14 Days Classic Mongolia Mountain Biking Tour

Mongolia MTB

14 Days Classic Mongolia Mountain Biking Tour
Date: 02–15 Aug 2020
14 Days / 13 Nights
Difficulty rating: Moderate to Demanding

HIGHLIGHTS
Well planned and tested biking route
27.5 advanced quality mountain bikes
Visit hidden corners of Khangai mountain
Tented nights in tranquil natural locations
Sooth your muscles in Tsenkher hot spring after days of cycling
Karakorum – site of the medieval capital of Genghis Khan
Feel atmosphere of modern Ulaanbaatar

This classic of mountain biking is a south to north traverse of the Khangai mountain range that covers nearly fifth of the country’s territory. This region dominated by dome shaped mountains, mixed woods, clear streams and lush grassy valleys receives abundant rainfall compared to all other parts of Mongolia.

The Khangai mountain range is an immense mountain biking playground with fantastic packed soils, diverse terrain and spectacular landscapes. The nomadic culture here is authentic. Almost every day you see flocks of grazing yaks, sheep, goats and horses, meet hospitable herdsmen and stop at their homes for a bowl of milk or a slice of yak butter.

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar – O/N Hotel (D)
Day 2: Ulaanbaatar city tour – O/N Hotel (BLD)
Day 3: Ulaanbaatar – Arvaikheer – O/N Hotel (BLD)
Day 4: Bike to Asgat valley (31km) – O/N Tent (BLD)
Day 5: Bike to Shargaljuut valley (38km) – O/N Tent (BLD)
Day 6-8: Crossing of the Khangai mountain range (43km, 42km, 38km) – O/N Tent (BLD)
Day 9: Bike to Tsetserleg town (66km) – O/N ger camp (BLD)
Day 10: Ride to Tsenker hot springs resort and sooth your muscles in hot pool (25km)- O/N ger resort (BLD)
Day 11: Cycle to Orkhon river valley (76km) – O/N Tent (BLD)
Day 12: Bike to Karakorum – medieval capital of Genghis Khan (72km)- O/N ger camp (BLD)
Day 13: Return to Ulaanbataar, farewell dinner- O/N Hotel (BLD)
Day 14: Departure transfer (B)
Itinerary

Day 1  Ulaanbaatar (dinner, hotel)

Arrive Ulaanbaatar and transport to group hotel. Group meeting at welcome dinner. Time permitting you may have a chance to familiarize with the city center and feel the atmosphere of recent changes towards modernity. Meet with the rest of the group at welcome dinner and get an informal introduction to the great cycling tour ahead of you. Overnight at the group hotel.

Day 2  Ulaanbaatar city tour (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hotel)

The introductory city excursion starts with a visit to the country’s main Buddhist monastery. The awe-inspiring gigantic gold-plated Buddha statue is the principal object of worship. You will also observe local believers busy with various worship rituals and generally praying, many of them wearing colorful traditional overcoats. Then visit the central square adjacent to the parliament building with a façade adorned by marble statues of Genghis khan and his successors. Rightfully, the city’s signature photo point, it is always busy with newlyweds, reunification parties and public in general. Consider hearing an overview of Mongolia’s history from stone age period to modern era at the National Museum and seeing a few but remarkably important dinosaur fossils such as intact nests containing eggs, carnivores fighting herbivores and embryos still in the eggshell in the Paleontology Museum of Mongolia. A panoramic view of Ulaanbaatar from an elevated hill on the city’s edge gives an idea of its size and topography. Finally, having watched a show of traditional music, songs and famous throat singing, enjoy a Mongolian dinner.

Day 3  Transfer to Arvaikheer town (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hotel)

We load in 4WD expedition vans which have special racks for carrying bikes and drive west of UB on rough tarmac across vast open steppes with rolling hills in the background. Countless flocks of grazing sheep, goats, horses and cattle herded by nomads and their traditional homes, known as ger, is a common sight. Around late afternoon we arrive to a provincial capital and settle in a hotel. If wished, you can explore the town on foot before dinner.

Day 4  Bike to Asgat valley (31km) (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

2 hour car transfer brings us to foothills of the Khangai mountain range where we start riding after a snack break. It is an acclimatization day with a gradual climbing angle across grassy valleys fed by small streams that flow to arid plains of the Gobi desert a glimpse of which you can get, looking back. A few homes of nomadic herders and their enormous herds will come in to your view this afternoon. Always curious about bike travelers, they may abandon their daily chores and come to greet and wave you. We establish our first tent camp soon after crossing over the day’s highest point at 2450m. On most of the nights on this trip you will sleep in a comfortable tent camp erected every afternoon upon finishing the day’s biking. It provides all amenities of a good wilderness camp including tents designated for dining, showering and bathrooms, not to mention great meals cooked by a chef.

Day 5  Bike to Shargaljuut valley (38km) (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

A series of short climbs followed by swift descents along a route strewn with spectacular rock formations bring us to today’s tea spot. From there on we gradually gain altitude on well established car tracks cut in and around mountain sides that provide a high angle views of a lush river valley teeming with yaks and horses. The great scenery compensates for some rocky sections of the road which eventually brings us to Shargaljuut mineral springs many of them boiling hot. A massive soviet era health spa dominates the mountain side streaming with hot mineral water famous for its curing qualities and widely used in traditional Mongolian medicine. Summer is a busy time here with lots local people spending a week or two getting rid off their ailments. We spend some time looking around the place and trying the water temperature. One more hour of pedaling further along the valley and civilization is completely left behind. We erect our tents on a pretty riverside with a few gers, the tents of herding locals, and their many animals in our sight.

Day 6-8: Crossing of the Khangai mountain range (43km, 42km, 38km) (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

During these 3 days we cross the Khangai’s watershed that separates its southern basin from the northern basin. The whole route follows the least travelled and hidden corners of the range. It’s truly delightful to see beautiful landscapes change every single day. Each ascent, at times quite challenging, brings you to a panoramic highpoint which is then followed by a breathtaking downhill. The road is then usually replaced by a level portion where you pedal leisurely and absorb the appeasing beauty of the virgin nature. Local herders and their immense flocks of animals will be your only and silent spectators. Invariably, our campsites are located in the vicinity of their homes allowing you opportunity for more interaction and cultural experience.

Day 9: Bike to Tsetserleg town (66km) (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, ger camp)

Having made it to the northern side of the Khangai we bike to Tsetserleg town, a pretty provincial capital located in the shelter of a spectacular granite ridge. A short but steep pass is followed by an overall fast day on excellent packed surfaces. The last climb finally opens an interesting view of traditional residential districts, geometrically aligned and with a lot of bright rooftops. We will have ample time for exploring the town including its busy market where local people sell pine nuts, various wild berries and other natural produce of the Khangai region. In just half an hour’s pedaling, we settle in a traditional style guest accommodation with relative comforts of a conventional hotel such running water, showers and bathrooms. For a guest room you will be allocated a real Mongolian ger.

Day 10: Ride to Tsenker hot springs resort and sooth your muscles in hot pool (25km) (breakfast, lunch, dinner / ger resort)

Half a day riding across a few short but steep passes and arrive to Tsenkher valley, famous for its mineral hot spring. Although somewhat crowded with both local and foreign travelers during short summer season, it certainly feels good to sooth your muscles with beer in your hand. Relaxing massage and laundry service is available too. Another night in traditional Mongolian tents.

Day 11: Cycle to Orkhon river valley (76km) (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, tent)

Another fast day on great soils to reach Orkhon river valley littered with sponge like volcanic rock. As a UNESCO historic heritage site contains many hundreds of ancient burial mounds that dot the landscape. We set up tented camp right beside the river and take a dip in its cool waters before dinner is ready.

Day 12: Bike to Karakorum – medieval capital of Genghis Khan (72km) (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, ger camp)

We cycle downstream along the Orkhon river and loose altitude throughout the day. Our destination is town of Karakorum – the site of the Mongol Empire capital in 1200s. Largely an experiment of city building by nomadic people, Karakorum never became a fully functional capital before it was destroyed by invading Chinese armies in late 14th century. Today the main attraction here is the monastery museum of Erdene Zuu established in 16th century by a Mongol khan as part of introduction of Buddhism as the main religion. The monastery then suffered almost a complete destruction during the anti-religion campaign of 1930-ies with just a dozen of temples surviving till present. We visit the monastery and the local museum to take a glance at a few surviving artifacts of the old capital before heading to a ger camp to celebrate our ride.

Day 13: Return to Ulaanbataar, farewell dinner (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, hotel)

We load bikes and drive to Ulaanbaatar stopping for a picnic lunch at some scenic spot along the way. Upon arriving settle in your hotel and meet at a good-bye dinner.

Day 14: Departure transfer (Breakfast)

Transfer for your return travel home.

14 Days Classic Mongolia Mountain Biking Tour
Tour Code: MNG-CMBT14
LAND Cost per person in SGD : $ 2720

PaxSGL4-5 pax6-7 pax8-9 pax10-12 pax
Price+2703,2804,3202,7902,500

Own bike discount: – S$ 150

Price Includes:

  • All accommodation: hotel (4 nights), tent (6 nights), ger camp (3 nights)
  • Camping & cooking equipment including sleeping mats, dining, shower and toilet tents
  • Indicated meals & drinking water
  • Extra drinks and snacks during cycling
  • All visits, sightseeing, national park and permit fees
  • Overland transport
  • English speaking guide(s)
  • Expedition cook(s)
  • Front suspension 27.5 Giant XTCs, 30 speed, hydraulic brakes, Shimano components
  • Mechanical assistance and parts
  • Briefing prior departure
  • 15% discount for gears at X-Boundaries

Price does not include:

  • Travel insurance
  • Air tickets+ taxes
  • Personal belongings and expenses
  • All personal cycling accessories, clothing and equipment, (headlamps, camera’s, personal toiletries, sleeping bag, etc.)
  • Meals not indicated, Drinks & Alcohol
  • Tipping to the guides