AUD 8736 / pp
25 June - 12 July 2020
China and Mongolia. Two amazing countries, two ancient cultures, taking different ways millennia ago. Don’t miss a unique chance to see where historical choices led these neighbouring nations. China is rivalling to lead the modern world today yet Mongolia will embrace you with its nomadic, vagabond style and tranquillity. Who would dare to choose that’s best? We have collected the best of the best in both countries from Avatar filming location to the world’s longest cable car, from fascinating Gobi desert to greatest Mongolian national festival, Naadam, to produce this truly unique adventure of a lifetime.
Day 1: Arrival at Shanghai
Arrival at Shanghai. Meet & greet at the airport and transfer to the hotel in the downtown. In the evening, meet your fellow travellers for a welcome dinner (Chinese and European cuisine options available on your choice). Overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Shanghai
Breakfast at the hotel. Take off for a full-day guided sightseeing tour: Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall, Yuyuan Garden. After lunch, continue the tour visiting Temple Jade Budda, Shikumen, Oriental Pearl Tower. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3: Shanghai — Zhangjiajie
Breakfast at the hotel. Free time in Shanghai. Transfer to the airport for a flight to Zhangjiajie (2h30m). Transfer to the hotel. The evening is free at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4: Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
After delicious breakfast at the hotel, get ready for the exclusive adventure in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park for a full day. Take a ride on the world highest and fastest elevator in the Bailong Elevator to the Yuanjiajie Scenic Area. Here we shall visit the famous Avatar filming location, Natural Bridge under Heaven. Then take a Public shuttle bus to marvel the natural treasures of the Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve, Helong Park, Xihai Stone Forest, Imperial Brush Peak, Tianzi Mountain Cable Car, Ten-mile Gallery in the Suoxigu Valley. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 5: Zhangjiajie — Xian
After breakfast at the hotel, start the guided half-day sightseeing tour to Tianmen Mountain. You will take a ride on the World’s longest cable car to the mountaintop and try Sky Walk 1430 meters above the ground. Take an escalator through the mountain to Tianmen Cave and enjoy splendid views. Free time in Zhangjiajie. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Xian (1h40m). Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 6: Xian
After breakfast at the hotel, meet the guide for a sightseeing walking tour. Get to know the secrets of world-famous Terracotta Army, see City Wall, Great Mosque. Take a stroll along 1110-meter long Muslim street where architectures in the style of Ming and Qing are well preserved. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 7: Xian — Beijing
After breakfast at the hotel, continue the tour around Xian. Today we will visit the Shaanxi History Museum, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Bell Tower and Drum Tower Square. At 16.00 take a bullet train to Beijing. Arrival at Beijing at 21:31. Transfer to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 8: Beijing
After breakfast at the hotel, start with a half-day guided sightseeing tour: Square Tiananmen, Museum Gugong, Temple of Heaven. Lunch. The evening is free at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 9: Beijing — Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast at the hotel, meet the guide to take the Great Wall tour for a full day. After the tour, transfer to the airport to take a direct flight to Ulaanbaatar at 21.10 (21.10- 23.40). Transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar.
Day 10: Karakorum
After breakfast at the hotel, meet the guide and drive towards to Kharkhorin, formerly known as Karakorum. Embrace the wilderness of Mongolia when visiting Khogno Khan Nature Reserve with mountains, steppes, Gobi-type desert and mineral water sources all in one location, Uvgun monastery or Erdene Khamba khiid. After lunch, continue to travel to Kharkhorin, the legendary city founded by Genghis Khan in 1220 in Orkhon Valley, on the Silk Road. Those days it was a political, economic, administrative and religious centre. But after Khublai Khaan moved the Mongolian capital to Beijing, Karakorum was abandoned and then completely destroyed by Chinese soldiers in 1388. There we shall visit Kharkhorin museum, and the Mongolian oldest and largest monastery Erdene Zuu. Overnight at the Ger camp.
Day 11: Ongi Monastery ruins
After traditional breakfast at the camp, we will continue our journey to discover Ongi Monastery ruins through the great Ongi steppe. Ongi monastery was one of the 7 biggest Mongolian monasteries. There are 2 temple ruins which were built up in the 1780s. During repression in 1930s’, these two temples were destroyed and over 200 monks were killed, and many surviving monks were imprisoned. In the 1990s, it was decided to rebuild the monastery. The first temple was inaugurated in 2004. There is a small museum in a ger in front of it. One of the stupas has just been reconstructed as well. We travel like real nomads from one Ger to another just like Mongolians do for a thousand years. Overnight at the Ger camp.
Day 12: Bayanzag
After breakfast at the camp, you will go further to Bayanzag, known as Flaming Cliffs. We shall hike through the cliffs (east trail, suitable for any fitness level) to see the Gobi tree grove named “Bayanzag”.The American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews arrived here in 1922, on an expedition for the American Museum of Natural History. His team found hundreds of fossilised remains, and Bayanzag became known as a dinosaur graveyard. After lunch, we will watch the short documentary about these excavations. After dinner, return to the Bayanzag to see the sunset, find out why the area is called Flaming Cliffs. Overnight at the Ger camp.
Day 13: Gobi Desert
After breakfast at the camp, we travel through the stunning Gobi Desert to see amazing Khongor sand dune at sunset. There is no landscape equal to it in Mongolia, Khongor sand Dunes last for impressive 180 km. The Gobi desert is one of the world's greatest, it is a no-sand desert of gravel plains and rocky outcrops. Great Gobi National Park is one of the largest World Biospheres, with an area larger than Switzerland. It contains the last remaining wild Bactrian (two-humped) camels and a small population of Gobi bears, the only desert-inhabiting bear. The Khongor Sand Dunes are some of the largest and most impressive white sand dunes in Mongolia with the largest dunes up to 800 metres high. The dunes make a sound like a plane engine on a windy day so it has been named as "Singing Dunes". Visit the local camel herding nomad family and experience the nomadic life in the Gobi, have a camel ride through the sand dunes of Khongori. Overnight at the Ger camp.
Day 14: Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park
After breakfast at the camp, continue the journey to Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park. Yol Valley is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. Gobi Gurvan Saikhan Mountains (Three Beauties of Gobi) are three Rocky Mountains, the highest of which is 2815 meters above the sea level. After lunch, take a ride to Yolyn Am, a picturesque place with ice fields even in summer, and surrounded by sheer rocky walls, forming incredible canyons. You will visit a Gobi museum and if you wish to get some hiking to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Late afternoon, we return to the camp for dinner and time at leisure. Overnight at the Ger camp.
Day 15: Terelj National Park
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and flight to Ulaanbaatar (1h 30 m). Transfer to Terelj National Park. We shall see Turtle Rock, have lunch with a nomadic family, visit Temple of Aryavalokiteshvara and Aryabal Monastery. Dinner & overnight at the Ger camp at Terelj National Park.
Day 16: Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast, we will take the transfer to Ulaanbaatar, en route stop at Genghis Khan’s Statue Complex in Tsonjin boldog, visit some souvenir shops, a small museum, after we will drive to the city and start the guided tour visiting Zaisan Memorial and Buddha Garden. In the evening, enjoy 6 pm-Tumen Ekh-traditional folklore concert. Dinner at the hotel restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 17: Naadam Festival
Full-day guided touring the festival, watching competitions, performances, the national culture of wonderful Mongolia: archery, horse riding, nomad culture at its best. We book special seats to allow maximum comfort today, however, please mind we will need to walk to and from the stadium. Please note that while we’re doing everything possible, the schedule of the day might change at late notice due to logistics complications and restrictions implied by the local authorities.
Day 18: Departure
After breakfast, an optional half-day Naadam festival visit. Transfer to the airport/railway station.
The biggest festival (National Naadam) is held in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, during the National Holiday, in the National Sports Stadium. It begins with an elaborate introduction ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders, and musicians. After the ceremony, the competitions begin. The competitions are mainly horseback riding. Naadam is also celebrated in different regions of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia in July and August. In the Tuva Republic, Naadam is on 15 August.
Naadam is a traditional festival in Mongolia. The games are Mongolian wrestling, horse racing, and archery, and are held throughout the country during midsummer. Women have started participating in the archery and girls in the horse-racing games, but not in Mongolian wrestling.
Mongolian traditional wrestling is an untimed competition in which wrestlers lose if they touch the ground with any part of their body other than their feet or hands. When picking pairs, the wrestler with the greatest fame has the privilege to choose his opponent. Wrestlers wear two-piece costumes consisting of a tight shoulder vest (zodog) and shorts (shuudag). Only men are allowed to participate.
Unlike Western horse racing, which consists of short sprints generally not much longer than 2 km, Mongolian horse racing as featured in Naadam is a cross-country event, with races 15–30 km long. The length of each race is determined by age class. For example, two-year-old horses race for ten miles and seven-year-olds for seventeen miles. Up to 1000 horses from any part of Mongolia can be chosen to participate. Racehorses are fed a special diet. Children from 5 to 13 are chosen as jockeys and train in the months preceding the races. While jockeys are an important component, the main purpose of the races is to test the skill of the horses.
In archery competition, both men and women may participate. It is played by teams of ten. Each archer is given four arrows; the team must hit 33 "surs".Men shoot their arrows from 75 meters away while women shoot theirs from 65 meters away. Traditionally the archers wear their national clothing (Deel) during the competition. All the archers wear leather bracers up to the elbow on their outstretched arm, so that the deel’s cuff does not interfere with shooting.
In 2010, Naadam was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
To apply for a visa, citizens of the UK should apply personally through an authorized company (40 GBP for a standard visa, issued in 5 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa only by mail (160 $ NZ for a standard visa, issued in 2-5 days). Citizens of Australia can apply for a visa by mail (230 AUD, issued in 4-5 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada can travel to Mongolia without a visa in case a travel period is less than 90 days.
To apply for a visa, citizens of the UK should apply personally (85 GBP for a visa, issued in 4 days). Сitizens of New Zealand can apply for a visa by mail (140 $ for a visa, issued in 5 days). Citizens of Australia should apply for a visa through Chinese Visa Application Service Centers (109,5 $ AUD, issued in 4-5 days). Citizens of the USA and Canada should apply for visa personally (140 USD for the USA citizens and 100 USD for the citizens of Canada).
3* or 4* hotels In Shanghai (2 nights), Zhangjiajie (2 nights), Xian (2 nights), Beijing (2nights); Ulaanbaatar (3 nights)
5 Nights in deluxe Ger camps (twin share) with en-suite facilities
1 night (days 11-12) in a comfort Ger camp on a twin basis with shared facilities
Welcome dinner in Shanghai
Lunch during Shanghai city tour and Beijing city tour
Full breakfast in the hotels and Ger camps
Lunches and dinners during Mongolia tour
A bottle of water on each day of the Mongolian tour
Shanghai guided tour
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park guided tour
Tianmen Mountain guided tour
Xian guided tour
Beijing guided tour
The Great Wall guided tour
Khogno Khan Nature Reserve guided tour
Uvgun monastery guided tour
Kharkhorin guided tour
Ongi Monastery guided tour
Bayanzag guided tour
the Gobi Desert guided tour
Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park guided tour
Sightseeing and Entrance fees according to the itinerary
English-speaking guides and tour manager
Services of comfortable a/c transportation, including airport - hotel - airport transfers
Local flight (economy class) Shanghai - Zhangjiajie
Local flight (economy class) Zhangjiajie - Xian
Bullet train (standard class) Xian-Beijing
International flight (economy class) from Bejing to Ulaanbaatar
4 WD vehicles in the countryside of Mongolia (3 persons per car)
Local flight (economy class) from South Gobi to Ulaanbaatar
24/7 phone/WhatsApp support line
The tour is fully escorted by English-speaking Tour Director
Travel tips brochure
Experienced local English-speaking guides
Meals not mentioned
Optional tours and activities
The world-famous Terracotta Army
Boundless Gobi Desert
The Great Wall of China
Real Gear Camp Experience
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
Naadam festival - nomad culture at its best
The team at World of Discoveries were awesome. Didn’t put a foot wrong at all, the tours great, the people even better. Alex who followed us around everywhere was fantastic and the organisation by Varya was exceptional. Everything was made easy and extremely helpful 24/7, I don’t think they slept the whole time. Thank you, my dad and myself loved it
Everything worked like clockwork, when someone was suppose to be there they were. Yuri and Cathrine were excellent guides in Moscow and St. Petersburg and we learned a lot from both. We chose the 4 star hotels, and were very satisfied. Would highly recommend this trip to anyone interested.
We have finished our trip in Mongolia and I busted to say thank you very much for all your assistance while we were on the ground in Russia. By far the best guide we had was Yuri in Moscow - he was excellent. We had a very good visit to Novgorod where Natalia was an excellent guide too, and we learnt much about Russian history: It was very good to have the car to take us around the Golden Circle and Victor was a good driver. and the guide in Peterhof and Faberge museum was very nice, approachable, taxis were always waiting for us when we got off the boat etc. We both had a very good holiday and learnt a lot about Russian history and culture: thanks again.
These guys has made my World Cup dream a reality and also provided a spectecular tour of Kazan, Samara & Sochi along the way! The team who made it happen were fantastic, organised, attentive and even fulfilled requests like having window seats on all 3 of my domestic flights not to mention the smooth transportations to and from airports. If you ever want to visit FIFA World Cup, “World of Dsicoveries” is the best way to go!!!!
Peter Gay & Andrew Carroll-Keays
Travelled on the TransMongolian Railway in Feb/Mar. Not too cold. Just take usual ski gear. Great scenery. Organisation was absolutely excellent. Every transfer and every guide were on time. The hotels were all very good. The Russian Sim (provided by the company) was great for keeping in contact with each other and the support line.
Iran / USA
We just returned from the World Cup in Russia where we followed Team Iran. This involved travel to three different stadiums many miles apart. Thank goodness we booked through World of Discoveries (Discovery Russia branch)! They arranged our lodging and transport. They even set us up with local English speaking guides to take us to see the interesting and historical sights of this beautiful land. We had a blast. We met new friends, ate great food, drank great vodka and cheered our team on. It was a trip of a lifetime.