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THE MONGOLIA JOURNEY

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Videos and Festival/Camel Trek Photography by Karen Jane Ellis

The Mongolia Journey

March 3 - March 15, 2024 


Explore Mongolia's Gobi Desert—a tribute to the Bactrian Camel and the nomads it sustains. Join our fully catered journey, traversing the southern Gobi alongside an extended nomadic family. Uncover Mongolia's ancient nomadic culture amid the vast panoramas. Welcome to our fifth Gobi Desert expedition—an extraordinary celebration of tradition and landscape.

Embark on Adventure: Bookings Now Open for International Journeys to India and Mongolia! Contact Us for Pricing and Details.

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"If you endeavour, the fate will favour you."

Mongolian Proverb

Embark on an unparalleled, exclusive journey blending festivals, culture, and the enchanting Gobi Desert. Guests explore alongside Mongolian nomads and Bactrian Camels, riding and using a combination of coach and luxury four-wheel drives, driven by versatile private drivers.

Our expedition, accompanied by a personal chef and at times a crew of 20+, guarantees exceptional service and three-course meals. The local speaking guide is a history enthusiast which enriches our cultural encounters.

From accommodation to meals, every aspect is exceptional, featuring a glimpse into the Golden Eagle Festival and extended time at the Thousand Camel Festival. Guests share and learn from Bataar, owner of riding camels, and his nomadic family in the Gobi, creating unbelievable and unforgettable memories.

Immaculately healthy Bactrian Camels offer a regal and comfortable ride amid the fence-less Gobi. In 2024, guests enjoy a skilled chef, shared Ger/Yurt accommodations, kitchen Ger and camp toilets.

The Gobi's diverse topography spans canyons, dunes, and steppes, showcasing significant paleontological discoveries. Home to nomadic herders, the Gobi, fondly known as "Blue Mongolia," preserves a traditional culture in felt-covered Gers, unaltered for over 2,000 years.

Mongolian hospitality shines as guests stay in Gers with nomads, guided by a translator. Gobi residents warmly welcome visitors, reflecting an old proverb: "Happy is the one who has guests."

Covering 1.3 million square kilometers with sparse population, the Gobi hosts diverse wildlife. Our tour offers the chance to acquire traditional clothing and boots. March temperatures demand heavy jackets, gloves, and hats for a warm and layered adventure.

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Day 1, 3rd March | Arrival | Ulaanbaatar | Mongolia's Capital City

Experience the striking blend of ancient traditions and a 21st-century democracy in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional Gers and Buddhist monasteries harmoniously coexist with modern high-rises. Arriving at the airport, our guides warmly welcomes the group, facilitating a seamless transfer to a centrally located hotel, just a stroll away from museums and shops.

Your accommodation at Best Western Tuushin Hotel Deluxe Room ensures a comfortable start to your journey. Immerse yourself in the contrasts of Mongolia's capital, where the past meets the present, offering a unique perspective on the nation's rich history and contemporary vibrancy.

 

To guarantee a smooth transfer from Ulaanbaatar airport to the hotel, kindly ensure your flight aligns with the group schedule.

Accommodation: Best Western Tuushin Hotel | Deluxe Room

Note: Please make certain to book your flight with the group so that we can ensure a smooth transfer from Ulaanbataar airport to Hotel.

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Day 2, 4th March | Ulaanbaatar | Mongolia Capital City

Begin your day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the spiritual heart of Buddhism in Mongolia. Interwoven with Mongolia's nomadic culture is a profound Tibetan Buddhist tradition, where traces of ancient shamanist practices still linger. Despite the Stalinist purges of the 1930s that led to the destruction or conversion of many Buddhist monasteries into museums, Gandan Monastery continued as a showcase for government officials. Even amid the government's attempts to suppress religious beliefs, Mongolia's spirituality endured, experiencing a significant resurgence in 1990 with the advent of democracy.

As you stroll through the monastery grounds, immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere. Listen to the low tones of the horns calling the lamas to the temple and witness their daily rituals, including the chanting of sutras—the teachings of Buddha. Don't miss the chance to explore the imposing statue of Migjid Janraisig, "the lord who looks in every direction," standing at an impressive 82 feet, gilded in pure gold and adorned in silk and precious stones within one of Gandan's temples.

Your exploration continues with a visit to the Chinggis Khan Museum, Mongolia's newest and largest museum. Housed in a five-story structure, the museum boasts over 10,000 cultural exhibits unveiling 2000 years of history linked to Mongolia's Great Khans, nobles, nomads, and their statehood from the Xiongnu Empire to the close of the 20th century.

After a satisfying lunch, devote the afternoon to shopping for traditional Mongolian deels and boots, immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage. Conclude your day with a delightful welcome dinner at a local fine restaurant. Rest for the night at the hotel, preparing for more enriching experiences in the days ahead.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Tuushin Hotel | Deluxe Room

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Day 3, 5th March | Eagle Festival Ulaanbaatar | Drive to Gobi Desert

Embark on a captivating journey to Dalanzadgad, the capital of Mongolia's southernmost province of semi-arid desert, a scenic drive of approximately 8 hours. The Gobi, contrary to the monotonous connotations of the word 'desert,' is a diverse and enthralling region, home to some of the most significant paleontological discoveries of the 20th century.

During the drive, we make a fascinating stop at the site hosting the Eagle Festival. The official opening ceremony kicks off with a spectacular parade, as participants on horseback showcase their eagles. The competition unfolds with Kazakh hunters presenting their hunting outfits and accessories, earning points for the most elaborate and beautiful displays. 

Resume your journey south to the Gobi, where you'll check into a temporary Ger/Yurt camp upon arrival. An overnight stay at the camp marks the end of an eventful day filled with cultural richness and awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

 

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Day 4, 6th March  | Gobi Desert | Thousand Camel Festival 

Experience the vibrant opening ceremony of the Thousand Camel Festival, witnessing the majestic parade of camel riders. Immerse yourself in the festivities by riding a Bactrian Camel in the camelback procession, becoming an integral part of this lively spectacle – a unique privilege extended exclusively to our group of Western participants. We hold the exclusive honour of riding alongside Gobi nomads, who converge from distant corners to participate in the grand opening parade of The Thousand Camel Festival.

The Thousand Camel Festival is a captivating cultural celebration that began in 1997 as a winter festival, offering a unique glimpse into the life of Mongolian camel herders. The festival made its mark in the Guinness World Records with the largest-ever recorded camel race, featuring 1,115 camels and jockeys, and 1,108 completing the 15km journey. However, over the years, it has grown beyond its racing origins, transforming into a grand event eagerly anticipated by nomadic herders.

Far more than a single race, the festival spans two days, featuring various competitions and traditional games. It has evolved from its initial tourism roots into one of the biggest annual celebrations for nomads. Originally established with the goal of protecting and increasing the population of the Bactrian camel, the festival has achieved remarkable success. The Bactrian camel, a critically endangered species, has seen its population soar from 192,000 to 460,000. This remarkable growth underscores the festival's positive impact on both the value and conservation of these unique creatures.

 

The day's competitions add a touch of flair, featuring categories such as "best-looking couple on camelback" and the endearing "most adorable male and female camels." The central square comes alive with the excitement of a camel polo match, providing a unique and thrilling experience amidst the Gobi's captivating landscapes.

Festival breakdown:

  • Camel Polo:

    • Watch camel polo games with different heats to determine the champion team.

  • Camel Parade:

    • Witness the customary camel parade, featuring over 100 camels and jockeys in unique traditional attire.

  • Camel Racing:

    • Enjoy camel racing in three categories: fully-grown camel race, 3-year-old camel race, and 2-year-old camel race.

  • Local Food and Drink:

    • Try local delicacies such as Airag/Ayrag (fermented camel's milk) and Aaruul (dried milk curd), similar to a biscuit.

  • Ankle Bone Shooting:

    • View or participate in a traditional game of ankle bone shooting.

  • Team Competition (Camel Rodeo):

    • Experience a team competition where five members compete using agility and herding skills. The team catches an untamed camel, cuts its wool to make a rein, and breaks it in like a camel rodeo. The first team to load luggage onto the camel and leave the field wins.

  • Local Handicrafts:

    • Explore the opportunity to purchase local handicrafts made from camel wool.

Note:  Take sufficient money if you plan to shop at the festival as there are no ATMs after you leave Ulaanbaatar.

 

 

Highly esteemed local nomad herder Bataar, who guides our Bactrian Camel trek in the Gobi Desert, alongside his wife, clinched the title of best-dressed couple and camel in last year's contest. Meanwhile, other families vied for victories in various cultural performances. As you join this remarkable journey, you'll have the opportunity to observe Bactrian camels, fully laden, while the nomads skillfully demonstrate the intricate process of relocating their Gers/Yurts and personal belongings. These individuals are not only proud, friendly, and strong but also remarkably resilient, with their camels intricately intertwined with a profound sense of identity and culture.

The Thousand Camel Festival, an event that feels more like a movie set, organised for two decades by local camel herding communities. Discover the festival's vibrant colours and uncommon festivities that draw nomads together in celebration, along with a handful of foreign tourists, making it a renowned winter celebration.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

Day 5, 7th March  | Gobi Desert | Thousand Camel Festival 

Mongolia's nomadic lifestyle becomes especially captivating as winter draws to a close, providing a distinctive perspective on the challenges overcome by these resilient communities.

Despite the hurdles, the nomadic people of Mongolia extend a warm welcome to visitors, offering a glimpse into their daily lives and traditions. Staying in traditional yurt camps and residing within a Ger is an extraordinary way to fully immerse oneself in this unique lifestyle. Experiencing the genuine warmth of Mongolian families during the colder months forges enduring memories, fostering a profound appreciation for their way of life.

Day 2 of The Thousand Camel Festival is a delightful blend of entertainment and education, shedding light on the pivotal role camels play in nomadic life. This festival serves as a tribute to these incredible animals, showcasing their influence on Mongolian culture and livelihood.

Witness camel races and engaging competitions among local herders. Explore an exhibition showcasing artwork by local children in a drawing contest titled “Camel - My Friend.” In the afternoon, savor a performance by "Altai Snowcock," a local youth organisation dedicated to preserving the surrounding area. Entrance fees contribute to funding the club’s activities, and allow us an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the rich heritage of Mongolian nomadic life.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

When Ganzorig and I captured this footage, riders were spread out, however there were fewer riders than usual, as the previous year's event had been cancelled due to concerns about livestock health across the Gobi, hence only immediate locals attended. Now that much time has passed, including covid, and there are no risks, a significant number of herders and camels has returned to this captivating event.

 

Note: Neither Ganzorig nor I are even semi-professional with a drone; this footage aims to simply share the extraordinary nature of this remote event. Karen Jane Ellis

Day 6, 8th March  | Gobi Desert | Camel Trek | Tugrugiin Shiree

Transfer to Bataar's family beyond Bulgan Soum, a tiny Mongolian town in the middle of the Gobi Desert about 160 miles north of the Chinese border. Today we commence the camel trek towards Tugrugiin Shiree, a region first explored by outsiders, being Polish expeditions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Tugregiin Shiree gained renown for the discovery of the famous 'Fighting Dinosaurs,' a fossil capturing the entwined combat between a Protoceratops and a Velociraptor. In fact, during one expedition, our group employed a unique method to discern between authentic bone and a plaster cast by licking a Velociraptor skull. It turns out, one's tongue adheres to ancient bone!

Bataar, our nomadic camel trek guide, only undertakes this touristic journey once a year with our group, and he is genuinely fascinated by us Westerners, and just as eager to showcase his Gobi. Bataar represents the older generation of herders, and alongside his wife, they have been herding all their lives. They rely on their animals as a form of transportation and sell products from their wool and milk. When we arrive, the duo, husband and wife, are typically found wearing leather boots with upturned tips and fur hats. Bataar's belt is adorned with an ornate buckle, knife and a silver bowl.

When visiting a herder, Bataar has taught us that it's customary to be offered milk tea. "Since old times," he says, holding a silver bowl, "Mongolians would carry their own cup."

Bactrian camels were domesticated thousands of years ago to carry goods and people across Asia. Adapted for desert conditions, the camels can perform Olympic-like feats: carry over 400 pounds on long journeys, withstand 100-degree Fahrenheit summers and -20-degree winters, and, when nourished, they can survive eating and drinking minimally for weeks. Their humps act as fat reserves for energy.

This experience is priceless, and Bataar has to be the coolest Mongol nomad herder ever to grace the Gobi Desert. He guides members of his family and friends to provide us with a heartfelt understanding of his homeland. Bataar holds similar spiritual leanings as the North American Indians and has previously taken us to his sacred shrine-like monument, seamlessly blending into the mountain range slope. Here, it was clear he has reverence for life, land, and the blue sky under which he lives. Although there is a language barrier, his sense of humor and willingness to share are palpable. Our bilingual guide often laughs as he translates Bataar's responses to our myriad of questions!

Traversing the Gobi's vastness with real nomadic herders who uphold an uninterrupted lineage of their traditional way of living is something that will remain with us forever. This journey stands out as truly one of a kind and irreplicable. There are no fences, markers, or any sense of boundaries where Bataar takes us. Australia is vast, and we wander landscapes there, but this land, affectionately referred to by locals as the "Land of the Eternal Blue Sky" or "Country of Blue Sky" (Mongolian: "Mönkh khökh tengeriin oron"), has over 250 sunny days a year and brings new meaning to our understanding of vast.

After a 5-6 hour camel trek, we reach Tugrugiin Shiree for an overnight stay and dinner.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

Day 7, 9th March  | Gobi Desert | Camel Trek | Arts Bogd Mountain

Embark on our camel trek with the ultimate destination in coming days being the Bayanzag Red Sand Cliffs, also known as the Flaming Cliffs. Today's trek takes us towards Arts Bogd Mountain through flat sandy valleys, renowned for the discovery of ancient stone tools. The Flaming Cliffs, situated near the Arts Bogd mountain range in the Omnogovi province, holds global significance in paleontology, being the site of the first dinosaur egg discoveries. This area is rich in dinosaur fossils, featuring specimens like Velociraptor, Oviraptor, Protoceratops, and Pinacosaurus.

After 5-6 hours we arrive at Arts Bogd Mountain for an overnight stay and dinner. 

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

Day 8, 10th March  | Gobi Desert | Camel Trek | Tevsh Khairkhan Mountain

 

Today, we continue trekking towards the Flaming Cliffs venturing into a region known as a Mongolian National Treasure, traversing the area north of Bayanzag and south of Tevsh Khairkhan Mountain in Tugrugiin Shiree on a rocky desert trail, we pass by a 30-meter-high cliff, and encounter a site of immense paleontological significance. Notably, this area has yielded remarkable discoveries, with one standout being the fossilised remains of two dinosaurs, Velociraptor and Protoceratops, seemingly locked in combat.

The discovery of these two fighting dinosaurs, preserved in an action pose dating back some 80 million years, is awe-inspiring. Unearthed from Tugrugiin Shiree, located 30 kilometers away from Bulgan Soum in Umnugobi province, these ancient foes were remarkably preserved in a combat position, possibly buried rapidly by a sudden sand flow. In 1971, a Polish-Mongolian team uncovered this specimen embedded in the white sandstone cliffs of the southern Gobi Desert, marking it as a National Treasure of Mongolia.

The fossils are now housed in the Natural History Museum of Mongolia, currently undergoing reconstruction. As we journey the landscapes today we are reminded of Mongolia's rich paleontological heritage, offering a glimpse into the ancient battles that once unfolded in the vast landscapes of the Gobi Desert.

After 5-6 hours we arrive in Tevsh Khairkhan Mountain for an overnight stay and dinner. 

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

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ABOVE: The moniker 'Flaming Cliffs,' coined by the American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews during the Central Asiatic Expeditions in the Gobi Desert in the 1920s, along with its Mongolian name, Bayanzag, has garnered global renown among both paleontologists and tourists. Situated within the bounds of Bulgan Soum in the Umnugovi Province, this site is a treasure trove of historical significance.

BELOW: A sudden rush of sand may have rapidly entombed these adversaries, preserving them in this intense combat stance. Discovered in 1971 by a Polish-Mongolian team, this specimen was embedded in the white sandstone cliffs of the southern Gobi Desert. Recognised as a National Treasure of Mongolia, these fossils are presently housed in the Natural History Museum of Mongolia, which is currently undergoing reconstruction.

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Day 9, 11th March  | Gobi Desert | Camel Trek | Bayanzag-Flaming Cliffs

The morning sun will herald the beginning of a thrilling camel ride lasting 5-6 hours as we depart from Tevsh Khairkhan Mountain. The camp crew will proceed ahead to set up our camp in advance, strategically positioned by Bayanzag, colloquially known as the Flaming Cliffs – a tapestry of historical and geological marvels.

 

Dating back to 1923, the Flaming Cliffs earned their fame when Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews and his team from the American Museum of Natural History discovered the world's first nest of dinosaur eggs. Today, this site remains a paleontological haven, its vibrant red sandstone concealing a wealth of dinosaur fossils that continue to captivate scientists on ongoing expeditions.

Guided by a local paleontology expert, the exploration takes you through the intricate landscape of the cliffs, concluding at their majestic base. As the evening descends, the cliffs come alive with a fiery red glow, a mesmerising spectacle best admired from below or across the escarpment.

Delve into the geological wonders of the Djadochta Formation, layers of sand and calcareous matter dating back 71 to 75 million years. Bayanzag, meaning "rich in saxaul," showcases the resilience of this unique plant that thrives amidst the Gobi's extremes. Unspoiled and untouched, it adds a distinctive charm to the landscape, though camels seem to have developed a fondness for it.

Trace the footsteps of Roy Chapman Andrews, whose 1920s expedition unearthed dinosaur fossils, including a Protoceratops and Velociraptor locked in combat. The legacy of these discoveries lives on at the Dinosaur Museum of Mongolia.

Beyond its appeal to dinosaur enthusiasts, the surreal beauty of the surrounding landscape makes it a must-visit destination. Suited for outdoor enthusiasts, Bayanzag Red Sand Cliffs offers more than paleontological wonders. To the north of the cliffs lies a saxaul forest where ongoing discoveries shed light on Upper Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) people.

The name "Flaming Cliffs" is aptly derived from the cliffs' appearance, resembling a fiery glow during sunset due to the reddish tint in the soil. This extraordinary location combines paleontological significance with breathtaking natural beauty, creating an immersive experience for all explorers.

The Flaming Cliffs stand as a world-renowned testament to Mongolia's ancient past, inviting you to witness the convergence of history, paleontology, and the breathtaking beauty of the Gobi Desert.

After 5-6 hours we arrive at the Flaming Cliffs for an overnight stay and dinner. 

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

Day 10, 12th March  | Gobi Desert | Camel Trek | Moltsog Els

 

Today marks the culmination of our camel trekking adventure as we explore Moltsog Els, also known as Moltsog Sand Dunes. Situated in the Bulgan Soum, Umnugovi province, northeast of the Flaming Cliffs, these expansive sand dunes are adorned with gracefully formed saxaul trees, creating a picturesque landscape. The Moltsog Els offers a perfect photographic setting for camelback riding, providing an exclusive and immersive final day with the camels and nomad herders in the Gobi Desert.

After 4-5 hours of trekking, we bid farewell to our Bactrian camels and Mongol nomad friends. Then, we proceed to spend the evening with a local family in the Bulgan soum, just a one-hour drive away, for an overnight stay and dinner in their traditional gers.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Ger Camp | Shared Traditional Ger 

Day 11, 13th March  | Gobi Desert | Ulaanbaatar

 

After a hearty breakfast, we bid farewell to the warm Bulgan soum family and the breathtaking landscapes of the Southern Gobi Desert. Our journey takes us through Dalanzadgad, the capital of Umnugovi Aimag in Mongolia, with the Dalanzadgad soum being established in 1931. 

 

Dalanzadgad, situated 580 km south of Ulaanbaatar, serves as the city for Umnogovi province and encompasses the Dalanzadgad soum. Covering a 476 km2 area, the soum is home to approximately 30,000 people.

Relax in the comfort of the coach as we embark on the return journey towards Ulaanbaatar, an 8-9 hour drive.

Upon arrival, check in to your deluxe room at the inviting Best Western Tuushin Hotel. Later in the evening, relish a delicious dinner at a fine local restaurant.

Hot tip: Before leaving the Best Western Tuushin Hotel and Ulaanbaatar on March 4th, consider pre-booking a massage, sauna, or other luxury body treatment therapy with them for this the evening or early tomorrow morning.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Tuushin Hotel | Deluxe Room

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Day 12, 14th March | Ulaanbaatar | Hustain Nuruu National Park

After savouring a delightful breakfast, embark on an enthralling journey to Hustain Nuruu National Park, a mere 2-hour scenic drive away. This sanctuary stands as a testament to conservation efforts and shelters the world's last surviving species of wild horses, the Takhi, more commonly recognised as Przewalski’s horse. Once declared extinct in the wild, these majestic creatures were successfully reintroduced into the Mongolian wilderness in 1994, originating from zoo populations. Today, approximately 280 of these remarkable horses freely roam the vast landscapes of Hustain Nuruu National Park.

At the visitors center, immerse yourself in the ongoing conservation initiatives and gain insights into the current status of the herds within the reserve. The center serves as an educational hub, providing valuable information about the efforts to protect and preserve these beautiful creatures. Venture into the park's pristine wilderness to catch a glimpse of these magnificent horses in their natural habitat, offering a truly immersive and unforgettable wildlife experience.

As the day comes to a close, return to the vibrant city of Ulaanbaatar for a farewell dinner that marks the end of our remarkable journey. Rest for the night in the comfort of deluxe rooms at the Best Western Hotel, reflecting on the incredible encounters and memories made throughout this unforgettable adventure.

Meals Included: Breakfast   Lunch   Dinner

Accommodation: Best Western Hotel | Deluxe room

 

 

 

Day 13, 15th March | Departure

​After breakfast some guests are continuing travels elsewhere, however transfers to the airport in the morning for your departure are an option. 

Meals Included: Breakfast

Adventure in Mongolia - Essential Tips - Weather in Southern Gobi & Ulaanbaatar

 

Prepare for a delightful journey in the gentle cold of March, where the landscape transforms, promising an unforgettable adventure. As March unfolds, Mongolia's Capital City Ulaanbaatar ranges in temperatures around -1°C to -16°C. Rainfall at this time is extremely unlikely and the City is perfect for exploring during the day or night with shops open until very late. .

 

The Southern Gobi province, where we will participate in the Thousand Camel Festival comes to life with daytime low temperatures ranging from a comfortable +5°C to a crisp -10°C.  Typically in March the winter chill has begun to relent, offering a pleasant blend of warmer days and cool nights. With daytime highs around +13°C and nighttime lows dipping to -18°C. March provides an ideal window to explore Mongolia's unique late winter charm. 

Ensuring you pack appropriately is key for a comfortable journey. Essential items include gloves, a wool beanie, scarf, two pairs of seamless pants suitable for riding (consider winter horse riding pants or purchase a deel in Ulaanbaatar; see below), a heavy-duty warm wind-proof jacket, warm boots (best purchased in Ulaanbaatar's Black Market; see below), and cashmere under-layers with wool socks. By taking these precautions and fully embracing the adventure, your trip to Mongolia can be both comfortable and unforgettable, providing a unique perspective on this incredible country.

 

In Australia we depart at the height of summer and purchasing winter clothing can present a very real challenge. Before departing Ulaanbaatar Karen will lead a shopping tour to gather anyones cold weather purchases. Her favourite place to visit is locally known as Naran Tuul, Ulaanbaatar’s Black Market, which is about as far away from a tourist trap market as it gets.

The Black Market, despite its name, offers an authentic and bustling shopping experience, attracting locals from the city outskirts and countryside. The vast market boasts an array of vendors selling everything imaginable – from leather goods, electronics, and household items to knives, equestrian supplies, and materials for building your own Ger/Yurt.

While the market's size might be overwhelming, it's incredible!  Karen's personal favourites are the reindeer fur-lined winter boots,  and intricately designed deels (traditional Mongolian garments), cashmere under-layers, hats, and ornate pocketknives. It's a unique one-stop-shop, providing the best people-watching experience in the city. The Black Market is not only a fascinating place but also the ideal spot for souvenir shopping, offering unparalleled selection and good pricing in Ulaanbaatar.

 

Note:  Take sufficient Mongolian currency/money if you plan to shop at The Black Market as there are no ATMs after you leave Ulaanbaatar City.

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Land Price Includes:

  • Greeting at Ulaanbaatar Airport.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure on the specified arrival and departure dates.

  • Ground transportation in Mongolia as described in the itinerary.

  • Snacks in vehicles, and unlimited water.

  • Experienced drivers who additionally act as mechanics if required.

  • Best Western Tuushin Hotel Accommodation in Deluxe Rooms.

  • All accommodations based on double or twin occupancy (hotel rooms and gers).

  • Arrival Day shopping tour with Karen to Ulaanbaatar’s Black Market, also known as the Naran Tuul Market.

  • Entry to the Tibetan Buddhist Gandan Monastery, the spiritual heart of Buddhism in Mongolia.

  • Ulaanbaatar City shopping for Mongolian deels ( traditional Mongolian garments )and boots.

  • Entry to the Chinggis Khan Museum, Mongolia's newest and largest museum.

  • Meals as noted in the above itinerary.

  • Entry to the Ulaanbaatar Eagle Festival.

  • Participation ( if desired ) as the exclusive Westerner riders in the Thousand Camel Festival Opening Parade, riding alongside Mongol Nomad Camel herder/owners.

  • Entry x 2 days into the Thousand Camel Festival.

  • Entry to performance by "Altai Snowcock," a local youth organisation.

  • Expedition Chef, assistants to chef, 3 course meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner during the Camel Trek.

  • At times a massive crew of 20+ ground staff who tend to our glamping needs, even placing pot belly wood fired heaters inside our Gers and checking them throughout the night; you will not get cold!

  • Festival excursions, entrance fees, and visits as described in the itinerary.

  • Bactrian Camel Trek with local nomad herder Bataar and his extended family; an unreplicable journey.

  • Each person is assigned their own Bactrian Camel & saddle with support nomads for the duration of trek.

  • Experienced full-time bilingual guide and ample support staff throughout your journey.

  • Paleontologist guide at the Flaming Cliffs.

  • Entry to the journey in the Hustain Nuruu National Park, home to the last surviving species of wild horses, the Takhi, more commonly recognised as Przewalski’s horse.

  • Fine restaurant dining as specified in the itinerary.

 

Gobi Desert:

  • Clean deluxe sleeping bags, camping bed, extra blankets, and pillows are provided.

  • All accommodations based on double or twin occupancy (hotel rooms and gers).

  • Sleep soundly inside warm traditional gers, on raised camper beds.

  • Inside each ger is a pot bellied wood fired heater - you will not get cold at night as staff check ger temperatures throughout the evening and early morning hours.

 

Land Price does not include:

  • Passport and visa fees and international airfare.

  • Comprehensive medical and trip insurance.

  • Airport taxes.

  • Excess baggage charges.

  • Tips to guides, drivers, and support staff. 

  • Any optional extra food and alcohol not included in the group meals.

  • Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry, and telephone calls.

  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.

 

Additional Notes:

  • Comprehensive medical and trip insurance.

  • Excess baggage charges at airport - please keep luggage to the necessary for our vehicles.

  • Photography and video fees at attractions - excludes festivals and no charges are applied from Karen or staff for taking images.

  • Tips to guide, drivers, camp and restaurant staff, nomad camel handlers (Estimated total $285-$300 per guest).

  • Food and beverages not included in the planned meals.

  • Items of a personal nature, including alcoholic beverages, laundry, and telephone calls.

  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.

Before you go, have you remembered to:

  • Review the packing list?

  • Obtain Mongolia Visa?

  • Email Camel Treks Australia for the flight arrival and morning departure details in order to align with package airport transfer? Karen is meeting everyone in Hongkong for the flight into Ulaanbaatar.

  • Print a copy of your medical waiver form to give to the crew in Mongolia?

  • Print multiple copies of your passport for easy Hotel check-in?

  • Alert your banks that you will be travelling overseas to Mongolia?

  • Register with Smart Traveller?

  • Obtain health / travel insurance? Email Camel Treks Australia with your policy?

  • Visit your Doctor or specialised Travel Doctor before departure? 

If you want to book on this Mongolia Journey, please contact us via email at cameltreksaustralia@gmail.com  so we can assist you in booking and preparation.

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Map of Mongolia

Contact - Camel Treks Australia

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