Mongolia Steppe Bike Tour

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Overview

This 14-day cycling tour traverses the Khangai mountain range in central Mongolia, renowned for being the cradle of Mongolia’s nomadic and pastoral culture. The tour takes riders through the famous Orokhan Valley which, besides being serenely picturesque, is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its ancient ruins and monuments dating as far back as the 8th century CE.

Start

Ulaanbaatar

Finish

Ulaanbaatar

Lodging

casual

Level

moderate

Avg. dist. cycled

55km/34mi

Suitable for

Age: 13+

Highlights

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Culture of Mongolian tribes

Experience the unique nomadic culture of Mongolian tribes at close quarters

Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

DayPlacecasual Inns or similarMealsDistanceActivity
DAY 1UlaanbaatarBayangol HotelD
DAY 2Train to Erdenet TownOvernight TrainB,D
DAY 3Tal TolgoiTented CampB,L,D50km/31micycling
DAY 4Uran TogooTented CampB,L,D70km/43.4micycling
DAY 5Kholbooglin PassTented CampB,L,D60km/37micycling
DAY 6HairhanTented CampB,L,D50km/31micycling
DAY 7Mt. ChingelteiTented CampB,L,D60km/37micycling
DAY 8Ikh Tamir RiverTented CampB,L,D55km/34micycling
DAY 9Tsenkher Hot SpringGer CampB,L,D60km/37micycling
DAY 10Tsagaan Sum ValleyTented CampB,L,D65km/40micycling
DAY 11The Khangai Mountain RangeTented CampB,L,D56km/35micycling
DAY 12KarakorumGer CampB,L,D30km/18.6micycling
DAY 13UlaanbaatarBayangol HotelB,L,D
DAY 14DepartureB

Detailed Itinerary

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Day 1: Ulaanbaatar

Arrive at Ulaanbaatar and take a transfer to your hotel. Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia and also its largest city, being home to about half of Mongolia’s population. As a result, the city is rich in cultural, historical, and culinary experiences. In the afternoon, we take a guided walk to the center of the city which hosts an impressive statue of the most famous Mongol in history — Genghis Khan. We then have a choice between visiting either the Museum of Natural History which showcases Mongolia’s natural history from prehistoric times down to the present or the Chojin Lama Museum which hosts ancient relics from Mongolia’s rich Buddhist heritage.

We end the day with a cultural performance of the unique Mongolian art of throat singing. Known locally as Khoomei, Mongolian throat singing involves imitating the sounds of nature set to melodic overtones, and is recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Meals: D
Accommodation: Bayangol Hotel
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Day 2: Train to Erdenet Town

This is a relaxed day on which you have free time at your disposal to discover more of what Ulaanbaatar has to offer. We suggest taking a trip to the Bogd Khan Palace which houses ancient relics of Mongolia’s rich and varied history. In the evening, our guide meets you at the hotel and we board the night train to Erdenet. Erdenet is located some 380 km northwest of Ulaanbaatar and this is an overnight journey.

Meals: B,D
Accommodation: Overnight Train
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Day 3: Tal Tolgoi

We arrive at Erdenet early in the morning to commence our cycling adventure. Our support vehicle and bikes meet us upon our arrival. Erdenet is Mongolia’s third largest city and is known for two things — its copper mines and its wool carpets. A modern town with Soviet-style utilitarian housing and architecture, Erdenet is situated among picturesque hills and forests, and it is through this landscape that we begin our cycling trip. We stop for lunch at the small town of Bugat before beginning a long descent into our destination for the night, Tal Tolgoi. We camp at Tolgoi and spend the night in a tent under a star-studded steppe sky.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 50km/31mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 4: Uran Togoo

We start riding this morning through the beautiful Mongolian countryside, passing by nomadic herders with their herds of sheep, goats, and horses. We cross the Altan River and stop for lunch along its banks. We then begin a steady climb towards the Uran Togoo mountain, an extinct volcano with a crater 500 m wide that rises 1686 m above sea level. The area is protected as a nature reserve due to its unique flora and fauna that consists of grasslands and dense forests. We spend the night once again in a tented accommodation under the steppe sky and in the shadow of the Uran Togoo volcano.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 70km/43.4mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 5: Kholbooglin Pass

We are now in the heart of the Mongolian steppe, and as we ride through the undulating countryside of wide open grassland and rolling hills, we may get to spot some of its characteristic fauna such as the steppe eagle and herds of the Mongolian wild horse or the Przewalski horse. The latter is a rare and endangered species and one of the last varieties of wild horse extant on earth. The night is spent once again in a tent on the steppe.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km/37mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 6: Hairhan

We begin the day with a short climb before descending onto the town of Khairkhan. We continue riding onwards through the beautiful terrain of undulating hills and grassland peppered with beautiful lakes. The night is spent in tented accommodation.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 50km/31mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 7: Mt. Chingeltei

We continue biking through the steppe, passing by herders and spotting more interesting fauna. We may get a chance today to spot the strikingly beautiful demoiselle crane along the numerous wetlands that we ride past today. Native to Mongolia and Siberia, the demoiselle crane is known throughout Asia for its long migratory journey all the way from Mongolia to India, where it spends the winter. The terrain today is a gentle uphill and the night is spent in a tent.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km/37mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 8: Ikh Tamir River

After riding past lakes and wetlands, today we ride through a terrain that is crisscrossed by rivers. We begin descending today from our highland position, crossing the Khanui River first, and then the Tamir River. We have lunch beside the latter before riding on. On the way, we cross an ancient burial site dating back to the 8th century. The Khangai mountain ranges are our constant companion today. We set down camp along the banks of the Tamir river and the night is spent in a tented camp.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 55km/34mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 9: Tsenkher Hot Spring

After a week of riding through the gorgeous steppes, we arrive at the city of Tsetserleg, the first major city since we left Ulaanbaatar. Tsetserleg is known for the Tsenkher hot springs that sit in the shadow of the thickly forested Khangai mountains. After an exerting day of riding, we relax in the hot springs and get a massage to rejuvenate ourselves

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km/37mi
Accommodation: Ger Camp
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Day 10: Tsagaan Sum Valley

We get back to riding through familiar territory as we ride close to the Khangai mountains.The day’s ride is marked by a terrain that rises and falls continuously like a waveform, making it an exciting day of biking. Expect a few steep climbs around lunch time.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 65km/40mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 11: The Khangai Mountain Range

Today’s ride is a gentle downhill all the way to the end, which means we will be using our pedals a lot less. The Khangai mountains are the source of several Mongolian rivers, including the Orkhon River that flows northwards from these mountains to Lake Baikal in Russia and all the way to the Arctic Ocean. We follow this majestic river and camp for the night along its banks.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 56km/35mi
Accommodation: Tented Camp
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Day 12: Karakorum

We are now in the Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient ruins and Buddhist monasteries. A short bike ride brings us to the town of Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia, and home to the Erdene Zuu monastery. Built-in 1585 CE, it is the oldest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Having suffered the ravages of time and history, the monastery is a shadow of its famous past, but still continues to elicit awe and wonder from visitors. We next spend some time at the Karakorum museum before ending the day’s adventure. This is also the last day of cycling.

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Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 30km/18.6mi
Accommodation: Ger Camp
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Day 13: Ulaanbaatar

We start early today for our 400 km drive back to Ulaanbaatar. However, our adventure is far from over. On the way, we stop at the stunning Mongol Els, a protected nature reserve that is home to Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. Stretching across some 100 km, this unique landscape consists of sand dunes running along the Zavkhan River, interspersed by numerous lakes and even grasslands. The dunes are revered by the locals as sacred. We stop along the way for a picnic lunch, before arriving at Ulaanbaatar. At the hotel, we meet again for a farewell dinner and reminisce on an unforgettable adventure.

Meals: B,L,D
Accommodation: Bayangol Hotel

Day 14: Departure

Travel further as per your onward travel plans.

Meals: B
Accommodation:

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Map

Dates and Prices

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Essential Info

Inclusions

LODGING

All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).

trip leader

Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.

bike

Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.

shuttle

A Van support follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.

meals

Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.

refreshments

Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.

entrance

Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.

Exclusions

Airport pickup and drop

We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.

meals

Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.

Beverages

Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.

Reviews from our friends

Young from CA

5.0

Overall we had a wonderful experience

Overall, our bike tour provided us with a fantastic experience, enabling us to explore and engage in activities we wouldn't have managed on our own. Although there were a few minor logistical hiccups, the overall organization of the tour was commendable. While it may be some time before we return, we would certainly keep Art of Bicycle Trips in mind for future tours.

End of reviews


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Each day is crafted with utmost care so that you are well-rested; get a drift of local culture and enjoy the curated routes at your own pace.

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The folks who steer you towards a unique and enriching experience, and sometimes truly a life-changing adventure.


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