Local Living Mongolia—Nomadic Life
It was from Mongolia that Ghengis Khan set forth to conquer the world. This unique adventure is your chance to return to this heartland and let its people and scenery capture your heart. Leave Ulaanbaatar and the modern world behind and stay with three different families to experience life as a nomad. From Orkhon Valley to Gorkhi Terelj National Park, you’ll live in gers, take tea with your neighbours, ride horses, and learn archery and garment-making skills. It’s 10 days like you never imagined.
Your Local Living Moment: Horseback Riding, Högnö-Tarna Uul
Your Local Living Moment: Nomadic Family Stay, Gorkhi Terelj National Park
Your Foodie Moment: Mongolian Cultural Show & Dinner, Ulaanbaatar. Daily lessons and demonstrations of various nomadic skills and techniques while staying with nomadic hosts. Transport between destinations and included activities.
Sleep in a traditional Mongolian ger, ride a horse across the Mongolian countryside, learn traditional crafts and skills from nomadic hosts, compete with Mongolian nomads in archery
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
Travellers on this tour should be comfortable on and around horses.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 12, avg 9.
9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. The above information applies to G Adventures group trips. For Independent trips please check the itinerary for details of meals included. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Public bus, oxcart, horse.
About our Transportation
We will use public buses to travel between Ulaanbaatar and Terelj National Park. While in the park, we will travel by horse and oxcart. Travellers should be comfortable on and around horses.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Traditional ger (6 nts), ger camp (1 nt), basic hotels (2 nts).
In Ulaanbaatar accommodation will be in a standard hotel with twin share rooms.
In rural locations you will overnight in a family’s extra ger tent (max 5 persons in 1 ger) with basic furnishings. Typically, families will have between 2 to 3 beds and the rest will be provided mattresses – all necessary camping equipment is included and will be provided to you by your CEO upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar. Shower facilities are not available at the camps, except at the Ger Camp on Night 5. Most nomadic families do not have a formal toilet in their camps – expect a basic, screened-in outdoor toilet.
For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
When arriving at Ulaan Baatar Intl Airport you will notice that the airport is actually very close to the city. After you exit from the baggage hall follow the taxi signs and you will find a queue outside the terminal building. Taxis in Mongolia are metered but you may have to bargain for one from the airport. The fare to our starting point hotel will be about 30 USD and should take about 30-40 minutes.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you. If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time. Similarly the last day is a departure day during which no activities have been planned.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this.
If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area, please try the contact below first. If you do not receive a response, we ask that you please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
Mr Laziz Otayarov (Operations Manager – Central Asia)
Mobile 1: +99890 963 4779 (24h)
Mobile 2: +99897 921 7087 (24h)
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 10kg / 22lb). It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage. We don’t recommend bring suitcases.
• Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
• Warm gloves
• Warm hat
• Warm layers
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
• Sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the regions can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes.
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Visas and Entry Requirements
PLEASE READ THE ENTIRETY OF THE TEXT BELOW AS THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR YOUR ENTRY INTO MONGOLIA***
Please note that visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself with the Embassy of Mongolia. Please, keep in mind that all countries require passports valid for at least 6 months from the moment of departure from the country.
To apply for a Mongolian visa, many nationalities must present an official Mongolian Letter of Invitation (LOI).
It is the responsibility of the traveller to check with their nearest Embassy and confirm the requirements for entry into Mongolia***
Noted Exemptions: Some countries do not require an LOI to apply for a tourist visa valid up to 30 days including Canada, Germany and the United States. Please be sure to check with the Embassy or Consulate to determine if your country may also be exempt.
IMPORTANT: Once your trip is confirmed, at 90 days prior to your entry into Mongolia, you must submit an application for your Letter of Invitation. A link will be emailed to you in your confirmation email. The details will be forwarded to our local agent in Mongolia and you will be emailed your Mongolian Invitation Letter about 10 business days after submission. Mongolia LOI’s can be rushed in extreme circumstances.
Mongolian visas can be used up to 3 months from the date the visa is issued, and once you have entered Mongolia, the visa is valid for a maximum of 30 days. Therefore, please time your application accordingly and do not apply for the visa more than 3 months in advance of your trip.
Input your name the same way it is in your passport. The information on the application form must match your passport (if you have 2 or more names – all of them have to be listed under “first name”).
If you have an umlaut or other character not recognized in the english alphabet in your name (ie. ü), please enter it in the longer form (ie. ue).
If your country has an official Mongolian Consulate/Embassy, you must choose this as as your ’Visa pickup Embassy’. If you do not see a local Consulate/Embassy on this list or you are unable to go there due to prior travel arrangements, please contact your Travel Agent or G Adventures for further assistance.
Once you have received your Mongolian LOI and are completing the visa application from the Mongolian Embassy or Consulate, please refer to the LOI for the Supplier details required.
At time of writing, the below documents will be needed to obtain your visa (however, we do advise you confirm this with your nearest Embassy):
1. A standard visa application form from the Embassy or Consulate where you will collect your visa
2. 2 colour, passport sized photos (taken within 14 days)
3. Payment for the visa (this will be dependent on nationality and will sometimes need to be made at a local nearby bank – check with your Embassy to confirm details)
4. Passport with empty pages and at least 6 months validity
5. Mongolia Letter of Invitation
6. We also recommend bringing your vouchers as well as proof of onward travel (flight tickets entering and leaving the country) and a copy of the itinerary, printable from our website. While this may not be needed, we recommend having a copy on hand if needed.
Please carefully check all the information below prior to submitting***
Once you have received your LOI you can apply for your visa by going to the Mongolian Embassy you listed in the online application. Please remember that it is your responsibility to check whether passport details, name spelling and dates on the LOI are correct.
Information accurate as of January 21st, 2016
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com. There are many ATMs that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities. We also recommend the use of cash and travellers cheques in USD currency. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.
One of the main things to remember is that Mongolian Tugriks can’t be exchanged outside Mongolia.
Because of bank regulations and exchange rate the best USD notes to have are $50 and $100 without any marks/stamps/holes or stains on them. If a banknote has a mark it might be refused to be exchanged. Please note that USD notes are generally not accepted outside of money exchange businesses and are best to be exchanged at the airport.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD 200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
International Departure tax is included in the flight ticket.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $2-$3 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
- Erdene Zuu Monastery Visit
Gorkhi Terelj National Park
- Mongolian Vodka and Cheese Making Demonstration
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information about before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling.
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or other holy sites.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
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You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local nomadic hosts.
PRODUCT_LINE: AMNL, ID: 22949
Day 1 Ulaanbaatar
Arrive at any time.
Please note that Ulaanbaatar is really the only chance to stock up on supplies you might have left behind, plus any bottled water, beer/wine/spirits, and coffee you may want. Boiled water and tea is available throughout the stay.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Ulaanbaatar/Rashaant Sum (1B, 1L, 1D)
Travel to the village of Rashaant. Meet your hosts and have lunch together. Afterwards, travel to scenic Swan Lake on horseback and take in the desert landscape. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your hosts and sleep in a ger tent.
Private Vehicle (4.00-5.00 hours, 280km)
Day 3 Rashaant Sum/Orkhon Valley (1B, 1L, 1D)
Roll up those sleeves and participate in daily nomadic morning chores. After visiting the monument of Queen Mandukhai, prepare for a farewell lunch and tea before setting off to Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Upon arrival, prepare for a traditional dinner with milk tea and then rest up in the nomad’s extra Ger.
Historical Horseback Experience
Private Vehicle (3.50-4.00 hours, 210km)
Day 4 Orkhon Valley (1B, 1L, 1D)
This morning set off on a trek to Ulaan Tsutgalan waterfall, stopping to take in the scenery along the way. Return to camp for lunch with your hosts. In the afternoon, continue exploring the beautiful Orkhon Valley with a trek to Baga Tsutgalan waterfall.
Orkhon Waterfall Hike
Junior Flow Waterfall Hike
Day 5 Orkhon Valley/Kharkhorin (1B, 1L, 1D)
Drive to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia and opt to spend time walking the ruins. This evening, overnight in a comfortable ger camp.
Private Vehicle (2.00-2.50 hours, 180km)
Day 6 Kharkhorin/Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Depart Ulaanbaatar and travel approximately 2 hrs by bus to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Upon arrival in the Terelj Village, a local guide will meet you with either an oxcart or horses. From here, begin the 3km (1.9 mi) journey by horseback or oxcart, crossing the Terelj River and continuing north through an incredibly stunning mountain river valley to the first nomadic family. Upon arrival, dismount and enter the host’s ger for a hot nomadic lunch and traditional Mongolian tea.
During the stay, the host will demonstrate the techniques of how to saddle a horse and prepare an oxcart. Have plenty of time to refine skills and continue practicing them afterwards. In the evening, learn how to play a variety of traditional Mongolian games with sheep’s bones (shagai). Nights in the park are especially amazing due to the star-strewn sky.
Nomadic Family Stay
Private Vehicle (3.00-4.00 hours)
Day 7 Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Meet a nomadic seamstress and learn how to make patterns for traditional Mongolian garments. In the evening, opt to help collect firewood by ox cart before enjoying a traditional dinner and tea with the family.
As with all days on this itinerary, it is possible to opt out of the day’s activity with the local families in favour of hiking in the surrounding mountains or simply relaxing in the beautiful Mongolian countryside.
Traditional Clothing Demonstration
Day 8 Gorkhi Terelj National Park (1B, 1L, 1D)
Enjoy a free day to explore this scenic region. Opt to visit a local family and learn to prepare homemade vodka and cheese.
Day 9 Gorkhi Terelj National Park/Ulaanbaatar (1B)
Travel back to the capital after breakfast. Enjoy a final evening with a group and take in a folk performance by the Tumen Ekh Ensemble.
Mongolian Cultural Show & Dinner
Local bus (2.00 hour(s))
Day 10 Ulaanbaatar (1B)
Depart at any time.