Small group holiday in Mongolia

“Join a small group for a 19 day tour of Mongolia featuring nights in ger camps, horse riding and drives through the Gobi Desert. Book your place in late Sept to coincide with the annual eagle festival.”

Highlights

Ulaanbaatar | Terelj National Park | Khustain Nuruu National Park | Karakorum | Mt Khogno Khan | Erdene Zuu Monastery | Arvaikheer | Orog Lake | Bayan Mountain Range | Khongoriin Els - Singing Dunes | Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park | Bayanzag - Flaming Cliffs | Olgii | Annual Kazakh Eagle Festival - end of Sept departures only |

Description of Small group holiday in Mongolia

This Mongolian holiday invites travellers to become part of a small group for the best part of three weeks as they journey into the steppe landscapes and mountainous desert regions aligning the route from the capital, Ulaanbaatar, to Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park.

Mongolia has long been a land of nomadic goat and camel herders where horseback is the only way to travel and the legends of Genghis Khan can still be found swirling across singing sands.

This incredible 19 day tour allows for an exciting cultural experience and can also include the annual Kazakh eagle hunting festival that takes place in early October. The departure of the eagle festival tour will also enable travellers to visit Terelj National Park at the start of the trip.

No matter when you undertake this small group holiday you’ll be sure to uncover the cultural traditions and nomadic lifestyles of Mongolia where nights in ger camps open up vast star-filled skies as well as a whole host of adventures amongst the dunes.

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Date
Price
Basis
18 Sep 2020
£4399
including UK flights
8 spaces left
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Responsible tourism

Small group holiday in Mongolia

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

Accommodation and Meals:
We spend four nights in a mixture of hotels and twelve nights in traditional ger camps. All accommodation is locally owned and run, which has a positive effect on the economy and community by increasing employment alternatives in the area. By spending the majority of the time in simple lodgings, we significantly reduce our carbon footprint for the trip. We also operate on a ‘leave no trace’ basis, which involves disposing of waste at major towns and Ulaanbaatar, rather than leaving rubbish behind. Fresh, locally sourced ingredients are used wherever possible where meals are provided. Chefs are often able to produce some delicious Mongolian specialties for clients as well, like ‘Tsuvian’- pasta served with vegetables and strips of meat, or ‘Buuz’- steamed dumplings stuffed with meat.

Local Craft and Culture:
At the beginning of the trip, we visit Shankh Monastery on the way to Arvaikheer. Upon arrival there is time to visit the local museum, which contains nature collections, stone figures and Turkic scripts. Other cultural excursions include a trip to the Bayan Mountain Range to view rock art from 3000 BC, the Karakorum Muesum and the small museum near Vulture Canyon. Any money spent or given here as a donation contributes to the upkeep of these historic attractions. There is also the option to attend a traditional Mongolian song and dance performed by the world famous Tumen Ekh dance troupe. This includes throat singers, contortionists and Tsam dancers.

Handicrafts are available widely in the larger cities and typically include colourful leather boots, embroidered textiles, decorated flagons and carved wooden items. Buying traditional crafts is encouraged as this is a means of supporting the community and, in some cases, of keeping customs alive. However, guides will be careful to point out that some souvenirs on offer can be damaging to the environment or wildlife- like the horns of argil sheep or snow leopard pelts.

Local Interaction:
There are a number of opportunities along the way to meet local nomadic families. These interactions are often impromptu, though gifts of goods which the nomadic families don’t normally have access to (such as treats) are given. These interactions offer the opportunity to learn about the lifestyle of these families, try some of the produce they manufacture themselves such as cheese curd, buttermilk or arak (alcohol made from mare’s milk or camel milk). At other times we visit nomadic families in a more organised fashion in order to ride horses or camels which they keep and herd and use their services as a guide or wrangler. This contributes to their livelihoods.

We attend the Eagle Festival in the far west of Mongolia. This very traditional festival showcases the culture of Kazakh people of Western Mongolia. Amongst the competitions and performances we attend are ‘best Kazakh costume’, archery, horse racing, camel racing, Kukhbar (a traditional game played in various parts of Central Asia, in this case played using an inflated goat-skin, as well as cultural performances and demonstrations of traditional eagle hunting techniques (hunting using eagles). The eagles are trained from when they’re a chick and generally will spend years with their trainer. As they get older, however, they are returned to the wild where they can live the rest of their natural lives in a natural environment. Hunting with eagles has a long tradition in these mountains and can be an important source of food to local families.

Charity:
Our local partners are involved in supporting local communities through Mongolia in a number of ways including supporting local education initiatives and providing essential amenities for underprivileged children and cooperating with small and medium sized enterprises. Specifically they’ve sponsored events such as Youth Investor Reality Show and the 8th Pearl Necklace Initiative. They are also founder and sponsor of the Mazaalai Foundation – protecting the Gobi Bear.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.

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