An exploration of Mongolia’s ancient history and unforgettable landscapes, this expedition passes through vast grasslands and forested mountains to the sites of archaeological treasures. Travelers will explore ancient burial sites, stone men, the ruins of legendary cities, and finely rendered deer stones erected thousands of years ago by Turkic-Mongol tribes. Our tour explores the wartime fortresses and capitals of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire alongside beautifully set Buddhist monasteries of the past and present. We also explore the region’s lesser-known history, including the 8th century citadel of Kharbalgas in the fertile Orkhon Valley, a center of political activity centuries before the birth of Genghis Khan.
Mongolia contains very little arable land, as much of its area is covered by grassy steppe, with mountains to the north and west and the Gobi Desert to the south. Approximately 30% of the population is nomadic or semi-nomadic; horse culture is still integral. The area of what is now Mongolia has been ruled by various nomadic empires. In 1206, Genghis Khan founded the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous land empire in history. His grandson Kublai Khan conquered China to establish the Yuan dynasty. After the collapse of the Yuan, the Mongols retreated to Mongolia and resumed their earlier pattern of factional conflict. In the 16th century, Tibetan Buddhism began to spread in Mongolia, being further led by the Manchu-founded Qing dynasty, which absorbed the country in the 17th century. By the early 1900s, almost one-third of the adult male population were Buddhist monks.
Explore the national parks and wild horse reserves of rural Mongolia, still home to many nomadic tribes. Marvel at the Flaming Cliffs of the Gobi desert. Enjoy a luxury take on nomadic ger camps and even — in true Mongolian style — have the opportunity for an optional camel excursion. This tour is recommended for archaeology buffs who are comfortable camping in tents and driving overland through the country’s vast landscapes to visit some of Asia’s most significant and awe-inspiring sites.
June 25 2020
with Dr Jean-Luc Houle
Country Information - Mongolia
- Currency - The currency of Mongolia is the Mongolian tögrög
- How to Dress - Western dress is acceptable. But the climate can be cold. Wear layers of clothing; wool, cotton under fleeces, thermal underwear, winter pullovers and warm jackets. Selection of cotton or woolen socks, walking boots under gloves, woolen hat and ear protectors, wind proof gear.
- Cultural Differences - Mongolia is well known for its nomadic traditions. The nomadic way of lifestyle is still practiced today in the rural areas of the country. Nomads follow a seasonal routine raising and breeding the five main types of stock – goat, sheep, cattle (including yaks), camel and horse, migrating from place to place following the most favorable pastures and campsites. The foundation of the traditional Mongolian food is based on the products of the animal nomadic herders raise in the Mongolian steppes – meat and milk. Those simple materials are processed with a variety of methods, and combined with vegetables and flour. Mongolian traditional music composes a wide range of instruments and uses for the human voice found almost nowhere else. For instance, the Mongol Khoomii may be fascinating for foreigners. It is a musical, which can be delivered with a help of a guttural voice and specific way of breathing. One tone comes out as a whistle-like sound, the result of the locked breath in the chest being forced out through the throat in a specific way, while a lower tone sounds as a base.
- Language - The languages of Mongolia is Mongolian
- Tipping - It is commonplace to add a tip for good service. Up to 10% is acceptable. Archaeological Tours will take care of gratuities to restaurant staff, local guides and drivers.