Trip Details – Untamed Mongolia With Naadam – Small Group Trip

Untamed Mongolia With Naadam | Small Group Tour

The immense landscapes of Mongolia form a backdrop to any journey in the country but are a central element in our Untamed Mongolia adventure. One of our ‘Wild Tracks’ road trips, this is a remarkable and transformative travel experience that allows you to stay for longer and explore deeper.

Mongolians divide their country into three main landscapes – desert, steppe, and mountains and you’ll explore and discover the striking landscapes of the Gobi Desert, the high open steppe, and the spectacular lakeland and northern regions of Mongolia, including sacred Lake Khovsgol. But this isn’t about the highlights or a tick list of locations. Instead, our Untamed Mongolia will give you context, a real experience of Mongolia, the thrill of exploration, and also a sense of independence as well as the opportunity to engage with local communities that we work in long-term local community partnership with and understand their way of life, culture and the deep connection they have with the land.

This is the ultimate road trip and combined with a camel trek, wild camping, day hikes, and living alongside families that we work in partnership with, it allows you to immerse yourself in 21st Century Mongolia and its diversity of landscapes, its people, and its way of life.

This departure includes the State Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar.

A female camel herder in Mongolia's Gobi Desert
Mongolian children on their horses at the start line of a Naadam Festival horse race
A Mongolian archer at the Naadam Festival
A Mongolian herding family

Interested? Please email or send a message through WhatsApp for the full itinerary details. Price details are below.

  • Includes National Naadam Festival
  • Start Date – June 20 2024
  • Duration – 23 Days (20 day option available excluding Naadam – ask Jess for details)
  • Maximum Group Size 6 which is refreshingly small for the tourism industry
  • 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
  • No single supplements for solo travellers
  • Our small group sizes mean that our trips are more respectful for your host families that we work in long-term local community partnerships with. It also means you’ll be one of few rather than one of many and this leads to a more genuine experience as well as a more personal and real insight for you as our guest. It also means that no two trips are ever the same as we can keep things flexible. All images used throughout our website were taken either by EL guests or members of the EL team. This is the Mongolia that you will also experience.
  • Book With Confidence (see below)

‘From the moment we were taken off the tourist trail of UB to visit the Green Lake community project in the ger district, I knew that I had picked the perfect company to show me Mongolia. It really has been a privilege to visit this extraordinary country and to experience first-hand the day-to-day lives of Mongolians. Every day brought a new and wonderful aspect to the holiday, and I never tired of taking in the landscape and the human presence.’

Dean Andrews, Untamed Mongolia

Untamed Mongolia | Positive Impact Overview

  • This 23-day experience promotes staying longer and exploring deeper, thereby making the most of your international flight.
  • Although this experience takes place in peak season (summer) we only offer two departures of this experience per year. This means that we don’t create a ‘tourist circuit.’ And although we’re visiting areas considered highlights, by visiting lesser-known locations, we are helping to spread our support into areas and communities not typically supported by tourism.
  • The maximum group size is six which is refreshingly small for the travel industry and allows us to manage our impact.
  • 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.
  • Our team of female Mongolian trip assistants is breaking down barriers in tourism and leading the way for other Mongolian women from a diverse range of backgrounds to work in and be supported by tourism. Mongolia’s growing economy has not directly translated into better employment opportunities for women and by choosing to travel with us you’re helping us to create long-term development and employment opportunities for our brilliant trip assistants – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/chandmana-erdene-a-circular-approach-to-tourism/
  • High unemployment rates and toxic masculinity are two very real issues faced by older more traditional men in Mongolia. By choosing to travel with us you’re helping us to provide long-term employment for our team of older, more traditional male drivers who have experience and accumulated knowledge but who would otherwise struggle to find employment and provide for their extended families.
  • We are in the process of measuring the carbon footprint of each experience we offer and balancing the footprint through the Mongolian Nomad Carbon Project. We wanted a high-standard 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 – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/climate-action-plan/
  • A donation is made to the Mongolian projects we support and that you will visit such as the Uuliin Nuur Community Project in Ulaanbaatar – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/project-support/

Explore More: Connected Stories on Our Blog

What’s it like to travel with us? Access our 2023 Feedback review.

Our 2023 Feedback Response

Learn more about our work with the Ar Arvidjin Delgerekh Cooperative in Mongolia

Learn more about our annual community national park clean up at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park.

Learn about the traditions behind Mongolia’s Naadam Festival.

Read about Mongolia’s Khovsgol Nuur National Park.

Learn about Mongolia’s Gobi Desert in our virtual tour

Untamed Mongolia | 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 price depends on the final group size. The more individual travellers that book so everyone benefits.

Group Size – Maximum of six. Minimum of three required for a guaranteed departure (or pay a surcharge)

** If you’re considering this trip as a private experience for a group, we prefer a maximum group size of 6 as it helps manage our impact but we will increase it for private trips. Get in touch for details.

  • 3-5 travellers when trip departs:  USD 3800 pp + domestic flight of approximately USD 230 pp
  • 6 travellers when trip departs:      US$ 3405 pp + domestic flight of approximately USD 230 pp

Where Does Your Payment Go?

  • As well as a registered Mongolian business that pays tax in Mongolia we are also a social travel enterprise that invites our guests to be part of a bigger travel philosophy. Our goal is a form of tourism that is fair and equitable for everyone and every experience we offer helps to support our work. This means we don’t offer tick-list or general travel experiences which limits our size and income. (We receive around 100-150 travellers a year.)
  • Our team of female Mongolian trip assistants is breaking down barriers in tourism and leading the way for other Mongolian women from a diverse range of backgrounds to work in and be supported by tourism. Mongolia’s growing economy has not directly translated into better employment opportunities for women and by choosing to travel with us you’re helping us to create long-term development and employment opportunities for our brilliant trip assistants. We are also in the process of establishing a formal tourism training intiaitve and support centre for Mongolian women – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/chandmana-erdene-a-circular-approach-to-tourism/
  • 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.  High unemployment rates and toxic masculinity are two very real issues faced by older more traditional men in Mongolia. By choosing to travel with us you’re helping us to provide long-term employment for our team of older, more traditional male drivers who have experience and accumulated knowledge but who would otherwise struggle to find employment and provide for their extended families.
  • Your payment remains in Mongolia and goes back into the communities through which you travel and our trips provide long-term support to a range of Mongolian herding families as well as projects that we work in long-term local community partnerships with. 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. As an example, our long-tem support of herding families allows them to survive the challenges of climate change.
  •  We are a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration (a commitment to take action to halve tourism’s emissions by 2030 including our own and to report on progress made each year) as well as a member of Tourism Declares A Climate Emergency – a collective of travel organisations that have declared a climate emergency and are coming together to find solutions and to help build a new, regenerative tourism – https://www.eternal-landscapes.co.uk/climate-action-plan/
  • 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 (+ 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 a festival is highlighted in the 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 – 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. We must report publicly on an annual basis on progress against our interim and long-term targets, as well as on actions being taken. We do this in our Climate Action Plan linked above.

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 wanted an accurate footprint analysis whilst also keeping the process manageable and achievable. Of the limited carbon calculators available to small tourism companies with a restricted budget we have signed up with the carbon calculator tool Carmacal – specifically designed for tour operators and the 2017 winner of the UNWTO Award for Innovation in Research and Technology.
  • However, there are limitations with this online tool in the fact that – like most online carbon calculators – you can only measure transport and accommodation and a few very specific activities. But, the main contributors to carbon footprints are food, consumption, transportation, and energy, and all are heavily utilised during a tourism experience.
  • As a result, Jess has been working with postgraduate student  Kelly Hirschbuehler from 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 how we can measure the carbon emissions of meals on tour as well as the carbon footprint of our office as well as certain tour activities.
  • Using the calculations provided by Kelly in her research project we can now better calculate – not perfectly but still better – the overall carbon footprint of each trip we run.

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.

We will be publishing the carbon footprint for each tour on each specific tour page but this will take a little time.

Book With Confidence - Take A Look At Our Comprehensive FAQ Section

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    Jane McNab, Australia, Mongolia trekking experience (link)

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  • "In terms of experiencing Mongolia we did right to go with EL. We got to experience some of Mongolian life and not just see Mongolia from the “comfort” of our car. We weren’t so much tourists but rather more like friends of friends. So well done and thank you for getting the tour just right for us."

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  • 'It's an extremely difficult balancing act to offer tourists an 'authentic' yet 'entertaining' experience but I think you did very well. We never felt like we were imposing or getting in the way. In a way, it felt more like were visiting friends of friends.'

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    Eirini Sperelaki, Greece, Small group experience (link)

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  • "The caring for us, the locals and the environment is not something we see a lot of. A lot of times the caring to locals is a low priority, if at all. Sometimes all the company cares about is the profits and the will to satisfy the clients beats the locals. In our trip we found a unique combination where all parties are taken care of in a perfect way."

    Sagi Bar Or, Israel, Mongolia Trekking Experience (link)

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  • "You organised and delivered a fantastic mix of trips. Who’d have thought Mongolia could offer such a mix over winter? A wonderful trip. Your vision and offerings are both laudable and outstanding and a reflection of your values."

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  • 'It remains a stand out adventure - remote, free and with great interaction with the environment and 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 without your deep relationships with the herders and families.  So thank you for making it a real Mongolian exploration and not just a hover above the surface.'

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  • "From the start, I've been very impressed with the honesty and the quality of the information. It was very clear what this travel experience would not be, and what it would try to be (without any guarantees and thus false promises). It felt very personal. The approach to travelling was refreshing and I really appreciated it: showing the ‘real’ Mongolia, without any pretence."

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  • "The flexibility of it all makes it a refreshing trip, creating memorable experiences. It was a truly good way to travel. Honest, sincere, reliable and you deliver."

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  • "You listened to what we wanted. You showed that you listened to us and have gone that extra mile for us – things that you don’t get on other tours. From an organisational perspective everything was excellent – great itinerary, built in flexibility, elements of surprise, relaxing, informative and enjoyable." 

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  • "Keep at it 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, Australia, Mongolia Winter tour  (link)

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  • 'Why did I choose this company?.... Because for me they have ethics and policies that support the people and the country as well as making sure that you get what you want. Nothing was too much trouble and transparency and clarity were paramount.'

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  • "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 apart of the company made us feel welcomed like family."

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