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Mongolian Discovery

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FromUS$ 1,790
Price
FromUS$ 1,790

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Tour Brief

  • Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights
  • Activities: Hiking, Local Nomads, Ger Visits, Experiencing Traditional Nomadic Life, Horse Riding, Camel Riding.
  • Distance: 1150kms
  • Hiking distances: 3-5 miles per day
  • Group: Min 2 – Max 10
  • Season: June – September
  • Fitness level:

Included:

Ger camp accommodation (5 nights)
Community ger camp accommodation (2 nights)
English speaking guide
Entrance fees to protected areas and sightseeing costs
Horse riding and camel riding fees
Transport by 4WD Japanese minivan
Meals as specified in the itinerary (B – Breakfast; L – Lunch; D – Dinner).

Excluded:

International transportation to and from Mongolia
Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar
Travel insurance
Mineral bottled water and alcoholic drinks
Tips and gratuities
Laundry and items of a personal nature.

Highlights

A journey into Central Mongolia, the nomadic heartland of the country. It is an area of diverse landscapes and natural beauty. Experience nomadic life first hand in Gurvanbulag and Khogno Khaan Reserve, ride a camel across the dunes at Elsen Tasarkhai, visit the Chinggis Khan’s ancient capital at Kharakhorum, before heading to the nomadic heartlands of the Orkhon Valley. Take a dip in the Hot Springs at Tsenkher Valleys and and watch the wild takhi horses at Hustai National Park before returning to UB. Stay in a mixture of comfortable ger accommodation at some of our favorite camps and nomadic homestays.

Places visited

Ulaanbaatar – Khar Bukhiin Balgas – Nomadic community in Gurvanbulag – Khogno Khaan Reserve – Kharakhorum – Tsenkher Hot Springs – Orkhon Valley – Hustai National Park – Ulaanbaatar.

Tour Route Map
Itinerary

Day 1Gandan Monastery - Gurvanbulag - Shagai Games - Archery

You will be picked up from a pre-arranged Ulaanbaatar location at a time to suit you – we suggest leaving around 9:00am to make the most of the day. Jump in the vehicle with your guide and stop off at Gandan Monastery – enter the temples, including that of the Migjid Janraisig with it’s huge golden Buddha statue. In the old temple complex listen to the chanting ceremonies which happen mid-morning. Afterwards, board the vehicle again and head west for 280km to Gurvanbulag. On the way you will stop briefly to visit Khar Bukhiin Balgas, interesting remains of am ancient fort used by nomadic tribes dating back to 10th century.

Upon arrival you will have a chance to do some hiking or horse riding in the surrounding hills and visit the sand dunes nearby or you can stay behind and take ‘shagai’ ankle bones game lesson with the locals. You can also try your hand at archery with the traditionally made Mongolian bows and arrows, your guide and driver will be delighted to teach you and join you in an archery competition. After dinner settle into the high end eco-lodge, the community owned Gurvanbulag Ger Camp camp and enjoy your first night sleeping in a gerLD

Day 2Among the Nomads in Gurvanbulag - Sand Dunes - Horse Show

In the morning visit locals in their gers and experience the nomadic hospitality and their way of life. Sample milk tea, homemade diary products such as yogurt and dried curds, or perhaps try your hand at preparation! Spend today enjoying the tranquility of the open countryside, you can be as active as you wish, hiking, milking animals or sharing stories with the nomads over the home-made vodka or ‘airag’ – fermented mare’s milk.

In the afternoon hike with your guide around 6km to the nearby sand dunes for some great photo opportunities and perhaps dune sliding. Return to the nomads’ gers in the evening to enjoy a traditional feast of khorkhog – mutton and vegetables seared and steamed with red hot stones from the fire. After dinner enjoy the show of horse catching by skilled locals, who will use “urgaa” the traditional wooden lasso to catch untamed horses that were never ridden before – and try teach them riding for the first time. Afterwards it’s back to the eco-lodge nearby and will settle to your gers for the night. BLD

Day 3Exploring around the sacred Mountain Khognokhaan

Today you head to the nature reserve of Khogno Khan, where you can explore the Buddhist temple of Erdenekhamba, that is set in the idyllic location at the foothills of the sacred Khogno Khan mountain. Visit the lower temple complex of Uvguun Khiid, see the reconstructed temples, prayer-wheel and look around the ruins. Then we recommend taking the 45 minute hike up to the older ruined temple complex in the hills – the scenery is fantastic, and depending on time of year, wildflowers may be in abundance. Head back down to the valley floor, you will be staying tonight in the Khognokhaan ger camp. BLD

Day 4Ikh Mongol Els - Camel Ride - Kharakhorum

After leisurely breakfast drive a short distance to a family of camel herders. Enter their ger and experience local hospitality and tea while your camels are being prepared. Then, after a brief instruction, head off on the double humped bactrian camel ride across the outcrops of sand dunes of Ikh Mongol Els for 1-2 hours.

After the lunch at the herder’s family ger say goodbye to your hosts and journey 90km west to the ancient Chinggis Khan’s capital of Kharakhorum, where you will be staying in a characterful ger camp. In the evening, depending on the availability, we hope you will be able to enjoy a performance of traditional music and dance – either at the ger camp where you are staying or at a nearby camp down the road.

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Day 5Kharakhorum - Erdene Zuu Monastery - Felt Manufacture

Today your first stop will be Erdene Zuu Monastery which is the largest and first Mongolian Buddhist temple complex built on the ruins of 16th century Kharakhorum city. Go in time to hear the monks chanting, which takes place mid-morning. Take a guided tour around the main temples, and walk around the grounds.

Afterwards have lunch at the ger camp and in the afternoon visit the interesting local museum, the local market, the Monument of the 3 Kings overlooking the Orkhon River, and the fertility stone on the edge of town, and finally the local felt cooperative workshop and witness the felt production process.

Tonight stay in our favourite ger camp located near Kharakhorum.
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Day 6Tsenkher Valleys - Hot Springs

Up early for the drive to Tsenkher Valleys, we suggest setting off around 8am. Most of the drive is off-road, but the scenery is amazing with rolling steppe and mountains in the background. On arrival enjoy lunch and hike in the surrounding hills and forests to discover pools and steams of hot springs. You will know you are near natural sources geothermal water by distinctive the sulfuric smell. In the afternoon soak in one of the pools at the ger camp that you will be staying at and relax enjoy the natural warm bath.

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Day 7Orkhon Valley – UNESCO World Heritage Site - Yak Herders

In the morning drive to the UNESCO world heritage site of Orkhon Valley. The valley, located at the heart of Mongolia is the cradle of nomadic civilizations that have lived on the Eurasian steppe such as Huns or Mongols it is, their ancestral land. On the way stop at the Temeen Chuluu – ancient Bronze Age burial stones. Then continue to the Uurtiin Tokhoi Canyon. Mongolian for “Eternal Elbow”, this is a steep cliff bordering a right angled bend of the river. The cliff offers a marvelous view over Orkhon Valley. You may do these things before arriving at camp, or later in the afternoon – all very flexible. Today you will also visit nomadic yak herders – in their gers. Get an exclusive opportunity to watch, milk or even ride this docile animal of the highlands. If not comfortable doing that, ride in a traditional cart pulled by one of those humongous creatures.

In the afternoon, after picnic lunch, your guide can take you for a 2-hour trek up into the Khangai hills, or alternatively you can go for a shorter walk in the valley near the camp. You will be rewarded with amazing photo opportunities and scenery. In the evening enjoy dinner in your camp and settle into your comfortable ger for the night.

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Day 8Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes - Hustai National Park - Wild Takhi Horses

After breakfast jump in the vehicle for the journey back east for a long drive to Hustai. You will have picnic lunch on the way, perhaps near Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes, and upon arrival rest a bit at the ger camp where you will be staying overnight. The camp located at the entrance to the National Park. At dusk, drive in to the park to see the wild Takhi (Przewalski) horses – this is the time when they gather to drink at streams so you have a better chance of seeing them up close, and in accessible areas. You may want to combine the trip with a longer walk in the park – in which case you should leave a little earlier. Discuss your preference with your guide. Afterwards head back to camp for dinner and your last night in a ger.

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Day 9Hustai National Park - Wildlife Tracking - Ulaanbaatar

In the morning drive into the park again to watch the plethora of wildlife. Your guide will communicate with the park rangers to find out the location of the animals – large herds of deer, takhi horses, foxes or even wolves can be spotted, and as a side attraction there are also ancient monuments worth seeing. After returning to the camp attend a short presentation in the camp’s information center to learn about Hustai National Park and wildlife that can be found there. After lunch drive back to Ulaanbaatar, where you will be dropped at your hotel or location of your choice.

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Date

Trip Notes

  • It is a private tour, with flexible departure date.
  • Ulaanbaatar City Tour extension is available on request.
  • Customize your trip: Any amendments to the tour as well as special requests can be easily accommodated.  Please let us know your interests and requirements in advance.
  • Hotel and transfers: Take advantage of the low rates we negotiated with many Ulaanbaatar hotels. Let us arrange your accommodation and transfers in the city for seamless travel experience.

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Single and double occupancy: At ger camps, hotels and when camping you may opt for single accommodation, subject to single supplement as shown in the table above. Single occupancy is subject to availability during Naadam festival period (July 5th -15th) at ger camps. At homestays occupancy arrangements depend on the group size and availability due to limited guest gers that nomadic families have available.

Discounts: Booking early or last minute? Traveling in a larger group or with children? We have a number of discounts available so see below if you qualify. NB: Only one discount per trip / group.

  • Early bird discount: 10% off for bookings made more than 6 months in advance of travel.
  • Last minute discount: 5% off for bookings made within 72 hours of the tour start. Excluding day trips and trips of total length less than 5 days.
  • Group discount: 12% off per person for group bookings of 5 and more guests traveling together.
  • Children discount: infants up to 2 years old travel free. Children 3-8 years old get 40% off and 9-12 years old enjoy 20% off.
  • Discounted international and domestic flights and train tickets for travel originating in Mongolia can be booked with us too, subject to availability.

Tailoring your tour: we are always happy to craft a journey in Mongolia that is tailor made to your specific interests and wishes. Please contact us for details.

More information: info@tourmongolia.com

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Trip information

Meeting point
Your guide and driver will pick you up at a prearranged Ulaanbaatar city location, confirmed with you in advance. It can be your accommodation, Chinggis Khan airport or the train station. Meeting time will be confirmed in the predeparture email that you will receive after the booking has been made.

How to locate your guide / driver?
Your guide or driver will hold a welcoming board with your name(s) and Tour Mongolia logo shown for ease of identification. Don’t forget to let us know your hotel name, accommodation address, flight or train number and carriage numbers (if train) in advance, so we know when and where to pick you up!

Problems and emergency contact information
In case of an emergency, or if you are unable to locate your guide or driver, please call (+976) 9905 9466 or (+976) 9909 8467. (24h)
For all other inquiries and tour services please contact our office team on (+976) 11 35 46 62.

Finishing point

Your guide and driver will drop you off at the location of your choice that has been confirmed with us in advance. It can be your accommodation, airport or train station in Ulaanbaatar. Multiple drop-offs are possible if required.

Passport and visas

Mongolia is a country that requires many foreign citizens to have obtained a visa in advance of travel. A Mongolian tourist
visa is usually valid for a stay of up to 30 days, with entry within three months from the date of issue. It is guests’ responsibility
to ensure they have a valid visa to travel to Mongolia, if required, according to nationality. Please note that all UK, Australian and most European citizens (excluding Germans) DO require a visa to travel to Mongolia, and this must be applied for in advance at any Mongolian consular mission. Only in exceptional circumstances may it sometimes be possible to pre-arrange a visa on arrival. The list of visa exempt countries include: USA, Canada, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Brazil, Israel, Philippines, Cuba, Hong Kong and Singapore – but these countries do have rules and regulations associated with length
of visit etc., so please check before travel.

Application Process: Obtaining a visa is a straightforward process, and usually very quick – especially if you are able to apply in person. Most embassies will return the visas within 2-3 days for a standard service, and some of them offer a same day express
service. Most embassies require minimal documentation – the 2-page application form; passport valid for at least 6 months after date of entry and with at least 1 blank page for the visa; fee payment; passport photo. Some embassies ask for additional documentation – an itinerary, flight reservation, a letter of invitation from your tour company (i.e. us) – so please
check. We can usually help provide all additional documentation. Some embassies have an online application form on their website, and sometimes the functionality is poor or confusing – so please be aware that embassies also accept
hand-written forms, and there is one standard form worldwide. If you can’t find it online, ask us for a copy and we will send one to you.

Visa on Arrival: If you are living in a country without a Mongolian Consulate/Embassy then we may be able to organize a Visa on Arrival. As this requires a fair bit of work on our part we have to charge a $120 administration fee for this service. The process involves us lodging a request on your behalf to the Immigration Authorities. If the application is successful they issue an official approval letter to us which will be scanned and sent to you. You will need to print it off and show this to anyone en route when asked about visa, e.g. airline check-in staff. On arrival in Mongolia, there is a customs office in the immigration hall where you will need to go and get the visa on arrival. It costs 108,000 MNT and $3 per person – all payable in USD using their exchange rate of the day, so it works out at around $50-$60 per person.

Food and dietary requirements

Please let us know your dietary requirements at the time of booking. Food choices tend to be limited in Mongolian countryside, but we are usually able to provide vegetarian, vegan, dairy or gluten free food. However, religious dietary requirements and exotic foods are often impossible to source, particularly on trips to more remote areas of the country.
Meals included in your trip are indicated B (Breakfast), L (Lunch), D (Dinner) under each day of the itinerary. On most days, all meals are included. When camping, your service team will prepare meals using provisions we source prior to departure and send with you.

Generally, water quality in Mongolia is good. But as a precaution we advise our guests to drink bottled water that can be purchased in shops, food markets and kiosks in the capital and many of the provincial centers as well as in tourist Ger camps in the countryside. Mineral water is usually not included in our trips as we aim to produce as little plastic waste as possible. But we do provide plenty of warm drinks such as tea and coffee during our trips.

Accommodation

We believe that swapping a generic bedroom for a cozy ger is one of the very best things about travel in Mongolia. It is in gers, particularly when visiting local families or staying with them at homestays, where you will have your most memorable insights into nomadic life; and for those tucking themselves up in traditional canvas tents on outward bound adventures and treks, you will stay in some truly magical locations. If your trip includes nights in ger camps, then you will combine authentic gers with the relative luxury of a few home comforts along the way.

Depending on your trip, you will be staying in ger camps, community based eco-camps, ger homestays alongside nomadic families or in a tent. Normally, there are three or four beds in each Ger and 2 people will share a tent. ger camp provides restaurant / bar, western-style toilet, washing facilities and showers. Low-impact eco, community based camps provide composting toilet and shower.
At homestays the facilities are very basic, with no showers, and a a ground hole surrounded with wooden walls used for composting toilets.
For expedition trips with tent stays, we provide good quality and spacious triple tents for twin occupancy. Among other equipment that we send are foldable mattresses, ground sheet tarpaulin, a toilet tent, sometimes a shower tent and a dining tent for groups of over 5 travelers. Additionally, kitchen equipment, foldable tables and chairs are often sent depending on the trip conditions.
We recommend bringing our own sleeping bag if your trip involves camping or ger homestays for hygiene reasons.

Land transport

Mongolia is a big country and we’re used to driving long distances between destinations. In terms of vehicles, we use either Russian minivans or Japanese jeeps and minivans for our group trips, as well as Land Cruisers or other modern SUVs for private trips for 1-3 travelers. The Russian minivan has capacity of 6 people with luggage and Japanese minivan can take up to 4 people with luggage.

All vehicles used in our tours are insured and carefully prepared before departure. Our drivers are also good mechanics, have many years of experience for driving through unmarked, unpaved bumpy roads in the countryside.

Money matters

The Mongolian currency is called Tugrug (MNT). Please refer recent rates on
www.bloomberg.com/markets/currencies
Credit and debit cards are accepted in Ulaanbaatar and center of the provinces.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) are common in central areas.

Important notes

– Refill bottle: Please bring your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least 1.5 liter capacity. We encourage our clients not to use small bottled water when traveling in countryside.

– Battery: If your trip involves stays in ger camps you will most likely have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras every couple of days. It is still a good idea though to bring an extra battery or a power bank. For expedition trips that involve camping and homestays, a solar charger is a good option.
– Headlamp: A headlamp or flashlight is useful at night. Some ger camps have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time in the evening.
– Packing: Please ensure you pack appropriately according to season and temperature. Warm jacket, thermals, underpants and wool hats are advisable for the colder months. Please refer our “Pre-Travel Advice” document with details the information regarding temperatures during your trip.
– Luggage: Please pack light and smart. Due to the domestic flight luggage weight limitations, a passenger can carry maximum of 15 kg (10kg check in bag and 5kg hand luggage). Excess weight may be charged extra, or refused altogether.
– Tour guide: The aim of the guide is to help you have the best trip possible. Your guide will provide information on the places you are travelling through, organize things to do and see according to the itinerary and lead the group. Your guide is always on hand to provide you all relevant information, answer your questions as well as to serve as your translator along the way.
– Safety: We provide information on safety before and during the trip. We also recommend that you check your country’s government latest travel advice before departure and ensure that you have a valid travel insurance that covers emergency evacuation and repatriation in case of an accident.
– Responsible Travel: Being a responsible tour operator is at the heart of what our company is all about. We are committed to offering low-impact tours that benefit both, travelers and hosts. Thanks to the support of our guests we work with local communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism opportunities that help the local economies while minimizing any negative environmental and cultural impact. Please find more information here: www.tourmongolia.com/who we are/about us
– Community projects: We are pleased to combine your trip route with destinations where we run our local support projects. Please let us know in advance if you wish to visit any of those places.

Fitness Level

As you will note, all our tours are graded to help you decide whether they’re right for you. The grading is as follows:
EASY: Basic level of fitness is required, the tour is generally easy-paced.
MODERATE: Within the capability of anyone leading a normal, active life. Short walks and drives.
ACTIVE: These tours may involve considerable walking and longer driving times.
STRENUOS: hese tours may include energetic activities such as horse riding, camel riding, mountain bicycle riding or longer trekking.
CHALLENGING: High level of fitness is required. Trips may contain high altitude treks or climbing using ropes.

Photos

Review

A relaxing and eye opening journey into the heart of Mongolia. Well paced, without rushing between places and too much driving. The highlight is definitely the nomads – experiencing the unchanged ways of life on the steppe was amazing.

Valentine
valentine_thomson@msn.com

Orkhon River Valley is a wonderful place, I am glad I joined this tour. Thank you!

Amika
amika1219@yandex.ru
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