Getting on/off the bus. Respectful dress (long sleeves, long pants or long skirt, removal of hat) to be observed when visiting Bogd Khaan Palace.
Buffet at the hotel, with a choice of juice, coffee, tea, and water.
At leisure, until 11:00 a.m., when we'll gather in the lobby of the hotel to depart for Gandan. Gandategchinlen—translated as “the great place of complete joy”—the monastery on Dalkha Hill where a monk will shed light on Buddhism and tell us about the monastery. The original building, dating from 1809, was in the center of the city. The structure we see today was built in 1838 and became the country’s primary center of Tantric Buddhism. In the 1930s, the Communist government carried out the destruction of nearly 1,000 monasteries and the murder of many thousands of Buddhist lamas (venerated spiritual teachers). Gandan was one of the few that survived physically, though its gold and bronze Megjid Janraisig statue of the Buddha was taken to Russia during World War II and allegedly melted down for bullets. After the fall of Communism in the 1990s, the monastery was rejuvenated and the massive statue was rebuilt with nation-wide donations. Said to be the largest indoor statue in the world, it stands more than 75 feet (23 meters) high.
At a local restaurant, with coffee, tea, and water included; other beverages are available for purchase.
We'll visit the Bogd Khaan Palace Museum. Mongolia’s last Bogd Khaan, or Living Buddha, lived for 20 years in this compound, built between 1893 and 1903. Unlike other old sites in Ulaanbaatar, this one escaped destruction in the Stalinist purges of the 1930s. Six temples remain, as does a ceremonial gate built without the use of nails. On display are many of the gifts presented to the Bogd Khaan. We'll then visit Buddha Park and the Memorial on Zaisan Hill above Ulaanbaatar, honoring Mongolian and Soviet soldiers killed in WWII. Its sculptures and murals celebrate Mongolian-Soviet friendship, and a Soviet tank that Mongolia contributed to the war effort is enshrined. The 300-stair climb to the top of the hill rewards you with panoramic views of Ulaanbaatar and the surrounding mountains. We’ll then enjoy a folk performance at the Drama Theater, including music, dance, and throat singing.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a farewell-to-Mongolia dinner and drink a toast our Mongolian adventure. Share favorite experiences with your new Road Scholar friends.
At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.