After carefully reading through the online travel itineraries you should:
- Read the Pre-Mongolia Preparation section of our website.
- Read the Arrival in Mongolia section of our website
Once you have arrived in Mongolia please visit our office two days in advance for:
- Fill in booking and disclaimer forms
- Book and pay for rural bus tickets
- Settle remaining payments: transportation (public bus and rural vehicle), travel orientation, community fee
- Participate in mandatory pre-travel orientation lesson (typically a couple of hours)
- Receive your travel pass
From this point onwards you will travel the following way (unless you are hiring a private vehicle):
- Check out and take taxi at 7am to ‘Dragon Bus Station’ that is approx 7 kilometers west of city center along Peace Avenue.
- Board bus at 730am
- Buses generally depart around 8am but be there early to ensure that you don’t lose your seat
- Rural buses will generally take 3 to 6 hours to reach destination depending on distance, weather, road conditions and number of passenger stops – remember most of Mongolia is ‘Off-Road Travel’. The following are average times (its normal if buses reach their destinations later by an hour or two):
- Ulaanbaatar to Arhangai – 10 hours
- Ulaanbaatar to Bayan Olgii – 2 days
- Ulaanbaatar to Bulgan –6 hours
- Ulaanbaatar to Darhan – 3 hours
- Ulaanbaatar to Dundgovi – 6 hours
- Ulaanbaatar to Dornod – 10 hours
- Ulaanbaatar to Terelj – 2 ½ hours
Once you have reached the Provincial center you will be greeted by our rural facilitator that will guide you to your rural vehicle that will take you to the first nomadic family’s ger. This is a two way transportation service for you – after taking you to the first family the driver will come back out and pick you up from the last family on your departure date back to Ulaanbaatar.
After arriving at your first family you will be mostly likely served with some food and drink, and they will assist you in building your tent. From this moment forward you will be staying 2 day/1 night with each family and the next day they will guide you from their location to the next family’s location. At each of the family’s you will be offered meals and drinks (milk tea and hot water is sometimes available).
Between the families you will travel according to the itinerary – but please keep in mind that the modes of in between family transportation may change i.e. weather or climatic changes, horses sometimes run away in the evening, camels can be stubborn, etc., if this happens nomadic families may take you by a different mode of transportation that isn’t mentioned on the itinerary.
When you are staying with the family this is your opportunity to immerse yourself into their culture – sometimes families may not following the itinerary as planned owing to other works, activities, etc., these may be good opportunities to experience something unique and unplanned. In other cases, these opportunities are also a good time to relax and enjoy the slow pace of nomadic lifestyle.
Some Common Asked Questions:
When staying with Nomadic Families why must we camp?
By camping you are conserving and actively participating in nomadic heritage; you are creating a “Saahalt”
When you pitch you tent you will be surprised how the family members will often help you out, as this is in line with their cultural heritage. When family relatives or friends move and live near one another this is called a nomadic “Saahalt”. It is customary for members of the family to show their support and often combine their resources (humand, livestock, food, etc.) with the members of the “Saahalt”. Every relative member and/or friends of the Saahalt must have their own ger to form a Saahalt. It is this fundamental concept that ensures the long term sustainability of participating Nomadic families and their communities. There are numerous reasons for our camping approach as we don't want to create unnecessary tensions between the families and travelers, as described in the following
Authenticity: Nomadic families are extremely hospitable people and often never decline an opportunity to show off this strong characteristic. Travelers will be in the Ger from morning till evening, and during this time herders often give you 100% of their time, its only in the evenings we like to give everyone their personal space. Tourism is an alternative income generating opportunity for nomadic families; nomadism is their lifestyle and tourism hospitality is an activity - not a lifestyle.
Mobilize Existing Assets: Many families have only 2 beds in a ger. The husband and wife often sleep with their small children and/or grandparents. Maybe for the 1st night it is a novelty, but that quickly goes away as every night you see the families that you are visiting are sleeping on the floor of the ger. This often makes everyone uncomfortable. Trust our experience, as we wish you to have a pleasant experience without feelings of guilt.
Health: It is easy for nomadic families to get common colds owing to the demand of their lifestyle. Many families do not have access to medicines so they often tough it out. If you stay with families that are not well it is easy to get sick yourself. On Ger to Ger routes you must be in good health as traveling between gers whether by horseback, trekking, etc., all requires a healthy and rested body.
Gear: Mongolian gers are very hospitable points that are always open to nearby families to visit and share news. Sometimes visiting people maybe curious and take a look into your personal items while you are not present. Many would assume that the hosting family themselves have intruded into your privacy, and this creates unnecessary tensions. Tents when fully zipped, provide you with added privacy that Mongolians respect.
Personal Space: Many families are very attentive to your needs to the extent where they watch everything that you do. This is not considered to be rude in Mongolia as being very 'carrying'. For many travelers this 'attention' is overwhelming while eating, walking, journal writing, reading, sleeping, etc. All agree that tents are a perfect heaven for the weary persons that wants some alone time (especially on 3+ day trips!).
Testimonials: Ger to Ger has numerous testimonies from travelers that all report that the best way to go is by TENT
What general services are included Community Fees?
Herder groups generally provide the following services:
- Breakfast, lunch, dinner and farewell lunch or dinner
- Herder guide
- Camel cart/ox cart/horse riding
- Guided tour information
- Nomadic culture /milk cow, game, etc/
- Overnight in Ger (only at Elsen Tasarhai Community)
What general services are not included Community Fees?
Items that you will need to bring and/or rent locally (we'll help):
- Basic first aid (band aids, medicine, etc.)
- Clothing (for warm, cool and rainy weather)
- Water bottle (cold and boild water)