- Trip Notes
- Dates & Rates
Explore Mongolia by Bike
Explore Mongolia by bike across wide, open steppe, into expansive and gorgeous mountain scenery.
Sound appealing? For fifteen days you’ll travel through a country that remains a mysterious presence within the heart of Central Asia.
Mongolia is a traditional country and visitors are an unusual sight for the locals – which means that you’re pretty much off the beaten path from day one.
Following good trails you’ll encounter nomads wandering the grasslands, setting up their tents where pastures are most lush for their horses. You’ll bike through larch and pine forests and camp in the wild and under wide skies. At the end of these fifteen days you’ll be an intrepid traveller for sure.
- Camping in traditional ‘gers’ or Mongolian tents
- Taking part in the Naadam Festival held each July
- Explore the extinct volcanoes of Mt. Uran and Mt. Togoo
- View Mongolian wildlife like herds of wild horses, eagles, and demoiselle cranes
- Visit sacred burial grounds dating from the 8th century A.D.
- Explore the Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia’s largest and most famous monastery. The ruins include 108 stupas and many temples
- Take a Japanese style bath at Tsenger Jiguur springs – a bit of luxury in the middle of the tour
Your first experience of Mongolia will be in Ulaanbaatar, but it won’t be on the bike. You’ll take an overnight train to the third largest city, Erdenet, where you’ll get set to launch into the beautiful countryside.
Once on the bikes you’ll be covering 25 to 70 kilometers per day on wide flat stretches, steep ascents and descents, as well as paved roads and paths.
This trip is classified as a grade three off-road trip – meaning reasonable fitness and some confidence on the bike are necessary. The group will be small, averaging about 12 cyclists possessing a spirit of adventure.
You’ll be camping for nine of the fifteen nights and everyone in the group pitches in to set up their own tents each night. This time at night, in the mountains or on the steppe, is an unforgettable way to experience Mongolia.
Mongolia is without doubt a unique and beautiful country. Seeing it by bike is a challenging and rewarding way to experience a culture and its people which few people have.
Arrive Ulaanbaatar; transfer to hotel.
We start the day after breakfast with the trip briefing and then strike out on an introductory tour of Ulaanbaatar, including Sukhbaatar Square and Gandan Monastery. After lunch we fit the bikes then the afternoon is free to explore the town until early evening when we board the overnight train to Erdenet – Mongolia’s third largest city and home to one of the largest copper mines in the world. Overnight in comfortable sleeping compartments on the train.
Our train arrives early in the morning and our support vehicles and crew meet us. After breakfast on the outskirts of town, we set up the bikes and head out, quickly finding ourselves in the countryside to explore Mongolia. The small township of Bugat makes a convenient lunch stop. After lunch our route takes us over a small pass, Chuluutiin Davaa. With a steep descent we arrive at a long plain leading to tonight’s camp near Tal Tolgoi well.
Ride approx. 50km.
After our first night near local herding families we cycle through undulating country before descending to a bridge over the Altaan (Golden) River, continuing to explore Mongolia. Rock formations in the area hint towards a volcanic past. The riverbanks make an idyllic spot for a picnic lunch. It is a long steady climb to Tuluugiin pass where the scenery changes dramatically as the forests give way to open steppe, at least for a while. Today is our longest cycling day on the trip, made worthwhile by tonight’s camp near two extinct volcanoes Mt Uran and Mt Togoo.
Ride approx 70km.
In order to explore Mongolia today, we pass through undulating country, past small lakes and herds of horses. Steppe eagles can be seen in this area. We stop for lunch with views across the steppe. After lunch we continue on tracks around the southern side of Mt Khairkhan (1862m) and make camp in an open green valley beneath Kholbooriin pass (1649m).
Ride approx. 60km.
The day begins with a bit of exertion as we make the short climb in the morning up to the pass, giving us far-reaching views across the countryside. Down the other side we wind along gentle river valleys before emerging at the township of Khairkhan. After lunch on the outskirts of town we pass a series of small lakes before choosing a camp for the night.
Ride approx. 50km.
Today we follow the Khunjiin River as it rises gently towards its headwaters. River valleys like this provide fertile pasture for grazing livestock and are popular campsites with local herders. Wetlands near the river attract birdlife, including demoiselle crane. Overnight in the upper reaches of the river valley, beneath Mt Chingeltei.
Ride approx. 60km
After a short climb to the headwaters of Khunjiin River at Uran Khutul pass, it is downhill to the Tamir River where we have lunch on the banks, and cycling whilst you explore Mongolia has never been this amazing. Near the river we will pass burial grounds dating back to 8th Century AD. We camp tonight on the banks of the Tamir, not far from Ikh Tamir, or ‘Great Rock’. Locals say that if you can throw a rock over the rock, it will bring you good luck for the rest of the journey – a good test of cricket fielding skills!
Ride approx. 55km.
Today is a half-day and we make a good start to make the most of the afternoon for a chance to rest, so that we can continue to explore Mongolia tomorrow. Tsagaan Davaa is the most challenging pass of the journey (300m ascent) but the graceful descent to the provincial capital of Tsetserleg makes the climb well worthwhile. Tsetserleg means ‘Garden’ and this township has one of the most attractive settings of any in Mongolia, nestled in a cul-de-sac of mountains. We pitch camp by the Tsetserleg River. The afternoon is free to fish with simple poles and lines, catch up on household chores (washing), or journey into town to explore.
Ride approx. 30km.
We now explore Mongolia via the Khangai Mountains and a short ride takes us to the foothills. The rolling country of Arhangai has been replaced by forested hills of larch and pine with dramatic alpine peaks in the distance. There is three short passes today, with lunch on the third before descending to tonight’s camp. This afternoon we enjoy the facilities of a Ger camp at Tsenger Jiguur springs, complete with Japanese bathhouse – a dash of luxury in the middle of our Mongolian odyssey!
Ride approx. 25km.
To explore Mongolia even further, our route now takes us into the heart of the Khangai Mountains, following well-marked 4WD trails. Herders still inhabit the valleys, yet yaks have replaced cows as the milk-producing animals. We follow picturesque valleys and camp beneath Mt Ondor Khairkhan (2312m). A relatively long day and challenging if conditions are windy.
Ride approx. 65km.
Today we cross the Khangai Mountain range on good jeep tracks and drop down to the Orkhon River on the longest, smoothest descent of the journey. This Orkhon River flows to the ancient capital, Karakorum, then on to Lake Baikal in Russia and further northwards to the Arctic Ocean. After lunch we continue to explore Mongolia, by going downstream to our overnight camp on the river banks. Overnight camp by the Orkhon River.
Ride approx 55km.
We ride out from camp following undulating terrain, crossing and recrossing the Orkhon River as we make a beeline for the fertile plain chosen by Chinggis Khan as the location for the capital city of his empire. ‘Karakorum’ is derived from a Turkic language and means Black Rock, and shares this name with mountains in Pakistan. Arriving in the ancient capital in the early afternoon, we check into the Karakorum Ger camp for hot showers and a well-earned rest. This afternoon we head out to explore Mongolia via Erdene Zuu monastery, the largest and most famous monastery in Mongolia. Built in 1586 under the direction of Abtai Khan on the ruins of the ancient capital, much of the monastery was destroyed during Stalinist purges of the 1930’s, but an impressive wall with 108 stupas and a number of temples still remain. We spend the night in traditional Mongolian Ger(s).
Ride approx. 35km.
ACCOMMODATION MAGNOLIAN GERS
We make a good start this morning for the 400km drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Travelling at an easy pace, as we explore Mongolia for the last time, we stop at the Mongol Els to view the sand dunes. Picnic lunch along the way. Check into our hotel on arrival in Ulaanbaatar – hot showers and cold beers!
Free morning; late evening depart.
Additional Trip Notes:
Start point: Ulaanbaatar
To explore Mongolia in the best possible way, we try to keep the groups small. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure, in order to explore Mongolia. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.
Traditional Mongolian Gers (2nts)
Sleeper Train (1nt)
Camp sites facilities can be basic, however hot water is provided at most. Although you will need to help erect your tent all other chores are such as cooking and cleaning are taken care of by local staff.
While we explore Mongolia, all meals are included, except two lunches and 1 dinner.
In the countryside our support vehicles will carry the kitchen, food supplies and kitchen staff including a professional chef. Meals are western style with a strong Asian influence and include plenty of fresh vegetables. Breakfasts are typically cereals, toast and a hot dish. Lunches on the road are sandwiches, cheese, meats and salad. Dinners are a variety of vegetables, meat, rice, potatoes and pasta dishes. Filtered or purified drinking water is supplied on all cycling days, as are tea, coffee and fruit drinks. Dining in Ulaanbaatar is excellent and includes Mongolian, Indian, French, Chinese and Mexican restaurants.
We suggest that you allow about USD40 for the meals in Ulaanbaatar.
Vaccinations and Visa:
Since 15 June 2014 most nationalities, including British, do not need a visa to explore Mongolia, and a 30 day visit will be granted on arrival. This concession is valid until the end of 2015.
There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
This is a grade 3 cycling trip and is classified as off-road. We advise that you are reasonably fit and a confident cyclist, with some off-road cycling experience. Please also take the number of nights camping into consideration; hotels are only used while in Ulaanbaatar. We believe that camping allows you to explore Mongolia to its fullest.
Weather & seasonality:
June, July and August are the summer months in Mongolia, characterized by daytime temperatures of 20 to 30 and evenings around 15degC. Summer is also the wet season and rainy days are certain over a two-week journey. September is the start of autumn, expect daytime temperatures 15 to 25degC, nights 5 to 10degC. Mongolia is a land of tremendous seasonal change, as temperatures plummet to -40degC in the wintertime. It can snow on any day of the year and there is the potential that very cold weather could be experienced on these trips.
- 5th – 19th Sep 2015
- GBP 1,599 excluding flights
- GBP 2,399 including flights from the UK
• All breakfasts, 12 lunches, 3 dinners
• All accommodation
• London flights (if booking incl. flights)
• Airport transfers
What’s not included?
• Local bike hire – GBP120
• Travel insurance
• Single accommodation – GBP180 (including single tent)
“If you’re looking for a company with experience you can’t beat these guys. This operator started life in February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.
For the company, and people who work for them “it’s all about adventure” which is what they were founded on and what they are still about today. Their trips take place all around the world where they help travelers to delve into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to a country’ unique identity.
We love that their groups and guides travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise the impact, to ensure that every holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.”
Explore Mongolia by Bike
- Trip Code: AWA142
- Dates: 8-22 Aug 2015 or 5-19 Sept 2015
- Price: From £1,599
- Depart: Ulaanbaatar
- Arrive: Ulaanbaatar
- Length: 15 Days
- Adventure: Explore Mongolia and its beautiful scenery on 2 wheels.
“5 StarsA brilliant trip involving reasonably challenging cycling through what must be some of the most beautiful and untouched country in the world – truly the way it was in the days of Genghis Khan (if a little safer!).”