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Mongolia

Route of the Nomads

Guided Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

16 days

Prices from

£2,295 P.P.
Mongolia

Route of the Nomads

Guided Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

16 days

Prices from

£2,295 P.P.
BOOK NOW
A superb biking holiday suited to those with an adventurous spirit. One of the true travelling frontiers, Mongolia offers an incredible experience for the cyclist as we cycle into the heart of Mongolia and meet its nomadic people.
This biking tour starts at the Southern edge of the Khangai Mountains after a visit to the dramatic sand dunes of Elsen Tasarkhai before taking in the stunning Sharguljuut River valley.
From here the highlights unfold day-after-day and include the Shar Hutul Pass, the scenic Tamir River Valley and the superb views from the Khul Sayangiin Pass. Close to Bulgan we visit a nomadic family at their Ger to learn more about their way of life and at Tsenkher soothe our muscles at their hot springs. Our cycling journey ends in the impressive Orkhon Valley where Chinggis Khan based his Mongol capital before we head back to Ulaan Bataar via the impressive Erdenne Zhu monastery.
This is a fully-supported ride camping under the stars when not in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia’s capital. All cooking is catered for by our local team and served in the great outdoors. We cycle through a diversity of landscapes, including lush green grasslands and pine forests via a series of rock strewn dirt roads, rocky river crossings, compacted earth and it includes some steep climbs.
Along the way we will see a diverse array of wildlife: many birds of prey, cattle, yaks, gophers, and the pride of many Mongolians, the horse. The sheer adventure aspect of this biking tour makes this a trip that is sure to delight the Skedaddler who is in search of somewhere very unique.
The trip involves some steeper cheekier climbs which can be walked or done in the support vehicle should you choose and some rocky downhills. There are also a couple of days featuring some extended loose rocky sections along river beds but overall it is about 70-80% on hard-pack jeep trails with some river crossings so be prepared for wet feet on certain days.
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Holiday Highlights

  • The Palace of Bogd Khan & Ganden Monastery – Ulaan Baatar
  • Tsetserleg Hot Springs & time at a traditional Ger camp
  • Gorgeous Tamir River Valley & Orkhon Valley Falls
  • Delicious food and nights under the stars
  • Cycling through one of the world’s true wildernesses
  • Nomadic horsemen and smiling children along the way

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Itinerary

Day 1
Departure - Europe to Mongolia

If travelling from the UK / Europe, we leave for Mongolia from our chosen departure airports to Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN) arriving the following day.

Day 2
Arrive Ulaan Baatar - Mongolia
  • Meals: Dinner
  • Ascent: Elevation 1300 Metres

Welcome to Ulaan Baatar! On arrival we’ll be met by our driver and taken to our centrally located hotel. If you arrive early there’s plenty of options to explore downtown Ulaan Baatar.

The city has modernised rapidly over the last 10 years with western style, Dubai-inspired shopping malls and brand name glitz, but there’s more than a few hints and nods to it’s Soviet past. Around Suhkbataar Square, the huge cosmopolitan public square, and adjoining Parliament House with it’s monuments to Chinggis Khan and family, you’ll find wide, sombre, low slung and squat Russian built buildings.

Off the square is the National Museum, where you’ll get a good look at Mongol history and National Dress and close-by is the State Department Store where you can dress yourself and buy the same get up. The Choijin Lama Temple is also worth a quick visit. Venture further and ghetto-like housing towers and hip-hop inspired fashion, graffiti and attitudes prevail.

Further still, the city is surrounded by the Ger districts, an ever growing sprawl of traditional housing of nomads that have moved off the land and into the city in search of work and an easier life. It’s a heady mix of east, west, modern, traditional, communist and cowboy!

In the evening we head out for a Modern Mongol fusion dinner during which we have a chat about the schedule for the days to come.

Day 3
Ulaan Baatar Highlights and traditional music
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: Elevation 1300 Metres

A day devoted to exploring the city and its main sights. First up is a visit to Ganden Monastery, Mongolia’s largest and most important Lamaist Buddhist monastery, where we are able to see monks and locals going about their daily devotions.

Next is the Bogd Khan Museum, the former winter residence of the last theocratic ruler of Mongolia and which houses the Bogd Khans’ personal living spaces and possessions as well as one of the most important collections of Buddhist artwork in the world. We follow this by heading up to Zaisan Memeorial, for views overlooking the city and classic soviet murals depicting Mongolia’s involvement in WWII.

Finally, we settle in for a performance of Mongolian traditional music featuring the unique horse-head fiddle and long songs, or throat singing: sounds of the steppe that will stay with you on your journey throughout Mongolia and beyond. The rest of the evening is free to explore further or prepare for the upcoming journey.

Day 4
Arvaikheer via Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Elevation - 1980 Metres

The start of our epic adventure begins by loading up the Russian luz 4WD vans and meeting your local crew. Along with your cycling leader, you’ll be accompanied by a team of locals including a cycling guide/ mechanic, cooks and drivers: all there to make sure you get the best out of your time in Mongolia and they always leave a long lasting impression on our guests for their warmth, humour and smiles. 

It’s a long day’s drive but we’ll stop for lunch, and the chance to ride a camel, at Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes: a vast 80km stretch of dunes surrounded by semi-desert steppe and thickets of Elm, Willow and Dogwood.

After lunch, we continue towards the small town of Arvaikheer, the capital of Ovorkhangai Province and named after a famed racehorse of the area. Just beyond Arvaikheer we set up camp for our first night under the stars.

Day 5
Bayanhongor to Sharguljuut
15-18 Miles / 25-30 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 2205m

We pack up camp and head to our cycling start point on the southern edge of the Khangai Mountains near Bayanhongor. After setting up the bikes and taking lunch, we set off across the steppe and into the Khangai Mountains to the Sharguljuut River. 

Our first section takes us on a slight upward trend on a hard packed surface, with some sandy sections across open steppe until we reach our high point for the day with its magnificent views of the Sharguljuut Valley below and the Khangai Mountains beyond. A nice series of downhills then brings us to the river where we set up camp for the evening.

Several semi-nomadic families inhabit the valley during the time of out trips and we’ll see several gers (yurts in Russian), dotted along the valley along with their goats, yak and horses. Once settled-in you may wish to take a walk among the surrounding rocky outcrops, where several species of Ground Squirrel and Gerboa dart about or take a refreshing dip in the nearby river.

Dinner as the sun sets is a daily highlight. Our cook is adept at whipping up hearty, nutritious food in courses of soups, salads and mains that will delight your tastebuds and fuel you throughout your time on the bikes. Dining, shower and lavatory tents are set up for each camp and fold-out chairs and handwashing facilities are available too.

Day 6
Biking to Erdensogt
30 Miles / 48 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 2557m

Our first full day on the bikes starts with a beautiful ride up the valley of the Sharguljuut River. The ride is undulating on jeep tracks for the first 20km or so, and you’ll need to familiarise yourself with the terrain as it varies from smooth to rock strewn with several stream crossings; a challenge when the scenery is doing everything to draw your eyes.

Local families here call out to you to stop and join them for some milk tea, airag (fermented mare’s milk) and curd, along with several types of dairy product that sustain the nomads during the fruitful summer months. Migratory ducks and cranes can sometimes be spotted so keep your eyes peeled.

Our first break occurs after crossing the Sharguljuut River where we rest up to re-fuel with some snacks, tea, coffee and juice. If the river is high the water can get over wheel height so you may have to carry the bike across, jump in the van or pick a good line and power through – we’ll teach you the best lines and technique for crossing Mongolian streams! After this it’s a steady 10km climb into the mountains on a gradually incline.

Stone mounds dot the valley as we climb higher – these are cairns built by the nomads so the Peregrine Falcons and other birds of prey can launch themselves on the rodents in the valley and keep their numbers in check – nomad conservation! Our route becomes very steep for one kilometre to the summit at 2557m where the views open up on both sides of the pass and provide a stunning panorama. After this it’s steep for around one kilometre downhill before it flattens out for the downhill run all the way to camp in one of the nicest valleys of the tour.  

Day 7
Shar Hutul Pass to the Tuin River Valley
29 Miles / 47 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 2540m

Today we make our way across the Shar Hutul pass at 2540m for a spectacular downhill into the Tuin River valley. With several stream crossings as we criss-cross the Tuin River to make our way upstream toward the river’s headwaters.

The riding is more challenging in the afternoon as we steadily gain altitude as well as traversing wide rock strewn riverbed. The high mountain terrain and impressive glacier-formed valleys are pocketed with forest and strewn with colourful wildflowers.

Our camp tonight, far from civilisation, is the highest and most spectacular of the tour looking down the Tuin River valley over an often frozen lake from 2511m. You might even catch a glimpse of Marmot, hear their barking or, if you are lucky hear the howl of a Wolf. Sightings of both these animals are rare though as Marmot is the most favoured meat of the nomads and Wolf are hunted for the prestige it confers on the hunter.

Day 8
Khul Sayangiin Pass - Tamir River Valley
33 Miles / 53 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 2714m

We start the day with a steady 6Km climb to the top of Khul Sayngiin pass where we rest at the Ovoo, a cairn of rocks and blue prayer flags that mark the pass on all mountain roads and trails in Mongolia.

It’s here that locals will make offerings of rocks – that help maintain the cairn – while circumnavigating the Ovoo three times in a clock-wise direction. You’ll also see plenty of vodka bottles and crutches among other offerings at these sacred places too; a dead giveaway to many nomads favourite pastimes; riding horses and drinking!

A tricky downhill leads us down to the valley floor with the rest of the day seeing us navigate lots of stream crossings and extended rocky sections. This stunning valley will lead us to the Tamir River and our spectacular riverside camp with its perfect swimming spot, rocky outcrops, forested hillsides, wildflower grassland and mountains.

Day 9
Cycle to Bulgan - Family Visit
28 Miles / 46 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 1950m

Just one steep hill to negotiate today, but it’s mostly downwards on super smooth tracks and trails. During the day we visit a nomad family and have a tour of their Ger dwellings samping some of the dairy that is particularly famous in the Khangai mountains.

We stop at Bulgan to pick up any supplies, our first stop in relative civilisation for days before continuing to our camp overlooking the Tamir River. A shorter day today and we finish the cycling at lunchtime and have a relaxing afternoon at camp.

Day 10
Cycle to Tsetserleg & Tsenkher Hot Springs
32 Miles / 52 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 2051m

A flat mornings ride, with a small climb, takes us up to a viewpoint overlooking Tsetserleg, one of Mongolia’s more picturesque towns. A route down to the town gets us on tarmac for a few kilometres and we‘re back in civilisation.

A coffee break and a visit to the Tsetserleg Museum are good options here and there are plenty of supermarkets too. Heading out of town we lunch beside the Tamir River before tackling some hills so as to get to our destination: Tsenker. Our stay is at a tourist Ger camp with shower facilities, restaurant and outdoor hot springs to relax and soothe any tired muscles.

Day 11
Cycle to Tsaagan Sum
33 Miles / 53 Kms
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 2051m

Today we head for the hills and make our way up through pine forest and narrow valleys as we head back into the heart of the Khangai National Park. We cross several streams and rivers before a last climb and a 15km descent brings us to Tsaagan Sum where natural springs are revered to have special healing qualities. Our camp is on the open steppe with views up and down the valley below.

Day 12
Cycle to Orkhon River
28 Miles / 45 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 1951m

A shorter day of 45 kms sees us take on two steep climbs with equally thrilling downhills on either side, where a last run takes across the Orkhon River lunch and our camp. From here we take a drive up the river for a hike and, perhaps, a swim in the Orkhon Waterfalls which are dramatically positioned where the Orkhon River passes through an impressive canyon.

Day 13
Cycle the Orkhon Valley
36 Miles / 58 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 1701m

Our last full day on the bikes and it’s a relatively easy day along the Orkhon River valley – an amazing ride through ancient lava flow and Kazakh burial mounds. This valley has witnessed massive volcanic eruptions in it’s past which has made the region particularly fertile and subsequently attractive to Chinggis Khan, who based the capital of the Mongol Empire at the end of the valley, and earlier Uighyr and Turkic peoples who also ruled vast areas of Central Asia from the same area. As such the Orkhon valley is considered one of the great archeological and historical sites for peoples across central Asia and into the Middle East.

We have a few climbs today but with our camp by the Orkhon once again and the chance for a refreshing end of ride dip.

Day 14
Cycle to Kharkhorin - Vist Erdenne Zhu Monastery
19 Miles / 30 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Ascent: Max. Elev. 1705m

With our destination not far away, we’ll complete our ride by summiting our last hill for expansive views back up the Orkhon valley. A great downhill and flat run brings us to the Mongolian Nations monument which serves as the perfect spot for a final group photo.

From here we head down into Kharkorin, a smallish town that was once the capital of the world’s largest empire where we tuck into lunch before packing up the bikes. We are heading to Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes to camp tonight but on the way we plan to stop at the impressive Erdenne Zhu monastery. Tonight we feast on a traditional river stone cooked lamb dish, horhog and toast our last night on the steppe with a spot of Vodka.

Day 15
Drive to Ulaan Baatar - Final Dinner
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: Elevation 1300 Metres

An early start today for our journey back to Ulaan Baatar will give us time for some souvenir shopping prior to our final dinner to celebrate the end of our epic ride across Mongolia.

Day 16
Departure Mongolia
  • Meals: Breakfast

Time to bid farewell to Mongolia as we transfer back to Chinggis Khaan Airport (ULN) for your flights back home. For those travelling to Europe you arrive home the next day.

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The Cycling

Terrain

During the trip you will be almost completely off-road with the greater part being hard packed dirt tracks or trails strewn with rocks. There is almost no traffic but you still need to be alert for rocks, potholes and track divots. There are several river crossings, so you can expect to get your feet wet!

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Cycling Adventures Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grades 3 - 4: Moderate/ Active

Aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 holidays

Suitable for the leisure cyclist who rides frequently, and who’s comfortable with some moderately challenging climbs

Some of the terrain may vary, potentially including sections of uneven or unpaved ground

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Holidays that are graded as a 3-4, will have aspects of both our grade 3 and 4 holidays. These tours are suitable for those who keep themselves relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on the bikes at the weekend. Your preference may be for flatter terrain, but you don’t mind tackling some hills, the occasional steep climb and some varying terrain (forest tracks, gravel paths etc.). It might be however that on some days the distances will be longer than a standard grade 3 trip, or some of the climbs may be quite challenging. You may also require some previous experience of tackling some uneven / unpaved ground to comfortably and safely ride certain sections of the route.

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Dates & Prices

*

Late Availability

We want you to know which holidays are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 12/06/2021
Guaranteed
Return Date
27/06/2021
Duration
16 days
Price
£2,295.00
Start Date
17/07/2021
Return Date
01/08/2021
Duration
16 days
Price
£2,295.00
Start Date
14/08/2021
Return Date
29/08/2021
Duration
16 days
Price
£2,295.00
Start Date
11/06/2022
Return Date
26/06/2022
Duration
16 days
Price
£2,295.00
Start Date
16/07/2022
Return Date
31/07/2022
Duration
16 days
Price
£2,295.00
Start Date
13/08/2022
Return Date
28/08/2022
Duration
16 days
Price
£2,295.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Hotel accommodation – Shared twin rooms (Days 2,3,15)

B) Accommodation – Shared room – Ger night (Day 14)

C) Tents and all camping equipment inc. sleeping mat

D) Meals as per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

E) All water and snacks whilst cycling

F) Full tour service inc. western guide, support vehicle(s) etc.

G) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival and departure days from Chinggis Khaan Airport (ULN)

H) Entry to Bogd Khan Winter Palace & Ganden Monastery (Day 3)

I) Traditional music performance (Day 3)

J) Entry ticket to Erdenne Zhu Museum (Day 14)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire B) Travel Ins. C) Flights D) Tips for guides / staff E) Optional camel ride (Day 4) 6,000 MNT F) Erdenne Zhu Monastery visit (Day 14) 5,000 MNT

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The Essentials

Travel Options

Our tour starts in the capital of Mongolia Ulaan Baatar following arrival at Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN).

There are several airlines that operate flights into Ulaan Baatar.

From UK & Europe – Turkish Airlines, Air China, Korean Air, Aeroflot all combine with MIAT (Mongolian national carrier) through Berlin, Istanbul, Moscow, Hong Kong, Beijing or Seoul.

From Australia, NZ & U.S. – Air China, Korean Air or combine with MIAT (Mongolian national carrier) through Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing or Tokyo.

Beijing / Shanghai and a few other major China cities now offer a free 72 hour transit visas which is useful if you wish to include some sightseeing in one of these cities. See : http://www.chinese-embassy.org.uk/eng/visa/notice/t1003320.htm

Please check with us / embassy websites for the latest information and do not book any travel arrangements for the tour without first contacting Skedaddle.

Accommodation

For this trip, 10 of the 14 nights are spent camping. We provide tents for all passengers with sleeping arrangements a tent per couple or otherwise a tent per person. We also provide one foam mat for each participant. Should you want to bring your own super-deluxe self-inflating, ultra-light, ergonomically designed mattress… you’re most welcome!

In Ulaan Bataar we will be staying in a modern centrally located hotel with twin-share facilities and private en-suite bathrooms.

Should you choose the Single Room option you will be in a single room during your time in Ulaan Bataar (Day 2, 3, 15) and in your own tent on all the camping nights.

At Tsenkher Hot Springs (Day 10) you we be required to share a 2 or 3 person Ger for the night.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available for hire.

For this trip they are above intermediate-level Giant XTC aluminium mountain bikes (as above) with 27.5 wheels and specifications usually as follows: Hardtail (front suspension) with Air Forks, wide-range gears and hydraulic disc brakes.

If you decide to hire we will provide all the necessary spares including a helmet. Should you prefer to bring along your own helmet, saddle and pedals just let us know on booking.

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