Northern and Western Mongolia Tour Summary
Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
195Trip End Feb 28, 2013
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Where I stayed
Khongor Guest House Ulan Bator
Read my review - 4/5 stars
Read my review - 4/5 stars
THE FINAL DAY
Northern and Western Mongolia Tour Day 32 of 32
Mongol Els Dunes to Ulaanbataar Mongolia
An easy 294 KM for the day (on paved roads) 9:30AM to 5PM
Grand Total: 5365 kilometers (3334 Miles) in 32 days. 168km average per day or 199 km per day if we exclude horse trek and rest/family visit days. Average speed while driving 27KPH (17MPH). 10 hot showers in 32 days.
SAILING TO THE CAPITAL
We got on the road at 9:30. The top rated speed for the Russian vans like ours is 80kph (don't ask me why the speedometer goes to 160). Sereg could get his bucket to 85kph on the pavement. We were making good time being passed left and right by more modern vehicles. The vans are great where the non-road doesn't allow you to exceed 30kph, but now we were lagging. Then in the last 10km into UB we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic and back on even footing. Did we say 'bumper-to-bumper'? We have not seen any of that for more than one month!
Uemaa was feverishly catching up on her bookkeeping. She needed to account for the money she took out of the Khongor Debit Card. On return to the Guest House, Uemaa immediately sat down with the tour company owner to review the expenses. Sereg helped unload the camping and cooking equipment and got out of there quickly.
LAST WORD ON PANCHO
We already knew from Uemaa that Pancho had arrived UB safely.
Our horse trek and stay with the nomadic West Tsataan Reindeer Herders was certainly the highlight our entire stay in Mongolia. It exposed us to both fantastic natural scenery as well as a unique and vanishing way of life. For us, this is what travel in Mongolia is all about.
TIPS FOR OTHER TRAVELERS WHO WANT TO DO A LONG TOUR
*20% deposit paid upfront with adjusted balance paid at end of trip
*Good translation is important. Our Kazakh/Mongolian speaking driver with English/Mongolian speaking guide teamed up well.
*Cells phones are inexpensive in Mongolia. We bought a Mongolian SIM card with enough call credit for 7000₮ ($6)
*Very pleased with our choice to focus on northern and western Mongolia.
*Good gifts to bring to Tsataan Reindeer Family: Nylon strapping (for making reindeer leads and tying tipi canvas) and fabric (4 meters or more) for making deels (coats).
*A well padded Russian saddle is the most important asset for a long comfortable horse ride.
*We were lucky and had few bugs. Bring insect repellent with deet from home. We couldn't find any repellent with deet in UB
*The roads are rough.Wear a sports bra.
*From UB, we went with and recommend Khongor Tours to other travelers for price and flexibility.
*Khongor’s camping gear is not the best. Sort through what they have before you leave on your tour and trade up if possible – or bring your own (warm) sleeping bag and tent.
*If flying to Bayan-Olgii to start a tour, we got good impressions of Blue Wolf Tours and the independent english/kazakh/mongolian speaking guide & driver in Olgii who gave us his card:
--WEB ADDRESS: -->www.westmongoltour.com
--MAIL ADDRESS: --> firstname.lastname@example.org -->email@example.com
--PHONE NUMBER:--> 00976 9542 40 44 --> 00976 01 42 36 13
*Dust mask can be bought for 50 cents.
*Choose your travel partners carefully.
*Amsterdam Café, Khongor Guesthouse and LP’s Thorntree are good places to post notices for travel partners
*Consider a one-way drive. We gained an appreciation for the vast openness and nomadic lifestyle of in Mongolia by driving slowly across the steppe. Ending our tour at day 23 (Ulgii) or day 25 (Khovd) would have been perfect. Fly from there.
FINAL ITINERARY AFTER REVISIONS (8 nights in a tent, 4 nights in hotel/guest house, 14 nights in ger camp or guest ger, 4 nights in a family ger, 2 nights in a tipi)
DAY 1 7-Aug Amarbayasgalant Monastery (ger camp)
DAY 2 8-Aug River Hutag (ger camp)
DAY 3 9-Aug Moron City (ger camp)
DAY 4 10-Aug Khovskol Lake (Jankai) (ger camp)
DAY 5 11-Aug Khovskol Lake (Jankai) (ger camp)
DAY 6 12-Aug Tsagaan Nuur (long drive) (guest house)
DAY 7 13-Aug Start horse trek to reindeer herder village (tent camp)
DAY 8 14-Aug Ride rest of the way to the reindeer herder village (Tipi)
DAY 9 15-Aug All day with reindeer herders (Tipi)
DAY 10 16-Aug Horse trip to Tsagaan Nuur Village (one day-guest house)
DAY 11 17-Aug Moron (hostel room)
DAY 12 18-Aug Tes river (tent)
DAY 13 19-Aug Bayan Lake (tent)
DAY 14 20-Aug Overnight at Uureg Lake (tent)
DAY 15 21-Aug Olgii City (permission delayed/weekend) (family ger)
DAY 16 22-Aug Olgii City (get permission) (family ger)
DAY 17 23-Aug Alati 5 Bogd Mountain (tent camp at gate)
DAY 18 24-Aug Alati 5 Bogd Mountain (horse ride to glacier, tent camp)
DAY 19 25-Aug Olgii capital (horses to gate then van to Olgii (Ger camp)
DAY 20 26-Aug Khoton and Khurgan Lake (family ger)
DAY 21 27-Aug Khotot and Khurgan Lake (family ger)
DAY 22 28-Aug Eagle Hunter Family (family ger)
DAY 23 29-Aug Olgii City (ger camp)
DAY 24 30-Aug Tsambagarev Mountain (family ger)
DAY 25 31-Aug Khovd City (move ger then van to apartment)
DAY 26 1-Sep Khar Us Lake / Skipped to river bridge (tent camp)
DAY 27 2-Sep Bypassed Bayan Lake. Went to Uliastai hospital (Hotel)
DAY 28 3-Sep Bypassed Telmen Nuur due to Uliastai detour (Camped in tent by a river)
DAY 29 4-Sep Terkh White Lake (Ger camp)
DAY 30 5-Sep Erdene Zuu Monastery near the town of Kharkhorin (ger camp)
DAY 31 6-Sep Mongol Els Dune (ger camp)
DAY 32 7-Sep Back to UB
Final Cost: $57 per person per day, everthing included.
(With a mix of 6 people for 4 days, 3 people for 24 days and 2 people for four days):