Mongolia Impact Journeys – Heartland

‘Your vision and offerings are both laudable and outstanding and a reflection of your values. EL guests Viv & Pete McWaters

Our Mongolia impact journeys are the result of our Climate Action Plan and combine adventure with culture and community-based tourism as you meet and learn from inspiring local champions and projects who make a positive impact on their communities.

Sarlagin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative
Ulzii of Uuliin Nuur Lake - Ulaanbaatar
Ecosoum Mongolia

Each tour we offer on our website is designed to promote and encourage the skills and development of our Mongolian team as well as to provide long-term support to a range of Mongolian people and families that we work in long-term local community partnerships with.

Our Mongolia Impact Journeys go one step further in that they not only do the above but also focus on the work of Mongolian-based projects that create a measurable positive impact while responding to challenges unique to Mongolia. The projects that our Mongolia Impact Journeys focus on are effective contributors to positive change in Mongolia – whether associated with environmental protection, the preservation of natural and cultural heritage, or in response to social challenges.

  • Duration – 20 Days – Adaptable – length or season
  • Maximum Group Size 6
  • Accommodation – Homestays – Hosted by families we work in long-term local partnerhsip with, family ger camps, local hotels, wild camping
  • Travel with & experience the friendship of our great Mongolian teams of male driver & female trip assistant as well as the friendship of the families we work in partnership with.
  • This is a customisable trip. It is adaptable, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen date. Upgrade your accommodation for all – or just part – of your trip, slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there or add a few more active adventures along the way. All images used throughout this document were taken either by EL guests or members of the EL team. This is the Mongolia that you will also experience.
  • We measure the carbon footprint of each tour we offer and balance the footprint through the Mongolian Nomad Carbon Project. See ‘The Small Details’ below.

Trip Breakdown

Day One – Final Arrival Day | Discover Ulaanbaatar | City Walking Tour

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 and deserves to be appreciated and explored as the urban centre that it is.

The reality for many Mongolians takes place in this urban context, in a city they are striving to develop and improve. You will spend the day visiting local projects that are working on making life in Ulaanbaatar better for residents.

This informal and relaxed day 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 local.

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

Day Two – Trans Mongolian | Amarbayasgalant Khiid | Northern Landscapes

Amarbayasgalant Monastery - Selenge Province, Mongolia

Today is very much about the journey not just the destination. You’ll transfer to the Ulaanbaatar train station for your train ride to the north. You’ll travel second class in a compartment with four beds and your EL trip assistant will accompany you. The journey is approximately 6 hours and 30 minutes and is a delightful way to leave the city – as the rolling steppe slowly unfolds you’ll be passing through some of Mongolia’s most important agricultural land.

A local Trans Mongolian train in Ulaanbaatar

Image: EL guest Severine.B

On arrival in Darkhan, your EL driver will be there to meet you and you’ll continue the drive to Amarabyasgalant Khiid – it will be a late evening arrival.

The monastery – where the remains of Zanabazar – Mongolia’s first Living Buddha (spiritual head of state) – are interred – was constructed between 1726 – 1736, when Mongolia was under heavy Manchu influence and this influence can be seen today. By the early 1890s Amarbayasgalant was one of the greatest pilgrimage destinations in Mongolia.

The monastery is situated in a haven of rugged beauty in the cul-de-sac of a long, deep valley backed by Mount Buren-Khaan against which the monastery is built. The valley is well-watered by the Iver River and has long provided an essential water source for nomadic herders and their livestock.

Young resident monks taking a break from studies at Amarbayasgalant Monastery in Selenge Province, Mongolia

Image: By El guest Mick Egan

Staying With Davisuren

Family member Amarbayasgalant Monastery Mongolia

At Amarbaysagalant we work with Davisuren. She is a grandmother whose son is a herder out in the Iver Valley. She lives in a small house located close to the monastery and has a small shop that the young monks and local community members use.  Davaasuren offers two gers for visitors to stay in. Her way of life is basic and so is the ger accommodation she offers. But the location is fantastic – next to the monastery which means you are free to explore the monastery and its stunning surroundings independently without any need for a vehicle.

  • Accommodation: Basic ger at small family operated ger camp (3 gers). You will have to share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. Asian style outside long drop toilet. No showers
  • Meals: L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 1045 -1730 on the local train and then 2.5 – 3 hours driving time  on dirt and asphalt road. Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.Expect a late evening arrival into Amarbayasgalant

Day Three – Uran Togoo Volcanic Landscapes | Khutag Undur

Mongolian Steppe

Image: EL guest Mick Egan

Depart for Khutag Undur, en-route stopping off at Uran Togoo – Tulga Uul – a national protected area consisting of the extinct volcanoes of Uran Togoo, Tulga, Togoo, and Jalavch Uul. All four mountain names allude to their volcanic past with designations borrowed from around the fireplace – a bowl shape, three mounds reminding of the traditional iron tripod kettle support and a small pot. They are part of the Khanuy-Gol Volcanic Field which has 10 cones with heights of 30–190 metres from the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs.

Having visited, you will continue to the rural small community of Khutag Undur where you will spend one evening – ready to meet with the community members of the Ecosoum NGO in the morning.

  • Accommodation: Twin-share room at local hotel. No showers and toilets outside.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 310km on dirt & asphalt road (approx 6-7 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions

Day Four –  Ecosoum NGO | Khatgal

Ecosoum NGO Mongolia

Image: Ecosoum

Soum in Mongolian means district and ‘ecosoum’ stands for eco district.The Ecosoum NGO aims to empower the inhabitants of Khutag Undur so they can make their district into a model of an autonomous and sustainable community that can inspire the whole country.

Having spent the morning at Ecosoum, travel to the community of Khatgal located at the southern edge of Khovsgol Lake. It will be a late evening arrival.

  • Accommodation: Bambakh’s wooden house within his ‘hasha’ – fenced compound typical to most families. Asian style long drop outside toilet. 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: Roughly 340km on asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions

Day Five – Seven – Khatgal | Community Trek | Sarlagin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative

Khatgal, Khovsgol Nuur National Park Mongolia

Spend a relaxing 2 days exploring the interior steppe landscapes in the company of your host – local herder Basaanchuluu – as you meet herding families that are members of the Sarlagin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative.  The Khovsgol Dairy Project forms part of the cooperative and provides an outlet for herders to sell their surplus dairy products thereby providing an additional income and an economic buffer.

As you ride ger to ger you’ll be hosted by herding families that live in the area and get a more genuine introduction into their everyday way of life. However, we leave the plan entirely flexible and in the hands of your host as this leads to a more organic and Mongolian type of exploration. The landscapes you will discover are not mentioned in a guidebook. There are no considered ‘highlights’. Instead, this is the area where Basaanchuluu and the herders of the Sarlagin Saikhan Khishig Cooperative graze their livestock.

  • Accommodation: Bambakh’s wooden house within his ‘hasha’ – fenced compound typical to most families. Asian style long drop outside toilet. 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: –

Day Eight – Ten – Khovsgol Nuur National Park | ecoDEvshilt NGO

Sacred ovoo at Khovsgol Nuur National Park

Khovsgol Nuur is known as Dalai Ej – Mother Sea to Mongolians. It is a spiritual place for Mongolians and its natural beauty makes it a stunning location to take a little time out.

Khovsgol is 126km in length and represents roughly 70% of Mongolia’s fresh water and is the younger sister to Lake Baikal in Siberia and part of the same Rift System. If the sky is clear, you can stand on the shoreline and see the snowcapped Sayan Mountains – the border with Siberia. It is truly spectacular.

The western shore of Khovsgol Nuur National Park in northern Mongolia

On one day, why not explore the Khoridol Saridag Mountains by hiking up the 2300m Cuchee Uul (top image). Although an easy trail, it takes approximately 2.5 hours of walking (with approximately 700 metres of vertical climb) to get to the top with its remarkable view. However, even for those not keen on the 700 metres of climb you can still walk partway (still with views) or just enjoy walking along the lakeshore with its lagoons.

We will also arrange for those interested to spend a day with the ecoDEvshilt NGO – a local NGO that supports the promotion of waste reduction, sorting at source and recycling to showcase its vital role in preserving the future of pristine nature of Khovsgol.

  • Accommodation: Twin-share ger or four-bed teepee at Gurvan Erdene Ger Camp. Western style toilet and hot shower in separate block although the showers are limited to certain times of day

We use Gurvan Erdene because it is the northernmost camp on the western shore – away from the main developed area. It is owned by a local Khatgal family who are trying to manage the ‘footprint’ of the camp with eco-toilets and solar showers. It has a lovely atmosphere. We prefer only to use Mongolian-owned ger camps as our payment remains in the local community. It also means you often get to mix with Mongolian holidaymakers who help to give you a different perspective on modern life in Mongolia.

  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Day Seven – Roughly 45km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 1 hour driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions. 

Day Eleven – Murun | Delger Murun River | Deer Stones

Travel to Murun – the provincial capital of Khovsgol Aimag. Explore this lively capital town of Khovsgol Province which bears the hallmarks of being a trading outpost close to the border with Russian Siberia, in that it is slightly wild and rough around the edges. However, this adds to its charm and unique atmosphere – especially the bustling market in the centre of town.

You’ll head to just north of Murun to be rewarded with stunning views of the Delger Murun River (‘wide river’) at the Tultiin Tokhoi ger camp. Together with the Ider River, the Delger Murun is one of the sources of the mighty Selenge River.

We don’t dictate what to do as everyone is different in what they would like to do but why not explore the Ushigiin Uver deer stones complex located close to the spectacular Delger Murun River. Known as Bugan Khoshoo in Mongolian they are believed to possibly be ancient grave markers for warrior chiefs. Another idea is to rent a kayak and explore a section of the river.

Deer stones - experience them as part of our archaeological Mongolia day tour

  • Accommodation: Twin-share ger at intimate Mongolian-owned rustic ger camp. Facilities including hot showers in separate block

Tuultiin Tokhoi Ger Camp Mongolia

 

This is a small and intimate ger camp – a family run business rather than a corporate ger camp. There’s even a wonderful greenhouse. The owner Esmedekh is local to the area and on site most of the time.

The ger camp has possibly one of the best sunset viewing platforms in Mongolia – perfect for enjoying a cold beer. And for those brave enough, you can swim in the river. An alternative  is the short (30-40 minute) hike up the nearest hill for spectacular views over the extended river valley.

  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 145km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 3 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions. 

Day Twelve & Thirteen – Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

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

Image: EL Guest Mick Egan

Drive to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur 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: Day Twelve – Roughly 300km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 8 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Fourteen – Suman Gol | Central Heartland

Suman Gol Mongolia

Image: EL guest Myriam Shulze

Drive to and explore the volcano that created the beautiful area of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur NP with an alpine lake at its core. Then continue on to Suman Gol where you will stay with Dondov – another member of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh. He is also a small market gardener and a local historian.

Don’t try to find this location in a guidebook – you won’t. But, although basic, the location of Dondov’s small camp comes as a good surprise – next to the river and part of the Tariat volcanic field. There are petroglyphs to explore as well as the lava terraces.  For those interested, only 1% of Mongolia’s landmass is dedicated to crops and here you can learn from Dondov more about the challenges of growing vegetables in the harsh terrain of Mongolia.

Dondov - a Mongolian herder

  • Accommodation: Dondov provides 2-4 guest gers (and some basic wooden houses). You will have to share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. Asian style outside long drop toilet. An option for a (brilliantly engineered) cold shower.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: July 15 – Roughly 200km on asphalt and dirt road (approx 5-6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Fifteen – Mongolian Nomad Carbon Project | Tsetserleg

A typical Mongolian ger out on the Mongolian steppe. In this image you can see the families working horses waiting to be ridden as well as the hand-made dairy products drying in the sun

Image: EL guest John Holman

We balance our carbon footprint through the Mongolian Nomad Carbon Project –  the first project of its kind in Mongolia – restoring traditional nomadic practices to enable ecosystem recovery and carbon uptake.  

It is an independently verified project that takes carbon out of the earth’s atmosphere using the natural powers of local communities. The project focuses on creating performance-based payments to herder families based on changes they are able to make which impact positively on carbon levels. Much of this is about restoring the traditional nomadic way of life to reduce overgrazing pressure and degradation on fragile ecosystems.

The project covers 70,000 hectares of land taking place in three different regions of Mongolia – Tov and Arkhangai Aimags in the central heartland and Bayankhongor – one of the Gobi provinces. The project has a direct benefit to 4 key grassland habitats: riparian meadow, mountain meadow, mountain steppe and steppe within the three regions.

You will be visiting a herding family involved in the project in Arkhangai Aimag.

Day Sixteen & Seventeen – Tsenkher Homestay | Central Heartland

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).

  • Accommodation: The Galbadrakh family live as part of a ‘khot ail’ – an extended family – and make one of the family gers available for guests to sleep in. You will have to share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. 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: Day 16 – Roughly 50km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 1 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Eighteen & Nineteen – Orkhon River Valley Homestay | Kharkhorin | Central Heartland

Mongolia's Orkhon River Valley

Continue to the home of Tumee and Jargaa – a herding family we work with as part of one of our long-term local community partnerships. They are modern-day herders, a strong part of the local community and move up to six times a year – always located close to the Orkhon River.

The Orkhon River Valley is one of Mongolia’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s a cultural WHS and represents the evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions in Mongolia – this region is considered the cradle of Mongolian civilisation and an area rich in nomadic life as the Orkhon River provides as essential lifeline for nomads and their livestock.

On the second day, there is nothing pre-planned as everyone is different in what they like to do and leaving the plan flexible leads to a more respectful and more naturally Mongolian experience. But there’s plenty of flexibility and options. Ideas include visiting Kharkhorin, exploring the area on a horse trek, experiencing the way of life of the family or a mix of all three!

 

Kharkhorin is the ancient capital of Ogodei Khan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. Visit 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.

  • Accommodation:  Basic ger (shared with 2-4 other members of the group) next to family ger. Or tent camp next to family ger (depending on availability / preference).  Basic long drop outside toilet and 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

Staying With The Tumee Family 

This is Tumee - an expert horseman and head of one of the herding families we work with in Mongolia's central Orkhon River Valley

As with all the families we work with, we work in long-term local community partnership with Tumee and Jargal. Local to the area – they both went to school in the region – one of their adult sons is a member of the Genghis Khan Polo Club. They are considered integral members of their local community. Although they agree their way of life has challenges, they love it for the sense of freedom it provides.

  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Day Eighteen – Roughly 130km on dirt and asphalt road. Approx 3-4 hours driving time not including stops. Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions

Day Twenty – Return Ulaanbaatar

Return back to UB where we’ll transfer you to your accommodation 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/L
  • Travel: Roughly 355km on asphalt and dirt road (approx 7-8 hours driving time depending on city traffic).  Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

The Small Details

For all of our small group 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 – Maximum of six. Minimum of two required for a guaranteed departure 

  • 2 Guests        TBC
  • 3-4 Guests    TBC
  • 5 Guests        TBC
  • 6 Guests        TBC

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
  • 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.

Take a look at our comprehensive FAQ section (including our flexible Covid cancellation policy) – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/mongolia-faqs/

We are members of Tourism Declares A Climate Emergency and a signatory of The Glasgow Declaration which requires us to publish an annual Climate Action Plan. It also means we have essentially signed up to work towards halving our emissions by 2030 and reaching Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050.

To help us achieve this, we are part of a long-term study with postgraduate students on the Responsible Tourism Management Postgraduate Course of Leeds Beckett University in the UK – the only responsible tourism management MSc certified by the UNWTO – looking at ways of measuring and reducing our carbon footprint. We will report publicly on an annual basis on progress against our interim and long-term targets, as well as on actions being taken.

In the interim, one of the five pathways defined in the Glasgow Declaration is ‘measure’ and we have started the process of measuring the carbon footprint of our tours. We use the carbon calculator tool Carmacal – specifically designed for tour operators and 2017 winner of the UNWTO Award for Innovation in Research and Technology. We then measure the carbon output of the meals we provide on tour using https://www.muchbetteradventures.com/magazine/hey-travel-industry-heres-how-to-measure-your-carbon-footprint/ and add this to the carbon total.  We then balance the footprint for each tour by purchasing 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.

It’s not perfect, but it is a start. After all, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and the way we measure the carbon footprint of our tours is manageable and achievable for us – a very small business with limited finance and resources.

The approximate carbon footprint pp for our Mongolia Impact Journey – Heartland is 657.23 kg for the 20 days including all transport in Mongolia, all accommodation, meals and activities.  The carbon balance is £10.77 made through the Mongolian Nomad Carbon Project.

Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we’re working to develop long term carbon reduction plans. But also remember that each tour not only provides long-term employment for local Mongolians but also provides long-term support to Mongolian projects and families. This is on top of using local transport and accommodation options as well as shopping locally for the tour.

Let’s put this 657.23kg into perspective. 

In terms of the average annual carbon footprint

The average annual carbon footprint of someone from Europe is 6.4 tonnes, from the UK it is 4.6 tonnes and the US is 13.8 tonnes.  (Source: Carbon Brief data with analysis of figures from Carbon Monitor and the World Bank. Chart by Carbon Brief using Highcharts.)

Or, in terms of international flights

  • A return economy flight from London to New York produces 1.77 tonnes of CO2
  • A return economy flight from London to Sydney Australia produces 5.44 tonnes of CO2

Or in terms of coffee

Lattes have a carbon footprint of about 0.55 kg, followed by cappuccinos on 0.41 kg and flat whites on 0.34 kg. The average British person will drink 676 cups of coffee a year, according to a survey by The Online Electricals Store so if you’re a latte drinker that makes it a carbon footprint of 371.8 kg.

Or in terms of an avocado

Carbon Footprint Ltd estimates that two small avocados in a packet have a CO2 footprint of 846.36 grams. Let’s say you buy a packet a week, that’s over 44kg of carbon per year.

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