Mongolia adventure holiday, small group
Optional single supplement from £600 - £620.
Description of Mongolia adventure holiday, small group
Far from a desolate wilderness, this Mongolia adventure holiday will take you through the country’s natural nirvanas, from rolling steppe to the Gobi Desert, mountains to myriad wildlife. Staying in traditional yurts in nomadic ger camps along the way allows you to gain a perspective on these massive landscapes from dawn until dark. Watch sunrise over the desert sand dunes, sunset by the Yolyn Am canyon.
Everyone associates the Gobi Desert with Mongolia, but this trip allows us to see all aspects of it. Before the daddy of deserts we visit the baby, Mongol Els or 'Little Gobi Desert' as it is known, which is a massive strip of sand dunes that have built up in the steppe. It has an eclectic mix of wildlife from horses to two humped camels. Then onto to seriously off road desert, where we can see Ikh Bogd Mountain, the Gobi’s highest peak and part of the Gobi Altai Mountain range. And for the ultimate dune experience, we visit the ‘Singing Dunes’ or Khongoriin Els, the largest of their kind in Mongolia. And finally, more of the Gobi’s mountainous terrain in Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park, where you have cliffs, chasms, sand, salt pans - the gamut of Gobi gorgeousness in fact.
These are just a few of Mongolia’s treats in store on this two week immersion into the country’s culture and landscapes. More urban highlights include a day in the cosmopolitan chaos that is Ulaan Baatar, with juxtaposed cultures that commemorate the revolutionary past, celebrate the Buddhist traditions of the country at Gandan monastery, and also demonstrate the city’s ever growing modern day development. In contrast, and much older, we visit Karakorum which was the13th century capital of the Mongol Empire, with its remnants of ancient stupas and a fascinating modern museum.
This trip also includes a visit to the famous Nadaam Festival during July, making the itinerary two days longer at that time, but giving guests the chance to enjoy this traditional spectacle, also known as the " three games of men" , where prized titles for Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery are competed for.
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1 Reviews of Mongolia adventure holiday, small group
Reviewed on 31 Jul 2019 by Christine Williams
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
Nademm Festival, finding a herd of Taki horses, climbing the Gobi desert when it was cool and pouring with rain, seeing yaks and hundreds of horses. Our
guide was so informative, he was great. I found the Mongolian people very nice.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Just enjoy the tour
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Hopefully yes, there was still a lot of plastic drinking bottles when we went to meals.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Great holiday, only blip Aeroflot lost our luggage from Moscow to Ulan Bataar which meant we had to wait till the next day to collect from the airport and
forgot to put our luggage on from Moscow to Heathrow. It was delivered to my door the next day.
PlanetAccommodation and Meals:
We spend three nights in a mixture of hotels and nine 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.
It all starts at home so we have first worked to reduce our carbon footprint in our UK offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies in place, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
We operate small group tours that have a low impact on the communities we visit and we always ensure our operations do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. This allows us to stay in unique and characterful accommodation that would not have benefitted from tourism due to their limited size.
PeopleLocal 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 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 argali sheep or snow leopard pelts.
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.
Community support, projects and sponsorship:
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.
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