Trip Details – Western Explorer – Mongolia tailor made tour

‘Local touch, dependability, professionalism and attention to detail. There was a real difference between the experiences of other tourists that we encountered and ours. Every point of comparison was a big plus for EL. The way the tour was structured, the vehicle, the EL team, the places, the families, the limited number of driving hours, the camping spots, the feeling of remoteness of the lakes depression … the list goes on. Many times we said to each other how glad we were to have chosen the right company.’ EL guest Teo Marinska, Western Explorer

Khar Nuur in Zavkhan Province, Mongolia

Image: EL guest John Holman

Our Western Explorer Mongolia tailor-made experience is about exploring the diversity of Mongolia’s immense and powerful landscapes. As you head west out of  Ulaanbaatar, you explore alpine lakes, historical river valleys, Mongolia’s highest mountains, open steppe grasslands, and sand dunes. This closeness of diversity is matched by few other places in the world. 

It is time spent exploring and ‘just being’ in the landscapes which can be such an uplifting and enlightening part of a Mongolian experience and this is an essential element of this trip. Combined with homestays with local families that we work in long-term local community partnership with that make their lives within these epic landscapes and wild camping, this makes for an exciting and original road trip. Come and join us, let each day and each journey unfold, and gain a fresh perspective.

  • Duration: 23 Days – Adaptable – length or season
  • Accommodation – Homestays – Hosted by families we work in long-term local partnerhsip with, Family operated ger camp, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Trip Breakdown

Day One  – Final Arrival Day | Discover Ulaanbaatar | City Walking Tour

Image: EL guest Tammy McCorkle

Ulaanbaatar (UB) is home to roughly 45% of Mongolia’s population and our free city walking tour will give you a more local introduction to this vibrant frontier style city with a strong Mongolian identity of its own. It is the beating heart of Mongolia and the hub of contemporary Mongolian urban life. The reality for many Mongolians takes place in this urban context, in a city they are striving to develop and improve. Ulaanbaatar deserves to be appreciated and explored as the urban centre that it is. 

Our informal and relaxed city walking tour will give you a contrasting insight into a way of life, compared to that of the rural population as you spend the day in the company of one of our female Mongolian trip assistants exploring the city through the eyes of a local.

  • Accommodation: Your own choice
  • Meals: Local lunch and welcome drink
  • Travel: Free transfer

Day Two & Three – Orkhon River Valley Homestay | Kharkhorin | Central Heartland

Mongolia's Orkhon River Valley

Image: EL guest Annelies Quaegebeur

Drive to the home of Tumee and Jargaa – a herding family we work with as part of one of our long-term local community partnerships. They are modern-day herders, a strong part of the local community and move up to six times a year – always located close to the Orkhon River.

The Orkhon River Valley is one of Mongolia’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s a cultural WHS and represents the evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions in Mongolia – this region is considered the cradle of Mongolian civilisation and an area rich in nomadic life as the Orkhon River provides an essential lifeline for nomads and their livestock.

On the second day, there is nothing pre-planned as everyone is different in what they like to do and leaving the plan flexible leads to a more respectful and more naturally Mongolian experience. But there’s plenty of flexibility and options. Ideas include visiting Kharkhorin, exploring the area on a horse trek, experiencing the way of life of the family or a mix.

Kharkhorin is the ancient capital of Ogodei Khan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. Visit Erdene Zuu – Mongolia’s oldest monastery and visit the excellent Kharkhorin Museum with its clear and updated exhibits based on the history surrounding the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empire. Even if history doesn’t really ‘grab’ you, we recommend a visit as it helps to bring the history of the area alive.

  • Accommodation:  Basic ger next to family ger. Or tent camp next to family ger (depending on availability / preference).  Basic long drop outside toilet and no showers. Hot shower available at the local town shower house – your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life

Staying With The Tumee Family 

This is Tumee - an expert horseman and head of one of the herding families we work with in Mongolia's central Orkhon River Valley

As with all the families we work with, we work in long-term local community partnership with Tumee and Jargal. Local to the area – they both went to school in the region – one of their adult sons is a member of the Genghis Khan Polo Club. They are considered integral members of their local community. Although they agree their way of life has challenges, they love it for the sense of freedom it provides.

  • Meals: Day Two – L/D & Day Three – B/L/D
  • Travel: Day Two – Roughly 350km on dirt and asphalt road. Approx 7-8 hours driving time not including stops. Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions

Day Four & Five – Tsenkher Homestay

A Mongolian herding family

Image: EL guest Myriam Gonzalez-Schulze

The Galbadrakh family are a young family – yak herders – that make their home in the district of Tsenkher in the Khangai Mountains. We form long-term local community partnerships throughout the country and work side by side with each family looking at ways we can provide long-term support. Our experiences are put together in a way that benefits the families, rather than disrupting their lives.

Galdbadrakh and his family are members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh  – an NGO that works solely with yak herders in Arkhangai Province helping them to produce spun yak down thus helping to sustain and improve the livelihoods of the member herders as it allows them to diversify and increase their income (the herders being paid the full value of their harvest for a higher price than the local market).

  • Accommodation: The Galbadrakh family live as part of a ‘khot ail’ – an extended family – and make one of the family gers available for guests to sleep in. You will have to share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. Hot shower available at the local town shower house – your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Day Four – Roughly 215km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Six – Suman Gol | Central Heartland

 

Suman Gol Mongolia

Image: EL guest Myriam Shulze

Continue on to Suman Gol where you will stay with Dondov – another member of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh. He is also a small market gardener and a local historian.

Don’t try to find this location in a guidebook – you won’t. But, although basic, the location of Dondov’s small camp comes as a good surprise – next to the river and part of the Tariat volcanic field. There are petroglyphs to explore as well as the lava terraces.  For those interested, only 1% of Mongolia’s landmass is dedicated to crops and here you can learn from Dondov more about the challenges of growing vegetables in the harsh terrain of Mongolia.

Dondov - a Mongolian herder

  • Accommodation: Dondov provides 2-4 guest gers (and some basic wooden houses). You will have to share a ger with 2-4 other members of the group. Asian style outside long drop toilet. An option for a (brilliantly engineered) cold shower.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 200km on asphalt and dirt road (approx 5-6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Seven & Eight – Terkhiin Tsgaaan Nuur National Park – Central Heartland

A panoramic view of Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park in central Mongolia

The view from our campsite. Image: EL Guest Mick Egan

Drive to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and explore the volcano that created this beautiful area with an alpine lake at its core. Then continue your journey around the north side of the lake to our campsite. This is the region where we conduct our annual two-day community clean-up.

Our campsite is perfectly located for exploring this diverse lakeland area – especially the ridge tops with their outstanding views over the surrounding mountains and the lakeshore. A natural highlight of Mongolia, White Lake National Park encompasses an area of wild nature – volcanic craters, rugged mountains, river valleys and rolling steppe. 

  • Accommodation: Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent  and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). Alternative of ger accommodation during bad weather. Outside Asian style squat toilet.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Day Seven – Roughly 120km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 3 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Nine – Telmen Nuur

Image: EL guest Mick Egan

Head west into the vast plains of Zavkhan Province –  the valleys around this region are magnificent – tranquil and serene. Telmen Nuur is a shallow salt lake with peninsulas, salt marshes and sand dunes. It is one of Mongolia’s 70 Important Bird Areas and has three small islands where water birds such as Ruddy Shelduck can gather in vast numbers. One reason why we love this lake is that it feels a little bit like the lake and its atmosphere resembles the sea.

  • Accommodation: Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent  and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). No showers.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 220km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Ten – Thirteen – Khar Nuur | Mukhartiin Gol | Zavkhan Province

A glorious image of Khar Nuur in Zavkhan Province - it is quite remarkable - a crystal clear alpine lake surrounded by mountain steppe and sand dunes.

Image: EL guest John Holman

Day Ten – Continue to the glorious Khar Nuur. Zavkhan Aimag occupies a transitional zone between the Khangai Mountains and the Great Lakes Depression. Khar Nuur is a combination of both these zones – an alpine lake surrounded by the Bor Khyarin sand dunes. The contrasting landscapes are completely unexpected and wonderful to explore and you have complete freedom to do so.

Reasons to visit Mongolia - the spectacular (and surprising) Mukhartiin Gol the

Image: EL guest John Holman

Day Twelve – Through the centre of Zavkhan Province is a series of sand dunes centring around the community of Erdenekhairkhan where you will spend time exploring the landscapes including the spectacular (and surprising) Mukhartiin Gol – although this brief description does not do this remarkable region justice.

These drives are rough in places but that doesn’t matter. This really is about the journey as well as the destination!

  • Accommodation:  Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). No showers.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel:
  • Day Ten – Roughly 160km on dirt and asphalt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.
  • Day Twelve – 45km + 80km (to river head) on dirt road. Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual.

Day Fourteen – Khyargas Nuur

Sunset Khyargas Nuur Mongolia

Uvs Aimag is one of the ‘hardest’ aimags in Mongolia – from its climate to its terrain. Khyargas Nuur forms part of a national park in Uvs Aimag and your journey today will take you along the north side of this mighty windswept salt lake surrounded by desert terrain. It’s a big driving day – see it as the ultimate road trip –  but a certain percentage of the route is on good asphalt road.

Khyargas is part of the massive Great Lakes Depression. The region does not look ‘pretty’ – it is a semi-arid region. But it is one of the most important wetland regions of Central Asia with the wetlands based on a system of interconnected shallow lakes with wide reed belts within a generally desert steppe.

  • Tent Camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent and a toilet tent. I call it a ‘loo with a view!” Or, simple room in Khar Temis Soviet Camp or local community of Naranbulag. In either case, Asian style outside squat toilet and no showers
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 300km on asphalt and dirt road (approx 7-8 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Fifteen – Shazgai Nuur

Reasons to visit Mongolia - Shazgai Nuur, wesnterm Mongolia

Image: EL guest John Holman

Continue through  Uvs Aimag to this beautiful off-the-beaten-track lake – circled by Mongolian herding families. A perfect location for a little time out.

  • Tent Camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent and a toilet tent. I call it a ‘loo with a view!” Or, simple room in Khar Temis Soviet Camp or local community of Naranbulag. In either case, Asian style outside squat toilet and no showers
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 160km on asphalt and dirt road (approx 4-5 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual depending on road/weather conditions.

Day Sixteen – Tsengel Khairkhan | Kazakh Eagle Hunter Homestay (with Bashakhan family) | Western Mongolia

Kazakh family Mongolia

Image: EL guest Sam Reinders

Stop in Ulgii to have a hot shower at the local town shower house – just as each of the family members that host you do. Then transfer through the Altai landscapes to the region of the snow-capped Tsengel Khairkhan Mountain.

Here the Kazakh eagle hunter Bashahan and his family have their summer home where you’ll be warmly welcomed like old friends and you’ll share their home with them. Together with his family, they move twice a year. In the summer months, their summer pasture is located within the region of Tsengel Khairkhan with an elevation of 3,943m it is one of the highest glacier mountains in the Mongol-Altai mountain range. It is unexpectedly beautiful.

Spend the rest of the day experiencing the way of life of the family including spending time with Bashakhan’s wife and daughter-in-law – Jamalgan and Tolhyn – both are talented embroiders and will show you the skill behind this ancient tradition.

  • Accommodation:  Basakhan does have an additional ger for guests to stay in but depending on the date of your visit, it may be his summer ger or his winter clay brick house. Please be prepared to be flexible. Alternatively, we always provide tents for each guest and these can be put up next to the family home. Asian style long drop outside toilet. Hot shower at the local town shower house. Your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 250km on dirt road (approx 6-7 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions

Day Seventeen – Nineteen – OPTIONAL Tsengel Khairkhan Trek Trekking icon

Panoramic view of the snow capped Altai Mountains in western Mongolia

Image: EL guest Shobna Gopinath

Join Bashakhan – or Tileukjan or Serikjan – both also eagle hunters and Bashakhan’s adult sons – on a three-day trek and experience a different more hidden side of the Altai as you trek in the wild spaces of Bashakhan’s summer pasture in the foothills of sacred Tsengel Khairkhan. Although this brief description does not do this remarkable region justice – it is unexpectedly beautiful. And off the beaten track. This is the Altai that few others get to see. 

Our treks are different in that we leave the route entirely flexible and in the hands of your herder guide/horse wrangler (Bashakhan) as this leads to a more organic and Kazakh type of exploration. So many trekking experiences offered in Mongolia have rigid routes and itineraries and that just seems wrong in a country of such freedom. Instead, the focus becomes getting to meet and know the Mongolian herder guide/horse wrangler in the areas where they consider home. There isn’t a network of clearly defined trails so you have to be prepared for a mixture of terrain.

NOTE: If you don’t wish to trek, we can either reduce the trip length or include these three days as a homestay with the Bashakhan family where you can go on day hikes, horse treks or just experience the way of life of the family.

The Length

3 days

The Trek

There will be challenges – maybe the weather or maybe some of the terrain at times. However, our treks aren’t meant to be physical endurance events. The focus is on enjoying the wide-open spaces and the feeling of freedom to be found when hiking and exploring the Mongolian landscapes.

The Trails

There isn’t a network of clearly defined trails. You have to be prepared for a mixture of terrain – everything from dry river beds to mountainous alpine routes with potentially some river crossings. Your main luggage will be transported by tour vehicle.

Distances

The approximate distance per day is 10-20km.  Be prepared that some days will be shorter or longer. Although we set the location in advance, the route is not set in stone as this allows us to be as flexible as possible in relation to the weather and ground conditions.

Accommodation

For tent camps, we provide a kitchen tent, a toilet tent and VANGO tents.  There are no single supplements – each traveller gets their OWN tent.  Don’t worry about lack of showers – we provide heated water for washes en-route.

Meals

Meals will be hearty and rustic as all food has to be carried with us. Also, there is no chef. Your EL trip assistant treks with you during the day and prepares all your meals as well.

During your time in Bayan Ulgii Province you will have the services of a Kazakh translator working alongside your EL trip assistant. This is not a professional translator. This is either Jako or her husband Baurjan – local Kazakhs who can speak Mongolian (and depending on who works on your specific trip, a little English) and who supplement their income by working as translators specifically for EL. It could be that your questions have to be translated from English into Mongolian and then into Kazakh (and the answers vice versa). It might at times test your patience but just relax and enjoy being with Jako and Baurjan who have become part of the EL family.

Jako and Baurjan - Our Kazakh fixers

As Kazakh culture dictates, they are warm and generous hosts and this image shows the incredible table that awaits visitors at each home. At some point during your time in Ulgii you will try ‘Besbarmak’, a dish consisting of boiled horse or mutton. This is is one of the most popular Kazakh dishes and is also called ‘five fingers’ because of the way it is eaten – using your hands.

Experiencing Kazakh hospitality in western Mongolia

Image: EL guest Massimo Rumi

Day Twenty & Twenty-One – Khoton & Khurgan Nuur | Western Mongolia

Khoton & Khurgan Nuur Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

Day Nineteen – Drive out across expansive rocky plains to the small windswept town of Tsengel. From here continue along through the river valley as to the rugged peaks of the Altai and the spectacular alpine lakes of Khoton and Khurgan Nuur.

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park can be divided into two regions, the Tavan Bogd Mountains in the northwest and the Lakes Region to the southeast. The lakes are fed by glacial melt and annual snow fall and form the head waters of the Khovd River.

Day Twenty One – Explore this mountain forest-steppe region –  including the valleys that the local herders use for their summer and winter pastures on the Chinese border. . One option is a day hike to Baga Turgen Waterfall.

  • Accommodation: Tent camp. UK VANGO tents. We also provide a kitchen tent and a toilet tent (well, a tent to cover the hole in the ground. I call it a ‘loo with a view!”). No showers.
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Day Twenty – Roughly 150km on dirt road (approx 6-7 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions.

Day Twenty-Two – Ulgii (contingency day)

Ulgii - the provincial capital of western Mongolia

Image: EL guest Meei Wong

Travel back to Ulgii where you will be hosted by our Kazakh translator Jako and her family.

Ulgii is a predominantly Kazakh city where a Muslim influence is widespread, from street signs to clothes and food, and gives the town its diverse atmosphere. As well as spending time at the family home do as the locals do and visit the market where you can purchase some locally made wool and embroidery crafts and take in the view from Ulgii’s viewpoint – always popular with local families. Also, consider the surprisingly interesting local museum.

And for those that think why bother visiting Ulgii?… remember, for each of the families you live with, Ulgii is part of their way of life … they use it for shopping, for meeting friends, for attending school or visiting the doctor. It’s as much part of their life as hunting with eagles is.

Meet Halmira

Halmira was widowed when her youngest child was just two. A mother of five, Halmira survived financially by creating traditional Kazakh embroidery. However, apart from local sales she has never really had an outlet for her remarkable skill … until now. With Halmira, her home is her workshop.  Self-taught, Halmira uses her own motifs as well as more traditional designs for the Kazakh embroidery and wall hangings she hand makes. She works freehand but uses handmade stencils. For those that wish to, we arrange for you to spend time at the home of Halmira learning this incredible skill.

Meet Halmira, Olgii Western Mongolia

  • Accommodation: At the home of Jako and Baurjan. Outside toilet. Hot shower at the local town shower house. Your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Queue with the locals and enjoy experiencing a little of their daily way of life
  • Meals: B/L/D
  • Travel: Roughly 180km on dirt road (approx 6 hours driving time not including stops). Averages of between 30 and 65 km/hr are usual but depend on road and weather conditions.

Day Twenty-Three – Return Ulaanbaatar

Fly back to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival into UB, we’ll transfer you to your accommodation and the rest of the day will be yours to create your own experience. Remember you could use our UB guide to help you to explore the urban side of Mongolian life in downtown Ulaanbaatar. Alternatively, one of our trip assistants could be made available but please let me know in advance.

We will transfer you to the airport or train station on your departure date.

  • Accommodation: Of your own choice
  • Meals: Breakfast * Lunch depending on flight time
  • Travel: Approx 20 mins transfer to Ulgii Airport and up to one hour transfer time from Chinggis Khan airport.  If the domestic flight is from Khovd, the transfer time is longer (220km).
  • Flight Departure and Arrival Time TBC. Weight restriction 15kg (10kg check-in and 5kg hand luggage). Hand luggage ‘officially’ restricted to 1-piece. Excess baggage charges are between $4-$7 per kilo depending on the route. Please note that the domestic airline may change the flight time schedule closer to the day of departure

From Our Blog

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

Learn more about beautiful Kkar Nuur.

Our guide to hunting with eagles by Mongolia’s Kazakh eagle hunters. Learn about the ethics, culture, and traditions.

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

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.

Group Size – Maximum of six. Price is based on a minimum of THREE (or two people pay a surcharge)

  • 3-4 Guests     US$ 3655 pp + domestic flight of approximately 450,000 MNT pp
  • 5 Guests     US$ 3540 pp + domestic flight of approximately 450,000 MNT pp
  • 6 Guests     US$ 3165 pp + domestic flight of approximately 450,000 MNT 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
  1. Camel or horseback rides
  2. Entrance fees to monasteries, temples and museums (when with local team) – excludes camera tickets
  3. 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) 
  • 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 (including our flexible Covid cancellation policy) – 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.

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.muchbetteradventures.com/magazine/hey-travel-industry-heres-how-to-measure-your-carbon-footprint/ and add this to the carbon total.  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.

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Written by Jess - the founder of Eternal Landscapes - there's no spam, no sharing your details and no random offers. It goes out once or twice a month. Hopefully enough to be of interest but not too much to annoy.

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