Trip Details – Khangai Wilderness Trails – Mongolia Trekking Tour

‘We feel really privileged to have had such a personal experience being immersed in normal Mongolian life! The focus on authentic and personal experiences with local people is quite unrivalled we find.’ EL guests Alex van Vliet / Annelies Quaegebeur

Terkhiin Tsgaan Nuur National Park Mongolia 

 

  • Inclues five day trek
  • Start Date – August 6th 2022 *TBC*
  • Duration – 17 Days
  • Group Size – Maximum of 6
  • Accommodation – Wild camping, Homestays, Family ger camps, Local hotel
  • No single supplements for solo travellers
  • This is a small group trip. However, our maximum is group size is six – which is refreshingly small for the travel industry. Our small group sizes mean that our trips are more respectful for your host families that we work in long-term local community partnerships with. It also means you’ll be one of few rather than one of many and this leads to a more genuine experience as well as a more personal and real insight for you as our guest. It also means that no two trips are ever the same as we can keep things flexible. All images used throughout our website were taken either by EL guests or members of the EL team. This is the Mongolia that you will also experience.

White Lake National Park Mongolia

One of our favourite regions in Mongolia is the stretching wild landscapes of the central Khangai Mountains – one of the three main mountainous regions that dominate Mongolia.

On our Khangai Wilderness Trails you’ll explore the ancient Khangai Mountains range  from east to west – the rugged mountains, alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, river valleys and the southern-forested fringes of the Siberian Taiga that make up the area as well as learning more about the way of life for the local people that make their home in the region.

The centrepiece of the experience is five days trekking off-grid in the mountains to the north of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park including in the remote districts of Jargalant and Galt. No formal trekking routes really exist here and that’s what makes trekking in this region such a glorious experience – it’s just you, your trek guide/ horse wrangler and your choice of which horizon to explore and discover. Our Khangai trek is led by Monkhoo – together with his family they herd their livestock in the region through which you will trek and know their home area like the back of their hands.

This experience is not about the highlights or ‘must see’ sights. This is about travelling in a Mongolian way – discovering what we call the real Mongolia.

Trip Breakdown

August 6 – Final Arrival Day | Discover Ulaanbaatar | City Walking Tour

Mongolia One Day Tours

Image: EL guest Tammy McCorkle

Ulaanbaatar (UB) is home to roughly 45% of Mongolia’s population and our free city walking tour will give you a more local introduction to this vibrant frontier style city with a strong Mongolian identity of its own. It is the beating heart of Mongolia and the hub of contemporary Mongolian urban life. The reality for many Mongolians takes place in this urban context, in a city they are striving to develop and improve. Ulaanbaatar deserves to be appreciated and explored as the urban centre that it is. 

Our informal and relaxed city walking tour will give you a contrasting insight into a way of life, compared to that of the rural population as you spend the day in the company of one of our female Mongolian trip assistants exploring the city through the eyes of a woman. 

  • Accommodation: Your own choice
  • Meals: Local lunch and welcome drink
  • Travel: Free transfer

August 7  – Khogno Khan Nature Reserve | Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

Image: EL guest Lynn McCaw

Drive to explore this sacred granite mountain.  within an area of secluded valleys, fresh water springs, open steppe and the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. Khogno Khan Nature Reserve was taken under state protection partly due to the specialised taiga and steppe plants that grow in this area. The small but vital Tarna River provides an essential water source for the herders in the region.

Explore the hidden interiors of the mountain on an easy  3-hour hike to the small working temple of Erdene Khambiin Khid and the ruined Ovgon Khiid Monastery. A birch bordered path leads to this location and offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of the region.

  • Accommodation: Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent  and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). Solo travellers receive their own tent – no single supplement required. Alternative of simple shared ger next to Davaasuren herding family during bad weather. Outside Asian style squat toilet. No showers.
  • Meals: B/L
  • Travel: Roughly 285km total on asphalt and dirt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Aug 8 & 9 – Tsenkher 

A Mongolian herding family

Image: EL guest Myriam Gonzalez-Schulze

The Galbadrakh family are a young family – yak herders – that make their home in the district of Tsenkher in the Khangai Mountains. We form long-term local community partnerships throughout the country and work side by side with each family looking at ways we can provide long-term support. Our experiences are put together in a way that benefits the families, rather than disrupting their lives.

Galdbadrakh and his family are members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh  – an NGO that works solely with yak herders in Arkhangai Province helping them to produce spun yak down thus helping to sustain and improve the livelihoods of the member herders as it allows them to diversify and increase their income (the herders being paid the full value of their harvest for a higher price than the local market).

En-route, visit Kharkhorin – the ancient capital of Ogodei Khan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. You’ll spend time at Erdene Zuu – Mongolia’s oldest monastery and visit the excellent Kharkhorin Museum with its clear and updated exhibits based on the history surrounding the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empire. Even if history doesn’t really ‘grab’ you, we recommend a visit as it helps to bring the history of the area alive.

  • The Galbadrakh family live as part of a ‘khot ail’ – an extended family and make the family gers available for guests to sleep in. You will have to share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. Asian style outside long drop toilet. No showers. Hot shower available at the local town shower house – your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: August 8 – Roughly 215km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

August 10 – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park sunset

Image: EL guest John Holman

Drive to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park and explore the volcano that created this beautiful area with an alpine lake at its core.

Then there’s a chance to enjoy the legendary hospitality of our great friends, Batbold and Jargaa who run the Surtiin Eco Ger Camp. Both have grown up in the region and are at the centre of this rural community and it is with them and the protected area rangers that we arrange our annual two-day community rubbish collection. Their kitchen is the hub and Jargaa is one of the best cooks we know. Why not join her for an informal cooking lesson?

  • Accommodation: Basic ger at family operated ger camp (8-10 guest gers). You will share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. Asian style sit down outside toilet. A single hot electric shower is available.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 205km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 5 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

August 11 – 16 – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park Foot Trek Trekking icon

Terkhiin Tsgaan Nuur National Park Mongolia

Image: EL guest Mick Egan

Get off the beaten track and enjoy the wild spaces of this glorious region in the company of a modern-day herder – Munkhoo.

Our treks are different in that we leave the route entirely flexible and in the hands of your herder guide/horse wrangler as this leads to a more organic type of exploration. So many trekking experiences offered in Mongolia have rigid routes and itineraries and that just seems wrong in a country of such freedom. Instead, the focus becomes getting to meet and know the herder guide/horse wrangler in the areas where they consider home. 

The whole area is dominated by wilderness – rugged mountains, alpine lakes, wildflower meadows, river valleys and the southern-forested fringes of the Siberian Taiga. You’ll be trekking in the mountains to the north of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park including in the remote districts of Jargalant and Galt.

There isn’t a network of clearly defined trails. You have to be prepared for a mixture of terrain – everything from dry river beds to mountainous alpine routes. Your main luggage will be transported by pack-horses. Herders of the region typically move one or two times per year according to grazing conditions and weather cycles. You will be following part of the migration routes. The stock corrals you will come across may appear abandoned and overgrown but they are simply waiting for the return of winter occupants.

Munkhoo - our herder guide in the Khangai Mountains

Image: EL guest Sagi Bar-Or

Our Khangai treks are typically led by Munkhoo. Munkhoo is a herder – migrating 2-4 times per year depending on grazing conditions and weather cycles. His summer pasture is located in a valley north of the Khorgo volcano from where he brings his horses for our extended trek.

One of our way of supporting the local families we work with is by allowing them to bring their younger siblings or older children as helpers on the treks.  It helps to create a space where traditional Mongolian knowledge can be passed from older to younger generations, as it always has been. This helps keep the routes, water sources, place names and the stories of the land alive, in a real, breathing way for the future.

We use Munkhoo for all our Khangai treks and have been working alongside him for over 10 years. He’s our go-to man for our treks at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and his knowledge of the area is as big as his love of freedom.

Basaanchuluu on our Mongolian horse trekking tours

Image: EL guest Kairi Aun

This trek will be led by Basaanchuluu (Bambakh) – a modern ‘malchin’ (herder). He’s a member of the Darkhad ethnic group and has lived in the Khovsgol region his whole life. Like most herders in the area, Bambakh has a home within the town of Khatgal itself  and this is where you will stay at the end of the trek – in his wooden house within the hasha – typical fenced compound that belongs to each extended family. We use Bambakh for all our Khovsgol treks and have been working alongside him for over 10 years. He’s our go-to man at Khovsgol and his knowledge of the area is as big as his personality.

One of our way of supporting the local families we work with is by allowing them to bring their younger siblings or older children as helpers on the treks. It helps to create a space where traditional Mongolian knowledge can be passed from older to younger generations, as it always has been. This helps keep the routes, water sources, place names and the stories of the land alive, in a real, breathing way for the future.

A panoramic view of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park in central Mongolia

Image: EL guest Mick Egan

The Length

5 days

There will be challenges – maybe the weather or maybe some of the terrain at times. However, our treks aren’t meant to be physical endurance events. The focus is on enjoying the wild, wide-open spaces and the feeling of freedom to be found when hiking and exploring the Mongolian landscapes.

The Trails

There isn’t a network of clearly defined trails. You have to be prepared for a mixture of terrain – everything from dry river beds to mountainous alpine routes with potentially some river crossings. Your main luggage will be transported by pack-horses and you will just carry your small day-pack.

Distances

The approximate distance per day is 10-20km.  Be prepared that some days will be shorter or longer. Although we set the location in advance, the route is not set in stone as this allows us to be as flexible as possible in relation to the weather and ground conditions.

Accommodation

For tent camps, we provide a kitchen tent, a toilet tent and VANGO tents.  There are no single supplements – each traveller gets their OWN tent.  Don’t worry about lack of showers – we provide heated water for washes en-route. On the final trek day you will finish at the home of Batbold & Jargaa. Asian style long drop outside toilet. Electric shower.

Meals

Meals will be hearty and rustic as all food has to be carried with us. Also, there is no chef. Your EL trip assistant treks with you during the day and prepares all your meals as well.

August 17 – Telmen Nuur | Zavkhan Province

Image: EL guest Mick Egan

Head west into the vast plains of Zavkhan Province –  the valleys around this region are magnificent – tranquil and serene. Telmen Nuur is a shallow salt lake with peninsulas, salt marshes and sand dunes. It is one of Mongolia’s 70 Important Bird Areas and has three small islands where water birds such as Ruddy Shelduck can gather in vast numbers. One reason why we love this lake is that it feels a little bit like the lake and its atmosphere resembles the sea.

  • Accommodation: Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent  and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). Solo travellers receive their own tent – no single supplement required. No showers.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 220km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

August 18 – 22  – Khar Nuur | Mukhartiin Gol | Uliastai | Zavkhan Province

A glorious image of Khar Nuur in Zavkhan Province - it is quite remarkable - a crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by mountain steppe and sand dunes.

Image: EL guest John Holman

Through the centre of Zavkhan Province is a series of sand dunes centring around the community of Erdenekhairkhan where you will spend 2 days exploring the landscapes including the spectacular (and surprising) Mukhartiin Gol – although this brief description does not do this remarkable region justice.

Also, spend two days at the glorious Khar Nuur. Zavkhan Aimag occupies a transitional zone between the Khangai Mountains and the Great Lakes Depression. Khar Nuur is a combination of both these zones – an alpine lake surrounded by the Bor Khyarin sand dunes. The contrasting landscapes are completely unexpected.

This drive is really about the journey as well as the destination.

Reasons to visit Mongolia - the spectacular (and surprising) Mukhartiin Gol the

Image: EL guest John Holman

On August 22, transfer to the provincial capital of Zavkhan Province – Uliastai – where we’ll try to see the spectacular views from the Zagastain Davaa (pass).

  • Accommodation: 
  • Aug 18 – 21 -Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent  and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). Solo travellers receive their own tent – no single supplement required. No showers.
  • Aug 22 – Local hotel. Be prepared to be flexible – the rooms may not be en-suite.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel:
  • Aug 18 – TBC. Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road and weather conditions.
  • Aug 20 – Mukhartiin Gol to Khar Nuur –  we don’t give a driving time. This drive is rough in places but that doesn’t matter. This drive is really about the journey as well as the destination).
  • Aug 22 – Roughly 160km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops. Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

August 23 – Ulaanbaatar (UB)  

Fly back to UB. On arrival, we’ll transfer you to your accommodation in UB and the rest of the day will be yours to create your own experience. Remember you could use our UB guide to help you to explore the urban side of Mongolian life in downtown Ulaanbaatar. Alternatively, one of our trip assistants could be made available but please let me know in advance.

We will transfer you to the airport or train station on your departure date.

  • Accommodation: Of your own choice
  • Meals: B * other meals depending on flight time
  • Travel:  Short transfer to Uliastai Airport | Up to one hour transfer time from Chinggis Khan International Airport
  • Flight Departure and Arrival Time TBC. Weight restriction 15kg (10kg check-in and 5kg hand luggage). Hand luggage ‘officially’ restricted to 1-piece. Excess baggage charges are between $4-$7 per kilo depending on the route. Please note that the domestic airline may change the flight time schedule closer to the day of departure

The Small Details

For all of our trips we offer a sliding price scale. We appreciate your holiday funds are precious and so the more people that book so the price comes down and everyone benefits.

Group Size – Minimum of two. Maximum of six 

  • 2 Guests     US$ 3430 pp + domestic flight of approx 350,000 MNT
  • 3-4 Guests  US$ 3260 pp + domestic flight of approx 350,000 MNT
  • 5 Guests      US$ 3230 pp + domestic flight of approx 350,000 MNT
  • 6 Guests      US$ 2860 pp + domestic flight of approx 350,000 MNT

Where Does Your Payment Go?

  • In our experience, how people choose who to book with usually comes down to the cost. Budget is a very personal thing and everyone is different in what they want to pay.
  • We’re a registered Mongolian business and registered social entrepreneurship. We are not a luxury tour operator. We’re a small business that receives around 150-200 bookings per year. We can’t compete on price with our budget competition that don’t pay sustainable wages, or with the international companies that use agencies to run their trips and receive 1000s of bookings per year. We also can’t compete with individual guides or drivers that offer cut-price trips.
  • To help you see where your payment goes, we’re very much driven by our philosophy of making a positive difference in Mongolia through tourism.
  • We focus on community-based tourism – working directly with local people, communities and projects – slowly building up relationships and what we call long-term local community partnerships with them. We work side by side with each and our experiences are put together in a way that benefits and support each family or project, rather than disrupting their lives or work. We also run our free long-term training school for Mongolian women that want to work in tourism – providing training and then creating long-term flexible employment opportunities for them. 
  • Your payment remains in Mongolia and goes back into the communities through which you travel. We are committed to providing honest and ethical business opportunities for the local people we work with, at fair rates, as well as providing long term support.  We also focus on making sure our impact is as positive as it can be. I am the only westerner (the rest of my small team are Mongolian) and we don’t work with any outside agencies or ‘buy’ services from other in-country operators.
  • We are also a member of Tourism Declares A Climate Emergency – a collective of travel organisations who have declared a climate emergency and are coming together to find solutions. We accept our responsibility to tell the truth, work together, and help build a new, regenerative tourism.
  • All meals outside of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Mainly prepared and cooked by your local team so they are fresh and it means we offer more flexibility for any dietary requirements. We also provide filtered drinking water (not bottled), tea and coffee. 
  • In Ulaanbaatar: local lunch and welcome drink on city walking tour
  • Local team of English speaking female Mongolian trip assistant and Mongolian male driver
  • All overland transportation throughout the trip (4×4 Russian Furgon van + fuel)
  • Each vehicle has a charger for cameras and phones
  • Free (informal and relaxed) city walking tour of Ulaanbaatar
  • Transportation to and from the airport on arrival and departure days
  • All activities mentioned PLUS any activities offered including
  1. Camel or horseback rides
  2. Entrance fees to monasteries, temples and museums (when with local team) – excludes camera tickets
  3. Festival tickets if festival is highlighted in itinerary
  • For winter trips, we also provide each traveller with one of our traditional hand made goatskin blankets. These are used by most rural Mongolians and go on top of the sleeping bag. They are fantastic insulation. Also, you get a pair of Mongolian felt boots to wear during your time in Mongolia. These are commonly used by herders and insulate the feet much better than western-style hiking boots and socks can do. They are waterproof. About the cold, predicted winter temperatures could scare at first sight, but it is a very dry cold and with good preparation (as in the right clothing including thermals)  minus 25 ° C could be compared with – 5 ° C in Europe. We look after you!
  • International airfare to and from Mongolia
  • Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar

* Our trip pricing excludes the price of accommodation in UB though. Why?  Everyone is different is the standard of accommodation they prefer at the start and end of a trip. As there is now such a variety of hotels in UB it is easier to exclude this cost. I provide a list of ideas covering varying standards and budgets and I can also help with booking. There’s everything from a homestay through to Airbnb, US$10 guesthouses and the Shangri-La!

  • Domestic flight where/if applicable

*If you are travelling by domestic flight, the schedule and cost of the domestic flights have not yet been determined by the Mongolian airlines. Once you have booked this trip, you will be notified directly by us as soon as that info becomes available. Reservations and payment arrangements for any domestic flight will be coordinated by us.

  • Passport and visa fees

Let us know your nationality at the time of booking and we’ll confirm whether you need to apply for a Mongolian visa. It is a relatively easy process depending on your nationality and we can help with some of the formalities.

  • Travel insurance (mandatory) 
  • Gratuities

*Each member of the local team receives a responsible but fair salary and none have to rely on receiving gratuities to supplement their income.  In addition, we make sure that everyone who works with us or helps us is fairly rewarded for their work and the service they provide. At the end of the tour, if you wish to make a gratuity to the local team then thank you – it is not compulsory but it is appreciated when given. If you would like to provide a tip,  a tip for the drivers would be roughly equal to what you would give to the tour guides – anything from $20 (USD) per member of staff (driver & tour guide) is a good minimum guide.

What Will It Be Like?

Although there is a structure in place – we don’t provide a tight schedule or overly detailed itinerary – that sort of rigidity just seems incongruous in a land of such freedom among a country of herders.

Yes, there may well be irritations and difficulties – this is Mongolia, one of the largest, most remote countries in the world, with limited infrastructure. Mongolian people are tough and resilient and make their way of life in both the city and countryside seem easier than it actually is. Mongolia will challenge you at times. We’re on hand  to iron out any niggles and make the experience as smooth as possible but you need to be sure you’re able to demonstrate flexibility,  patience, and both a sense of humour and a sense of adventure. 

Are you up for a road trip? It’s something to consider since there are always several long travel days on any Mongolian journey.  Mongolia can be a challenging destination, road conditions can change dramatically with the weather and some drives may be prolonged as a result. It simply comes with the territory. Traveling long distances is an integral part of Mongolian culture and it is considered bad form to complain or ask about the length of time of any road journey. If you can accept the journey as part of the overall Mongolian experience, you’ll do fine.

What About The Weather?

Mongolia’s weather system has a reputation for a reason. We’ll prepare you for what weather to expect during your trip (including links to the long-range weather forecast for the regions you will be visiting) and also provide a detailed packing list on booking.

Who Is The Local Team?
About Us

You will travel with a team of male Mongolian driver and female Mongolian trip assistant. We do not outsource the logistics of our trips to drivers and guides working the tourism circuit. Instead, we have worked on nurturing our own local operations and provide long-term training, support and employment opportunities to those that want the opportunity to aim to be the best they can be thus supporting them in their aim. This has led to the formation of our small but great team. 

**Our female Mongolian Tour Guides are dynamic women who are searching for an opportunity to train for the long-term career opportunities that we provide. You’ll travel with someone who sincerely loves their home country, loves their job and genuinely cares about you as our guests. We are proud to be able to provide a starting block to women in Mongolia. We invite you as our guests to become a part of this philosophy.

   **We employ ten male drivers and knows each one personally. Their English may be limited and they are not necessarily modern urban types – more the traditional strong and silent type – but they are superb at navigating the Mongolian roads. (Often older or more traditional men are now overlooked by other tour companies who prefer younger more international Mongolians who speak English.  We wanted to provide equal opportunities and so as our trip assistants are female and typically younger with a more modern outlook, so our drivers are all male, older and from more traditional backgrounds. We find it is a partnership that works well.) If you take the time to get to know them, you’ll see why we employ them. As well as handling the challenges of the roads, they are supremely talented at the Mongolian skill of ‘mongolchlokh’ – improvising the Mongol way. It’s a joy to watch, so if your vehicle does break down, don’t get angry. Instead, watch the drivers do what they do best – improvise!

Meet Our Team Meet Our Team
Our Local Long Term Community Partnerships

We work with a network of local families throughout the country. These are long-term local community partnerships we have built up over the 15 years+  we have been based here. These are also our own personal friendships.

We never ask a family to change their daily living for us.  We do not try to change Mongolians or their way of life for our/your own benefit or comfort. We don’t ask them to change their daily schedule or to put on an ‘act’ as this would lead to a contrived experience. Nothing is planned in any program, because we do not disturb the rhythm of life of the working families visited. We are just trying to share / experience  a portion of their life (also rarely wear a watch let alone work to an agenda!).

Our Community Partnerships
What Is The Tour Vehicle?
  • The 4×4 Russian Furgon / UAZ van (not jeep). Our Furgons are driver-owned but we support the drivers with maintenance fees.
  • Each vehicle has its own simple mobile kitchen, its own sunshade, a small library as well as a 220v inverter/charger. We only put a maximum of three to four guests per vehicle.
  • Each Furgon has a high wheel-base, ample luggage space, a sociable layout with forward and backward facing seats, surround side windows and most importantly, impressive off-road capability.
  • As is typical with all Furgons, due to the design of the vehicle, seat-belts are not available (2021 although we’re working on it for 2022. Get in touch for details if you’re concerned) but our Furgons are fitted with grab handles in the passenger area.
What Are The Meals Like?
  • Included meals will be provided mainly by the local team team. Since each of our vehicles contains a kitchen, it offers considerable freedom and flexibility. It also allows for picnic lunches en-route (and gives you lots of time to stretch their legs and do a little exploring). 
  • The majority of Mongolians eat meat and for Mongolia’s herders it is an essential part of their diet. Due to the remote locations and the lack of facilities, there will naturally, but occasionally, be limitations in place. (If you’re the type of person that must have five pieces of fruit a day then you may struggle.) But you can count on meals that will be tasty and filling. The team is encouraged to purchase local seasonal produce to help support each community we pass en-route. Also, we take food miles into consideration so do not expect kale smoothies or Thai curries or paella or Chinese stir fry. We just provide honest, heartening grub. You may see a pineapple in one of the markets but, no! We won’t necessarily buy it! 
  • We make every effort to cater to those with dietary requirements. However, you are personally responsible for providing clear information regarding dietary needs so we can help you to understand well in advance what you might realistically expect. There will be ample room on the booking form for you to convey these details. 
  • In Ulaanbaatar, there is a wide range of local Mongolian restaurants and international options. There are Japanese, Italian, Indian, Ukrainian, French, Mexican, American and even North Korean restaurants to name a few. Vegetarians are well represented, too, with a surprising number of meat-free, vegan restaurants. Most pubs and bars also serve food.
Being Vegetarian in Mongolia
What About Drinking Water?

In rural areas in Mongolia, there is no running water. Since recycling is extremely limited in Mongolia, we do not buy bottled water. Instead, the local team travels with two 20l containers per vehicle and collect drinking water from the small town drinking water stations and filter it for your consumption. You will need to bring a resusable water bottle with you. We provide a detailed packing list on booking.

Our Partnership With Water-To-Go
Accommodation - Family Operated Ger Accommodation & Homestays
  • As much as possible we use rural family operated ger accommodation. We prefer to support this local form of accommodation as it helps provide a supplementary income and extra financial security for them meaning they are one step further away from having to consider urban migration.
  • These are all families we work in long-term local community partnership with – we NEVER turn up unannounced and we never just turn up to a herding family demanding accommodation.
  • The circumstances and type of ger accommodation provided will change from family to family. Consider them as small rural businesses NOT rustic luxury homestays. Be prepared for a variety of standards. Please remember that this is someone’s way of life and home and that they provide what they can in relation to their circumstances.
  • Beds will vary in comfort – most rural family members still traditionally sleep on the floor so don’t really understand the concept of double memory foam mattresses!
  • You should have your own private ger either to share as a group but we don’t offer exclusivity as this limits the income of the families so do expect other westerners during peak times.We try to get the right balance but during peak season please accept that you might see other westerners
  • Toilets (Familes & Homestays) – Some will be better than expected. Some will be worse than expected. Most will outside long (or short) drop Asian style and if it is at a family home then the toilet will be shared by you and the family. The toilets are not there to disgust you – this is the reality of life on the ground.
  • Showers (Familes & Homestays) – Most Mongolians visit the local town shower house. So this is what you do as well. It gives you an introduction to real daily life for a majority of Mongolians in both urban and rural areas as well as a hot shower. You get your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life- Most Mongolians visit the local town shower house. So this is what you do as well. It gives you an introduction to real daily life for a majority of Mongolians in both urban and rural areas as well as a hot shower. You get your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life
Accommodation - Tent Camps
  • Not all itineraries include tent camping. Please check your itinerary.
  • We use VANGO Hurricane or Nemesis tents. There is also always a kitchen tent and also a toilet tent.  However, this is not the same as a 5* safari in Africa!
  • When camping, we do not camp too close to family gers as this intrudes on their privacy. However, local life is only a short walk away. If you like landscapes then you will love our campsites.
Accommodation - Tourist Ger Camps
  • If requested and in some locations (such as Khovsgol), we do offer accommodation at ger camps. We don’t book the most luxurious or the most exclusive. Instead, we choose the ones that we think work best for you and your style of trip as well as the locations you are visiting.
  • There WILL be times during your journey when the availability of certain amenities at these ger camps may be lacking. The reasons for this can be varied – low season; high season; electricity/generator problems; remote locations; the simple fact that some amenities are only catered for between certain times of the day. Examples of this could be a ger camp having a lack of hot water, or only having hot water at certain times.
  • Lighting in the evening at some places may be by candle-light, and electricity may not be available.
Accommodation - Local Hotels
  • We don’t use hotels in all itineraries.
  • Where we do use a hotel, it is locally owned – built for the passing Mongolian trade rather than for western visitors so they have been built with the local population in mind so they are not corporate chains. However, one or two will pleasantly surprise you.
  • Why do we do this? It brings money and support into the local communities.  As well as staying at the hotel we eat in local restaurants and buy our tour produce from the local market so you get a more real insight into the way of life for the locality.

We are members of Tourism Declares A Climate Emergency which requires us to publish an annual Climate Action Plan. As part of our plan we carbon offset all domestic flights.

Although carbon offsets are far from imperfect and not the whole answer, they make a difference. Emissions per kilometer for domestic flights are always much higher because such a large proportion of the flight is spent taking off and landing. With this in mind, as a company, we will be calculating the offset for all domestic flights used by our guests and paying the offset to buy Plan Vivo Foundation carbon certificates which are used to support the Plan Vivo Mongolian Nomad Project – working in partnership with the Mongolian Society of Range Management. 

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