Mongolia Winter Tours
Yes, winter in Mongolia has a bit of a reputation. And you’re right – it is cold, freezing in fact, but the cold is an integral part of what makes Mongolia and its landscapes extraordinary at this time of year. Winter is a quintessential Mongolian season and a remarkable experience – it will show you how good Mongolians are at adaptation and how they work in relation to their changing (and challenging) environment.
We offer experiences that provide what we consider a celebration of Mongolian culture and tradition. We look at what Mongolians do in the low season – either now or as part of their cultural history – or their traditions and festivals. Fewer travellers allow you a more intimate experience and exclusive access into the lives and culture of these places. Low season in Mongolia offers what we consider more ‘real-life‘ experiences – those unexpected moments when you know something special is happening.
Our Mongolia winter tours are shared adventures in that you stay alongside the families we work in long-term local community partnership with which gives you a more personal insight into life in Mongolia. However, it means an adjustment on your behalf. This is not luxury travel. There are no planned or contrived experiences. This is real life.
However, we take care of the small details including providing traditional felt boots, our hand-made sheepskin winter deels as well as our hand-made goat skin blankets. All accommodation has been prepared for winter and our tour vehicles are also adapted for the winter months.
Yes, there will be challenges but only the challenges faced on a daily basis by local Mongolians themselves. The night skies more than makeup for the challenge of the temperatures. And of course, you’ll receive the warmest of hospitality as the local Mongolians you meet will be very proud to welcome foreign visitors that face the challenges of their wintertime.
We don’t ‘close’ for the winter months –
Small Group Mongolia Winter Tours 2021/22
Tsagaan Sar Insight – Lunar New Year – Middle Gobi – Central Heartland – 7 Days – Jan 31st 2022
Experience Mongolia’s Lunar New Year Festival – known as Tsagaan Sar – White Month. It is one of the most important and traditional celebrations in Mongolia. Travel with us and you’ll experience Tsagaan Sar through the eyes of the rural families we work in long-term local community partnership with. This is our own personal insight into local life in Mongolia.
Khovsgol Ice Festival – 3 Day Horse Sleigh Expedition – 12 Days – February 23rd 2022
The wild landscapes of Khovsgol Nuur National Park form the stunning backdrop to this adventure where we’ll show you a more local and hidden side to Khovsgol. We have researched and designed this experience together with Baasanchuluun a member of the Darkhad ethnic group and head of a young herding family in the rural community of Khatgal.
Thousand Camel Festival – Gobi Desert – 3-Day Camel Trek – Local Homestays – 11 Days – Feb 28th
The ultimate road trip through Mongolia’s Gobi Desert where you’ll explore, discover and understand the diversity of landscapes that form the Gobi as well as meet some of the people that make their home in this remarkable region. Culminates with the Thousand Camel Festival.
Altai Migration Trails – Western Mongolia – Kazakh Eagle Hunters – Five Day Spring Migration – 15 Days – February 2022 & 2023 (Dates TBC)
Altai and Eagles – Western Mongolia – Kazakh Eagle Hunters – Two-Day Eagle Festival – Nauryz – 11 Days – March 13th 2022
Riding With Kazakh Eagle Hunters
Western Mongolia –
9 Days – October 22nd 2022
*More Dates TBC*
Amid the arid yet strikingly beautiful landscapes of western Mongolia, the Kazakh eagle hunters have a way of life that has been shaped by history, geography and political change. Out here, all schedules go out of the window. You’re on nomad time, and the daily activities depend on your host family, the eagle hunter, and the weather conditions. Days are spent trekking in the mountains on foot, or heading out on horseback. You’ll witness the eagle hunt, and the close relationship and communication needed between hunter and eagle. But leave your preconceptions behind.
Tailor Made Mongolia Winter Trips
Dog Sledding – Gorkhi Terelj National Park – Flexible lengths
Modern Nomads – Central Heartland – 9 Days
Riding With Eagle Hunters- Western Mongolia – 9 Days
Wild Winter Khovsgol – 3-day Horse Sleigh Expedition – Khovsgol Nuur National Park – 8 Days
Winter Camel Trek – Southern & Middle Gobi Desert – 3 Day Camel Trek – 8 Days
A winter camel trek through the Gobi Desert is an adventure true to local traditions. For centuries, up until the 1920’s, the Gobi was traversed by camel trains – typically travelling in the winter months – allowing the camels the summer months to recuperate when grazing is best. This is experiential travel where you’ll be hosted each evening of the trek by local herding families.
Living With The Tsaatan – 6-Day Horse Trek – Mongolia’s Reindeer Herders – 13 Days
Animal Welfare - Our Philosophy
For the Tsaatan trek, we use pack horses and riding horses provided by the Darkhad guide. We work in long-term local community partnership with the Darkhad guide and know that the horses they use are suitable as pack or riding animals, are not overworked and in good condition. The horses are chosen based on factors such as terrain, altitude, temperature, hours of work, age and their condition. During the trek, we ensure (together with the Darkhad guides) that the horses receive adequate shelter, care, food and water. We match the weight of our guests to that of the animal and ensure that the weight is evenly balanced when riding. If a horse is injured or becomes ill, they are not be worked again until they are fit. In addition, the Tsaatan families and the Darkhad guide have a long-term friendship and we make sure that the reindeer are used to horses.
The Tsaatan do ride their reindeer but this is not for tourism entertainment and not something we promote. However, at times our guests are invited to ride on a reindeer at the invitation of the owner of the reindeer. It is not something we pre-arrange as we do not arrange any artificial experiences as they damage the culture, the way of life and the animals. Often the Tsaatan sell items made from the reindeer antlers but they are careful to harvest only from healthy animals. We support the purchasing of these items as they do not endanger the survival of the reindeer and also help to contribute directly to the local economy.
Mongolia’s Kazakh eagle hunters only hunt in the winter months (early November through to February) as they hunt specifically for the winter coat of the prey of their eagles. We do not arrange contrived experiences where live prey is pre-captured, held and then released on purpose for our guests to be able to photograph the experience. We will never arrange any artificial experiences as they damage the culture, the way of life or wildlife itself.
For those concerned about the welfare of the eagles, the Kazakh eagle hunters have a respectful yet practical approach to their eagles – they have a close connection with their eagles – they are virtually family members although it is sometimes hard for outsiders to recognise this. The eagles are released back into the wild after about ten seasons so that they can breed. Once released, the birds are observed to make sure they successfully reintegrate back into the wild.
The horse sleighs used for the expedition are part of the Darkhad culture and not something arranged just for tourism. However, we still take the welfare of the horses used for the expedition seriously.
- The horses are working horses and chosen specifically by the Darkhad guides – who are also the owners of the horses and the sleighs – and therefore understand the characteristics needed for the horse to pull the sleigh.
- We work in long-term local community partnership with the herders and know that the animals are not overworked and in good condition. However, the animals are chosen based on factors such as terrain, altitude, temperature, hours of work, age and their condition.
- During the expedition, we ensure (together with the Darkhad guides) that the horses receive adequate shelter, care, food and water. We match the weight of our guests to that of the animal and ensure that the weight is evenly balanced when riding. All tour equipment is carried in the EL support vehicle therefore lessening the load of each horse.
- If a horse is injured or becomes ill, they are not be worked again until they are fit.