Contact us:

+44 (0) 7810280403

jess@eternal-landscapes.co.uk

This itinerary is not about ‘must see sights’ or the highlights of Mongolia. This is about real everyday life for rural communities as the spring thaw has started and the warmth of the sun is slowly bringing freshness to the land.

March is when the livestock start to give birth and this continues through April into May. Its an industrious time of year for Mongolia’s rural herding communities and that’s what this trip focuses on. The rural way of life – whether it be of a nomadic family that move 6 to 8 times a year or a retired couple with just a small number of livestock.

There are no contrived experiences. These are real people with real lives to lead. That’s why its slow paced – to allow the families the time they need to focus on their work and still giving enough time to provide you with a more local insight into rural life at this important time of year and the spring landscapes of Mongolia through ger homestays and family owned ger camps. You’ll get to experience the traditional way of life but at the same time gain an overview as what it means to be Mongolian in 21st Century Mongolia.

Good to know

  • Two day yak cart trek
  • Experience life in rural Mongolia
  • Homestays with local families
  • Book with flexibility & confidence: advanced Covid-19 protocols in place

What's included

  • Included All meals
  • Included Ground transfers
  • Included Guided excursions
  • Included Accommodation
Days

14

Starting from

$2,240 pp

Contact us now for more information about this trip
Speak to Jess for expert travel advice
Enquire now
Destinations
Mongolia
Activity
Adventure, Hiking & Trekking, Active, Overlanding, Camping, Horseback Riding, Nature & Wildlife, National Parks, Culture, Indigenous Tourism, Responsible Travel, Community-led Tourism, Solo Travel
Tour Type
Custom itinerary, Small group tour, Private guided tour
Physical Level
Mild

Detailed itinerary

What you'll see and do

This is a customisable trip

Use the following itinerary for inspiration. Remember: all days, hotels and activities can be altered to suit your requirements. A Eternal Landscapes travel specialist will be happy to advise.

Discover Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar (UB) is home to roughly 45% of Mongolia’s population and our free city walking tour will give you a more local introduction to this vibrant frontier style city with a strong Mongolian identity of its own. It is the beating heart of Mongolia and the hub of contemporary Mongolian urban life. The reality for many Mongolians takes place in this urban context, in a city they are striving to develop and improve. Ulaanbaatar deserves to be appreciated and explored as the urban centre that it is.

Our informal and relaxed city walking tour will give you a contrasting insight into a way of life, compared to that of the rural population as you spend the day in the company of one of our female Mongolian trip assistants exploring the city through the eyes of a local.

This day is not about museums or shopping – it’s about getting out and about and exploring and discovering and will include Nogoon Nuur (Green Lake) community project - a community space created for the local population of the nearby Bayangol ger districts by Ulzii - a Mongolian philanthropist - as well as other areas of the city including Gandan Monastery.

Included meals: Lunch

Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project

Travel to and explore the provincial capital of Mandalgobi including enjoying an informal stay at the Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project - a small, family run, non-profit conservation project that has been operating since 1975.

Gobi Oasis is a small tree-planting nursery project established by Byamba Tseyen in her hometown of Mandalgobi, Dundgobi in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia in 1975. For over 40 years, she has been leading this conservation project by growing small seeds & branches, and nurturing them in harsh conditions, before replanting them in areas in desperate need for defence against desertification.

Each group typically plants one tree at the nursery - EL and our guests have now planted over 120 of our own trees - species which are native to the desert - which represents around 3% of the total number of trees planted at Gobi Oasis.

As well as planting your own tree, we make a substantial donation per person for their visit and this payment will go towards the work of Gobi Oasis. You will stay as the guests of Byamba and Radnaa - the founders of Gobi Oasis. Urnaa is their daughter-in-law and she will be your main host. She enjoys interaction with her guests and likes when they help her to prepare the evening meal.

Included meals: Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Basic

Mandalgovi Homestay

Erdenedalai is Mongolian for ‘Jewel Ocean’ and although far from the ocean this tight knit and traditional community located in the middle of the Gobi steppe provides a genuine insight into everyday life in Mongolia.

Even though annual precipitation in this area is low, with no permanent lakes and very few springs, roughly 5880 herder households make their home in this transition zone between steppe and desert. It is a beautiful region little visited by other international visitors as it's not considered a highlight by guidebook writers or tour companies and that's exactly why we make it one of our bases. As mentioned, it’s great for slow travel experiences of a more immersive kind. Although just wide stretching semi-desert steppe, the views are expansive.

Having arrived, the rest of your time will be spent at the homes of the herding families that we work with in the area - roughly 14km from the main centre of Erdenedalai. We don’t detail what you will do on your arrival - that’s because we do things a little differently and leave the plan flexible as this leads to a more respectful experience but expect to spend the second day exploring the local way of life through the eyes of the rural families we work with in the region.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Erdenedalai Homestay
Simple

Erdenedalai Homestay

Khogno Khan Nature Reserve and Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

Khogno Khan is a sacred granite mountain within an area of secluded valleys, fresh water springs, open steppe and the Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. Khogno Khan Nature Reserve was taken under state protection partly due to the specialised taiga and steppe plants that grow in this area. The small but vital Tarna River provides an essential water source for the herders in the region.

There’s an option to explore the hidden interiors of the mountain on an easy 3-hour hike to the small working temple of Erdene Khambiin Khid and the ruined Ovgon Khiid Monastery. A birch bordered path leads to this location and offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of the region.

Why not explore the dune landscapes on a relaxed camel trek with Davaasuren who has lived in the region his whole life. Davaasuren is at his happiest on showing off his home landscapes of Khogno Khan. He’s a bit of a entertainer as well and his camel treks can include sand sculpting, impromptu wrestling matches and singing.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Davaasuren's Ger Camp
Simple

Davaasuren's Ger Camp

Tsenkher Homestay

The Galbadrakh family are a young family - yak herders - that make their home in the district of Tsenkher in the Khangai Mountains. This is a personal friendship that we have built up over the past 13 years. We form long-term local community partnerships throughout the country and work side by side with each family. Our experiences are put together in a way which benefits the families, rather than disrupting their lives.

Galdbadrakh and his family are members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh - a NGO that works solely with yak herders in Arkhangai Province helping them to produce spun yak down thus helping to sustain and improve the livelihoods of the member herders as it allows them to diversify and increase their income (the herders being paid the full value of their harvest for a higher price than the local market).

You will notice that we don’t detail what you will do on your arrival - that’s because we do things a little differently and leave the plan flexible as this leads to a more respectful experience but there’s plenty of flexibility and options including experiencing the way of life in this river valley or even taking an informal cookery lesson.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Galdbadrakh Homestay
Basic

Galdbadrakh Homestay

Ulaan Tsutgalan and Orkhon Waterfall

The area surrounding Ulaan Tsutgalan was created by a series of volcanic eruptions (there are often different types of igneous rock lying on the surface – such as basalt and pumice stone which solidified from molten Magma after reaching the surface).

The 20-meter high waterfall is formed by a series of small streams and rivers including the Ulaan Gol.

For your stay at Ulaan Tsutgalan, you will stay at the small tourist ger camp of owned by Tomorbat and his family. They are retired herders but their son and son-in-law are still herders and they milk their yak herds in the early morning which you can partake in. Tomorbat and his wife have lived in the region all their lives and continue to live here all year round. Their knowledge of the area is vast and we love them for this.

This region is famous in Mongolia for the hand production and traditional decoration of gers. Although the family do not speak English and keep to themselves, they are very kindly hosts. At some point you should ask to visit their home ger - hand made, carved, decorated and painted by Tomorbat.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Tomorbat Ger Camp
Simple

Tomorbat Ger Camp

Yak Cart Trek

On our yak cart trek we slow everything right down with the yaks determining the pace of your journey. Why? Well, you combine a mixture of sitting on the yak cart with walking alongside it and as yaks have a slow and steady pace so will you. Exploring in this way means you slow down and start to observe what’s around you – from the wildflowers to the daily way of life being carried out around you.

The large-framed Khangai yak stem from the traditional yak-keeping provinces of Arkhangai, Ovorkhangai, and Khovsgol and rural families in the mountain forest-steppe of the Khangai regions still use carts when collecting water, during their migration and also for other tasks such as collecting wood. But, there are no highlights or must-see locations. Instead, the natural habitat of the domestic yaks – rolling slopes, river valleys and woodland pastures – form the backdrop.

Following the peaceful tempo of the yak cart, you discover the region that your herder host calls home – in the area where the family grazes their livestock. That means there’s time for popping in to a friend’s house for tea or for taking a little time out by the river.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Family Ger Camp
Basic

Family Ger Camp

Orkhon River Valley Homestay

Drive to the home of Tumee and Jargaa – a herding family and strong part of the local community who move up to six times a year around the Orkhon River.

The Orkhon River Valley is one of Mongolia’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the region is considered the cradle of Mongolian civilisation and an area rich in nomadic life as the Orkhon River provides an essential lifeline for nomads and their livestock.

On the second day, there is nothing pre-planned as everyone is different in what they like to do and leaving the plan flexible leads to a more respectful and more naturally Mongolian experience. But there’s plenty of flexibility and options. Ideas include visiting Kharkhorin, exploring the area on a horse trek, experiencing the way of life of the family or a mix.

Kharkhorin is the ancient capital of Ogodei Khan and the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. Visit Erdene Zuu, the Kharkhorin Museum with its exhibits based on the history surrounding the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empire.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Expand
Orkhon River Valley Homestay
Basic

Orkhon River Valley Homestay

Khustain Nuruu National Park

Transfer to Khustain - one of Mongolia’s conservation success stories - noted for its successful reintroduction of the endemic Przewalski horse– the only wild horse to survive in modern times and known as Takhi in Mongolian.

Khustain Nuruu National Park is part of UNESCO's 'Man and the Biosphere' reserves. The Khustain National Park Trust was established in 2003 and deals with the management of the national park contracting with Mongolia’s Ministry of Nature and Environment. Khustain is now run as a dedicated NGO specialising in nature and environmental research and conservation. As the Przewalski horse (known as takhi in Mongolian) is a flagship species, its protection also helps to increase environmental awareness in Mongolia.

Having arrived, visit the (recently updated) information centre located at the entrance to the park. Then, depending on your arrival time, explore the ridges with views over the distant Moltsog Sands as well as the partly forested Khustai Mountains. Trek to look-out points, while having a reasonable chance to see red deer, corsac foxes, Siberian marmots, black vultures and other numerous raptors such as eagles and falcons.

The stars of the show are obviously the Takhi which are free ranging through the hills and mountains of the national park. The Takhi have a number of ranges which include the ridge tops of the national park. As with all wildlife, there is no guarantee of catching a sighting but we will try - whilst keeping within the strict rules and regulations of the NP.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Where you'll stay
Basic

Batchuluun Homestay

Return to Ulaanbaatar

Spend the morning trekking through the NP accompanied by your EL trip assistant. Although the main valley is busy with visitors trying to catch a glimpse of the horses, the backcountry offers a diverse and wild landscape perfect for getting away from it all for a few hours. This is how we prefer to explore the park - this slower pace of exploration helps to provide you with a better understanding of the biodiversity of Khustain. – itsnpeople, landscapes and wildlife

The length of the foot trek is flexible so you can decide your own departure time to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival in UB, we’ll transfer you to your accommodation and the rest of the day will be yours to create your own experience. Remember you could use our UB guide to help you to explore the urban side of Mongolian life in downtown Ulaanbaatar. Alternatively, one of our trip assistants could be made available but please let let Jess know in advance.

We’ll transfer you to the airport or train station for free on your departure day.

Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...
  • Mandalgovi

    ...
  • Erdenedalai

    ...
  • Khogno Khan National Park

    Khogno Khan National Park

    ...
  • Khangai Mountains

    Khangai Mountains

    ...
  • Ulaan Tsutgalan

    Ulaan Tsutgalan

    ...
  • Khangai Mountains

    Khangai Mountains

    ...
  • Orkhon River Valley

    Orkhon River Valley

    ...
  • Khustain Nuruu National Park

    Khustain Nuruu National Park

    ...
  • Ulaanbaatar

    Ulaanbaatar

    ...

Upcoming departures

Departing Returning    
7 May 2022 20 May 2022 Enquire
14 May 2022 27 May 2022 Enquire
More dates available   Enquire

Looking for a different date?

Not sure when you're travelling yet? Looking for a different date? Contact Eternal Landscapes for more information.

Enquire

Good to know

Speak to a Mongolia specialist about this trip

Eternal Landscapes

Call one of our travel experts for ideas and trip planning advice.

Enquire now

Reviews

What people are saying about Eternal Landscapes

O
Owen
01/07/2020

We booked a 9-day tour with Eternal Landscapes to the Khentii province, probably the most remote and challenging part of Mongolia. I was researching for a novel I'm currently writing, and my family and a friend also wanted to tag along for the adventure. And what an adventure it was! We traveled over 1,300 kms in 2 Russian Furgon vans, following the footsteps of Chinggis Khan and paying homage to the Mongol homelands. I feel somewhat forever changed on a fundamental level by the experience. We have fallen in love with Mongolia and its wonderful people, who are so resilient, resourceful, friendly and forever helpful.

Booking the trip was a lengthy process as our itinerary had to be custom-designed and the owner, Jess, was immensely patient, informative, and extremely helpful. After looking around at a few different tour companies, we decided with Eternal Landscapes because of this and also because of the philosophy that the company operates with. They are very environmentally conscious, taking measures to minimise waste during our travels. They do everything they can to try to give back to the country and the community, giving work to small local businesses and employing women as trip assistants. In a country where it is difficult for women to find work as guides, Eternal Landscapes provides training and support to those that want the opportunity to work in tourism.

J
Jeny B
01/09/2018

A trip that exceeded all my expectations! I cannot thank Eternal Landscapes (Jess Brooks) enough for blessing us with two of the most knowledgeable, friendly, funny and caring people. Please do not hesitate in booking with EL, you won't be disappointed.

N
Nadja
01/01/2020

We had the most amazing time with Eternal Landscapes. We booked with them because of their ethical and empowering way of working and giving back to the community. If you want to be more than a tourist, we highly recommend them. Jess, the owner was extremely patient and helpful in customising our trip. And even though we never met her, her philosophy and absolutely love and knowledge for the country and its quirks shines through the whole experience.

With such vast landscapes and different way of life, winter is a fantastic way of seeing, appreciating and experiencing the country. And as photographers it was mind blowing. Our tour assistant and driver were both lovely, incredibly accommodating, with a great sense of humour.


How to book

Contact us now for expert advice

Price guide

This itinerary would cost from $2,240 and $2,865 pp.

Pricing may vary by accommodation choice, group size and time of year.

What's included

Included All meals

All meals outside of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Mainly prepared and cooked by your local team so they are fresh and it means we offer more flexibility for any dietary requirements.

Included Ground transfers

Transportation to and from the airport on arrival and departure days and all overland transportation throughout the trip. Each vehicle has a charger for cameras and phones.

Included Guided excursions

All activities mentioned with a local team of English speaking trip assistants.

Included Accommodation

A mixture of homestays and family operated ger camps. Excludes accommodation in Ulaanbaatar at the start and end of your trip.

Learn more

Contact us now for expert advice on how to tailor this tour to your requirements and budget.

Other tours you might like