Under The Five gods – From Khoton lake, down the Khovd river to Ulgii town - 14 Days
This is probably our most spectacular tour. First we fly two hours to the West of Mongolia to Ulgii, the main town of the province. Ulgii is the only province of Mongolia where the majority of the population isn´t Mongol. The majority are Kazakh nomads but there are also Tuva, Torguts and other nationalities.
An exotic mixture which adds to the allure of this remote and pristine area. From Ulgii we drive five hours until we are near the "Five Gods", the highest mountains of Mongolia (over 4000 meters or 12 000 feet). There we start canoeing in large glacier lakes until – on the fifth day - we reach the fast flowing Khovd fast river.
Now there are three days of rapids ahead. At the more easier ones we can go by boat but at the more difficult ones we will have to line.
For the next two days the flow is calmer and we cross a wide bucolic plain with many yurts and thousands of animals. On the last day we enter a desert canyon with steep, many coloured walls until we finally arrive back in the middle of the town of Ulgii.
A prerequisite for participation in the tour is fitness and basic skills in canoeing. That is be you should be able to steer in fast flowing water. You should also be prepared get wet while we line the more difficults rapids. You will be rewarded with a spectacular trip that takes you from lush meadows among high, snowcapped mountains to Central Asian desert.
Difficulty level: Basic canoeing skills required
Min. Group 2; Max. Group 6; Min. Price per Person: 2250$; Max. Price 3592$ (Single room supplement 80$)
All accommodation (twin shared), internal transportation, arrival & departure transfers, meals as indicated (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner), sightseeing & environmental fees, camping equipment, dry sacks and life vests, English speaking canoeing guide,
Travel insurance, departure taxes, excess luggage fees on internal flights, items of personal nature, meals not indicated, gratuities.
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar - sightseeing
Upon arrival transfer to a cozy hotel in the city center. We then take you out for lunch followed by a guided tour that introduces you to the past and present of the Mongolian capital. We visit the temple of the state oracle and attend a performance of traditional music and dance, with overtone singing and the famous Mongolian contortion artists. Finally, we welcome you with a dinner. (L, D)
Day 2: Flight to Bayan Ulgi, (three hours by Saab or Fokker turboprop)
The capital of the province has a very special flair. The majority of the population are not Mongols, but Kazakhs. This is a Muslim nomadic tribe that hunts with eagles and has achieved great mastery in felt and fur processing. Their work can be admired in the bazaar. There is also a museum that is certainly worth a visit. (B, D - Hotel).
Day 3: Drive to Five Gods Country
After breakfast we start driving and after approximately 6 hours (including lunch), we reach the Tsagaan Us Gol (white water river), which starts nearby in the towering Tavan Bogd (five gods) mountains. There we set up camp. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 4: Start on Khoton Lake
We start on the Tsagaan Us Gol and after about two hours reach lake Khoton. Paddling under mountains topped with glaciers in the afternoon we reach our camp ground. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 5: We reach Khurgan Lake
We leave Khoton lake and reach Khurgan lake. There we camp on an island. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 6: Rest day
A well deserved day of rest (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 7: Khovd River
We get up early in order to avoid the strong winds that blow on this large lake . At noon we arrive at the end of the lake and see the Khovd River, which we will now follow all the way to Ulgii. In the afternoon we encounter a series of rapids which we partly will have to line. In a bend in the river we set up camp. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 8: Khovd River
Another day with - mostly easier - rapids. In the evening we camp under high mountains near where the Godon river enters. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 9: Khovd River
In the morning there are yet more rapids some of which we will have to line. In the afternoon though it is getting consecutively easier. The valley widens and we repeatedly see Kazakh families in their distinctive yurts who live with their horses, yaks, sheep, goats and cows near by the river. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 10: Khovd River and a two hour drive
The rapids are gone and the river carries us through a wild mountain landscape. Finally, the valley opens up and around noon we arrive in Tsengel. There we change to 4wds which take us around the next set of rapids. After about two hours we put in a wide, fertile plain, through which the river winds in endless meandering. (B, L ,D- tent)
Day 11: Desert Gouge & Arrival in Ulgii
Today we enter into a last deep gorge before we get to Ulgii. We travel between steep, barren, treeless, reddish and brownish rock walls that rarely open up. In the early afternoon we come into a desert plain and shortly thereafter we are back the provincial capital Ulgii. (B, L ,D- Hotel)
Day 12: Flight back to Ulaanbaatar
Then transfer to your hotel. In the evening we meet for a farewell dinner (B, D - Hotel)
Day 13: Leisure Day
This is a spare day to spend for shopping and self-exploration. You may refer to our recommendations in order to make most out of it. (B - Hotel)
Day 14 Departure
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home. (B).