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Trails of the Altai

FromUS$ 2,590
FromUS$ 2,590
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The purchase of travel services offered by Tour Mongolia constitutes a contractual arrangement between the person making the booking and Tour Mongolia, and represents acceptance of Tour Mongolia’s Terms and Conditions described here.  They form the basis on which bookings are accepted by Tour Mongolia and it is important that you read them carefully.


Trails of the Altai is an exhilarating trekking expedition in the remote wilderness of Western Mongolia. Fly to Bayan Ulgii province where you will experience Kazakh, Tuvan and Mongolian culture. Trek on foot through Tavanbogd National Park, with wild camping and visits to nomadic families and eagle hunters. Highlights include the summit of Mount Malchin, Potani Glacier, Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain, UNESCO listed ancient rock art gallery Takhilt Pass. Relax by Lake Khoton before heading back to Ulgii and Ulaanbaatar.

Tour Departures:

Jun 17, Jul 5, Aug 9, Sep 6


12 Days

Group Size:

3-12 Pax


Fly to Ulgii - Altai Mountains - Tavanbogd National Park - Potanin Glacier Walk - Mt. Malchin Summit - 10 Days Trekking Expedition - Tuvan Nomads - Kazakh Eagle Hunters - Ancient Petroglyphs and Rock Paintings - Takhlit Pass - Khoton Lake

Fitness Level

- STRENUOUS: This tour involves multi-day, non-technical trekking in high altitudes.

Meeting point

Good news! You can be picked up from your hotel, just email us the details. Don't worry if you haven't booked the accommodation yet, you can email it to us later.


The vehicle we use on this trip is the formidable off-road UAZ Russian van. Ulgii province is remote and vehicles may not be as new or well-maintained as in other parts of the country, although we do provide the best available. There is a vehicle per every 4-5 guests. There will be no vehicle support whilst walking and riding in Tavanbogd National Park - pack camels will carry all luggage.


At Tour Mongolia we believe that a good guide is essential to the enjoyment of any trip. Your guide will be English speaking and hand picked by us to suit your itinerary and requirements. Each guide is personally briefed on all elements of the trip. You will be sent guide details in the confirmation document prior to your tour.


During your trek you will be camping in our top quality tents and will spend the last night in a ger camp. Tents and rest mats are provided - but you should bring your own sleeping bag. A basic loo and shower tent is erected at each camp site. A cooking/dining tent also accompanies this expedition, in addition to a fantastic cook!



A day-by-day plan to guide your journey.

DAY 8-9
DAY 10
DAY 11
DAY 12

Your driver will pick you up at 8 am (tbc.) from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar or another pre-arranged city address and transfer to the airport for your flight to Ulgii. Although your Ulaanbaatar guide will check you in, you’ll be ‘flying solo’, since you will have a local guide out west who will be waiting to meet you there. On arrival, have breakfast/coffee in a cafe in town, and visit the local bazaar. Then board the vehicles for the journey to Tavanbogd National Park, passing through ever-changing scenery as expansive rocky plains give way to green valleys, and then the rugged peaks of the Altai, and the stunning wilderness terrain of the Tavanbogd National Park. You will camp today half-way to the Park’s entrance, in the wilderness near Ulanhuis along the Sogoog River basin. On arrival at the campsite tonight, enjoy rustic fare around a campfire on the banks of the glacial Tsagaan River.

Travel details: 3hrs flight to Ulgii; 4hrs/100km to the campsite
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Lunch, Dinner

Today continue driving west to the Altai Tavanbogd National Park. Stop en-route to explore numerous petroglyphs and Turkic stones along the Sogoog River basin. Bayan-Ulgii is rich in archaeological remains, a reminder of the Bronze Age civilizations and the Hun and Turkic invasions.

On arrival at the campsite tonight, on the edge of the National Park boundary, near to local nomadic Tuvan people, and in the afternoon there will be a shorter hike into the surrounding mountains. In the evening meet with your Tuvan assistants who will prepare horses and camels to support your trek. All the luggage, camping equipment, and food provisions will be transported by a pack camels rented from them and no vehicle will be supporting the trip for the next seven days.

Travel details: 4hrs/16km to Potanin Glacier
Accommodation: Standard Ger – Tsagaan Suvarga Ger Camp
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

After a hearty breakfast, set off on the 16km trek towards the base camp of the snow-capped Tavanbogd massif. You will arrive at the Potanin glacier – the largest of all the glaciers in Mongolian Altai. Have lunch and head onto the glacier for a walk on the ice. Tonight’s campsite is just on the edge of the glacier, in the shadow of the “Holy Five” peaks – Khuiten, Nairamdal, Ulgii, Burged and Malchin. It is a stunning setting with awe-inspiring high snow-capped peaks and great views of all of them during sunset and sunrise – the views are wonderful if the weather is good.

Travel details: 4hrs/16km to Potanin Glacier
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

A full day hike to the peak of Mount Malchin – the lowest of the ‘Tavan Bogd’, but still one of Mongolia’s highest peaks at 4,037m. It is considered a non-technical peak, and therefore can be reached by trekkers. The climb starts from close by the Potanin glacier, and the ascent takes about 4 hours. From the top are great views of Mongolia, Russia, and China. Hearty, delicious and freshly prepared food by our fantastic cook tops and tails the day.

Travel details: 4-5hrs ascent; 3-4hrs descent
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Trek along the Tsagaan Gol (White River) valley to the sacred Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain, keeping a lookout on the abundant wildlife in the area such as ibex. Arrive at the valley where Tuvan families spend their summers. In the evening visit a local Tuvan family and get introduced to their culture, taste dairy products as well as milk vodka, which is distilled from the yogurt made from yak milk. They also make wonderful felt crafts. Camp nearby to the family encampment at the altitude of 2,500m.

Travel details: 4-5hrs/16km walk
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

After a hearty breakfast hike for 20km to the Khar Saraa Valley where you will reach the UNESCO listed site of thousands of petroglyphs (rock carvings), deer stones and ancient monuments, some of them 10,000 years old. The scenery is beautiful and you will pass quite a few small lakes that are home to many species of water birds. Reach the campsite in the afternoon, you will camp at the altitude of 2450m above sea level.

Travel details: 5-6hrs/20km walk
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Today trek along a traditional summer migratory route for 7km up to the Takhilt pass, which is the highest mountain pass of the trip. Climbing today will require more effort, not only because of the altitude but also because the trail is usually covered by thick snow. After reaching the pass at 3600m, continue down for a further 10 kilometers through the beautiful valley called Baavgait or Bear Valley. Reach the campsite in the evening, and enjoy a hearty dinner before settling for the night in your tent.

Travel details: 6-7hrs/17km walk via Takhilt Pass (3300m)
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Trek over the two days past down through the lush green Bear Valley to Green Lake through larch forests and alluvial meadows to Lake Khoton. Walk for around 5-7hrs a day depending on your pace, with options for additional forays on from each day’s camp locations. Lake Khoton lies below the snow-capped Ikh Turgen Uul. The camp spot here, at the culmination of the trek, is a mere 3km from the Chinese border, and due to the border proximity, you will need to be registered by your guide at the border military base of Aral Tolgoi.

Travel details: 5-7hrs/15-20km trekking per day
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

In the morning hike a short distance to explore another cultural site with hundreds of ancient petroglyphs. Lake Khoton is the site of the summer pastures of Kazakh nomads and you will have a chance to visit a nomadic Kazakh a family – experience their hospitality and learn about their culture, including that of eagle hunting, which is practiced here. You will notice that Kazakh gers are much bigger in size and a lot taller than Mongolian or Tuvan gers, and are much more colorfully decorated. In the evening, you will have the opportunity to participate in a Mongolian cooking lesson in the beautiful campsite setting with your cook – learn how to make Buuz (steamed dumplings) or Huushuur (fried meat-filled pastry) and enjoy the fruits of your labors for dinner!

Travel details: Short walks in the area
Accommodation: Camping – Tent
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

In the morning, say goodbye to your local mountain guide and drive north towards Ulgii through the Khovd river valley, stopping en-route by ancient deer stones and balbals (Turkic stone man), through the Khargant Valley, below Tsengel Khairhan Uul (3043m) and other snow-capped mountains. Tuvans live in this area – they are Buddhists, not Muslims, but of a Turkic speaking ethnic group. Arrive in Ulgii in the afternoon. There are some great handmade Kazakh textiles that you may like to purchase at a variety of small local outlets (rugs, wall hangings, fur hats, hunting accessories, wooden carvings, bags, cushion covers etc.). Settle into your ger and enjoy a hot shower before having dinner.

Travel details: 7hrs/230km drive to Ulgii
Accommodation: Standard Ger; Ulgii Ger Camp
Meals included: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

After a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the local airport and fly back to Ulaanbaatar. The flight usually lands around 3 pm, stopping en-route. After arriving, our driver will await you at the Ulaanbaatar airport and will transfer you to your hotel or an address of your choice. You may also want to do some shopping in town – perhaps at some of the decent craft outlets (Tsagaan Alt felt shop, Quilters, Mary and Martha) or the State Department Store. Your guide will be on hand to assist.


Travel details: 3hrs Flight (time tbc); 45mins/14km Airport-Hotel
Meals included: Breakfast


Cost Per Person: $2,590 €2,270
Single Supplement: $195 €175


Domestic flights - Surface transportation - Road taxes - Accommodation as specified - Local Guide - Sightseeing and activities as specified - Museum & park entrance fees - Meals as specified - Camping Equipment - Pack Animal rental


International flights - Tips - Laundry - Bar bills - Items of a personal nature - Visas - Photography/filming charges at e.g. museums and monasteries


Private tour: This trip is available as a private tour too, and you can book it on any day of your choice for you and your family or friends. Just email us with your proposed dates and your group size for pricing.

Occupancy: you can stay in a single, twin or double room/ger/tent (where applicable). Single occupancy may not be possible during the Naadam festival (July 5th -15th) at ger camps. At community-based camps and ger homestays, single occupancy is subject to availability. Single and twin/double occupancy at ger camps require an extra supplement as shown in the above table.

Discounts*: Our clients can take an opportunity to get following discount options:

  • Early bird discount of 10% is applicable for bookings made 6 months in advance.
  • Children up to 2 years old travel free, 3-8 years old get 40% off and 9-12 years old get 20% off. Age as on the last day of the tour.

*Discounts are not cumulative, only one discount is available per client/group.

Travel arrangements: We are happy to book your international or domestic flight/train tickets or accommodation in Ulaanbaatar at discount prices, please contact us for availability.

More information: info@tourmongolia.com