Untamed Mongolia is one of our Mongolia small group experiences. It’s a celebration of the diversity of Mongolia’s ‘eternal’ landscapes where the focus is about exploring and discovering the striking landscapes of the Gobi Desert, the high open steppe and the spectacular lakeland and northern regions of Mongolia, including Khovsgol Nuur National Park.
Yes. A majority of other companies will tell you to fly to your destination. But you’ll be then caught up in the stress of queuing and weighing your luggage and domestic flight delays. When instead, you could be on the ultimate road trip combined with a camel trek, wild camping, day hikes and living alongside Mongolia’s herders. If you join our Untamed Mongolia you’ll gain an introduction to the real 21st Century Mongolia – its diversity of landscapes, its people and its way of life.
Lynn McCaw joined us and wrote a series of blog posts detailing her time with Eternal Landscapes in Mongolia – covering subjects including the landscapes, Mongolia’s climate, the history, its people today, ger life and Ulaanbaatar, Lynn also documented her experience on our Untamed Mongolia trip in photographs which are used throughout the post (some descriptions are mine and some Lynn’s). As we say in Mongolia – Sain Yavaarai – Journey Well!
‘I spent 3 weeks travelling overland in Mongolia, covered 3300 kilometers and yet only skimmed over perhaps 15% of the area of the country. We travelled in a Furgon and slept mostly in family gers and occasionally in provincial hotels. We ate picnic-style for most of our meals, and occasionally in guanz or small-town restaurants. We shopped in the local markets. We visited a hospital.’
‘Mongolia is one of those beguiling places that you can hardly believe still exist in the twenty-first century – and I mean that as a compliment. For starters it is HUGE. It is the size of Western Europe but has just over three million people. Think of it neighbouring China has many cities that each has more people than the whole of Mongolia.’
‘Almost one half of the population lives in the main city, Ulaanbaatar, so the remaining have this huge country to themselves. Scenically it has extraordinary variety, from the Gobi desert in the southern third of the country to the Siberian taiga underlain by permafrost in the north.’
The Two Sides to Ulaanbaatar (UB)
‘This is what you see as you come into Ulaanbaatar on the Trans-Mongolian railway.’
‘Look at the variety of housing. Mongolian laws allow every Mongolian 0,7 hectares of land. However, this must be fenced in if it is to be legal and if the owner is to be allowed to send his children to school. What the owner does within his 0,7 hectares is up to them. There are very few planning restrictions so he can keep his animals, set up a small business, fill the space with gers, build a luxury house.’
‘As you get further into the central part of UB you begin to see the cranes and the traffic. A number of the buildings under construction have been built illegally and so remain as hulks. In many ways UB is a frontier boom town.’
The Gobi Desert
‘We found canyons choked with ice in June in the middle of the Gobi Desert, we watched horses and trainers preparing for the Naadam races in July, we drove through the heat and the hail and the rain and sunshine from the Eternal Blue Sky, we planted trees, we walked under such stars as you have never before seen, we saw Bronze Age carving on pillars in the middle of nowhere that not even the experts know much about.’
The Central Heartland (Steppe)
Change again! Now we are in the central steppes. From the steppes rise the granite formations of Khogno Khan. These gigantic boulders really do look like some giant’s toys scattered over the steppe. Some of the boulder look like Henry Moore sculptures. And believe it or not there is sand! Yes here 400 kilometers north of the Gobi on a parallel with the city of Ulaanbaatar is a strip of sand dunes. It is often referred to as the Mini-Gobi and attracts those tourists who don’t have the time or stamina to go the real Gobi.
Should You Experience Untamed Mongolia?
‘Would I recommend that you go to visit? I think that entirely depends on what you are like. Can you live without a flush toilet, running water and instant electricity for a few weeks? Are you adaptable? Can you travel large distances over bumpy roads for the pay-off of beautiful scenery, no crowds and an insight into a fascinating life-style?’
‘If yes, then you should definitely go. If you travel with EL, you will not be cheated or treated like a “tourist” whose only function is to be milked and ripped off. You will be met with personal respect and dignity and you will not be surrounded by sycophants who see you as a “mark”.And do travel overland for at least part of your visit – if you just fly in and out to the various “sights” will entirely miss the point. You will quickly realise that you do not really need a lot of the things you take for granted in your everyday western life. ‘
Join us on our Untamed Mongolia? Get in touch for details. Jess @ Eternal Landscapes