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This trip is a fascinating cultural experience as well as an off-road bike tour across Mongolia of over 1750 kilometers. Apart from a few villages and small towns that you pass through on the way, most of the population have a nomadic lifestyle, frequently moving with their round white felt yurts ("gers") and herds of camels, goats, and horses. This tour is nearly all on rough jeep tracks across the rolling hills of Middle Gobi and the sparse desert of South Gobi.
During this tour, you will be accommodated in traditional Mongolian round white felt tents, where you will have bathroom facilities and access to restaurants. You will spend two nights in a shared twin room at a hotel provided by Bike Mongolia.
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar and go to a hotel. In the afternoon or evening, meet the tour leader and rest of the group. Start the pre-tour meeting talking about the day-by-day itinerary and safety issue. Overnight at the hotel.
Make an early start to get out of Ulaanbaatar city and onto the road leading south to the Gobi. The road is blacktopped for a while, then soon becomes a rough jeep track as it crosses the green rolling hills of Tuv (“Central”) Province. Ride on to 'Baga Gazriin Chuluu', a mountain of unusual granite rocks which are home to ibex, marmots, steppe fox, and plenty of birds of prey. Overnight in a ger camp.
Ride through Mandalgovi, the capital town of Dundgovi Province and continue across the open steppe of Middle Gobi to 'Tsagaan Suvraga', an amazing series of cliffs, white and pink limestone rock formations taking the appearance of stalagmites up to 30 meters high. It is an excellent site for some out-of-the-ordinary photography. Overnight in your ger camp.
The track to Dalanzadgad, the capital of Umngovi Province (“South Gobi”) has little traffic, even though you are traveling on the main road. This is Mongolia as one imagines it - distant horizons, dry rocky earth, and a huge blue sky. The town appears like a mirage and it takes nearly two hours of riding to reach it after seeing it from afar. Overnight in your ger camp situated within view of the 'Gobi Gurvansaikhan' mountains.
Ride up into the mountains of the Gurvansaikhan Uul (“Three Beautiful Mountains”). This national park is so unexpected in the middle of the desert and it is a delight to feel so cool in the deep canyon where sunlight reaches for only a few minutes each day. After walking into 'Yolyn Am' (the “Vulture’s Mouth”), you ride westwards at the foot of the mountains to 'Khongoryn Els' where huge sand dunes meet the end of the Altai mountain range. Overnight in your ger camp.
Leaving the golden dunes behind, you ride through a wonderful mountain pass and onto Bulgan village. Not far from here is Bayanzag, a forest of rare 'Saksaul' trees and the 'Flaming Cliffs' where many dinosaur remains have been found and Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the first dinosaur eggs during his expedition of the 1920s. Overnight in your ger camp.
Today, you travel north-east to Mandal-Ovoo and then to Saikhan-Ovoo. Here, on a bend in the Ongi River, are the remains of 'Ongii Hiid' monastery on each bank of the river. Overnight in your ger camp.
Continue northwards through Middle Gobi to reach 'Zorgol Khairkhan', a dramatic granite mountain with bizarre rock formations jutting out against the skyline. Continue on to Ovorburd Els where there are small sand dunes amongst the rolling hills. Overnight in your ger camp.
As your return to Ulaanbaatar, the landscape becomes gradually greener and more mountainous. Even close to the city, people still live the 'traditional lifestyle' and there are more horses and fewer camels than you encountered in the Gobi. It's expected to arrive in Ulaanbaatar in the early afternoon. Overnight at your hotel.
It is important for you to be aware that motorbike hire is not included in the tour price. The cost to rent a KTM 450EXC motorcycle is 130 USD per day. This can be paid in cash on arrival.
When you arrive in Mongolia and are allocated your motorbike, you will have to pay a "motorbike security deposit". This is 700 USD or the equivalent amount in another major currency. The motorbike security deposit is fully refundable at the end of the tour when you return the motorbike undamaged (Bike Mongolia won't charge for normal wear and tear).
Some days are long and require stamina, but towards the end of the tour, the distance between ger camps is less and riding days are shorter.
On your journey, there will be a walk into Yolyn Am (the “Vulture’s Mouth”).
The tour will start and end in Ulaanbaatar and your journey will cover several places in Mongolia. The tour highlights are Baga Gazriin Chuluu, White Stupa, Vulture's Mouth Canyon, Khongor Els Dunes, Flaming Cliffs, Ongii Ruins, and Zorgol Khairkhan.
Khongoryn Els is the largest accumulation of sand in the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. The wind blows continually, so the dunes can reach an imposing 200-meter height. The highest dunes are called 'Singing Sands' by the local inhabitants.
Tsagaan Suvaraga (White Stupa) limestone rock is about 30-meter high and shaped strangely as a result of wind and water erosion. This area is rich in marine fossils as a huge inland sea once covered it. In the year 2000, an earthquake shook the eastern part of the White Stupa and it partly collapsed.
Ongii Hiid, a once large Buddhist Monastery destroyed in the 1930's lies in the hills on the edge of a bend in the Ongi River. It is a quiet and spiritual place; one can imagine the original busy monastery on one side of the river and the non-religious community on the other side.
The Bearded Vulture, 'Yol' in Mongolian, has given the valley its name - 'Yolyn Am' means Vulture Gorge. The Gurvan Saikhan National Park is the only area in the southern Gobi Altai region where copses of beech and willow trees have been preserved.