Our Travel Philosophy
Yes. We have our own way. Everything we do is for a reason. It’s thought about. Mongolia is unique – it’s people, it’s culture and it’s landscapes. We try to work with what Mongolia already offers – from what’s available in the local markets to the skills and knowledge of its people. We try that we offer a purely Mongolian brand of experience that is fair to all.
It can’t cover all aspects but in no particular order, here’s an introduction to the ‘EL way’. Yes, we are small and so what we do may only make a small impact, but this hopefully shows we care about the small details as much as the big ones.
We are a registered Mongolian company
Yes, I’m from the UK but Eternal Landscapes is a registered Mongolian company. We operate under the name Gobi Gua Undur – the Gobi as that is where Turuu is from and Gua Undur is the name of a sacred stone shrine close to his family home. We’re proud to invest in Mongolia.
We focus on 21st century Mongolia
There’s a drive for modernity and progress in Mongolia and we try to provide a ‘realistic’ overview of Mongolia rather than that portrayed by guidebooks and other tour companies.
One of my main roles is to deal with expectations in advance encouraging our guests to ditch them based on what they’ve read and watched. Instead, our guests are encouraged to come with an open mind and be challenged and surprised.
We offer our free city walking tour of Ulaanbaatar and try to include at least one night in a small town on an itinerary – to try and provide a balanced perspective and to help widen our support.
We source locally
Yes, the tents for our camping trips are from a UK manufacturer but everything else is sourced in Mongolia and as much as possible, made in Mongolia. Where possible, we don’t just buy from a shop but we source the material ourselves from the markets in Ulaanbaatar and then have each product made to our specifications through local family businesses. Supporting local is a major part of who we are and we make a constant effort to support local businesses. We only use Mongolian owned accommodation, we buy Mongolian produce for the meals on the tour including ‘stocking-up’ in the smaller towns that we pass through so they benefit from our custom. We also use locally owned restaurants both in UB and in the countryside. We encourage you to support traditional crafts by buying direct from local artisans who you’ll meet en-route as well as purchasing products from the projects we support.
We try to put money and support back into the local communities, strengthening local businesses, families, and individuals that represent all spectrums of Mongolian life.
We promote out of season travel
We are keen to extend the season for the benefit of our EL team and the rural families and Mongolian businesses we work with – to make tourism less concentrated around peak season (July) and to help the income of the people and communities we work with be more evenly distributed. We offer a 15% discount to those that choose to travel in the low season.
Why do we do this? Most importantly, it’s a more sustainable approach.
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 as the sun dips ever lower, the landscapes seem to stretch further than ever.
Sustainability is an overused word but we genuinely care about it
Our small group sizes are a maximum of 4 to 6 which is refreshingly small for the tourism industry. We provide chargers in the tour vehicle so that are guests are not reliant on the limited resources provided by families. We provide a free city nomads folding bike in each vehicle as a way to allow you to explore independently and to help break the reliance on the tour vehicle. In each van, there is a water filter so we don’t have to purchase bottled water and we also work with Water-To-Go – providing filtered water bottles. Meals are provided by the EL team unless in a local cafe or restaurant. This relieves families of having to provide meals and also means we can source food in the local shops and markets en-route.
We’re not a slick corporate company. We’re a micro business that call ourselves ‘manaikhan – family.’ We look for and invest in ways for the EL team to come together in the quieter months and not just for a quick two-day recap at the start of the season. We also arrange training from professional sources in Mongolia to help broaden their skills, knowledge and personal development.
Our Drivers And Vehicles
Each vehicle is owned by the EL driver as this gives them the freedom and flexibility to be in charge of their own life. But, we do help with finance for the maintenance and the upkeep. Also, we have only eight drivers. We know them. They are an integral part of the EL team. We never use vehicles or drivers from outside of the EL team.
Our Trip Assistants
As a female, it is important to me to use my skills and influence to improve the prospects for other women. We don’t source the best guides that work the tourism circuit and that already have guaranteed work with other companies. Instead, we provide training and development opportunities to Mongolian women that want the chance to work in tourism but other companies won’t take as they don’t fit the stereotype or have the professional qualifications.
Our female Mongolian trip assistants are dynamic women who are searching for an opportunity to train and develop and we provide that long-term opportunity. You’ll travel with someone who sincerely loves their home country, loves their job and genuinely care about you as our guests. For us, this is a long-term investment and we invite you to part of this philosophy. We’re proud to be able to provide a starting block to women in Mongolia.
We do things the Mongolian way
We try to include aspects of the Mongolian way of life into our philosophy. As an example, why do we use plastic stools at meal times? A lot of thought has gone into our meal set-up. It’s not because they’re cheap. We use the type of stools you typically find inside family gers. Sitting around a high table in camp chairs forms a complete circle that cuts off any outside visitors. Using the stools means the group is more open and passing local Mongolians are more likely to come over and take a seat and say hi. * For those with a bad back, we can provide chairs with back support!