A harem of wild Takhi / Przewalski horse (Equus przewalskii) grazing at Khustain Nuruu National Park in central Mongolia
Khustain Nuruu National Park – Mongolia
May 20, 2018
Be Part Of Our Untamed Mongolia Small Group Adventure
May 30, 2018
The Khoridol Saridag Mountains and western shoreline provide a backdrop to the frozen lake surfaces of Khovsgol Nuur. Notice the traditional and WARM (!) coats modelled by Turuu and Bataa. These are hand made for Eternal Landscapes.

The Khoridol Saridag Mountains and western shoreline provide a backdrop to the frozen lake surfaces of Khovsgol Nuur. Notice the traditional and WARM (!) coats modelled by Turuu and Bataa. These are hand made for Eternal Landscapes.

Mongolian Winter Tour Experiences

The chances are you’ve heard about Mongolia’s reputation of being incredibly cold during winter, and I can definitely confirm that the rumours are true, it’s freezing in fact! But this should by no means be seen as a negative and I hope that after reading this blog post you’ll be convinced that coming on one of our Mongolian winter tour experiences is to come at one of the very best times of year to see and experience this extraordinary country.

One of the Kazakh eagle hunters you can meet during our Mongolian winter tour experiences

We work closely with a number of Kazakh eagle hunters – Kazakh families we have formed long-term local community partnerships with – including Bashakhan. We use no agents or tour operators – we work directly with all the families as this leads to a more personal insight for you as our guest. Winter (November through to early February) is when the Kazakhs in western Mongolia traditionally hunt using their eagles.

If you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, then prepare to have your breath taken away like no other place on the planet! The falling temperatures make for dramatic backdrops, the likes of which still amaze me even though Mongolia has been my base now for over 13 years; there aren’t many places in the world where an entire lake freezes over, forming a venue for an Ice Festival and there’s a good chance you won’t experience a night’s sky quite like it again in your lifetime.

Although Mongolia slows down during this season, there’s still so much to experience. Mongolia’s herders bring their livestock closer to the homestead for protection in the winter, this means their way of life is brought closer to you. It also means that during the winter they have more free time to be able to interact with you making it a more personal experience.  You’ll have an opportunity to witness how the Mongolians adapt to their challenging environment, and slowing-down and seeing and experiencing Mongolia like few other people get to do. As the sun dips in the sky during the shorter days, the lengthening shadows make the vast steppe seem even more endless. You will get to see a different side, a more real side, to the country which so many miss out on. And I can promise that the cold weather will be a complete contrast to the warm welcome you receive.

No matter the outside temperature, herders must continue their daily tasks of looking after their livestock. That includes the children when they are at home - there is a short school holiday in January and then a longer one for the Mongolian Lunar New Year - Tsagaan Sar

No matter the outside temperature, herders must continue their daily tasks of looking after their livestock. That includes the children when they are at home – there is a short school holiday in January and then a longer one for the Mongolian Lunar New Year – Tsagaan Sar. Families add one or two additional layers of felt to their ger in winter. With the central stove and this additional felt, it makes the nucleus of the ger a very warm and comfortable environment to be in.

We promote low season in Mongolia not just because of the experience but also as part of our responsible tourism policy. Why? Most importantly, it’s a more sustainable approach. With a peak tourist season of barely three months, many Mongolians working in tourism struggle to make ends meet. For local Mongolians, hosting visitors can really ease the stresses of winter, and takes the pressure off earning a year’s worth of money in the short summer season. Travelling off-peak in Mongolia may seem like a brave prospect but come in the low season and you’ll be doing a good thing. Not only will you be rewarded with cheaper airfares, but you’ll be helping to sustain the local economy. And for those of you that do it, we offer a 15% discount as a thank you for helping us to support tourism in Mongolia outside of the main season. So not only does this benefit you, it benefits the local economy too.

With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the reviews we have had from previous travellers and how they are grateful for choosing to step out of their comfort zone and make the trip during winter.

 

Sunrise on the first day of Mongolian Lunar New Year. Part of our of our Mongolian winter tour experiences

We arrived as the first hint of dawn coloured the sky and we joined in with the locals as we circled and gave offerings to an ovoo – one of the sacred stone shrines you will see throughout Mongolia. This is us with frozen eyelashes and hair just after sunrise on New Year’s Day.

“It honestly was a once in a lifetime trip. It was such a unique experience and learning experience. It was an incredible experience and everyone that was a part of the company made us feel welcomed like family.” Rachel Hirsh, Hunting With Eagles

“Keep at is Jess…you have great things going. EL is right up there with my favourite small
companies (the principals of which have become close friends.)” Pat Blamey, Tsagaan Sar Insight

“We do miss and speak of the Mongolian trip a lot. It remains a stand out adventure, remote, beautiful, free and with great interaction with the environment- including landscapes, animals and off course, the people. A true adventure, unlike any other. And it was possible thanks to the special way you built EL and tailored our trip. It could easily be much less interesting and involving without your deep relations with the herders and hunters families. So thank you for making it a real Mongolian exploration and not just a hover above the surface. The Kidron family, Winter Wild Family Explorer

The Kidron family on one of our Mongolian winter tour experiences

“This was our second trip to Mongolia, and our second with Eternal Landscapes. Our expectations were high, and we were not disappointed. We had never travelled in such extreme winter conditions and was unsure what to expect. Jess provided heaps of useful information and tips, and would answer any question, however trivial.

Our trip was really 5 different experiences over five weeks: dog sledding on frozen rivers, Mongolian New Year, the Thousand Camel Festival in the Gobi, a road trip to far western Mongolia, and the Spring Festival with the Kazakh eagle hunters.

Wow! The whole experience was amazing. Because it was winter, there was no camping, lots of gers and home stays, and provincial hotels. We spent a lot of time with Mongolian families, learnt of their traditions, played card games and they taught us many variations of ‘jacks’.

All the time Jess, Turuu, and the Eternal Landscapes team were helpfully explaining the customs, and introducing us to a way of life rarely seen by tourists. And I haven’t even mentioned the beautiful scenery. I can’t thank Jess and Eternal Landscapes enough for providing such a well-organised and insightful and memorable holiday.” Viv M, Gobi Insight Winter, Altai And Eagles

“Sledding on the frozen river, galloping across the Gobi, and playing games with the nomadic families who were all so welcoming and had a great sense of humour. Your ethics, the people, and the experience. All fantastic.” Richard Maxwell, Essence of Mongolia Winter

If you think that you’ll enjoy the challenge of winter in Mongolia, why not look at the Mongolia winter tours page of our website?  Our winter trips can usually be adapted to fit with the arrival and departure of the Trans-Mongolian/Trans-Siberian. All can be tweaked, adapted, shortened or extended to suit you. So don’t hesitate, get in touch with us to find out more. Do something a little out of the ordinary this winter, pack your thermals and come to Mongolia.

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and together with my beloved Mongolian team, we focus on tourism that makes a positive difference. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia. http://www.jessbrooks.co.uk/
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