unique project to reintroduce the world’s last surviving wild horses to their natural environment. On the brink of extinction during the 20th century, the very few takhi, or Przewalski’s horse, that remained were kept in European zoos. This graceful steppe horse was returned to Mongolia, and today, thanks to this special project, two herds again roam the Mongolian steppes. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 12. Hustaiin Nuruu - Terelj National Park

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We leave Hustaiin Nuruu and head towards Terelj National Park. The park features unique rock formations, scenic valleys, a winding river, and restful groves of trees. Many nomads live in the park itself, where they find good grazing for their animals. On arriving at the park, we take an easy hike to the famous Turtle Rock, a symbol of wisdom and longevity for the Mongolian people. We then continue hiking to Ariabal Temple. The temple has been recently reconstructed because the original one was destroyed during the communist purges of the 1930s. A site of great tranquility, it functions today as a meditation center for Buddhist monks. After lunch we take a horse ride through the vast meadows of the park. Overnight in a ger camp.

Day 13. Terelj - Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast in the park, we drive back to Ulaanbaatar. We begin the day with a few hours exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item that Mongolians might need, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers. Goods brought from all corners of Mongolia are on sale here. A visit to the market is a colorful experience which gives the visitor an insight into the everyday life of the people of Ulaanbaatar. After lunch we visit the National History Museum, which has a permanent exhibition on the different civilizations that have risen and declined in the territory of Mongolia from prehistoric times to the present day. The exhibition includes a significant display of objects from the era of the Great Mongol Empire. There will be free time for shopping in the afternoon. Mongolia is world renowned for its fine cashmere and you will find this and many other souvenir items in the city. In the evening we enjoy a farewell dinner, followed by a visit to Zaisan Hill for a view over the city at night. Overnight in our 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

Day 14. Departure from Ulaanbaatar

  • Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Chinggis Khan International Airport for our departure flight.

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Dates & Pricing

Trip rates valid for two confirmed travelers and above. If you are booking this trip for a party of four travelers or more, please contact us for our special rates.

[email protected] reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

Prices are based on twin share occupancy.

Discounted rates for groups of 4 travelers or more:
4 travelers- US$2744/ person
8 travelers- US$2446/ person

  • Applicable only for travel groups booking their trip together.

25th June, 2017–8th July, 2017

  • $2,987 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $390 Single Room Supplement

25th July, 2017–7th August, 2017

  • $2,987 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $390 Single Room Supplement

Additional Information


Inclusions
  • 2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar
  • 5 nights' accommodation in ger camps
  • 6 nights bush camping
  • All camping equipment except sleeping bag and mattress
  • Meals as indicated in the program (full board basis)
  • Private 4WD vehicle
  • Drinking water throughout the trip
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Pack animals during the trek
  • All entrance fees
  • All transfers

Exclusions
  • International travel costs to/from Mongolia
  • Travel insurance
  • Mongolian Visa
  • Excess luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
  • Anything not mentioned in the program

Accomodation
  • Ulaanbaatar- Chinggis Khan Hotel 4-star

Note: the listed hotels are tentative. Final hotel list shall be confirmed upon placing a booking and paying a deposit.


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