Mongolia by Motorcycle – the NORTH TOUR

Mongolia by Motorcycle – The North Tour – A special journey through the wild forests of the North, planned for those who are on the look for the unknown Mongolia. A fantastic itinerary crossing millions year old canyons, sparkling lakes and extinct volcanoes: from the capital Ulaanbaatar we will be heading West towards the ancient capital Kharkhorin. We will then move north to reach the first of the two lakes characterizing the itinerary: the Tsaagaan Nuur.

We will then move even northern, to the Lake Khovsgol, mother of Baikal. We are now at the very heart of our journey: a land bordering Siberia, rich in forests, imbued with shamanism, homeland of Dukha, the Mongolian ethnic group dedicated to reindeer breeding. Starting from here, we will begin to close the circle, crossing by one of the largest open pit mines in the world. We will then reach the fascinating Amarbayasgalant monastery, perched for centuries in the depth of an ancient valley.

Day 1, Saturday, July 27th: flying to Mongolia

International flight from your Country to reach the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

Day 2, Sunday 28th: Ulaanbaatar

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, welcome by the local guide and by an Italian co-ordinator at the airport. On this day you will have time to familiarize yourself with the environment, to relax, visit to the the city and the National Museum of History. In the evening, after briefing on logistics -during which tour organisators will go through every step of our journey in detail-, dinner in a restaurant in the city and overnight at the hotel.

Day 3, Monday 29th: Ulaanbaatar – Khogno Khan

about 250 km (paved road)

Breakfast at the hotel and collection of our motorbikes, departure of off-road motorcycles and service vans, heading south and following the tracks on the Steppe. The Mongolian Steppe reveals itself to our eyes: starting from today, we will get views and contacts with the nomads and their lifestyle. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 4, Tuesday, August 30th: Khogno Khan – Kharkhorin

about 90 km (paved road)

Breakfast at the ger camp. We will move west, stopping by the sand dunes of Mongol Els, then we will visit the old Mongolian capital and the Erdene Zuu Khiid, the first Buddhist monastery built in Mongolia 420 years ago. The monastery is surrounded by 108 magnificent stupas, which once counted almost 100 temples, 300 gers and almost 1,000 monks. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 5, Wednesday 31st: Kharkhorin – Tsagaan Nuur

about 280 km (100 on paved roads)

Breakfast at the ger camp and then change of direction from west to north. Hence, we will stop along the way to visit the canyon of the Chuluut river and the Zuun Salaa Mod, whose literal translation would be “the tree full of scarves”. We will then proceed to reach the Tsagaan Nuur lake within the evening. The lake is also known as the Big White Lake, and is nestled in a breathtaking volcanic area and nature reserve. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 6, Thursday August 1st: Lake Tsagaan Nuur - Jargalant

approx 100 Km (100% off-road)

Breakfast at the ger camp followed by an exploration of this area of unparalleled beauty. Then back on the road, better to say off-road!, crossing the most beautiful mountain passes of the whole country, we will ride surrounded by a landscape which is more similar to the Alps than Mongolia. We are here in the land of the Dukha people, better known as Tsaatan, the “reindeer-men”. Those who dare will have the chance to cross a crumbling bridge in Jargalant wood. Those who don’t, can comfortably cross the river on the new bridge! Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 7, Friday 2nd: Jargaland - Moron

about 150 km (100% off-road)

Breakfast at the ger camp and then back travelling through great mountain scenarios up to Moron.

Dinner in a restaurant in the town and overnight at the hotel.

Day 8, Saturday 3rd: Moron – Khovsgol Nuur Lake

about 240 km (130 paved road)

Breakfast at the hotel, then we will ride the few kilometres that separate us from Khovsgol, an alpine lake measuring 2,800 km2 wide, so clear, that the bottom can be seen up to a depth of 40 m. The lake is 135 km long and 36 km wide. It is surrounded by mountains over 2,000 meters high. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 9, Sunday 4th: Khovsgol Nuur Lake

Breakfast at the ger camp. During the whole day we will explore the lake by boat and will possibly visit a Tsaatan family. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 10, Monday 5th: Khovsgol Nuur - Erdenebulgan

about 170 km

Breakfast at the ger camp and departure for a leg which will lead us in one of the most remote areas of Mongolia. By travelling east, we will leave Khovsgol lake behind to delve into the province of Arkhangai. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 11, Tuesday 6th: Erdenebulag – Unit

about 230 km

Breakfast at the ger camp and departure heading east to approach and reach the Uran Togoo volcano, which we will visit in the afternoon. Dinner and overnight in a ger camp.

Day 12, Wednesday 7th: Unit - Erdenet

about 130 km (80 paved)

Breakfast at the ger camp and departure towards Erdenet, where we will visit the eponymous copper mine, one of the ten largest open-pit mines in the world. Dinner in a restaurant in the town and overnight at the hotel.

Day 13, Thursday 8th: Erdenet - Darkhan

about 260 km (180 on paved roads)

Breakfast at the ger camp. We will then take the road to the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. We will get to the monastery in the afternoon and will have the time to visit it. A stream passing on its side, the eagles watching over it: the religious architectural complex is one of the country’s best preserved and is part of UNESCO world heritage. The let’s move to Darkahan, dinner and overnight in hotel.

Day 14, Friday 9th: Darkhan – Ulaanbaatar

about 230 km (100% paved road)

Breakfast at the hotel, and a long paved road is waiting to lead us to the capital. Possible stop on the way to visit the Aglag Buteelii Khiid Monastry. Dinner in a restaurant in the town and overnight at the hotel.

Day 15, Saturday 10th: Ulaanbaatar

Breakfast at the hotel and free day in the capital for the last shopping and to visit places of interests in the capital. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 16, Sunday 11th: Ulaanbaatar - Italy

Breakfast at the hotel and goodbyes to the Mongolian and Italian guide.

– Total distance approx km 2.100: riding time is about 50% on paved roads and 50% offroad,
– 14 days vacation, 12 riding days, and 2 days in the capital,
– daily distances approx  180 km.

The program might vary both as far as the itinerary and the accommodation are concerned. Such amendments might be determined by the temporary unavailability of the hosting community or due to social, environmental and climatic conditions arising at the moment of the trip.

A minimum adaptability is required as far as accommodation is concerned: this might be sometimes basic, but still decent. Moreover, Mongolian tracks are often very damaged by “tôle ondulée” and mud in case of rain. Riding might be rather challenging. Therefore, the journey is suitable for riders with a minimum experience of off-road driving.

The itinerary is planned to be gradual: some of the legs are rather long at the beginning, but always on easy tracks, so to let you better enjoy the shorter legs which will follow. After the first 2 days, the stages will be of a normal pace (that is of about 180 km daily average), a thoroughly appropriate mileage for this type of route. Shorter legs have been planned in correspondence of places of interest, in order to give you the time to better appreciate the places and sites we will visit!

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