Location: Mongolia.
Target Year Groups: Y12 & Y13
Maximum number of students: 36
Approximate cost: HK$16,800
Outside Provider or Organisation: Rustic Pathways

Trip Leaders: Mr Paul Atkinson & Ms Rui-Jun Chuah

Please note that parents are responsible for the arrangement of visas if required. Please ensure that your child’s passport is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of departure from their destination.

Walk in the footsteps of the great Mongol empire, explore untamed lands in this outdoor orienteering adventure into the land of steppe and sky.

Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Mongolia! Landing in Ulaanbaatar this evening, you will meet your Rustic Pathways leaders and transfer directly to your first Mongolian meal. After dinner, head to the comfortable guesthouse for showers and to settle in and prepare for the week ahead.

Overnight: Lotus Guesthouse, Ulaanbaatar

Day 2-3

Waking early today, you will depart Ulaanbaatar and head to Gaachurt, about 30 minutes from the city. Gaachurt is the largest of Ulaanbaatar’s many ger districts. As Ulaanbaatar develops, herders are moving into the city to take advantage of opportunities available there. A herder’s income doesn’t allow a move into Ulaanbaatar’s apartment housing, so instead herders set up their gers, or traditional felt homes, on the outskirts of the city, creating expansive ger districts which now house 62 percent of Ulaanbaatar’s residents.

These ger districts do not receive enough funding to maintain their schools. Rustic Pathways has partnered with a local NGO to connect with local schools and discover their needs. You’ll work on ongoing service projects in Gaachurt supporting a local public school.

Overnight: Lotus Guesthouse, Ulaanbaatar

Day 4

After breakfast, walk to visit the National History Museum of Mongolia, where you’ll learn all about the fascinating history of Chinggis Khaan, his daughters and grandsons who built the world’s largest contiguous empire in history and whose influence on the world’s culture and history is largely
under-emphasised in Western textbooks. A special highlight is the hall of traditional costumes, which shows the cultural dress of Mongolia’s various ethnic subgroups.

This afternoon, climb the 300 steps to reach the sweeping views of Ulaanbaatar (weather permitting) at Zaisan Memorial, which honors fallen Russian soldiers and commemorates the relationship between Mongolia and Russia throughout history.

Overnight: Lotus Guesthouse, Ulaanbaatar

Day 5

Travel to Terelj National Park, famous for its incredible rock formations. Stop on the way to visit the largest seated horse statue in the world, featuring none other than Chinggis Khan. We will continue driving out to Terelj National Park, famous for its incredible rock formations. Arrive to the park early in the evening, where you will find our cozy gers waiting to welcome you. Spend the last few hours of daylight exploring the natural beauty that surrounds you and getting accustomed to life on the steppes. For dinner, you’ll enjoy a traditional Mongolian barbecue, or khorkhog, cooked in the same way as was preferred by Chinngis Khan, under rocks heated by a long-burning fire.

Overnight: Guru Ger Camp, Terelj National Park

Day 6

Today you’ll head to Manzushir Temple, about an hour from the city. These ruins of a Buddhist temple are an exceptional example of what happened to nearly all of Mongolia’s centers of worship during the Soviet invasion. Here, we’ll practice orienteering in teams, before breaking into groups to begin your hike. Your program leaders will be close behind, but it’s up to you to follow the course, keep time, and navigate the route. Take in the beauty of Mongolia’s sparse landscape, stunning rock formations, and it’s famous great blue sky as you hike through open steppe and covered forest.

Returning to the ger camp for lunch, your afternoon will continue with a visit to a local herding family to sample various different types of dairy products and a lesson in one of Mongolia’s traditional “three manly sports” — archery.

Overnight: Guru Ger Camp, Terelj National Park

Day 7

After breakfast, we’ll hit the town for souvenir shopping and a spin around some of the world’s finest cashmere emporiums. This afternoon, we’ll participate in a closing ceremony to commemorate your time in Mongolia. Take this opportunity to appreciate the scope of what you’ve achieved, the new friends you’ve made, and experiences you’ll never forget.

In the evening, enjoy a rousing cultural show that features traditional dances, folk music of Mongolia’s various ethnic groups, and the one-of-a-kind khoomi throat singing.

Overnight: Khuvsgul Lake Hotel

Day 8

Say your final goodbyes to Mongolia and your Rustic Pathways leaders, and then depart on your plane back home. We hope you’ve enjoyed your Mongolian adventure. Remember, the greatest steppe is just outside your door!