• Work on a community project helping renovate and restore a school and medical facility in a remote village
  • Trek through the Harhiraa Mountains
  • Follow the migratory routes of the Khotont nomadic families
  • Camp in the Mongolian steppe
  • Experience Kazakh people who are renowned as eagle hunters and trainers

Our unique trek is through the Harhiraa Mountains in the greater Altai Range. This is home to a small and intriguing ethnic group called the "Khotont". Our trek follows the migratory routes of the Khotont families along the Harhiraa river gorge and to the 3000mtr pass between Harhiraa and Turgen peaks. We'll pass evidence of ancient nomadic people in the form of Turkic gravestone markers. The landscape is dominated by the open slopes dotted with nomad tents, deep river gorges, alpine lakes and inspiring capped peaks. The second part of the journey takes us to a small village to complete our community project. Close to the village live the Nomadic guides and horseman whom have accompanied us on our trek, and some of their children attend the school we will be working on.


Start and Finishing Point:





Arrival in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to 4* hotel in city center. Welcome dinner and trip orientation in the evening.

Meals:  D

Transfer to airport and fly to Uvs province in NW Mongolia inhabited by several ethnic minorities, the largest of which are Durvud people. They speak a dialect slightly different from the common Mongolian tongue and are famous for “nursing” some of the legendary wrestlers of the nation. Just before landing you will see the country’s largest Lake - Uvs. After lunch we take 1.5 hour car transfer to Kharkhiraa river canyon mouth and establish our first tent camp. In the evening we will be joined by nomadic Khoton people who will accompany us as pack camel drivers as well as local guides. Personal baggage and camp equipment will be carried on Bactrian camels.

Meals:  B,L,D

We start walking upstream in the canyon of Kharkhiraa river, that takes its source from snow capped mountains high above. Just like a snake it winds along rocky edges, steep cliffs and occasional and sparse poplar groves. Several times we will have to cross the river. In deep places we will ride across on our guides’ horses. This very route is used by the Khoton when they migrate from their winter quarters to high mountain summer pastures. With some luck we may see a real migration: a few camels laden with most unpretentious belongings led by horsemen moving fast along the riverside. The Khoton population is about ten thousand. Although of Turkic origin their language and life style is nowadays Mongolian. In the afternoon we leave the canyon behind and camp in a wide valley with scattered burials of Bronze Age. Hiking distance: 13 km (8 mi) Altitude change: +300 m (900 ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

We trek further upstream and there open views of the Kharkhiraa peak and other snow clad mountains. Numerous burial mounds with round and square collars lie on our route. We will also see yurts of local nomads and their animals grazing on rich mountain pastures. Surely we visit a family or two to say hello, to drink milk tea and to learn about “whats, hows and whys” of nomadic living. This evening we establish our camp. Trekking distance: 17 km (11 mi) Altitude change: +600 m (1800 ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning if there is a chance we will stop at a local herder’s to see how Mongolian traditional homemade yogurt, curd and other dairies are made. Certainly we will try it too. Back on trail the valley rapidly bends and from around the corner there comes an impressive view of the snow-crowned Kharkhiraa massif. Its glacier covered summit lies at 4037 m (12,111 ft) above sea level. Having feasted our eyes on it, we directly approach the main pass that divides the Kharkhiraa from the neighboring Turgen massifs and camp just below the pass. Our campsite is in just a hiking distance from the glaciers which give “birth” to the river headspring. Trekking distance: 17 km (11 mi) Altitude change: +400 m (1200 ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

Short but steep climb brings atop of the flat pass. Depending on the weather we may find ourselves at same level as clouds but still a good 1000 m (3000 ft) separate us from the Kharkhiraa summit. The scale of the views is immense: snow capped mountains, distant desert plains, turquoise lakes glittering below in the valleys and even Sayan mountain range in Russia can be seen in clear weather. We will then climb a lateral ridge of the Turgen range to 3600 m (10,800 ft) to enjoy bird eye views of amphitheatres and cascades made of ice. Although physically quite strenuous the climbing route is safe enough. We return to camp late. Trekking distance: 15 km (9 mi) Altitude change: +1000 m (3000 ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

We can climb the Turgen ridge today if weather didn’t allowed us do it the previous day or trek around a few alpine lakes that lie at 3000 m (9000 ft) in the inner bend of the Turgen range. Or you can laze in the camp resting and restoring our energy.

Meals:  B,L,D

The descent route lies across a high mountain plateau dotted with lakes and mossy hills. Looking back we will see the west face of the Kharkhiraa mountain. Sparsely located nomadic homes that we start seeing this afternoon speak for the relative low altitudes that we have come to. Tonight we camp by a small stream. Trekking distance: 19 km (12 mi) Altitude change: - 600 m (1800 ft)

Meals:  B,L,D

The small stream disappears into a deep canyon, but we will hike along the top of it across open country following the seasonal migration trail of local nomads. We eventually make our way to the bottom of a wooded gorge with some rapids and camp. Trees and ozone rich air will give us a refreshing feeling. Trekking distance: 17 km (11 mi)

Meals:  B,L,D

We say good-bye to our local guides and drive (5-6 hours) to Olgi, the capital of Bayan Olgi province. 90% of the local population is comprised of Muslim Kazakhs. Upon arriving in Olgi we settle in a cozy hotel. For dinner tonight we will get invited to a local Kazakh family. In this homey setting we enjoy traditional delicacies, music and songs.

Meals:  B,L,D

As part of the Mongolian president's One Billion Trees initiative, throughout the country, citizens plant trees in large scales. We help Ulgii town community planting trees, or watering freshly planted trees, and cleaning the local park. In the evening, we settle back in our hotel and prepare for our flight back to Ulaanbaatar.

Meals:  B,L,D

Transfer to airport and fly back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival transfer to and settle in your hotel. You may enjoy the rest of the day shopping and exploring the capital. In the evening we all gather for a farewell dinner. Lunch not included today.

Meals:  B,D

Transfer for your return travel home.

Meals:  B

Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health And Well-being:  Ensuring healthy lives and promoting the well-being for all at all ages is essential to sustainable development.

Quality Education:  Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development.

Industry Innovation And Infrastructure:  Investments in infrastructure are crucial to achieving sustainable development.

Reduced Inequalities:  To reduce inequalities, policies should be universal in principle, paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

Learning outcomes for students

World Expeditions Schools journeys are designed to encourage positive personal development and the learning of life skills, while leaving the communities and environments we travel to, in a better condition than when we arrived.
The programs are designed to:
• build strong friendships and bonds with their peers, their teachers, and the local people they meet.
• increase the confidence to engage with new people, and collaboratively make informed decisions.
• discover the benefits of working cooperatively together as a cohesive team, to achieve a common objective.
• Increase the ability to face, and cope with, mental and physical challenges and therefore increase resilience.
• give students a chance to appreciate and care for the natural world. The environments we travel through are beautiful and often pristine, invariably the students will gain a deeper appreciation and understanding about how their individual actions impact on the environment.
• Learn personal skills i.e., time management, personal hygiene, responsibility for personal gear, patience, tolerance, and public speaking.
We help encourage students to learn what it means to be a true global citizen.


  • Full medical kit
  • 12 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 12 dinners
  • Internal flights within Mongolia
  • Airport transfers throughout in Mongolia
  • Expert bilingual guide and extensive wilderness first aid medical kit
  • Pack animal support during trek
  • Comfortable well located hotel in Ulaan Baatar & fully supported camping during trek
  • Private transport throughout in well maintained vehicles
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Materials and required tools for the one day community project in Tarialan village

  • Sleeping bag rental
  • Aerated drinks and bottled water
  • Items of a personal nature such as phone calls, laundry, email etc.
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Visa costs
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory)



This Mongolia Adventure is rated level 5 - moderate. We therefore advise that any physical training you complete before undertaking the trip will be to good effect. In preparation for your trip you should be doing at least one hour of good cardiovascular exercise, 3 - 5 times per week for approximately 3 months prior to your trip. Remember the fitter you are the more enjoyable your experience will be.

Customise your program

We can fully customise a School Travel Program to suit your students' learning objectives and budget. Whether you require a Service Learning program, physical challenge, cultural immersion or certain curriculum targets - talk to one of our educational travel experts about the elements you need in your itinerary. We pride ourselves on developing unique itineraries to meet the learning requirements for schools.

World Expeditions Schools is a division of one of the world's leading adventure travel companies, World Expeditions. We can develop itineraries in any destination that is offered by World Expeditions, which is to every continent on earth.

Use our simple Expedition Design Form to contact us with your requirements and an educational travel expert will be in touch to assist.

Why travel with us

Why travel with us

Assisted over
14,000 Students Worldwide

Since the 1980's, we have helped students from around the globe to experience the world's most exciting destinations, allowing them to travel, give, grow.

400+ Service Learning

Together with students, we have completed over 400 Service Learning programs in developing countries. We will always continue to support causes including social justice, animal welfare, the environment and more.

Fully Customised
School Travel Programs

Want to include service learning, your school curriculum and a physical challenge, or any of the above? Contact us and we can design a program fully catered for your students and budget.

Safety and
Support - Our #1 Priority

Every school receives a detailed risk management plan that is guided by government advisories and the local partners we work with. We never compromise on the safety of your students to reduce the price of the program.


Want to find out more?

Our educational travel experts are ready to help you tailor an itinerary or service learning project to suit your school’s needs and budget. Contact us today to receive a free consultation.

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