Mongolia 3rd to 10th June 2012
Beijing Extension 10th to 13th June 2012
“If a picture is worth a thousand words then reality is worth a thousand pictures.”
John R Noe author of ‘Peak Performance Principals for High Achievers’
1. The Gobi Desert Programme
The Astronaut Leadership Experience has the aim of developing leadership and team building skills in remote environments. It has been inspired by the training that NASA arranges for astronaut crews and teams. Whilst the Astronaut Leadership Experience replicates aspects of the astronaut training it aims to make the programme enjoyable and culturally insightful.
The programme balances activity with being able to tour the region and see as many highlights as possible.
Sunday, 3rd June
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar.
Meet our guides and drivers to transfer to the Palace Hotel A four star hotel that is situated in Ulaanbaatar near to sites such as the Bogd Khaan Palace Museum, Naadam Stadium and Zaisan Hill.
Check-in to rooms, rest and relax followed by a City Tour with an expert guide.
The tour will include: Sukhbaatar Square, the Museum of National History, Gandantegchilen Main Monastery Complex with Megjidjanraisag Buddha statue, a traditional nomads lunch and downtown Ulaanbaatar.
There will be a shopping opportunity and an evening dinner with Khuumii folk music and shamanism ritual dancing.
Monday, 4th June
After Breakfast we will be transferred to Chinggis Khaan airport to fly to Dalanzadgad in the Gobi desert. The journey will take 1.5 hours. We will then take a 40 minute drive to Yolyn Am to the Juulchin Khanbogd tourist camp and have lunch. Yolyn Am is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains of southern Mongolia and is often translated to Valley of the Vultures or Valley of the Eagles. It is notable for a deep ice field which reaches several meters thick by the end of winter, and is several kilometers long. After lunch there, we will take a 20 minute drive to Yolyn Am Gorge to explore the valley on horse back – here it may be possible to see wild goats in the valley (journey time is estimated at 2 hours). The valley is in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park.
After that we drive back to Khanbogd tourist camp for dinner and stay overnight.
Tuesday, 5th June
After breakfast we drive to Khongoryn Els (4 hours) and check in to the Juulchin Gobi tourist camp. Following lunch, we take a camel ride around the Khongoryn Gol Oasis for 2 hours.
After dinner we will climb to the Sand dunes which can be up to 200 metres high. Khongoryn Els or the ‘Singing Sands’, because of the noise of the wind on the sand are like a movie depiction of a desert.
Wednesday, 6th June
An early morning wake up to observe the Transit of Venus, never again to be seen in our lifetimes. We will take breakfast and lunch during the Transit which will last from around 6 am until 1 pm. We then drive to Bayanzag (2 hours) and check in to the Gobi Tour tourist camp. Bayanzag is known as the Flaming Cliffs site and is famous for fossil finds dating from the 1920’s, including the first discovery of dinosaur eggs, specimens of Velociraptor, small mammals and primates. The area is rich in saxaul (thorny bushes) forests.
Thursday, 7th June
Start with breakfast followed by a drive to the Ongi monastery ruins (4 hours) in the Ongi endless steppe. We will stay at the Secret of Ongi tourist camp. After lunch here we will explore Ongi monastery – ruins of two huge monasteries that were destroyed in 1939 by the Communist Government. We will hike and climb up Delger mountain to view the surrounding spectacular countryside.
Friday, 8th June
Following breakfast we drive to Karakorum (5 hours) the ancient capital of the Mongolian Empire. We will explore the nearby Palaeolithic cave drawings and rock paintings, visit a nomadic family and have lunch in picnic and check in to Munkhtenger tourist camp. In the afternoon we will visit Erdene Zuu monastery complex which is probably the most ancient surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia and is part of a World Heritage Site.
Saturday, 9th June
After breakfast we drive to Khustai National park (4 hours). We then check in to Khustai Centre and have lunch. In the afternoon we will hike in the National Park in the Khustai Mountain range. The park is a reserve for takhi, Mongolian wild horses. In addition there are maral, Asiatic red deer, steppe gazelle, boar, manul (small wild cats), wolves and lynx.
Sunday, 10th June
After breakfast we will take a 1 hour drive to Chinggis Khaan International Airport, Ulaanbaatar.
The ISSET Team will be departing at 1150 on Sunday, 3rd June 2012 from Ulaanbaatar on Air Chinaand arriving at Beijing at 1400
Sunday, 10th June.
Arrive in Beijing: Be met by our guide and transfer to the Crowne Plaza Beijing Chaoyang U Town which is located at Beijings Central Business District and 24km from Beijing Capital International Airport. The hotel is close to the city’s newest shopping mall, restaurants, bars and shopping.
Monday, 11th June
After breakfast we will visit the 8th Wonder of the World, the Great Wall at the Mutianyu. There will be a round trip cable car for getting around. After the visit, we will have lunch at a local Jade Gallery.
In the afternoon we will visit the Ming Dynasty Tombs which includes a visit to the first tomb of the13 Ming Dynasty Emperors area and the Sacred Way.
On the way back to the city we will stop at the Olympic villages, the Beijing National Olympic Stadium – Bird’s Nest and the Beijing 2008 National Swimming Centre – Watercube.
Evening: Visit Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics followed by dinner.
Tuesday, 12th June
After breakfast we will set off for a full day tour to the Temple of Heaven. On the way it may be possible to see the local people taking morning exercises and possibly join them in Tai Chi, Ball Room Dancing, Singing or even playing a game of cards.
We will visit the Lama Temple and lunch will be arranged at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon we will visit the Forbidden City, which served as the home of emperors for almost 500 years.
Evening: Visit Beijing elementary school followed by dinner.
Wednesday, 13th June
Departure transfer for the flight home.
Thankyou for following my journey. I will be keeping a hand written journal and Gillian and i will also be filming regulat video blogs.
3 days till we leave Glasgow now and I am very excited.