Michael A. Firman’s
Here is the itinerary for the trip as given to us by Nomadic Expeditions, Inc. This document has been only slightly changed from the original (mostly just reformatting for this Web page.) For the most part, we stuck to this schedule (I have tried to indicate a few places where the expedition deviated from this itinerary).
Sunday, August 17 - Check-in
- 11:20 pm - Check-in at the Korean Air Ticket Counter, Los Angeles International Airport.
Monday, August 18 - Depart Los Angeles
- 1:20 am - Depart Los Angeles on Korean Air Flight KE012 (Please note that one day is "lost" crossing the International Dateline.)
Tuesday, August 19 - Seoul/Ulaanbaatar
- 6:35 am - Arrive in Seoul.
- 8:00 am - Check-in at the Korean Air International Ticket Counter.
- 10:00 am - Depart Seoul on Korean Air flight KE6867
- 1:30 pm - Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. After completing immigration formalities, enter the baggage claim area and collect your luggage and clear customs. Once outside the customs area, you will be met by Badral, your Mongolian guide and translator. You will be escorted to a bus for your transfer to the Ulaanbaatar Hotel. The afternoon will be free to rest and acclimate. In the evening, the group will reconvene for a welcome dinner.
Wednesday, August 20 -Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast, enjoy a city tour of Ulaanbaatar, with visits to Gandan monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia, and the Mongolian History Museum. Following lunch at the hotel, spend the afternoon at the Museum of Natural History with lectures on the various fossils on display. (MAF Note: We actually met with Dr. Barsbold and others at the Museum at this time since Dr. Barsbold was leaving for London that day and would not be able to meet us later when we returned from the Tugrigiin Shiree.)
Thursday, August 21 - Hustain Nuruu National Reserve
This morning you will drive about 1.5 hours outside of the capital to the Hustain Nuruu National Reserve. This Reserve is home to Przewalski's Horse, the last remaining species of truly wild horse in the world. These horses were reintroduced into the wild in 1994 by the Foundation for the Preservation and Protection of Przewalski's Horse, who flew 16 horses from the Netherlands to Mongolia, their natural habitat, 25 years after they became extinct in the wild. Since then, more than 12 mares have given birth to healthy foals in Mongolia.
Friday, August 22 -Ulaanbaatar/Gobi
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your morning flight to the Gobi. Upon arrival, drive to the South Gobi base camp. This afternoon, explore Yol Valley National Park, cradled between the peaks of the Altai mountains. A trek through this surprisingly green valley provides an opportunity to spot indigenous lanimergeiers, Altai snowcocks, ibex, yaks and Argali mountain sheep. Overnight in comfortable gers, the traditional felt tents of nomadic herders.
Saturday- Monday, August 23-25 - Flaming Cliffs
After breakfast on Saturday, you will drive to Bayan Zag, otherwise known as the Flaming Cliffs. Here you will set up your tent camp near the site of Roy Chapman Andrews' 1923 camp. Over the next few days, you will prospect in the bright red sandstones of the Djadokhta formation, containing Protoceratops fossils, dinosaur eggs, prehistoric mammals, and even hadrosaurs. Overnight at tent camp.
Tuesday, August 26 - Flaming Cliffs/Base Camp
Spend the morning prospecting in the Flaming Cliffs. After lunch, drive back to the ger camp for some R&R, including a shower. Dinner and overnight at ger camp.
Wednesday-Saturday, August 27-30 - Tugrigiin Shiree
Wednesday morning you will drive from the ger camp to Tugrigiin Shiree, the sight where the famous "Fighting Dinosaurs" were discovered. Prospect the rich deposits found in these spectacular cliffs with a chance to discover velociraptor, protoceratops, lizards and more. Drive back to your tent camp each night for dinner and overnight. (MAF Note: We camped right at the Tugrigiin Shiree site so we did not have to commute back and forth to the site each day.)
Sunday, August 31 - Base Camp
After breakfast, break down the tent camp and return to the ger camp to celebrate your last night in the Gobi. Dinner and overnight in ger camp.
Monday, September 1 - Gobi/Ulaanbaatar
Fly back to Ulaanbaatar this morning and transfer to your hotel. This afternoon you will be treated to a special behind-the-scenes visit to Dr. Barsbold's lab. Dr. Barsbold is the leading Mongolian paleontologist, and you will see spectacular fossils as they are being prepared, before they are placed on display for the general public. (MAF Note: We did, indeed, visit the lab again at this time but, as noted above, Dr. Barsbold was in London at this time.) Tonight, enjoy a gala farewell dinner in a large ger restaurant, modeled after Chingis Khan's original ger.
Tuesday, September 2 - Ulaanbaatar/Seoul/LA
Morning free. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your flight to Seoul.
- 3:00 pm - Depart Ulaanbaatar on Korean Air flight KE6868
- 6:10 pm - Arrive in Seoul.
- 7:05 pm - Depart Seoul on Korean Air flight KE015
- 2:00 pm - Arrive at Los Angeles International Airport. (Please note that you arrive the same day that you depart after re-crossing the International Dateline.)