Mongolia FAQ's

Current Entry Requirements – Last Updated April 2022

  • Mongolia is now open to all travellers arriving by air via the main airport in Ulaanbaatar (Chinggis Khan International Airport).
  • Visas are being issued but you need to contact your closest Mongolian embassy or consulate for the latest information. (There is a new online visa system https://www.evisa.mn/main but it is experiencing teething problems!)
  • Land borders with Russia and China remain closed to foreigners at present (the Trans Mongolian train route is not operational)

Covid entry rules Mongolia

Our Everyone Travels Safely Strategy

  • Outside of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia has only 2 people per square kilometer (2020 Census). So if you’re looking to ‘get away from it all’ then maybe consider Mongolia! Our ‘Everyone Travels Safely’ strategy makes sure that we keep everyone safe – our guests, our team, and the community we work with and support.

Covid protocols Eternal Landscapes

Travelling During Covid-19

Cancellation By You

Cancellation By You

We have revised flexible booking conditions which will remain in place until the end of 2022 when we will review them again. In brief:

  • If you decide to cancel your trip, by choice or necessity, up to 10 weeks before departure, we will fully refund your deposit (and balance if paid). Refunds will be made in GBP or US$ excluding fees we incurred to receive your payment and any cancellation fees we incur for domestic flights or accommodation booked at your request. The actual amount you receive may be lower or higher depending on the exchange rate used by your bank.

 

  • If you decide to cancel between 10 and 31 days before departure, we will fully refund your balance (if paid), and your deposit will be held as credit to be used on a different trip instead (with no cut off date. This can be transferred to a friend or family member). Refunds will be made in GBP or US$ excluding fees we incurred to receive your payment and any cancellation fees we incur for domestic flights or accommodation booked at your request. The actual amount you receive may be lower or higher depending on the exchange rate used by your bank.

 

  • If you cancel within 30 days of departure, we will retain the following percentage of your deposit and balance (no change from usual conditions).

30 days before departure

50% of holiday cost

29 – 15 days before departure

90% of holiday cost

Less than 15 days before departure

100% of holiday cost

Cancellation By Us

Cancellation By Us

We have revised flexible booking conditions which will remain in place until the end of 2022 when we will review them again.

If we need to cancel your trip due to ongoing travel restrictions or significant health risks (we will aim to make any decision to cancel at least 30 days before departure). There are three options available to you.

  1. Move to a new date. As a thank you for selecting this option we’ll add an extra 10%   account credit to your account for you to use towards your next adventure.
  2. Convert your booking to account credit. If you know you’re going to book this trip or another adventure again in the future, we can convert your booking to account credit. This is 100% financially protected. As a thank you for selecting this option we’ll add an extra 10% account credit to your account for you to use towards your next adventure.
  3. Full Refund. Refunds will be made in GBP or US$ including fees we incurred to receive your payment. The actual amount you receive may be lower or higher depending on the exchange rate used by your bank.
What happens if I am told to self-isolate and unable to travel?
  1. You or a family member is diagnosed with Covid and you are required to self-isolate, which prevents you from travelling.

  2. A close relative is diagnosed with Covid and you are required to care for them.

  3. You are denied boarding to your flight due to failing Covid checks.

  4. You are unable to join your trip due to not fully complying with the testing or vaccination requirements to enter the destination country.

We recommend our guests take out travel insurance with specific Covid-19 cancellation and curtailment provision which is now available from many reputable providers.

 

What happens if my flights are cancelled but the trip is still going ahead?

If that’s not possible, we’ll move you to a later departure or convert your booking to credit.

What happens if I am denied entry to my destination?

What happens if I am denied entry to my destination?

Should you not be able to join the trip you have booked due to being denied entry at short notice or even upon arrival to Mongolia, or be required to enter quarantine on arrival, we will assist you in any way we can in making suitable arrangements. All expenses for alternative travel, testing, treatment or self-isolation will need to be covered by you, so it is important you have appropriate travel insurance.

Our normal cancellation terms

30 days before departure

50% of holiday cost

29 – 15 days before departure

90% of holiday cost

Less than 15 days before departure

100% of holiday cost

will apply if you need to cancel your trip for the following reasons:

  1. You are denied boarding to your flight due to failing Covid checks.

  2. You are unable to join your trip due to not fully complying with the testing or vaccination requirements to enter the destination country.

We recommend customers take out travel insurance with specific Covid-19 cancellation and curtailment provision which is now available from many reputable providers.

What happens if official travel advice updates while I am away to warn against all but essential travel in my destination?

With respect to your booking, in extraordinary circumstances like these where your trip has to be curtailed, we will treat your booking as if it were cancelled, and work out an offer of credit towards a new trip, or partial refund based on the proportion of the trip that was cancelled.

All expenses for alternative travel, testing, treatment or self-isolation will need to be covered by you. It is important that you have travel insurance that covers such costs incurred due to Covid-19.

You should also contact your travel insurance provider to confirm your options.

Can I get a refund if I don't want the Covid-19 vaccine but Mongolia decides only to accept fully-vaccinated travellers?

If the Mongolian government or your airline requires you to have a Covid-19 vaccination in order to travel internationally, but no other travel restrictions are in place, your trip will go ahead as planned and our cancellation policy will apply. Your refund amount depends on your cancellation date.

I'm a solo traveller, will I have to share a room?
Tent CampingWhere the trip includes tent camping, we will provide you with your own tent at no additional cost.Family Ger Accommodation

  • A majority of our ger accommodation is provided by local families we work in long-term local community partnership with. The number of gers they can provide is limited.
  • For private tailor-made trips, you will have your own ger but it could be that other travellers are staying in additional gers provided by the family.
  • For our small group trips, the group will be split between gers as appropriate but it could be that other travellers are staying in additional gers provided by the family.

Tourist Ger Camps

  • A majority of our ger accommodation is provided by local families we work in long-term local community partnership with. The number of gers they can provide is limited.
  • For private tailor-made trips, you will have your own ger to share but it could be that other travellers are staying in additional gers provided by the family.
  • For our small group trips, the group will be split between gers as appropriate – typically on a twin-share basis. If enough single gers are available, we will arrange single rooms but expect an additional cost.

Hotel Accommodation When On Tour

  • A couple of our itineraries include hotel accommodation. These are small local hotels with limited rooms.
  • For private tailor-made trips, you will have the number of rooms your group size requires.
  • For our small group trips, the group will be split between rooms as appropriate – typically on a twin-share basis. If enough single rooms are available, we will arrange single rooms but expect an additional cost.
What happens if I start to show Covid-19 symptoms while on a trip?

If you or any member of your group develops Covid-19 symptoms while on an adventure, we will assist you. All expenses for testing, treatment or self-isolation will need to be covered by you.

It is important that you have travel insurance that covers medical costs incurred due to Covid-19.

What can I expect in terms of safety measures on the trip?

What can I expect in terms of safety measures on the trip?

  1. We monitor the local situation in Mongolia and the specific locations where our trips run very closely and will apply all appropriate safety measures as and when required.

  2. For group trips, the maximum group size is 6 and the typical number is between 2-4. You can also request a private group if you’re travelling with friends or family.

  3. Our adventures get you off the beaten track and into the wild, exactly where you want to be.
  4. We get a lot of solo travellers on our trips. For any trips with tent accommodation, we will provide you with your own tent at no additional cost. For trips where twin-share accommodation is used, we will ensure you stay with the same roommate for the entire trip to support “social bubbles”.

  5. We have introduced enhanced sanitation, disinfection, and deep cleaning practices for all equipment, gear and facilities used as part of a trip, including transportation, with a specific focus on high-frequency touch points.
  6. We ask all travellers to respect local requirements and to bring a face covering – be it buffs or face-masks. Every effort will be made to have hand sanitiser available, but we strongly recommend bringing your own. We also ask every traveller to ensure they are fit to travel, and if you are in any doubt – we’ve made things as flexible and simple as possible if you do need to cancel or move your booking.

What happens if there is a travel advice update while I am away and I will now have to quarantine on my return from holiday?

What happens if there is a travel advice update while I am away and I will now have to quarantine on my return from holiday?

As long as there is no official update advising against all but essential travel to Mongolia, your trip will complete as normal.

If you wish to curtail your trip and get home quickly, this is at your own discretion. We will help as best we can. However:

  • Depending where you are on the trip it may not be possible to change the route or itinerary.

  • All expenses for alternative travel, testing, treatment or self-isolation will need to be covered by you. It is important that you have travel insurance that covers such costs incurred.

  • In this scenario, we will be unable to offer any sort of refund for any portion of the trip not used.

Our Covid Hardship Fundraiser For Mongolia

During the Covid pandemic, we created a hardship fundraiser (link) to help support the network of Mongolian people, families, and projects that we work in long-term local community partnership with and that have been impacted by Covid-19. It is still possible to donate, find out how here

Eternal Landscapes Covid Crowdfunding Campaign

Additional Booking Information

Your Financial Security

Eternal Landscapes may be a small company but we take your financial security seriously. You can make your booking with EL safe in the knowledge that we are Travel Trust Association bonded (our membership number is U8885). This means your money is safe in any and all circumstances. There has been and always will be full financial protection on your booking.

We are also fully insured through Travel Risk Professionals (Tasker and Partners) and take your safety and welfare seriously.  Please just email Jess for more details.

We are also a registered Mongolian business (Gobi Gua Undur) with a membership of the Mongolian Tourism Association.

Deposit

In order to secure your place on a trip you need to pay a deposit of £450 / $600 per adult. The remainder will then be due approximately 4-6 weeks before the start of the trip. We will send you a reminder invoice prior to this. 

Under normal circumstances (not Covid) our deposits are what we call ‘lifetime deposits’ – if you book and then an emergency means you cannot visit, this means you do not lose your deposit. We just keep hold of it until you can travel. Alternatively, you can transfer it across to a friend or family member.

 

Money
 The local currency in Mongolia is Tögrög/Tugrik. It is not possible to obtain outside of Mongolia (there is an ATM at the train station and ATM and exchange  facilities at the airport in Ulaanbaatar but rates for exchange are better in the city). USD, GBP, Euro, Yuan, Yen, and other major international currencies (particularly Asian ones), are all fine to bring to exchange in Ulaanbaatar (there are excellent currency exchanges in the centre of UB – the location of these will be highlighted on the map of Ulaanbaatar you will receive in your Welcome Pack). In the countryside, we recommend using US Dollars only for exchange purposes or an ATM.

It is always difficult to suggest a suitable amount of spending money to bring with you as everyone is different – however, there is very little to pay for during your trip. If you really need a figure then on a 2-week trip, a budget of US$300pp should easily do, probably less if you are a couple or you don’t plan on purchasing many souvenirs or drinking much alcohol.

Just so you know, there are no hidden extras – we don’t ask for a local payment, or a kitty for food, entrance fees or tips. We provide drinking water, tea and coffee throughout the tour. We do not include alcohol, soft drinks or snacks. Your transfer from/to the airport/train station to the hotel is included in your tour price unless otherwise mentioned.

For domestic flights, there is an allowance of 15kg  (including hand luggage). You may need to pay airline baggage charges (about $2-4USD) for each kg over this.

Booking Form

Jess will send this out in a separate email once you have confirmed your travel dates and trip choice. We have detailed Pre Departure Guidelines that Jess sends out with the booking form as well as other online guides including on safety, horse trekking, and trekking. All written by Jess.

Privacy Policy

Be sure to look at our Privacy Policy

Travel Protection & Insurance

Travel Protection & Insurance

  • Travel and medical insurance is mandatory. It is one of the most important criteria for anyone who travels with us and in the very unlikely event that an emergency occurs your  insurance must deliver.

 

Global Rescue Eternal Landscapes Mongolia

  • We partner with Global Rescue – a world-leading travel protection service. Medical emergencies do happen and when they do we recommend Global Rescue for their medical, evacuation, and crisis response services as they offer field rescue from the point of your injury or illness. Membership starts from US$ 129 for a 7-day trip but annual and family options are available.  You can find more and sign up on our partner page  –  https://partner.globalrescue.com/eternallandscapes/index.html
  • In addition, IMG Signature travel insurance makes a good add-on to a Global Rescue membership, providing coverage against a variety of unforeseen expenses while you’re traveling.

 

If you’re looking to shop around for insurance we recommend purchasing a specialist travel insurance policy that includes specific cover for Covid-19 related issues and incidents which may affect your travel arrangements as well as cover against personal accident, medical/hospital expenses, emergency repatriation, and death. We strongly advise it also covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability, loss of or damage to luggage and personal effects and emergency helicopter and air-ambulance cover.

Below are a few options:

Consider the following:

If you have purchased travel insurance or if you have yet to purchase it, check if you will be covered for the following:

  1. Am I covered if my government later warns against ‘essential travel’ to Mongolia?
  2. Am I covered if there’s no government advisory to Mongolia, but my flight is cancelled and I can’t travel as a result? If so, what’s covered?

Check to see if your existing policy has cover for cancellation for Covid. If not, ask them if you can get an add-on or upgrade to your existing policy. If not, consider buying another policy. Many travel insurance companies are now offering travellers the option of a Cancel-For-Any-Reason (CFAR) policy add-on. This means, basically, that you can cancel your trip for any reason and be covered for it (or a large percentage of it). If you’re planning a trip and are yet to book, CFAR will offer some peace of mind.

  • Remember, your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and medical emergency repatriation in the event of illness or injury (including the deterioration of known medical conditions).
  • Consider your personal situation before you travel: Your age, your physical condition, and medical history. If you have an underlying health issue, discuss your travel plans with your doctor.  If they recommend that you do not travel you should obtain a letter confirming this from your doctor.  Using this letter you may be able to claim back your Mongolian holiday costs through your travel insurance.
International Flights

International Flights

We’re a small company and do not book international flights for our guests. However, the following information should be of help.

Chinggis Khan International Airport

  • In the summer of 2021, the new Chinggis Khan International Airport opened in the Khöshig Valley of Sergelen in Töv Province,  52 km south of the capital Ulaanbaatar. It replaces the old Buyant-Ukhaa International Airport.
  • It might take time for the airport code to be updated so check both UBN and ULN.
  • The average transfer time to or from the airport from downtown Ulaanbaatar takes approximately 1 hour.

 

International Flights To Ulaanbaatar

  • These links are useful for finding flight connections to Ulaanbaatar – https://www.flightconnections.com/flights-to-ulaanbaatar-uln and https://www.flightconnections.com/flights-from-ulaanbaatar-ubn 
  • The following cities have direct flights to Mongolia – Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), Seoul (MIAT and Korean Air), Beijing (Air China and MIAT), Hong Kong (Hunnu Air and MIAT), Almaty (Hunnu Air), Tokyo (AeroMongolia & MIAT), Moscow (MIAT and Aeroflot), . The flight frequency does change based on the season (not all are daily flights) and winter schedules are often subject to reduced frequency. Sometimes, airlines remove routes depending on popularity.
  • Flying with one airline and on one ticket is advisable for long-haul flights involving same-day international connections, as the airlines will simply put you onto the next onward flight if you miss a connection due to their fault. Your baggage should transfer through directly as well. If you are flying with different airlines and on separate tickets, ensure that your connection times are not too tight.
Visas

Visas

  • There is a new online visa system although it is experiencing teething problems – https://evisa.mn/main so we suggest contacting your closest Mongolian embassy or consulate to check the best application process.

About Our Trip Style

What to Expect

In brief, we aim for local, fluid and flexible. 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.

Often our guests are people who might normally travel independently, or have done in the past, and have trouble with the idea of an organised tour. We form long-term local community partnerships with people and families throughout the country and they and their way of life are central to each trip we offer. If you’re looking for a more luxurious style of travel whether linen tablecloths or place settings at dinner then we may not be for you.

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. 

Anyone in good health with normal, healthy fitness levels will enjoy an EL holiday although we ask that you make your own judgement according to your own fitness levels and general health.

Who will run the trip?

You will travel with and experience the friendship of one of our great teams of male Mongolian driver and English-speaking 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 Trip Assistants

Our female Mongolian trip assistants 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.

Our Drivers

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

Our Long-Term Local Community Partnerships

We work with a network of local people, families and projects throughout the country. These are long-term local community partnerships we have built up over the almost two decades we have been based here. These are also our own personal friendships.

We never ask anyone 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 and to help provide additional long-term support in doing so.

Our Community Partnerships

Travel times & toilet breaks

Are you up for a road trip? It’s something to consider since there are always several long travel days on any Mongolian journey – after all, Mongolia is the second-largest landlocked country in the world.  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. We’re on hand to iron out any niggles and make the experience as smooth as possible but please remember that most of these hiccups are part of life in Mongolia and therefore travelling in Mongolia. We expect you to bring your flexibility and sense of adventure with you.

Regular toilet breaks are taken during road transfers. There are limited (as in virtually no) public facilities available so we provide a small trowel and plastic bags. You can either take the trowel and dig a small hole (in which you can leave the toilet paper and then re-cover with the soil) or place your toilet paper into the small bag and place the bag into the main rubbish. We do not burn the paper – arid conditions, a strong breeze and grassland do not make for a good mix!

Our Tour Vehicles

Unlike other companies that try and fit 5 or 6 clients in a van for maximum profits, our maximum is three (four only on short transfers or research trips). That means there’s plenty of space.

We love the mighty 4×4 Furgon/UAZ van and most of our guests retain a soft spot for this legendary vehicle as well. Furgon’s are very reliable and capable 4×4’s with impressive off-road capability. With a high wheelbase, ample luggage space, and a sociable layout (expect forward and backward facing seats) and surround windows that make for comfortable travelling – the Furgon is perfect for the wild terrain of Mongolia. Having these larger vehicles means each vehicle has its own simple mobile kitchen, its own sunshade, a small library as well as a 220v inverter/charger. 

Each of our drivers privately owns each vehicle and as a result the interior and seat layout will differ from vehicle to vehicle. But, we provide a maintenance fund for each driver and they’re remarkably proud of their vans – both inside and out.

https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/mongolias-4×4-furgon-van/
Small Group Tours - Maximum Group Size

The maximum group size for our small group tours is between 4 and 6 depending on the style of trip which is refreshingly small for the travel industry. This is so that we can offer you as much as possible the freedom and flexibility of independent travel. It also helps to limit our impact on the local culture and environment. In addition, all our small group trips tours run with a minimum of two – this means there is more chance for the tour to run as we do not have to wait for high booking numbers.

Please don’t be worried about personalities within the group – we try hard to find the ‘right’ balance and remember there are free days which offer you the time to make your own Mongolian experience. Also, once at camp, you will be surrounded by space and have time to explore on your own.

For those who are solo travellers, see our separate webpage for further details.

We do offer tailor-made trips so if you would like your own personal experience of Mongolia we can provide this.

Age ranges and nationalities

What sort of people come on trips with EL?

I think what’s key is people’s desire to experience Mongolia as authentically as possible.

Our youngest traveller has been 18 months and our oldest 84. We get slightly more solo travellers than couples. Males and females are split quite equally. As for nationalities – a broad spectrum including the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, America, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Italian, Brazil and Israel. We don’t get many gap year students though – most of our travellers are between 20 to 65.

What are the meals like?
  • Included meals will be provided mainly by your local team. Since each of our vehicles contains a simple 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. But we understand that you might be vegetarian or that you may be a meat eater but not want mutton every night and our meals tend to be based around a vegetarian main with a meat accompaniment. However, 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. We take food miles into consideration and the team is encouraged to purchase local seasonal produce to help support each community we pass en-route.
  • We can provide for vegetarians and those with dietary requirements such as being gluten-free. We have also catered for vegans and for coeliacs. 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. We include details in our guide to UB which forms part of your Welcome Pack.

If you have any concerns or questions just get in touch with Jess.

Being Vegetarian in Mongolia

Drinking water & other drinks

We always provide drinking water, tea and coffee. Alcoholic and soft drinks are not included although there are plenty of opportunities to stop in villages and towns en route to stock up on alcoholic drink supplies although choice in the countryside is more limited than in Ulaanbaatar. If you know you like a good red wine, or nice whisky, then visit a supermarket in UB before departure (we usually make a stop en-route out of the city).

In rural areas in Mongolia, there is no running water. Since recycling is extremely limited in Mongolia, we do not buy bottled water. Instead, each 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

What To Pack

Unfortunately, Mongolia is not a ‘pack-light’ sort of destination! There’s a detailed packing list in my Pre Departure Guidelines. However, you will need a sleeping bag – even if using ger accommodation. We do have a small supply you can rent for free (including a linen liner) but they are not expedition style so don’t have a temperature rating.

The PDG also provide info on the style of bag you should bring as well – rucksacks and duffle bags win over suitcases!

Washing, showers & the facilities

Showers can be limited (because of the lack of infrastructure and running water. If you’re staying at tourist ger camps, most take their water supply from either a tank or deep well and are heated by solar). On all itineraries,  we also use the local town shower houses – the cubicles are clean, the water plentiful and hot. These shower houses are frequently a highlight for our clients! 

We provide washing bowls and soap powder to wash clothes if necessary. So please ask.  Just to be clear, there are no washing machines!

What about the toilets?

‘A loo with a view’!

During the day while travelling there is always somewhere to wander off to for a bit of privacy. At ger camps, you will typically be using Asian style long drop toilets, compost toilets or western style toilets – depending on the standard of ger accommodation. (Rural Mongolians (town and country) do not have access to running water so most toilets are of the outside Asian style long-drop/squat toilet although a few will be ‘sit-down.’). If you’re at a homestay with no toilet or camping then we dig a simple Asian-style squat toilet, with surround. You might like to practice squatting at home to strengthen your legs (as suggested by a few of our clients!)

The toilets are not there to disgust or challenge you. It’s daily life in rural Mongolia.

We provide toilet paper (but not the Aloe Vera option!)

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.

 

Mongolia

Safety

Mongolia is a relatively safe country in which to travel. Most crime is opportunistic and mainly in UB – pick-pockets especially. Common sense is always your best safeguard. We suggest that you exercise a reasonable degree of caution – be sensible (but not paranoid).

Mongolia is also a fairly healthy country to visit but ask a travel doctor about appropriate vaccinations, and what to take with you in the way of medicines.

We assume you are in good health and have a sufficient level of fitness to complete your chosen tour. It is very important that any illness, disability or medical condition that you suffer or are recovering from, have been brought to our attention at the time of booking.

What emergency back-up do you provide if something goes wrong?

We travel in remote areas, so we take your health and safety very seriously. Our trip assistants are medically trained with the Mongolian Red Cross, and will provide care to the best of their abilities until you are able to reach a hospital.

The tour vehicle (Russian Furgon 4×4 van) is available if necessary. It is vital that you have your own travel insurance which includes repatriation. There is a separate safety documents provided for our guests in our Pre Departure Guidelines.

Gay Travellers
  • Homosexuality was legalized in 2003 and Ulaanbaatar’s first LGBT centre opened in 2007. There is also a Pride Parade organised by LGBT Centre –  https://www.facebook.com/LGBTtuv/
  • As reported elsewhere, in general, homophobia in Mongolia is not considered a religious but a nationalist problem with more traditonal Mongolians rejecting homosexuality because they see it as a Western concept that is alien to the country’s traditions and beliefs. However, although a percentage of the population still have more traditional views,  two-thirds of the population have been born since the country left the USSR in the early 1990s and attitudes are changing although be careful with public displays of affection – especially in and arounds bars in Ulaanbaatar. (Having said this, there is a gay bar in Ulaanbaatar. However, the location does keep moving and it is currently not open due to the impact of the pandemic. However, it always updates its FB page – https://www.facebook.com/didihzub.) 
  • In regards to EL, there will be no problem when travelling with your EL team and no problem when meeting and greeting the families we work in partnership with. 
  • You might find the following articles interesting – https://macongolia.com/2018/12/09/being-lgbt-in-mongolia/ and https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-mongolia-stonewall/
Female Travellers

Mongolia is a relatively safe country in which to travel as a foreign woman, especially if you are joining a group trip or a tour company. However, as with any country, there are cultural issues to be aware of and the same safety cautions apply as at home. As an example, alcohol can rear its head and you may be approached by drunk men and a level of harassment may occur.

Please get in touch with any questions you may have.

Taxis
In Ulaanbaatar, do not take informal taxis (private cars waved down from the side of the road). If you need a taxi, it is better to get your accommodation or the restaurant to book you one from an official taxi company. See Taxis in this chapter.

Sanitary Items
A wide range of sanitary products are available throughout Ulaanbaatar. In rural areas, there will be less choice of brands. Consider stocking up before departing Ulaanbaatar. Sanitary disposal can also be limited but please do not bury any sanitary items. Although not ideal, wrap them and bring them with you until you can dispose of them in a responsible manner.
Dress Code
There are no specific dress codes and Mongolian women dress in contemporary style fashions but in the more traditional rural areas consider avoiding wearing revealing clothes if you’re travelling alone.

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.

Altitude

Mostly we are travelling and 1300-2000m. Some trekking routes may go as high as around 3000m but this is not a daily occurrence.

Trekking

Our treks are not tests of endurance or competitive races. Naturally, there will be some challenges but they’re mainly about seeing the world from a different perspective, new horizons and the joy of the great outdoors.

All treks are arranged through the families we work in long-term local community partnership with – rural families who herd their livestock in the region and know their home area like the back of their hands.

If you’re interested in one of our trekking itineraries, we will email out to you our detailed Trekking Checklist which explains in detail what you can expect. However….in brief….

Some treks have vehicle support and some don’t. Those that do, there is typically one pack animal for every 2 guest riders but we let the herder who is running the trek to make the final decision.

Robust saddle bags are provided, plus extra waterproof duffle-style bags are provided within to ensure certain things – rest mats, sleeping bags – remain dry under all circumstances. Plastic sheeting is also available to cover equipment whilst on the move and to shelter saddles and equipment at camp in times of inclement weather.

Horse Treks

If you’re on a horse trek, we do try to match your riding ability to the right horse. There will be plenty of opportunities to gallop, if you are confident but of course, we have a couple of rules relating to riding safely, particularly in ways that impact on other riders. We use the Russian style saddles that are available in Mongolia (not the wooden saddles that you may have seen the herders riding in photos which are as painful as they look!).

Horse and Camel Treks

We do not provide hard protective hats as there is not a good standard here in Mongolia. Check the small print of your travel insurance policy to see whether you are still covered in the event of an accident if not wearing a hat. We suggest that if you feel more comfortable riding in a hat, bring one along and wear it at least initially until you are familiar with your horse.

Will there be mossies?

What about the bugs?

Mongolia is a country of approximately 80 million head of livestock, of stream, rivers and lakes, of four distinct seasons and of changeable weather conditions. All these elements combined create a haven for insects….so, there will be flies and mosquitoes. It depends whether you go early in the season or later, and how high up you are but you won’t be plagued by bugs at every location and mainly just for an hour or two – usually when the wind has died in the early evening. Where required we do the Mongolian thing and light a ‘utaa tavik’ – a smoke fire to help keep the insects away. No major precautions are necessary – just bring insect repellent!


We Would Love To Hear From You!

Call: +44 (0) 7810280403     Mail: jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk


 
If you’re in Ulaanbaatar why not pop into our office. We love receiving guests.
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