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December 20, 2021
Mongolia's Middle Gobi

Wild Research Mongolia Expedition

Our Wild Research Mongolia expeditions are our way of getting to explore and discover parts of the country that we know and want to get to know better with the possibility of putting this knowledge into our small group and tailor-made experiences. It’s also a chance for the local Mongolian people we work in local long-term community partnerships with to show us the hidden side of their home.

On each of the Mongolia experiences, we offer we do all our own research, drive the distances, speak to the local communities, build the contacts, design, and then run the experience. We do not source our itineraries from other agents. And sometimes we open up our Mongolia research expeditions for our international guests to join.

We have led quite a few of our research trips over the years. We ask guests that by joining us on one of our wild research Mongolia expeditions they are prepared to be completely flexible – the route is not preplanned in advance in the minutest detail. It means we can adapt and tweak depending on what we learn from the locals we come into contact with and the places they want to show us and share with us.

We also ask our guests to understand that experiencing Mongolia’s landscapes is an integral part of our wild research Mongolia expeditions. It is time spent exploring and ‘just being’ in the landscapes which we find the most uplifting and enlightening and this is an essential element of our research trips.

Our research trips are not tests of endurance or competitive races. Naturally, there are always some challenges but they’re mainly about seeing Mongolia from a different perspective, new horizons, and the joy of the great outdoors. They are slower paced more immersive experiences.

Here are a few quotes from our previous research trips:

Sunset at Khar Nuur in Zavkhan Province

 

‘As we bounce our way down a particularly boulder-strewn gully we are suddenly confronted with a breathtaking vista. The bluest of blue lakes nestled snuggly amongst dark rocky crags and flanked by golden brown sand dunes. A herd of Bactrian camels stroll lazily across our path and a pair of brilliant white whooper swans cruise gracefully along the shoreline.

As we traverse the southern shoreline the colour of the lake changes constantly with the light – amethyst, jade, emerald, silver and turquoise, while from our campsite nestled between the lake and the dunes the soft  pastel pinks, blues and mauves of opal in the eastern sky at sunset are reflected in the mirror-like surface of the lake. The name of this gem is Khar, a very simple name for a simply beautiful place. We are lulled to sleep by the gentle lapping of small waves idling across the lake ahead of a gentle breeze.’

EL guest John Holman, Wild Treks Research Mongolia Expedition

‘Our reward is another spectacularly broad river valley flanked by peaks sporting some amazingly sculpted granite outcrops. Camp is set up on the bank of the Buyant Gol River. We soon discover that, from just a short distance downstream of the camp, we can catch a tantalising glimpse of our objective, Otgon Tenger, the most sacred mountain in Mongolia standing proudly at the head of an adjoining valley. While at 4021 metres it is not the tallest mountain in Mongolia it has a permanent mantle of snow and gives rise to the only glacier in this range. 

Next morning we are reminded, not only that winter is on the way but that camp is located at about 2500 metres for there is a generous layer of ice on the tents and even the edges of the fast flowing are sporting mantles of ice. The sun and the eternal blue sky soon brighten the day, however.’

EL guest John Holman, Wild Treks Research Mongolia Expedition

 

Protector Deity Ochirvan of Otgon Tenger Mountain during our wild research Mongolia expedition

Protector Deity Ochirvan of Otgon Tenger Mountain in Mongolia. Mongolians consider the mountain to be the mystical abode of Ochirvan – the fierce, dark blue protective deity of the Buddhist religion (traditional Mongolian beliefs have held that wrathful deities inhabit many of Mongolia’s sacred mountains).

 

‘Otgon Tenger Uul would have to be my most memorable cultural experience.  Seeing the reverence Turuu  showed to the mountain and lake, taking part in the lake water ritual, knowing, seeing and experiencing the significance of the area made it a very special day.’

EL guest Ross Briggs, Wild Treks Research Mongolia Expedition

‘The Gobi will make you question everything you thought you knew about the desert. It will strip the layers of expectation, familiarity and ‘seen it all before’ mentality from the harshest of critics. No longer will you compartmentalise landscapes into preconceived boxes. 

Barren rocky outcrops, glistening natural springs bordered by lush green trees, wind swept dunes and blazing sunsets amongst the ghosts of prehistoric creatures. From the furgon, the back of a camel and on foot I moved through these changing scenes like the sole actress on a deserted film set. 

Hours spent with eyes squinted, brow furrowed in concentration. How could I possibly describe in words the immense space that was in front of me? 

The remoteness lends itself to a sense of freedom and unconscious ownership. Just when you feel an element of power over the landscape, mother earth will remind you of your perilous position in the world.’ 

EL guest Megan Greentree, Wild Gobi Research Mongolia Expedition

The sandstone formations of Khermen Tsav in Mongolia's southern Gobi Desert during our Wild Research Mongolia Expedition

The sandstone formations of Khermen Tsav in Mongolia’s southern Gobi Desert during an EL Wild Research Mongolia Expedition

‘Six Mongolian Bactrian camels took us across the foothills of the mighty sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, led by Bagi, a local herder and, our guide.  

The dunes of Khongoryn Els sweep up against Zöölön Uul, a mountain range that is at the easterly reach of the Gobi Altai. You could say the dunes were a mountain range themselves. They are mammoth, the highest peak of sand being approximately 300m. They present the stereotypical beauty I think of in relation to a desert; sweeping lines and sharp contrasting forms lit by an unforgiving sun. There is certainly a beauty here, however, it is the gravel plains of the Gobi that stop my heart and leave my mind gaping in painful awe.‘

Sovay Berriman, Wild Gobi Research Mongolia Expedition

 

Wolf prints Mongolia Gobi Desert, wild research Mongolia expedition

Wolf prints outside our tent during the research expedition for our five-day camel trekking experience

 

If you’re interested in joining us on one of our Wild Research Mongolia Expeditions then get in touch with Jess for details. Although we do frequent research, we don’t always open up the trips for guests to join – it just depends on what we’re researching and the location. Still, its always worth asking!

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and together with my beloved Mongolian team, we focus on tourism that makes a positive difference. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia. http://www.jessbrooks.co.uk/
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