Selenge Province is often dismissed by tour companies and visitors, but this northern province – dominated by the mighty Selenge and Orkhon rivers with a backdrop of mountain forest steppe – makes a perfect location for a slower-paced exploration.
Our Slow Selenge Explorer allows you to discover a more local side to Mongolia’s Selenge Province combining revolutionary history, Buddhism, environmental success stories, and culture. As well as a couple of highlights, you visit little-known sites beloved by local Mongolians or are hosted by families we work in long-term local community partnership with – giving you a more personal and local experience.
This is a customisable trip. It is adaptable, giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen dates.
Positive Impact Overview
- Helping to create long-term employment and development opportunities for our team of Mongolian female trip assistants. (We also employ a team of older, more traditional male drivers – helping to prevent them from becoming unemployed.)
- The experience has been built with a focus on Mongolian culture and on creating local benefits for local people & communities including families we work in long-term local community partnership with – helping to supplement their income to help prevent urban migration, face the challenges of climate change and allowing them to maintain their fragile herding lifestyle.
- We measure the carbon footprint of the experience and balance the footprint of each traveller through the Mongolian Nomad Carbon Project. We wanted a high standard offsetting project local to Mongolia where the local community had a positive say in the scheme and its impact. It’s the first project of its kind in Mongolia – restoring traditional nomadic practices to enable ecosystem recovery and carbon uptake.
- A donation is made to the Mongolian projects we support and that you will visit such as the Uuliin Nuur Community Project in Ulaanbaatar.
- No domestic flights. Emissions per km for domestic flights are high because a large proportion of the flight is spend taking off and landing. As we are serious about tackling the carbon footprint of the trips we offer, we try that a majority of our experiences don’t include domestic flights.
- By visiting lesser known locations, we are helping to spread our support into areas and communities not typically supported by tourism.
- By offering this experience as a private experience without multiple departure dates we are limiting our impact. Although we all love spending time in nature, we need to strike a balance. By having a limited number of departures each year we’re not creating a tourism circuit.
- Duration: 7/8 Days – Adaptable – length or season
- Accommodation – Sustainable lodge, rural family-operated ger camp
- Maximum Group Size – we prefer 6 as it helps manage our impact but we will increase it for private trips/li>
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- COVID-19 – Book With Flexibility & Confidence. We have a comprehensive FAQ section.
From The Blog
Learn more about taking the Trans Mongolian train and what to expect in our informal guide.
The Small Details
- For all of our 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.
- If you are travelling with children, let us know their ages as we do offer free experiences for children under 15 excluding certain costs.
Group Size – Minimum of two or pay a surcharge | We prefer a maximum group size of 6 as it helps manage our impact but we will increase it for private trips
- 2 – 4 Guests US$ 2285 pp
- 5 Guests US$ 2085 pp
- 6 Guests US$ 1965 pp
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
- Camel or horseback rides
- Entrance fees to monasteries, temples and museums (when with local team) – excludes camera tickets
- Festival tickets if festival is highlighted in itinerary
- For winter trips, we also provide each traveller with one of our traditional hand made goatskin blankets. These are used by most rural Mongolians and go on top of the sleeping bag. They are fantastic insulation. Also, you get a pair of Mongolian felt boots to wear during your time in Mongolia. These are commonly used by herders and insulate the feet much better than western-style hiking boots and socks can do. They are waterproof. About the cold, predicted winter temperatures could scare at first sight, but it is a very dry cold and with good preparation (as in the right clothing including thermals) minus 25 ° C could be compared with – 5 ° C in Europe. We look after you!
- 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)
*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.
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. We must report publicly on an annual basis on progress against our interim and long-term targets, as well as on actions being taken.
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.
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.
We will be publishing the carbon footprint for each tour on each specific tour page but this will take a little time.