Remarkable experiences. extraordinary value.

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

24 Nights featuring Ulaanbaatar, the Gobi Desert, Tokyo, Kobe, Hiroshima and Mt. Fuji

Includes airfare, hotel, tours, baggage handling, transfers, and more!

Departs: August 11, 2019

About This Journey

Mongolia, known for its vast landscapes and nomadic lifestyle, is often regarded as the last frontier for travel—an untouched destination few can claim to know. This remote region of the world is an explorer’s dream, as the lack of mass tourism provides a truly authentic and intimate experience for the few travelers who visit these nomadic homelands. Hospitality bears strong roots in Mongolia’s culture, and it is one of the only places left on earth where nomadic life is still a living tradition. On this incredible 24-night Enrichment Journey you will experience the local hospitality firsthand, becoming fully immersed in the culture as you chat with locals over a traditional dinner in their ger (home). You will learn about the history of the Mongols and enjoy traditional dance, music and singing. You will marvel at the natural landscapes as you explore the endless dunes of the Gobi Desert, sleep under the stars in traditional ger accommodations and watch wild horses gallop along the vast plains. After one week in Mongolia, you will surely leave with inspirational stories and fond memories. Then, travel to Japan to start the second half of your cultural Journey. In Tokyo you will visit temples and shrines, relax on a river cruise and experience a traditional Japanese meal. Then, embark the Azamara Quest for your cruise to nine different ports in Japan and one in South Korea, each providing a unique opportunity to discover the deeply rooted culture of the region. For those who are intrigued and inspired by immersive cultural experiences, this is truly the Journey of a lifetime.

Small Group Departure – due to the numerous cultural activities and interactions with local families, this Enrichment Journey will have a maximum of 20 guests.

Visits: Gobi Desert; Ulaanbaatar and Terelj, Mongolia; Tokyo, Aomori, Akita, Kanazawa, Sakaiminato, Kitakyushu, Hiroshima, Takamatsu, Kobe, Mt. Fuji (Shimizu), Japan; Busan, South Korea and Beijing, China; Azamara Cruises, Azamara Quest; SASE

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Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

Day Port Arrival Departure
1 Arrive Beijing – Transfer to Hotel for Overnight
2 Beijing to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – Transfer to Hotel and Welcome Dinner
3 Ulaanbaatar – City Tour
4 Ulaanbaatar – Tour of Hustai National Park
5 Ulaanbaatar to Gobi Desert – Tour of Gorge and Petroglyphs
6 Gobi Desert – Tour of Dunes and Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
7 Gobi Desert to Terelj National Park – Naadam Show
8 Terelj National Park to Ulaanbaatar – Tour of Chinggis Statue and Farewell Lunch
9 Mongolia to Tokyo – Flight and Tokyo and Welcome Dinner
10 Tokyo – City Tour
11 Tokyo – Transfer to Port for Embarkation 5:00 PM
12 At Sea
13 Aomori, Japan 9:30 AM 6:00 PM
14 Akita, Japan 8:00 AM 2:00 PM
15 Kanazawa, Japan 9:00 AM 6:00 PM
16 Sakaiminato, Japan 8:00 AM 5:30 PM
17 Busan, South Korea 9:00 AM 10:00 PM
18 Kitakyushu, Japan 8:00 AM 10:00 PM
19 Hiroshima, Japan 8:00 AM 10:00 PM
20 Takamatsu, Japan 12:00 PM 10:00 PM
21 Kobe, Japan 8:00 AM
22 Kobe, Japan 2:00 PM
23 Mt. Fuji (Shimizu), Japan 10:00 AM 7:00 PM
24 Tokyo, Japan 8:00 AM
25 Tokyo, Japan – Disembark and Transfer to Airport

**Please note that this itinerary is subject to change at anytime, including port of call changes. Please call a Personal Vacation Manager with any questions.

Land Package Highlights

Day 1 – Arrive in Beijing
Upon arrival at the airport, meet your Enrichment Journey Guide, who will assist with getting you to the hotel shuttle and transferring to the hotel. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner. (D)


Day 2 – Beijing to Ulaanbaatar
Transfer back to the airport terminal for a morning flight to Ulaanbaatar. Founded in 1639 as a moveable Buddhist monastic center, Ulaanbaatar settled permanently at its present location on the Tuul River in 1778. The city is home to almost half of the country’s 2.7M population, and the name Ulaanbaatar, meaning “Red Hero”, was given to the city in 1924 following the creation of the Mongolian People’s Republic.

Upon arrival, the group will meet your Enrichment Journey guide, who will assist with transferring you to the hotel.

Sukhbaatar Square

After checking in, you will have some time to get settled in. This afternoon, meet your guide in the lobby and head out on a leisurely walk across the impressive Sukhbaatar Square. We will then head south towards the city’s main park and enter a small theater, where we will enjoy an intimate performance of music and dance by the Tumen Ekh Ensemble. After the show, sit down to dinner at one of the city’s best traditional Mongolian restaurants. (B, D)

Day 3 – Ulaanbaatar
After a leisurely breakfast, meet your guide in the hotel lobby and drive a short distance to Gandan Monastery. This Tibetan-style monastery is situated on the edge of the city’s ger district and was constructed by

Gandan Monastery

the order of Emperor Yongzheng in 1727. It was one of the few monasteries to escape the Soviet purges of the 1930s, being spared as an example of Mongolia’s feudal past. Since the fall of communism in 1990 it has been renovated and restored into a working monastery and currently has over 150 monks in residence. We will enter the temples, including that of the Mijig Janraisig with its enormous golden Buddha statue,

then proceed to the old temple complex to listen to the chanting ceremonies. Afterwards, walk a short distance to visit a Mongolian Shaman and experience a traditional shamanic ritual performance.

Mongolian Shaman

The ancient practice of shamanism has been protected by Mongolia’s constitution since 1992. Many modern Mongols consider shamanism not as a religion, but rather as a way to communicate with people who lived long ago. We will then drive a short distance to the architectural masterpiece of the Choijin Lama Temple and enjoy lunch on the terrace of a secluded café overlooking the temple museum. In the afternoon we will visit the Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, built by the spiritual leader and theocratic ruler of Mongolia, Bogd Khan, between 1893 and 1903. The palace complex consists of seven temples, grouped symmetrically around two courtyards, with the exterior finishes painted in

Bogd Khan Winter Palace

bright red, green, blue, white, and gold. After the death of the Khan in 1924, the Winter Palace was turned into a museum, and today the collection includes over 8,000 pieces. Afterwards, we will continue to the impressive National History Museum, which showcases the country’s fascinating past. Return to the hotel where the rest of the evening will be at your leisure. (B, L)


Day 4 – Ulaanbaatar and Hustai National Park

Hustai National Park horses

Hustai National Park horses

This morning we will journey outside of the city, where a local community of nomadic herders will spend several hours with our group to demonstrate their traditional way of life. Observe them tending to their animals, watch them produce curds and dairy products, discover the manufacturing processes of felts, wool and cashmere, see a ger (traditional nomadic house) being dismantled and see how the herders move their encampment using yak and camel carts to another location. You will also experience other traditional activities such as music and throat singing, bow and arrow shooting practice and a horse show. We will enjoy lunch at the camp, then continue on to Hustai National Park. The park’s area was used in the early 20th Century as a hunting ground for Bogd Khaan, the last king of Mongolia, and afterwards by Mongolian political officials. The park has never had a permanent settlement or been used for agriculture, and in 1993 it was designated as a Specially Protected Area, one year after the project initiation for the reintroduction of the Takhi horses. The population of horses has thrived ever since, and there are now over 220 of them roaming free in the park. In addition to the abundant plant and bird life, the park is also home to red deer, gazelle, roe deer, wild boar, argali, ibex, marmots, grey wolves, lynx, pallas cats, corsac foxes and Eurasian badgers. We will drive into the park and spend some time enjoying the outdoors and spotting wildlife. We will then drive back to Ulaanbaatar, where you will have the rest of the evening at your leisure. (B, L)

Traditional Nomadic Dishes

Traditional Nomadic Dishes

Day 5 – Ulaanbaatar to Gobi Desert
Today we will fly to the Gobi Desert early in the morning. The Gobi Desert covers much of southern Mongolia, and about 40% of the country as a whole. It is characterized by barren expanses of gravel plains and rocky outcrops—with only a few areas of sand dunes. After landing, we will drive to Yol Am, a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains, and park up at the head of the valley. Keep a look out for birds of prey and ibex on top of the rocky outcrops above you as you wander down into the gorge. You will have some free time for a leisurely walk around the area. As you walk down the valley the steep rock faces close in and the stream that crisscrosses the path disappears under sheets of ice (there may not be much ice in the summer months but there should be some). After you have explored the area, we will continue driving through the rocky tracks—looking out for herds of white-tailed gazelles and white-naped cranes. We will continue to Khavtsgait to explore the petroglyphs, a collection of ancient engravings thought to date back as early as 3000 B.C. We will spend some time searching the surrounding rocks for the ancient engravings that dot the area. You will be surprised by how many there are! From this vantage point there is also a fantastic view of the surrounding plains. Afterwards, continue to an eco-lodge located near the Gurvansaikhan Gobi National Park, our home in the desert for the next two nights. We will be “glamping” in an upgraded version of the nomadic traditional houses. After a relaxing dinner at the lodge, enjoy an evening of stargazing before cozying into your private ger for the night. (B, L, D)

Flaming Cliffs

Flaming Cliffs

Day 6 – Gobi Desert
After a leisurely breakfast we will drive a short distance to the Moltsog Els sand dunes, which offer magnificent desert scenery. You will then visit a local camel-herding family living nearby for an authentic cooking class. We will enter their ger, experience nomadic hospitality and sample delicious Mongolian specialties such as milk tea and homemade produce like yogurt and dried curds. Then roll up your sleeves and try your hand at Mongolian cooking! With the family’s guidance and your guide’s help, you will make one of the traditional nomadic dishes—perhaps buuz (steamed dumplings), huushur (fried dumplings) or khorkhog (steamed mutton with hot stones). Then, we will all enjoy the fruits of our efforts for lunch! In the afternoon, we will head out to the Flaming Cliffs to admire the orange glow at dusk. It was here in 1923 that Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his exploration team from the American Museum of Natural History found the first nest of fossilized dinosaur eggs, and it remains one of the most famous paleontological sites in the world. Enjoy some leisure time around the spectacular sandstone formations to stroll around this paleontological wonder from both atop the cliffs and down on the valley floor. Vehicles will be on hand to drive you if you prefer not to walk. Afterwards, return to the lodge for dinner and enjoy your last night in the Gobi Desert. (B, L, D)

Ger (traditional nomadic house)

Terelj National Park with a Ger (traditional nomadic house) in view

Day 7 – Gobi Desert to Terelj National Park
Return to the capital by air and then journey east to the Terelj National Park. The National Park yields some great scenery which makes it a very popular weekend getaway for the locals. We will pass through the main valley and then head outside of the main tourist area toward the Terelj Hotel, the most luxurious hotel in Mongolia. After settling in to the hotel, you are in for a special treat! Performers and athletes from the area will give our group a private show—a “Mini-Naadam”—where you will experience the true essence of Mongolia’s rich culture and sporting prowess. The full festival, held in mid-July, is the nation’s largest holiday and includes many interesting traditions such as wrestling, horse racing, archery and horse herder competitions. All those contests plus a traditional Mongolian dance show will be performed privately for our group within the Terelj National Park. After the fun and festivities, return to your hotel where you can unwind at the pool, spa or jacuzzi, or perhaps have a drink in one of the distinctive lounges. (B, L, D)

Please note that Enrichment Journeys must have a minimum of ten guests on this tour to host a private show. If the group size is less than ten, we will replace the show with alternate cultural experiences.

Chingis Khaan Statue

Chingis Khaan Statue

Day 8 – Terelj National Park to Ulaanbaatar
On the way back to Ulaanbaatar, we will stop at the remarkable Chinggis (Genghis) Khan Statue complex near Erdene. Built in 2008, the statue is 130 feet tall and depicts the renowned Mongolian leader on horseback, at the place where, according to legend, he found a golden whip. The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace. Once you arrive, you will have the option to climb up inside until you reach the exterior staircase, which runs up the mane of the horse to a viewpoint overlooking the Tuul River, the Terelj National Park and the hills of Khan Khentii, Chinggis’ homeland. Then it’s back to Ulaanbaatar to enjoy a farewell lunch in one of our favorite city restaurants. The rest of the day will be at your leisure. (B, L)

Day 9 – Ulaanbaatar to Tokyo
Today is a travel day. Transfer to the airport in Ulaanbaatar for your flight to Tokyo. As there are no direct flights, this route will include a layover. Once in Tokyo, transfer to your hotel for check-in and an included dinner at the hotel. (B, D)

Ginza District

Ginza District

Day 10 – Tokyo
Meet your guide in the lobby and get ready to discover the highlights of Tokyo on a full-day guided tour, the perfect introduction to the city. Visit Meiji Shrine, Japan’s most famous Shinto shrine, stroll the plaza of the Imperial Palace, and spend time at Asakusa Kannon Temple (Senso-ji), Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple. See shopping areas like Nakamise Shopping Street and the Ginza district, and enjoy a relaxing boat cruise on the Sumida River. Your experienced guide will share the history and culture of Tokyo as you explore the ancient and modern aspects of this bustling city. In the evening, enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tokyo at twilight at the Roppongi Hills Observatory atop Mori Tower. Then, indulge in an authentic shabu-shabu dinner (popular hot pot dishes prepared with thin slices of beef (vegetarian option available) cooked fondu-style) at a traditional Japanese eatery. Immerse yourself in Japanese food culture for an evening to remember! (B, L, D)

Day 11 – Tokyo Embarkation
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the port, where you will board the Azamara Quest for an immersive 14-night cruise around Japan. (B)

Day 12–24: Cruising

Day 25 – Tokyo Disembarkation
Enjoy breakfast onboard, then disembark the Azamara Quest and transfer to the airport for your return flight home. Optional 2 night Tokyo extension available, see “special offers” section for details.

For meals not included in your land programs, all hotels chosen include a restaurant on property where you may relax and enjoy a meal. In addition, your guide is available to make suggestions on nearby dining, shopping or sightseeing.

Port Highlights

Tokyo, Japan: Yokohama and Edo began life as sleepy fishing villages. That changed in the early 17th century after Tokugawa Ieyasu became Shogun. Edo became the center of political power in Japan, a position the city retained even after the restoration of Imperial rule in 1866. Contemporary Tokyo may be the most astonishing city on earth. It’s a paradoxical mix of ancient tradition and postmodern culture. The Ginza—an international shopping mecca—stands near the serene grounds of the Imperial Palace, and the hyper-speed of 21st century consumerism is mysteriously reconciled with the elegance and serenity of traditional culture. Tokyo provides the traveler with a dizzying experience. With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Edo was renamed Tokyo, the “Eastern Capital,” to distinguish it from the old imperial capital at Kyoto, the “Western Capital.”

Shimizu, Japan: Shimizu is gateway to Japan’s famed Hakone National Park, a wonderland of forests, mountains and hot springs. While spending the day at your leisure, opt to board an aerial tram for a tour of the Owakudani Valley, a geothermal wonderland of boiling mineral springs. Cruise Lake Ashi aboard a unique, Viking-style vessel for serene views of Mt. Fuji. Many exciting landmarks are nearby to visit during your port stay.

Kobe, Japan: Kobe is the fifth-largest city in Japan and is the capital city of Hyogo Prefecture on the southern side of the main island of Honshu. Its name comes from “kanbe”, an archaic title for supporters of the city’s Ikuta Shrine. The earliest written records regarding the region come from the Nihon Shoki, which describes the founding of the Ikuta Shrine by Empress Jing in AD 201. For most of its history the area was never a single political entity, even during the Tokugawa Period, when the port was controlled directly by the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kobe did not exist in its current form until its founding in 1889. Kobe was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion and has since been known as a cosmopolitan port city. While the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake diminished much of Kobe’s prominence as a port city, it remains Japan’s fourth busiest container port. The city is the point of origin and namesake of Kobe beef as well as the site of one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts, Arima Onsen. Kobe is also your gateway to Kyoto, Japan’s ancient imperial capital and the nation’s cultural and spiritual center.

Hiroshima, Japan: Cruise to Hiroshima, Japan, with Celebrity Cruises. Visit Itsukushima Shrine, established approximately 1400 years ago, which includes more than 20 buildings and see the “Grand Gate” monument that looks as if it’s floating on the sea.

Busan, South Korea: It is Busan’s premier trading port, adjacent to the Korean Straits and Japan, that makes it an international metropolis but its beautiful sea vistas that make it a charming place to unwind. Experience the serenity of Beomeo-sa Temple, climb the Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park and rejuvenate at Hushimchung Spa.

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

Included Features

  • Round-trip international airfare, transfers and baggage handling
  • One-night pre-cruise hotel stay in China
    • Beijing, China—one-night hotel stay
      • Welcome Dinner
  • Seven-night pre-cruise land program in Mongolia
    • Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia—four-night hotel stay
      • Welcome Dinner and Show
      • Full-day city tour
      • Full-day tour to Hustai National Park
      • Half-day tour to Chinggis (Genghis Khan) Statue
    • Gobi Desert, Mongolia—two-night hotel stay
      • Full-day tour of Yol Am Gorge and Khavsgait Petroglyphs
      • Full-day tour of Moltsog Els Dunes and Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs
    • Terelj National Park, Mongolia—one-night hotel stay
      • Full-day private cultural show and experience
  • Two-night pre-cruise land progran in Japan
    • Tokyo, Japan—two-night hotel stay
      • Welcome dinner
      • Full-day city tour
  • Tour Leader throughout Mongolia land program and Local Tour Hosts during included tours
  • Most meals while on tour (see itinerary highlights) and all meals while onboard
  • 14-night sailing aboard Azamara Quest
    • 10% Off Shore Excursions (see “Special Offers”)
    • Amenities included during your Azamara cruise:
      • AzAmazing Evenings℠ event
      • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
      • Gratuities
      • Bottle water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
      • Self-service laundry
      • Shuttle service to and from port communities where available
      • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

What to Expect on Your Trip


Most days during the land portion will include full-day tours. The overall pace is rather quick, as there is much to see in these regions, however there is a healthy mix of both visits to cultural sites and time to enjoy the landscape and scenery.  Most days include all three meals. There are a couple days where only two meals are included, allowing the third meal to be at your leisure. All hotels will have a restaurant on property where you may dine, then have the rest of the evening to relax. If you wish to go out, your guide is available to make suggestions for nearby dining.

During the cruise you will have a mix of relaxing days at sea and exciting days on land to explore the port cities. You may choose from optional shore excursions, which will allow for cultural immersion, exotic meals and numerous activities.

Physical Activity

The land portion of the trip should be considered active, and includes a considerable amount of walking. While the national parks and Gobi Desert present ample opportunity for hiking and walking, most of our tour will be enjoyed by van/coach with free time for optional walking or just sitting nearby to enjoy the views.

Enrichment Journeys will do everything in our power to ensure comfort through our third-party providers, including air-conditioned buses and comfortable accommodations where applicable. However, some areas cannot be accessed by coach, so our drivers will get you as close to sites as is legally allowed. Sensible, rubber-soled walking shoes are strongly recommended. Historical sites often do not have elevators, escalators or ramps due to the age of the building/structure. Steps can be steep and uneven. Wheelchair access at many sites is limited to extremely limited. Based on crowds and traffic, order of visits may be changed. A fold-up wheelchair may be able to be stored on the bus but requires prior arrangements. Motorized wheelchairs and scooters cannot be accommodated on this group program. Guests must be able to transfer from their chair to the transportation.  Guides/drivers are not allowed to lift or push wheelchairs, so guests requiring physical assistance must travel with a companion who can assist. For the cruise portion of the trip, passengers will board and leave the ship up stairways and gangways, and you may have to walk a moderate distance to transfer to train, bus and car stations. Time spent on the road and traveling can be long, so you will need to be prepared for stretches of down time in between destinations.

Cultural Focus

This tour through Mongolia and Japan places a heavy emphasis on cultural experiences. You will encounter dishes and ingredients typical to the region that you may not have encountered before, and you will be introduced to local artistry of the region. Local families will welcome you into their ger (home) and teach you their local traditions. Enrichment Journeys encourages an open mind when in unique situations and meeting people abroad.

Unique Factors

This is a very unique Enrichment Journey, which travels through remote locations and includes overnight stays in traditional housing units. Although we guarantee an authentic experience at a high level of comfort, guests on this Journey must be comfortable with staying in remote locations with limited facilities. If you have special needs or physical limitations, you will need to check in with your personal vacation manager before booking the trip. Mongolia can get quite cold, even in the summer. The temperature can vary between day and night, especially in the desert, so pack accordingly with items that can be layered.

Recommended Reading List

Looking to learn more about the cultures, lifestyle and fun found in foreign destinations you are about to visit? We recommend these following books:

Fiction/Personal Accounts

Mongolia by Frédéric Lagrange
Large format, limited-edition photo book

Mongolia: Nomad Empire of the Eternal Blue Sky by Carl Robinson

American Shogun: General MacArthur, Emperor Hirohito and the Drama of Modern Japan Paperback: Robert Harvey

Travel Guides

Lonely Planet’s Guide to Discover Japan

Lonely Planet’s Mongolia


Borders of Adventure: Mongolia 

Goats on the Road: Mongolia


The Last Samurai (2003), directed by Edward Zwick, starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe

Lost in Translation (2003), directed by Sofia Coppola, starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007), directed by Sergei Bodrov, starring Tadanobu Asano and Sun Honglei


Enrichment Journeys is committed to providing remarkable experiences at extraordinary value. As a result, airlines and routes are selected to maximize that value and may involve multiple stops and extended layovers versus non-stop or direct flights. Passengers wishing to utilize specific carriers, or direct, or non-stop, or Business Class flights, or to extend their time in any of our beginning or ending destination cities may do so by contacting their Travel Agent or Enrichment Journeys directly. We are pleased to provide Custom Airfare arrangements for an additional $50 per person. This charge allows you to add and/or customize your flights and can be applied toward any flights or upgrades you choose to purchase. The $50 charge must be paid prior to receiving an air quote.

Routing Transportation Approximate Travel Time
Beijing–Ulaanbaatar Flight 2.5 Hours
Ulaanbaatar–Hustai National Park Coach 2 Hours
Ulaanbaatar–Gobi Desert Flight 1.5 Hours
Ulaanbaatar–Terelj National Park Coach 1.5 Hours
Ulaanbaatar–Tokyo Flight 8 Hours (including layover)

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

One-night Beijing Extension (pre-cruise)

Want an extra day to adjust to the new time zone? With this optional extension you will arrive to Beijing a day early and have one extra day to relax at the hotel before the tour starts. Note that the hotel in Beijing is next to the airport, so you will not be staying in the city center. Note: tours are not included.

  • One-night hotel accommodations in Beijing with daily breakfast
  • Private transfer from ship to hotel and hotel to airport

Space is limited.
Please call your travel agent or 1-800-296-1992 for more information and to book!

Price per person

Ask about receiving 10% off all shore excursions from Shore Excursions Group! 


Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

Dates & Prices
8/11/2019 Retail Value EJ Price Savings Per Person Single Rates

Prices are in USD.

Interested in the land program without the cruise? Call us for a quote.

Air Add-Ons
City Add-On City Add-On City Add-On
Atlanta $450 Houston Intercontinental $450 Philadelphia $500
Boston $500 John F. Kennedy $500 Phoenix $450
Denver $450 Los Angeles $0 San Diego $350
Dallas-Ft. Worth $450 Orlando $500 Seattle $350
Newark $500 Miami $500 San Francisco $250
Washington – Dulles $500 Chicago $450 Tampa $500
– Business Class Air Available on Request
– Additional Gateways Available on Request
– Air Add-On Rates are subject to change without noticeWhile we try to include the most common airports by default, we have many clients coming from different parts of the country. If you desire air from an unlisted airport, you must first reserve your Enrichment Journey with one of the listed airports as your default gateway and then ask, or have your Travel Agent ask, Enrichment Journeys to provide a quote for your preferred gateway.

All prices on our website and e-Journey Travel Guide are subject to change without notice. While we make every effort to provide you the most accurate and up-to-date information, occasionally, a trip or pricing category may be misprinted or unavailable at the time of booking. In the event of an incorrect price due to typographical, photographic, or technical error, or error in pricing information received from our suppliers, we retain the right to correct the price and to refuse or cancel any bookings placed at the incorrect price. In addition, all offers, prices, and conditions of sale may be subject to change without notice including tours, included features, highlights, minimum or maximum stays, itinerary, times in port, and/or other conditions/restrictions.

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

The following hotel list is preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract for hotels a year or more in advance, unforeseen circumstances do occasionally require a change of hotel. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality or value will be substituted and you will receive confirmed hotel information with your final itinerary. Please note that hotel ratings are based on TripAdvisor ratings and are subject to change.

Hilton Beijing Capital Airport Hotel

Tel:+1 855-331-4754
1 Sanjing Road, Beijing Capital International Airport, Beijing 100621, China

Hilton Beijing Capital Airport is situated just 5 minutes by shuttle bus from the airport and the Beijing airport rail link. The guest rooms feature modern Oriental décor, soundproofed floor-to-ceiling windows and Wi-Fi access. Dine at one of the 6 hotel restaurants. Relax during your stay at the health club, spa and indoor swimming pool.

Blue Sky Hotel

Tel:+976 7010-0505
Peace Avenue 17, Ulaanbaatar 14240, Mongolia

The Blue Sky Hotel & Tower is a centrally-located luxury hotel with 200 spacious and exquisitely designed guestrooms, complete with an Executive Club Lounge to attend to the sophisticated needs of today’s discerning international traveler. With exploration at the forefront of your stay in Ulaanbaatar, this hotel puts the city at your fingertips.

Gobi Oasis Ger Camp

While staying in the Gobi Desert, you will have the incredible experience of staying overnight in traditional housing accommodations. Sleeping under the stars in a nomadic-style house (ger) is something special and unique that you are sure to reminisce about! Each couple will have their own private ger with ensuite bathroom. Although the gers are a “VIP” upgraded version of the more traditional houses, including ensuite bathroom, electricity, and other comforts, please note that these accommodations will not offer the same facilities and amenities as our usual 4- and 5-star properties. Please speak to your Personal Vacation Manager should you have any questions or concerns about this accommodation.

Terelj Hotel and Spa

Tel:+976 9999-2233
Terelj Rd, Gorkhi Terelj National Park 211213, Mongolia

This is the most luxurious hotel in Mongolia. Discover serenity and renewal in the Tereljmaa Spa, with its array of massages and treatments. Share time with friends and loved ones in the heated pool and Jacuzzi. Or make lifelong memories over fine cuisine and a fine Cuban cigar. Then, relax in luxurious rooms and suites designed for comfort, and accented by Mongolian antiques and contemporary art.

Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba Hotel

Tel:+81 3-5500-6711
2-6-1 Daiba, Minato 135-8701, Tokyo, Japan

Located not far from both the Haneda Airport and the heart of Tokyo, the Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba Hotel is conveniently located and has all the amenities a traveler could want. Lounge by the pool, make an appointment at the spa, or take a run at the gym during your down time. The Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba also has a beautiful view of the Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge. It’s only a few miles from the center of Tokyo and the Imperial Palace.

Azamara Quest

Cruise Line: Azamara

Azamara Club Cruises provides guests with unparalleled service: the finest dining at sea, a glorious spa and wellness experience, and innovations such as Destination Immersion®, making it one of the world’s top up-market cruise lines. With the hallmark of longer stays, more overnights and night touring, Azamara will not only take you to awe-inspiring destinations, but also give you more time to fall in love with them.

Amenities Included

  • AzAmazing Evenings℠ event
  • Select standard spirits, international beers and wines
  • Gratuities
  • Bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and teas
  • Self-service laundry
  • Shuttle service to and from port communities where available
  • Concierge services for personal guidance and reservations

Ship: Azamara Quest

Like her sister ship, the sturdy Azamara Quest is a mid-sized beauty with a deck plan well-suited to the needs of modern voyagers. You’ll never feel crowded in the comfortable social spaces of our bars, restaurants, lounges, Casino and Cabaret. Nor will you feel like a sardine jammed in around the pool, where the attentive staff is always ready to offer a complimentary bottled water, soft drink or fresh towel. Staterooms feature modern amenities, furnishings, and European linens. And one of the greatest features of this ship is the large number of staterooms with Verandas. There’s nothing better than opening your door to the fresh sea air and views. Azamara’s friendly ships are an altogether wonderful place to call your home away from home!

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

Before You Go

Money Matters

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

ATM Machines

These are often readily available, especially in major cities. Some will charge fees on top of what your hometown bank may charge for using ATMs abroad. Look for well-marked machines that have the Visa or MasterCard symbols.

Foreign Banks

Currency can be exchanged at most banks, if needed. Ask a local host or tour manager if there is a nearby bank that is open.

Credit Cards

During your trip, you’ll find that most major credit cards are accepted. Call your specific card issuer ahead of time to find out its limitations and benefits overseas.


Do be aware that some additional charges for mini-bars, laundry and room service will not be included in the tour package. Plan accordingly for these extra charges.

Packing Guidelines

Pack as simply as possible for easy transfers and customs screenings. Check with your domestic and international carriers regarding baggage guidelines, allowances, and check for additional fees. All bags will be screened before boarding flights and the cruise ship.

Luggage Screening Process

To pass through screening, have liquids either in small containers and bagged, or in checked luggage. All valuables necessary for the trip should be on your person at all times, if possible. This includes medications and documentation. We recommend one main bag and a carry-on, per airline guidelines for weight and size.


Have all your bags labeled with your name and address clearly marked. Add something to you luggage that is recognizable in the event your bags are misplaced. You may also consider marking your bags with “Enrichment Journeys” for efficiency.

Carry-on items

In many countries, including the US, large liquid containers are not allowed in carry-ons. On the way back into the states, food or agriculture items are prohibited. If you have questions about a certain item, visit for a list of items that cannot be packed.

What to pack

Basics and layers are key to a comfortable Journey. Be sure to check the weather in the destinations you will visit, and pack accordingly. There are always unpredictable variables as well, so make sure you have one sturdy jacket and an outfit for a formal occasion too, just in case.

Here are a few key item to take on your trip:

  • Raincoat/poncho
  • Hooded jacket/fleece pullover
  • Pants with pockets
  • Skirt with pockets
  • Hat with visor & sunscreen/bug spray
  • Warm socks
  • Sturdy sandals
  • Practical shoes for walking/easy hiking
  • Extra pair of prescription sunglasses and/or glasses (if needed)


Have back-ups for everything to avoid disappointment. Charge batteries in advance and bring extra film or digital memory cards. If bringing a high-end camera, consider investing in insurance to protect your asset.

Cell phones

Some cell phones will work overseas, but incur additional charges for the use. Choose whether you would like to add an international plan by calling your carrier, or consider purchasing a pay-as-you-go phone overseas. However, in some destinations, many smartphones and tablets can pick up wireless internet for free.

Your Health and Comfort

Protecting the Value of Your Travel Investment

Enrichment Journeys offers a comprehensive travel insurance package you can purchase alongside your trip. It eases the mind and lets you cancel your trip for a covered reason up until the departure date with a full refund of the Journey.

The insurance covers a wide variety of incidents, including travel delay, emergency medical services, and even baggage delay. You will also receive a pre-existing medical conditions waiver if travel insurance is purchased within 14 days of your initial deposit. For a full list of coverage provided, visit the FAQ section of the website.

Medical Issues and Handicaps

As with any extensive trip abroad, our excursions with Enrichment Journeys will require some physical capabilities, including transfers from cruise ships, walking on cobblestone streets and navigating through some busy cities with guides. Although we encourage all types of travelers to join us, we do ask you are aware of your own physical limitations. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual care to those who may have walkers, wheelchairs or other aids. Enrichment Journeys also cannot accommodate pregnant women past their six month gestation period.

Please speak with on of our Personal Vacation Managers to see if certain itineraries are suitable for you and your needs. We are happy to suggest other viable options for you that are more accessible.

Per the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, travelers have the right to be reasonably accommodated in terms of tours in public situations. However, the laws do not apply for trips and outside the United States. So you must let Enrichment Journeys know ahead of time of any physical limitations, including information added to our questionnaire that needs to be filled out by all passengers. Failure to inform Enrichment Journeys of these limitations could result in refusal to participate, whether it be at the airport through the airline, on board the ship or at the accommodations booked.

If you have any sort of prescription medication, this should be a number one priority in packing. Bring extra, just in case. A small medical kit is also advisable for quick access to remedy minor aches and pains.

While on Tour

Airport transfers

Airport transfers are included as part of your Enrichment Journey. Local representatives will advise you of the departure time from your hotel the night before departure. Generally speaking, arrangements have been made to have you at the airport approximately three hours in advance of departure, though this may vary depending on local circumstances. At the end of the cruise, an airport transfer will also be provided. Please advise your Personal Vacation Manager if you do not require transfer arrangements at the time of booking your Journey.

Briefing sessions

A local host or tour manager will be happy to guide you through the trip and answer all of your questions. Upon arrival to your destination, an Enrichment Journeys representative will meet with the group and go over items such as the daily schedule, weather and local customs.


All hotels booked by Enrichment Journeys are held to a high standard of comfort and quality, in accordance to international accommodation standards and rating systems. However, each accommodation varies so you may experience various types of properties throughout your excursions.

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

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Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

Regional Information

Travel Documentation

Have your passport and visas ready and available at all checkpoints. Scan and copy these documents to print out. It is recommended that you e-mail a copy to yourself and someone back home in the event these documents are misplaced. Also, it may be worth bringing an international ID or license.

Passport and Visa

To travel internationally, you must have a passport in good condition, and it must be valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your trip. Visa requirements change frequently and for various reasons. As a result, our Personal Vacation Managers are not always able to provide visa information, and you should not rely on the information provided below to be the most current and accurate. The best way to obtain up-to-date information regarding visa requirements is to visit the official US government website for Americans traveling abroad, Travel.State.Gov, (Canadian citizens should visit, for all other countries please visit your government website or local embassy), which details specific information on the countries you would like to visit, including visa requirements.

You may also use a third-party visa service, such as Expedited Travel. These services require an additional service fee but make the process of applying for a visa much simpler.

Note: as of October 2018, you may not be required to obtain a full China visa since you will only be in the country for a short period of time while in transit. Enrichment Journeys strongly encourages you to check your government website and/or contact your nearest Chinese diplomatic or consular office a few months prior to departure (and then again right before departure) to verify this information, as well as for all countries on your itinerary.


Vaccinations are recommended to protect one’s health from preventable diseases abroad. It is always good to have routine vaccinations up to date when traveling for ailments such as chickenpox, measles, and the flu shot. Use your own discretion when deciding on what vaccinations to have based on your preferences and personal medical history. During your Enrichment Journeys tour, the utmost care will be taken with prepared food, atmosphere and other elements, so the likelihood of contracting diseases is scarce.

For a list of recommended vaccinations based on destination, visit or feel free to contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention directly at 1-800-232-4636.

Electric Current

You will need an adaptor for some parts of your trip.  To see what the plugs will look like at your destination, visit and click on each country from the right menu.

You may also need to use a converter. Most countries outside of North and Central America use 220-240 V, whereas the U.S. and Canada use 110 V. However, most chargers these days have a box which will act as a converter so that it can be used in all countries around the world. If your charger box says “Input: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz” then you do NOT need to use a converter (but you may still need an adaptor so that the plugs fit in the socket).

Some hotels may have two and three pronged outlets to use for various appliances. Ship cabins also have outlets for you to use with their converter. However, we recommend having at least one or two adaptors with you, as we cannot guarantee that all hotels will be able to accommodate this.

Money Matters

China uses the Yuan Renminbi, also known as the Chinese Yuan (¥), currency code CNY

Mongolia uses the Mongolian tögrög, also known as the Mongolian Tughrik (₮), currency code MNT

South Korea uses the Korean Republic Won (₩), currency code KRW

Japan uses the Japanese Yen (¥), currency code JPY

Please visit  for the current exchange rate.

How you handle your currency and financials while on the trip is up to you. Some people prefer to exchange all their money in advance, while others will rely solely on credit cards. We suggest having at least some local currency with you during the trip, at least enough to take a taxi if needed. Consider calling your bank ahead of time to make them aware of your international travel, especially when using cards or withdrawing money.

Tipping Guidelines

Tipping is not common in Mongolia, though it is of course appreciated. Expect several instances throughout the hospitality industry that allow for tipping. Have small bills ready for hotel staff, boat crew, restaurant servers, drivers, guides, and baggage handlers. If you have a meal outside the itinerary or hire a resident driver, a few dollars in the local currency is more than expected.

While it is becoming more common to tip in Mongolia, it is not customary to tip in China or Japan and may even be considered an insult. Your tip may be politely refused, or end with a staff member chasing you down the street because they thought you forgot your change. If you would like to tip a bellman or other hotel staff member, it is best to do it discreetly (preferably in an envelope). Tipping a tour guide is more accepted and probably the only occasion where you will provide a tip in these countries.

Gratuities are included for group meals, at hotels, and at airports. The host, guide, or tour manager can be tipped roughly $8.00-$12.00 USD per person, per day, as can any ship staff member (which is often split at the end of the day by all). Drivers can be tipped $5 USD per person, per day.

For more information about when and how much to tip in each country, feel free to speak with your tour guide at the start of your Journey. A good reference for international tipping is

Time Differences

Please be aware that you may be crossing through several time zones throughout your Journey. To view a time zone map, visit


With the tour covering a wide range of climates and regions, you will most likely come in contact with heat, rain, fog, wind and damp environments. Check the weather online before embarking for an up-to-date look at the conditions in major destinations. Expect average temperatures to vary by region and time of year.

High/Low in Fahrenheit
Bejing 34/17 39/22 52/33 67/47 78/57 85/66 86/72 85/69 78/59 66/47 49/32 37/22
Tokyo 50/36 51/37 57/42 66/51 73/59 78/66 85/73 88/76 82/70 72/59 63/50 55/41
Busan 45/30 49/32 57/39 67/49 74/57 78/65 84/73 87/74 81/66 72/55 61/43 50/33
Ulaanbaatar 3/-27 12/-22 32/1 52/21 63/32 73/46 79/52 73/46 63/32 46/19 23/-6 7/-20

Practice the Local Language

Knowing a few phrases in the local vernacular can be a wonderful way to connect with people and feel immersed in the culture. Here are some fun phrases:

China – Mandarin (though many regions also have a local dialect and/or accent)

  • nǐ hǎo (Knee how): Hello
  • Zài jiàn (Zi gee’en): Good Bye
  • Shì (Shr): Yes
  • Búshì (Boo shr): No
  • Qǐng (Ching): Please
  • Xiè xiè (Sheh sheh): Thank you
  • Búyòng kèqì (Boo yong sheh): You’re welcome
  • Duìbuqǐ (Dway boo chee): Excuse me
  • duō shǎo qián (Dor sheow chen): How much?
  • Wǒ tīng bù dǒng (Wore ting boo dong): I don’t understand
  • kuài zǐ (Kwhy za): Chopstick

Visit for more phrases with sound.

Mongolia: Mongolian

  • Сайн уу (Sain by noo): Hello
  • Баяртай (Ba-yar-tye): Goodbye
  • Тийм (tiim): Yes
  • Yгүй (Ugui): No
  • Баярлалаа (Ba-yar-la-laa): Thank you
  • Зүгээр (Zügeer): You’re Welcome

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Japan: Japanese

  • Yaa (Yah): Hi
  • Sayōnara (Cy-o-na-ra): Good Bye
  • Hai (Hi): Yes
  • Īe (E-yah): No
  • Onegaishimasu (O-neg-I-she-mas): Please
  • Arigatou (Ah-re-ga-to): Thank you

Visit for more phrases and sound.

South Korea: Korean

  • Yeoboseyo (Yo-bo-sa-yo): Hello
  • Annyeong (ann-yong): Goodbye
  • Ye (Yay): Yes
  • Ani (Ah- Nee): No
  • Budi (Boo-Dee): Please
  • Gomabseubnida (Kam-sa-ham-ni-da): Thank you
  • Ban-gap-sum-ni-da: Nice to meet you
  • Jam-shi-man-yo: Excuse me/just a moment
  • Chway-seong-ham-ni-da: I’m sorry
  • Hwa-jang-shil o-di-ye-yo: Where is the bathroom?
  • Ol-ma-ye-yo: How much is it?

Visit for more phrases and sound.

Facts and Figures

Check out these interesting facts about the destinations you will visit on your Journey.


  • One in every five people in the world is Chinese. China’s population is four times that of the United States.
  • The Chinese invented paper, the compass, gunpowder, and printing.
  • The most common surname in Beijing is Wang, a name shared by 10.35% of the population.
  • The city of Beijing is very old and dates back about 3,000 years.


  • The two-humped Bactrian camel is native to Mongolia.
  • Approximately 30% of Mongolia’s population live as nomads.
  • Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world.
  • With over 250 sunny days a year, Mongolia is known as the “Land of the Blue Sky.”
  • It is rumored that ice cream was invented in Mongolia. Horsemen would often take cream as provisions on long journeys, and the galloping would shake up the cream while the cold winter temperatures would freeze it. Even today, ice cream is a favorite Mongolian snack in the winter, when freezers are not necessary. Eventually this Mongolian invention spread to China, where Marco Polo supposedly learned of it and brought back the idea to Italy in 1295.

South Korea

  • Koreans take their kimchi very seriously: it is a staple in the Korean diet, and a side of kimchi is always expected when having a meal. There are 250 kinds of kimchi, the most popular of which are cabbage, diced raddish, cucumber, and water kimchis.
  • South Koreans are automatically classified at birth according to their blood type, which is a custom that originated in Japan but has become very important in South Korean culture.
  • Taxis in South Korea are color-coded according to the level of service offered. A gray or white taxi is a basic car with a qualified but potentially inexperienced driver, while the black cabs are luxury cars with experienced drivers.
  • In South Korea, babies are considered one year old at birth. Koreans celebrate a person’s very first birthday in the most festive manner. On ‘Doljanchi’, the birthday baby wears a hanbok, Korea’s traditional garment and a traditional hat. No birthday cake involved, but expect a full table of traditional food for the occasion, including seaweed soup, fruits (an expensive delicacy in Korea), panjeon (Korean pancakes), and rice cakes. The food serves a higher purpose than just feeding guests – that of helping determine the birthday baby’s fortune. Parents place several objects on the table and let the child pick his/her favorite. For example, if the child picks up a brush or book, he/she is destined to be smart. If he/she picks up money he/she will be wealthy; if he/she picks up food that means he/she will not be hungry. If the child picks up the thread, it is believed he/she will live a long life.
  • In South Korea, it is perfectly legal to drink alcohol in public. People can carry open containers of their favorite alcoholic beverage and even take a drink or two.
  • On Jeju, South Korea’s largest island, giant stone statues known as dol hareubang (old grandfather) can be found along the beaches. Newlywed women believe that if they touch the statues’ long, broad, phallic-looking noses, they will be blessed with fertility.


  • Sometimes the trains are so crowded railway staff are employed to cram passengers inside.
  • Many couples in Japan celebrate Christmas like Valentine’s Day. It is definitely more of a “lovers” holiday in Japan.
  • More than 70% of Japan consists of mountains, including more than 200 volcanoes.
  • Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan, is an active volcano (although scientists have not reached a consensus on what defines “active”).
  • A nice musk melon, similar to a cantaloupe, may sell for over $300 USD. A nice specimen of Yubari melon are often physically perfect, not like their American counterparts with dark smudges and scars.
  • There are four different writing systems in Japan; Romaji, Katakana, Hiragana, and Kanji.
  • Coffee is very popular and Japan imports approximately 85% of Jamaica’s annual coffee production.

Journey to Japan, Mongolia and the Gobi Desert

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