CHINA AND MONGOLIA
Older Women, Cheap Travel is heading to Mongolia - July 1 - 18, 2016
Now you can actually mean it when you say, “It’s probably in Outer Mongolia!” This is going to be such an amazing trip of a lifetime….to actually be out there in the open, wild land of these nomadic people…wow….just, wow! Along with the fascinating landscape and culture of Mongolia, we will get to see Beijing, the capital of China, a truly fascinating mix of history and modernity in the bustling metropolis. Because we are going so far and the travel between China and Mongolia takes a bit of extra time, this trip will be longer than most we have, but, hey, what a great way to spend the month of July!
Take a look at where we are going and what we will be seeing!
Btw, if you want to bring an extra bag - like small duffel for buying stuff and for storing extra clothes for warmth – on this trip it is doable do to our method of travel on this trip.
Day One – July 1 Friday – Arrive in Beijing and travel to the Fengtai district to our hotel. Relax….it was a long flight.
Day Two – July 2 Saturday – Enjoy the parks, museums, and shopping in the Fengtai district. This district is very nontouristy – as in few American tourists – so we will get a real view of how the local Beijingers spend their day. We have two fabulous parks nearby so we can really enjoy the outdoor city life and recover from our travel to China. Why we might even see something familiar at the World Park! Bizarre, eh?
Day Three – July 3 Sunday – Enjoy local Beijing until 5 pm when we catch a overnight sleeper bus to Erlian, Inner Mongolia, the border town of China and Outer Mongolia. Believe me, this is going to be a unique experience….you will have a good story to tell when you get home! (especially if we get the full sleeper – imagine actually lying down while traveling on a bus!)
Day Four – July 4 Monday – Spend a few hours in quirky Erlian, cross the border, and catch the night sleeper train to Ulaanbaatar. Erlian is the town of dinosaurs – no kidding! – and you will see Jurassic Park-like statues of dinosaurs on your arrival and exit and we can go to Dinosaur Fairyland just outside which has many of the huge creatures dotting the desert! Crossing the border is a hoot (read: have a good sense of humor) and then we should sleep well on our train beds and awake to the marvelous open lands of Mongolia.
Day Five – July 5 Tuesday – Rest up and sightsee in Ulaanbaatar. Ulaanbaatar is a very modern city, the only real city in Mongolia!
Day Six – July 6 Wednesday – Start Mongolian tour and go to Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes, stay with a nomad family and practice how they live and experience their customs, ride camels, and overnight in a ger (the round yurt tent hotel of Mongolia).
Day Seven – July 7 Thursday – See the most beautiful monastery in Mongolia, the Erdene Zuu Monastery and arrive in Karakoram, the ancient capital of Mongolia and Genghis Khan’s base for his invasion of China
Day Eight and Nine – July 8 and 9 Friday and Saturday – Enjoy Naadam festival in Karakoram. This is a huge summer festival all over Mongolia, the olympics of the nation. Although the biggest one is in Ulaanbaatar, it is very crowded there with tourists. Here In Karakoram, we will be right up front seeing the action and this rural location makes it so much more fascinating. The three big sports are wrestling, archery, and a massive horserace with the children of the city as the jockeys. This is a huge event not to be missed!
Day Ten – July 10 Sunday – Drive to Tsetserleg, a charming village nestled in the mountains. On the way if we are feeling sore, we can stop and soak at a hot springs! We will spend a bit of our morning there, see the charming little museum, and have our lunch. Then we will drive on to Ugii Lake where we can do a late afternoon boat trip to look at unique Mongolian birds. We will sleep in a ger tourist camp by the lake.
Day Eleven – July 11 Monday - Have breakfast and do more early morning bird watching. Then we will head to Hustai Nature Park and see the wild horses and a large variety of wildlife. We will stay in a family ger nearby.
Day Twelve – July 12 Tuesday In the morning we will go see the Massive Genghis Khan Statue and then visit Terelj National Park and stay in a family ger.
Day Thirteen – July 13 Wednesday - Back to Ulaanbatar where we will see the rest of the city, relax, and enjoy a last evening in Mongolia!
Day Fourteen – July 14 Thursday - Overnight sleeper train to Beijing
Day Fifteen – July 15 Friday – Arrive at noon in Beijing – Just relax and do quiet things like the locals
Day Sixteen – July 16 Saturday – Beijing – Day to see the Great Wall!
Day Seventeen – Sunday July 17 – Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, and whatever we don’t want to go home without seeing!
Day Eighteen – July 18 – Monday – Fly Home
Cost: $1500 plus airfare. This trip is a little longer than most of our tours because the travel to Mongolia and back takes a few days. Also, the Chinese transport system is a bit irregular, so I added a day on either end of the travel days to be sure we didn’t get stranded.
Price includes all train and bus travel, all taxis and vans, all hotels and gers, all entrance fees and entertainment, and all food. This trip will include a seven day tour of Mongolia which normally costs $1500 through major tour agencies, but we are getting for $600 each!
Each day is subject to change in itinerary if better opportunities come our way or if other issues require a change in plans. But, no worries! We are going to see and experience the best of Mongolia and Beijing that we can!
IMPORTANT! In setting up the Mongolian tour, we had two choices: the “old lady” tour or the “adventurous older woman” tour! Believe me, I had a very long discussion and barter session with the lady in Mongolia who is setting up my itinerary and she said if any of us were “old ladies” over 60, we would have to pay more and do the “old lady tourist” tour. What this actually means is if we go as “old ladies” we ride in a more comfortable jeep but that jeep can’t handle certain area (it tends to break down and can’t get fixed) and, therefore, we can only stay at tourist ger camps. Tourist ger camps are lovely – more amenities than staying in a family ger, but more tourists and more of a tourist hotel feel (like fancy camping with other Americans, Canadians, and Europeans, etc). But, if we are willing to be “older adventurous ladies,” we will ride in a slightly less comfortable Russian van that is built like a tank and can go everywhere and THEN we get to stay with the Mongolian families! THIS is the real Mongolian experience where we interact with the families and eat and drink vodka with them, sing songs with them in the evening (practice something to offer as entertainment), and then sleep out in the wild where we are the ONLY tourists there. This simply, in my opinion, is too cool to miss, so I am signing us up for it!
Therefore, if you think you can’t handle a bit of a bouncy ride and less than Western style bathrooms (or any bathroom) on four nights of your tour, this might not be the trip for you. But, if you want to have an experience you will never forget, do sign up! It is going to be so amazing!