Mongolia? With kids? Seriously? Yes! Wide-open spaces. Freedom. Exploration. Adventure. Discovery. And yes, even a decent 3G network with affordable data for those times when the iPad is really needed.
The itineraries we create are designed with kids in mind. Not the adults. Yes, the parents will be the ones that email us but we put together the itinerary based on experiences for the kids.
That’s why there are not too many monasteries or archaeological sites (unless that’s what you want) but more emphasis on interactive experiences and flexibility. With everything from local train rides to cookery lessons and wild camping (for the parents brave enough!).
Here’s a snapshot of some of the Mongolia family tours and experiences we’ve run.
For those with kids who are ninja packers or like to spend a percentage of their pocket money on worthwhile causes, consider our Stuff Your Rucksack project for Asral NGO where any items on our packing list can help to make a practical difference. Once you arrive in Ulaanbaatar, we will arrange for you to visit Asral NGO to deliver any items you bring. The children supported by Asral do have a summer holiday so you may not get to hand items to individual children but it might be that you visit them at their home accompanied by a representative of EL and Asral – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/stuff-your-rucksack-for-asral-ngo-mongolia/
We include a visit to the Nogoon Nuur (Green Lake) community project in Ulaanbaatar on our Mongolia family tours. Nogoon Nuur is a community space created for local families and children of the nearby Bayangol ger districts by Ulzii – a Mongolian philanthropist.
Our ‘ger to ger’ walks are hosted by a local herder in the area in which you are staying. We designed them to specifically help older herders that used to lead our longer adventurous style treks but can no longer do so due to age. But, we still want to provide support to the older herders and continue working with them as part of our philosophy of providing long-term support. And so we created our ‘ger to ger’ walk. This simple concept just takes up a morning or an afternoon where you as our guests spend time with your herder host meeting local herding families in the area. We allow the local herder to decide the route and what families our guests visit and although it is a relaxed, slow-paced walk it provides a different more local perspective on Mongolia. It’s a simple enough concept but as well as providing our guests with a local travel experience in Mongolia it means we can continue to work with our older herders and provide support as well as tapping into their wealth of local knowledge.
Don’t panic parents! Each of our vans includes a Lifesaver carbon water filter. It does mean though that kids appreciate the effort involved for other cultures to access their water.
Leaving Small Footprints In A Big Country
It might be that you have a child that is concerned about the impact of the climate emergency or has an interest in conservation or is aware of the impact of tourism on the natural environment. Why not show them our responsible travel page which includes our Climate Action Plan so they can see the work we are doing to mitigate our impact. If you would like them to be part of the planning process for your Mongolia family holiday (as an example, maybe by reading about the impact of climate change on Mongolia and would like to visit a tree-planting project) then we’re happy to accommodate this into how we work.
As an example: The Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project is a small, family-run, non-profit conservation project that has been operating since 1975 in Mongolia’s middle Gobi. EL and our guests have now planted over 120 of our own trees which represents around 3% of the total number of trees planted at Gobi Oasis. A single young tree can absorb 26 pounds of CO2 per year so we’re (very) slowly doing our bit towards managing carbon emissions!
Everything from milking a goat to sampling the local cuisine. We work in long-term local community partnerships with families throughout the country and they become your hosts on our Mongolia family tour experiences.
For those of you with kids that love anything to do with dinosaurs then Mongolia is a great option. From the remarkable sandstone cliffs of Bayanzag to the Central Museum of Mongolian Dinosaurs in Ulaanbaatar.
Each of our Furgon vans has one City Nomads folding bike. They’re as popular with the local Mongolians as they are with our guests! It’s a way of bringing both together in a way that doesn’t need language
If you are a cycling family and would like to spend a few days exploring a region by bike, we do have GIANT XTC 800 mountain bikes that you can hire through us. You would be supported by your EL team of male driver and female trip assistant and the EL tour vehicle doubles as a bike support vehicle.
We’ll encourage you to ditch the ‘highlights’ or ‘must-see’ sights and instead, spend longer in fewer locations. That gives you more freedom and flexibility on your Mongolia family tour.
We can include the 131 foot high Chinggis Khan Equestrian Statue or the Kharkhorin Museum with its great historical displays on the history surrounding the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empire. There’s also the National History Museum in Ulaanbaatar which has a great display of traditional costumes.
Each of our tour vehicles has a small mobile kitchen meaning our team of (female) Mongolian trip assistant and (male) Mongolian driver prepare a majority of the meals. This means we can offer informal Mongolian cookery lessons whether you are camping or on a homestay. It also means that if your kids are fussy eaters you don’t have to worry as we can offer more flexibility and cater for most fussy eaters. There will be some limitations in place because this is Mongolia but we can offer some flexibility.
For those with kids who enjoy arts and crafts, we can arrange a felting or quilting experience for you – either a workshop at a local felting or quilting project or at the home of a local felter. You choose the length of time (anything from 1 hour to half a day or more). We can do
Whether on foot, by camel or horse or on a yak cart, in the spring, summer, autumn, or winter, and whether you choose to wild camp or be hosted by herders, we arrange trekking experiences with the herders we work in long-term local community partnership with. (We typically use a support vehicle as opposed to pack animals on our treks for kids.)
Experience the way of life and friendship and hospitality of the Mongolian Kazakh eagle hunters we work in long-term local community partnership with in western Mongolia including young (female) eagle huntresses.
And then there are those completed unplanned moments …
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration then do check the Mongolia family holidays page on our Eternal Landscapes website. We look forward to hearing from you!
Jess @ Eternal Landscapes