Wild Mongolia
from $4565
Duration: 15 Days
Travel to Mongolia and experience the raw beauty and tradition of this remote region. Hidden from the world for so long, it is hard to imagine that this secluded country once created the largest land empire ever known. Unmatched geographical diversity, pristine grasslands, crumbling ruins and roaming herdsmen riding tough Mongolian horses – see it all on this journey through a land that time forgot and travellers are now discovering.
  • Mongolia is a far-out destination, but you'll be in excellent hands. Your experienced drivers, manning sturdy Russian vans fit to tackle the rugged environment, will take you on a ride to some of the most fascinating places in the country
  • Whether by camel or on foot, experience Mongolia's incredible landscapes, from the rolling dunes just outside of Karakorum to the volcanic craters of the Great White Lake among the mountains
  • Two family ger camps allow you to experience nomadic life from the inside – a rare and rewarding cultural experience to remember
  • Situated in the valley of the Delger River, the Tsenkher Hot Springs offer the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long journey on the road
  • Amarbayasgalant - Monastery
  • Selenge - Uran Togoo hike
  • Tsetserleg - Museum
  • Tsenkher Hot Springs
  • Karakorum - Erdenezuu Monastery & Museum
  • Khogno Khan - Camel ride
  • Ulaanbaatar - Cultural Performance
  • Day 1 Location: Ulaanbaatar
    Sainbainuu! Welcome to Mongolia. You can arrive at any time before your group meeting at 6 pm. Please have your passport, insurance and next of kin information ready to give to your leader at this meeting. Afterwards you'll have the option to join your fellow travellers for dinner at a local restaurant. If you arrive in town earlier and have time, be sure to get out and explore 'UB', a fascinating town where elderly Mongolians in traditional dress mingle with the nation's young business elite. A great place to start is Gandan Khiid, Mongolia's largest and most important monastery. The Fine Arts Museum, Winter Palace Museum of Bogd Khan and Intellectual Museum are also well worth visiting.
    Day 2 Location: Amarbayasgalant Monastery
    Today your adventure begins as you drive out through the beautiful Mongolian countryside (approximately 9 hours). Our transport for the trip are sturdy and reliable Russian vans, known as 'furgon'. These are definitely the best way to tackle the Mongolian roads that await us! Please note that depending on the size of the group we may be split into a number of vans. Your leader will take it in turns spending time with each van and you are welcome to swap around so that you get a chance to spend the travel time with different members of your group. There's plenty of driving on this trip across some rough terrain but the experience of our drivers will make the journey pass as smoothly as possible. Driving times will vary and any times listed here are approximate only. Actual travel time will rely heavily on weather and road conditions. As we have our own vehicle it may also be possible to make some stops along the way for photos, meals or to chat with locals however we need to aim to complete our drives before nightfall for safety reasons. Most days we drive up to 9 hours total. Mongolia is a vast and sparsely populated country so in order to see as much of the landscape and culture in the two weeks that we have we cover some large distances on this trip. Most of the drive today is on paved roads, but be prepared for some bumps after the final turnoff to the the remote Amarbayasgalant Khiid. Your leader and drivers will be glad to teach you some basic Mongolian words on the way – a great way to prepare for interactions with the locals, few of whom speak English. Your final destination today is Mongolia's second most important place of worship (after Gandan Monastery in UB), situated in the beautiful Iven Gol River valley, at the foot of Burengiin Mountain, in the Selenge province. After seeing the monastery, you will get your first taste of life in a ger at the first camp of the trip. This is the way that the majority of Mongolia's population has always lived – away from the city and in the wide open spaces of seemingly endless countryside. It's the quintessential Mongolian experience. Although such camps are set up for visitors, this type of housing is still used around the country, even in the capital where you will have seen many 'ger suburbs' surrounding the city centre. The gers at the tourist camps where we stay most nights vary in standard and facilities. Most sleep up to 6 people with comfy beds and plenty of blankets. In the colder months you might want to stoke up the stove in the centre of the ger and you'll be toasty warm in no time! Some have generator or mains electricity although not all have power sockets in the gers to charge electronic equipment. Our drivers and leader also often double as our cooks in those places where we prepare meals ourselves. You are always welcome to lend a hand too! We share our meals together in the dining quarters. Vegetarians can be catered for although choices may be limited - please let us know if you have any specific dietary requirements at time of booking. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided each day until our return to Ulaanbaatar. Some food will be traditional Mongolian style but as the traditional diet consists solely of meat and dairy products, most meals are less challenging and based more on Russian or Western meals which are now also common in the Mongolian diet. Bathroom facilities here are usually very simple. Camps have showers but not always hot water and all have flush or pit toilets and basins with cold water in a support building outside. Other tourist ger camps on our trip may vary slightly in set up and some may have access to showers and hot running water. Your leader can give you more detailed information about the upcoming accommodation in the daily briefing.
    Day 3 Location: Erdenet - Selenge River - Unit
    Continue to the lovely Selenge River via the copper mining town of Erdenet (approximately 8 hours). There may be opportunities to spot some interesting wildlife along the way, such as marmots and many different species of birds. You will arrive at your ger camp in the settlement of Unit in the afternoon. Stretch your legs on arrival and take a walk up to the Togoo Uul (Pot Mountain) – an extinct volcano looming over the surrounding steppe. The hike to the top rewards you with views of the crater's lush interior. From this vantage, you can only imagine what this incredible landscape must have looked like millions of years ago. 
    Day 4 Location: Selenge River - Ikh Uul Family Ger Camp
    Today your journey (approximately 9 hours) brings you to the mountainous outskirts of Ikh Uul for your first stay with a local nomad family. This is a rare opportunity to see how modern Mongolian nomads are preserving an ancient way of life while embracing some elements of modernity. You will be welcomed into the family ger and shown traditional Mongolian hospitality, starting with a bowl of salty milk tea and perhaps some aaruul (dried curds). This evening you will help your hosts prepare dinner – maybe some buuz (steamed dumplings) or barbecue. Your hosts may teach you some Mongolian games, such as shooting arrows from a bow in the local style. Many nomad families keep animals, so don't be surprised if there is some interaction with goats, dogs, horses and sheep. The location is remote, with no nearby settlements or light pollution. The night sky is incredible in clear weather, so be sure to do some stargazing before retiring for the evening.
    Day 5 Location: Khovsgol Lake
    Enjoy breakfast with our host family and bid them farewell. It's another long day of driving today, across some rough terrain, to Khovsgol Lake (approximately 9 hours). Some say this is Mongolia's most beautiful destination, a pristine wilderness area that's home to many ethnic minorities. It boasts spectacular scenery with stunning fir forests, lush green grasslands and meadows peppered with wildflowers. Since it is a popular destination for both foreign tourists and local holiday makers, you will likely come across other travellers here, especially in the peak travel months of June and July. You'll stay in a tourist ger camp just near the lake. Settle in for the night and sleep well, because there are plenty of optional activities to choose from tomorrow.
    Day 6 Location: Khovsgol Lake
    Today you might like to hike up to one of the nearby peaks or perhaps take a boat trip out on the lake. Explore on foot and relax on one of our few days not on the road. All of these are great ways to experience this gorgeous region. Overnight in the tourist ger camp again tonight.
    Day 7 Location: Murun - Shine Ider Family Ger Camp
    Today we will set off early to drive back through the town of Murun, and on to Shine Ider (approximately 10 hours). Here you will enjoy the second family stay of your trip. Now that you know what to expect from a Mongolian homestay, you should feel more comfortable the second time around. Get to know your hosts as you help them prepare dinner. You might even have the chance to watch as the family's livestock are milked and herded.
    Day 8-9 Location: Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
    After breakfast with the family, we'll drive to the surreal Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan, aka the Great White Lake (approximately 7 hours). This natural volcanic lake, surrounded by mountains, is a surreal and memorable sight. Using the tourist ger camp at Maikhan Tolgoi as a base, you will drive up to one of the volcanic craters and hike to the top for spectacular views. There are plenty of nice trails to walk during your two-night stay here, so make the most of this relaxing break from the road.
    Day 10 Location: Tsetserleg - Tsenkher
    Travel to the Tsenkher Hot Springs (approximately 6 hours). These are situated in the valley of the Delger River. On the way, you'll stop at Tsetserleg, a provincial town with a local market and a unique little museum housed in a former temple, which you'll visit with a local guide. At this stop, there's the chance to wander around the town for a glimpse at what provincial Mongolian life is like. Perhaps stock up on some snacks and drinks for the travels ahead. If there is time and the connection is good, you can also visit an internet cafe to get in touch with friends and family back home. From here it's about another hour to the hot springs, where you'll check into the tourist ger camp on arrival.
    Day 11 Location: Tsenkher
    Today is a free day to relax, explore, or simply laze about in the thermal waters of these invigorating natural hot springs. Be sure to pack your swimwear so you can take part in this activity. Surrounded by the remote beauty of the landscape, this location is perfect for slowing down to a more meditative pace and taking it easy. There are also optional hikes and activities on offer if you'd prefer something more active. 
    Day 12 Location: Karakorum - Khogno Khan
    Continue to Karakorum (approximately 4 hours), a town built by the legendary Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Ask your leader and drivers to tell you some stories about this great man on the way – after all, he's the nation's hero. In Karakorum you will visit the first Buddhist centre of Mongolia, the immense Erdene Zuu Monastery. This impressive walled compound retains much of its former glory, and within it you can inspect the three temples, each one dedicated to a different stage of a Buddha's life – child, adolescent and adult stages. Later in the afternoon, you will drive to Khogno Khan, the location of your tourist ger camp tonight.
    Day 13 Location: Khogno Khan
    Just nearby Karakorum is a sudden strip of sand dunes – a striking contrast to the landscape you have just travelled through. Here you will enjoy a camel trek along the dunes – an ideal way to experience this eye-popping landscape. At your ger camp, there might be the opportunity to practice the art of Mongolian archery under the tutorage of some local experts. It's certainly much harder than it looks, requiring good strength and aim! The afternoon is yours to spend as you please.
    Day 14 Location: Ulaanbaatar
    Travel back across the rolling grasslands to Ulaanbaatar (approximately 8 hours). The route will take you past 'ovoos' (roadside shrines) and ger suburbs. Arriving in the metropolis, you'll check back into your hotel. Depending on the arrival time, there might be the chance to shop for some local handicrafts such as cashmere and felt products, or check out some more of the city's sights and museums. Tonight you can celebrate your journey around Mongolia by witnessing a special cultural performance featuring throat singing and traditional dancing. There will be an optional final dinner at a local restaurant recommended by your leader.
    Day 15 Location: Ulaanbaatar
    Say 'bayartai' to your group as your adventure draws to a close. There are no activities planned for the day, and you're free to depart the hotel at any time before 12 noon. If you'd like to stay longer in UB, it's recommended that you book additional accommodation well in advance.
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    22MAY2022
    Return Date:
    05JUN2022
    4935NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    05JUN2022
    Return Date:
    19JUN2022
    4935NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    26JUN2022
    Return Date:
    10JUL2022
    4750NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    03JUL2022
    Return Date:
    17JUL2022
    4750NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    13JUL2022
    Return Date:
    27JUL2022
    4565NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    17JUL2022
    Return Date:
    31JUL2022
    4565NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07AUG2022
    Return Date:
    21AUG2022
    4935NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    08 Sep 2021

    Trip title

    Wild Mongolia

    Trip code

    CBSF

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2021

    Introduction

    Travel to Mongolia and experience the raw beauty and tradition of this remote region. Hidden from the world for so long, it is hard to imagine that this secluded country once created the largest land empire ever known. Unmatched geographical diversity, pristine grasslands, crumbling ruins and roaming herdsmen riding tough Mongolian horses – see it all on this journey through a land that time forgot and travellers are now discovering.

    Style

    Original

    Themes

    Explorer

    Transport

    Private vehicle (Furgon - Russian van)

    Physical Rating

    3

    Physical preparation

    You need to have a good level of fitness and be in excellent health to take part in this trip. It's important that you are able to carry your own luggage (pack light!) as you will need to be able to take it on and off vehicles. You also need to be able to cope with varying temperature as we will be experiencing climates from warm days to cold nights. Travel days can also be long, rough and in cramped conditions.

    Joining point

    Guide Hotel

    9/3 University Street 9/3 Их сургуулийн гудамж

    Sukhbaatar District

    Ulaanbaatar

    14201

    MONGOLIA

    Phone: +976 11353582

    Joining point instructions

    The best way to get to our joining point hotel is by taxi. Taxis are easily available at any time of the day from the parking lot just outside the airport or the train station. The Guide Hotel is located in the east side of the city center 2-3 mins from the well known Zaluuchuud Hotel and about 30 min drive from the airport (25-40.000 MNT). It is 15 min drive from the main train station (5000-10000MNT) about 5-8 mins north from the Central Square. The hotel is located in a courtyard surrounded by old soviet apartment blocks between Dashchoilin Monastery and Supermarket №4. Below are instructions in Mongolian for your taxi driver: Гайд зочид буудал, Дашчойлин хийдээс баруун тийш, Хүнсний 4 дүгээр дэлгүүрийн чанх ард буюу ертөнцийн зүгээрээ зүүн талд нь байран дунд байдаг буудал. Утас:11353582; 11353888. Check in time is 2:00pm.

    Finish point

    Guide Hotel

    9/3 University Street 9/3 Их сургуулийн гудамж

    Sukhbaatar District

    Ulaanbaatar

    14201

    MONGOLIA

    Phone: +976 11353582

    Important information

    1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, excluding nights at the Family Ger Camps. 2. A sleeping bag is required for the Family Ger Camp stays. You can bring your own, or hire one in Ulaanbaatar for 20 USD for the trip. Please let your booking agent know if you would like to hire one. 3. Please provide your full passport details to your booking agent no later than 40 day prior to departure. 4. Some destinations on this trip are at up to 2500m

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader 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 places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

    MONGOLIA Mongolia is relatively safe, but crimes against foreigners sometimes occur. Petty crime is common in Ulaanbaatar, particularly in markets or other crowded public places. Watch out for pickpockets. Be wary of large groups of street children and teenagers, who sometimes harass pedestrians for money when entering and leaving vehicles, pubs and restaurants. Keep passports, money and other valuables in a safe place. Report any theft to the Pick-pocketing Department of the Police (telephone +976-93022480) or to your leader, the police can provide a letter for insurance purposes. The incidence of violent crime in Ulaanbaatar appears to be on the rise. There has been an increase in reports of foreigners being robbed and assaulted, especially when walking at night, and while using public transport and unlicensed taxis. These incidents tends to increase during festive months – New Year, Tsagaan Sar (December – February) and Naadam (July). Take extra safety precautions during these months. In recent years there have been occasional instances of civil and political unrest resulting in demonstrations and in some cases violence. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations.

    Visas

    As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. COVID-19 Entry and Exit Requirements Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for the most up to date information.You may also refer to our travel alert page for more info https://www.intrepidtravel.com/en/travel-alerts Make sure you are familiar with the current border measures and entry requirements as these are quite complex and changing frequently without notice. Please also ensure you have a travel insurance policy that covers your travels as well as medical or COVID-19 related expenses within the country. RETURN TRAVEL Please ensure you stay up to date with any current testing or quarantine requirements for returning to your home country or transiting through other destinations after the completion of your tour. We are able to help facilitate taking a COVID-19 test while on trip. Please ensure you have funds available to cover the cost of this test which will be payable directly to the testing site. Your Intrepid Tour Leader will provide more details at the group meeting as well as assist with booking appointments for all travellers who need to be tested. MONGOLIAN VISA: Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most EU countries will need a visa to enter Mongolia as a tourist for up to 30 days. Citizens of Canada will not need a visa for visits up to 30 days and citizens of the USA will not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of other countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required. If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance. There is no visa on arrival in Mongolia at land or air borders. MONGOLIA - LETTER OF INVITATION (LOI): Most embassies do not require a LOI. However, should you be required to present one with your visa application please contact us. There may be a fee for this service. In order for us to provide a LOI through our local partners we will require a clear, colour scan of your passport along with an indication of at which embassy you will be applying for your visa. Please allow up to 3 weeks for your LOI to be processed after which you will be able to apply for your visa. MONGOLIAN VISA EN-ROUTE: You may be able to apply for your Mongolian visa in Beijing en-route if you have time here before your trip. Please plan carefully and check the current embassy requirements. You will need to organise this yourself and ensure you have all the correct documentation to obtain the Mongolian Visa. INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR MONGOLIAN VISA APPLICATION: You will need to apply for a Single Entry Tourist Visa (J) that covers the duration of your stay in Mongolia. Visas are usually valid for 3 months from the date of issue and enable to you to stay for up to 30 days from date of entry. Name and address of host person or organization in Mongolia: Mongolian Trails Apartment 17, Building SOT 4, 4th Micro District, Bayangol District, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Phone: +976 99183751, +976 96003751 DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR MONGOLIAN VISA APPLICATION: You may be required to provide a copy of your itinerary, indicating the dates of your tour, along with your application.

    Why we love it

    Mongolia is a far-out destination, but you'll be in excellent hands. Your experienced drivers, manning sturdy Russian vans fit to tackle the rugged environment, will take you on a ride to some of the most fascinating places in the country

    Whether by camel or on foot, experience Mongolia's incredible landscapes, from the rolling dunes just outside of Karakorum to the volcanic craters of the Great White Lake among the mountains

    Two family ger camps allow you to experience nomadic life from the inside – a rare and rewarding cultural experience to remember

    Situated in the valley of the Delger River, the Tsenkher Hot Springs offer the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long journey on the road

    Is this trip right for you

    Staying mostly in tourist ger camps once outside of Ulaanbaatar, you will experience simple conditions such as outdoor toilets and some nights without hot water. Most gers at the camps sleep up to six people, with comfortable beds and plenty of blankets. At our family ger camps you will be living the same life as the nomads, close to the land and their animals. Beds may be matresses on the floor in a shared ger and there will be no bathroom facilities. This is a true taste of Mongolian life and may be very different from what you are used to. You will need to bring a sleeping bag with you for these stays. Most meals are included once we leave the nation's capital. If you have very specific dietary requirements you will need to let us know well in advance. We will do our best to cater for you, but you may need to be prepared to bring some of your own supplies from home, or stock up at the supermarkets in Ulaanbaatar. Vegetarians can be catered for, though choices may be limited. Some food will be traditional Mongolian style, but as the traditional diet consists solely of meat and dairy products, most meals made for our groups are less challenging and based more on Russian or Western cuisine, which is now also common in the Mongolian diet. This is a trip that includes extensive travelling in some remote terrain away from modern facilities and conveniences. As we spend a lot of time on the road each day, it is important to realise that the emphasis on this trip is on the journey, travelling through amazing landscapes and staying in some stunning locations. As we travel by private transport for the duration of the trip we spend a lot of time together with our group members. If you are looking for an active or independent trip with lots of choice for physical and cultural activities daily then you might want to consider whether this trip is the right one for you. However, if you are keen to explore a fascinating country "road trip" style, take in the scenery as you go and are willing to sit back and enjoy the ride (however long it takes to get there!) then this will definitely add to your experience of our Wild Mongolia trip. Driving times will vary and any times listed in the itinerary are approximate and subject to road (where there is one!) and weather conditions. As we have our own vehicles, it may be possible to make stops along the way for photos, meals or to chat with locals, but we need to aim to get to our destinations before nightfall so please understand that long breaks may sometimes not be possible.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. COVID-19 The safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers continues to remain our highest priority as we travel. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels HEALTH SCREENING If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will follow the advice of local health authorities to determine whether medical assistance, isolation or further action is required. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. TESTING & VACCINATION POLICY From 1st May 2021 we introduced new safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia and New Zealand. On trips departing before 1st September 2021, you will need to show one of the below to your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or - Proof of negative COVID-19 test conducted no more than 72 hours before day 1 of your trip, or - Proof of recovery documentation In addition, if you’re aged 70+ or have an existing health condition that puts you at a higher risk of serious COVID-19 disease, you are also required to provide proof of vaccination before you can join a trip. MANDATORY VACCINATION POLICY From 1st of September 2021 we have introduced enhanced safety measures that apply on all of our trips, except for tours in Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. You will need to show your leader at the Group Meeting on Day 1 of your trip: - Proof of COVID-19 vaccination This policy is in addition to any specific testing or vaccination requirements for entry or exit to a destination or required by your airline. For more information, including a detailed FAQ about this policy, please visit https://www.intrepidtravel.com/covid19 MONGOLIA Those with allergies to animals should be aware that Mongolians live in very close proximity with their livestock and while staying in family gers you may come in contact with many animals such as dogs, horses, goats, camels and yaks. The diet and hygiene standards of Mongolia may be very different from what you are used to so please take care with washing hands before meals. We advise bringing some medication/rehydration salts etc if you commonly experience stomach problems when travelling. In spring and early summer ticks are prevalent in rural areas. Please take precautions by wearing long trousers and covered shoes and always check your clothes and body thoroughly after walks and hikes. It is also worth noting that outside of Ulaanbaatar medical facilities are virtually non-existent. It can take up to a few days to reach any modern facilities should you require medical attention whilst on the road. AIR POLLUTION: During colder months Ulaanbaatar can be very smoggy due to the use of wood & coal burning stoves for heating and cooking. Temperatures below zero outside (easily up to and below -20 C in winter) combined with this pollution can make this a difficult time to travel for those with respiratory problems. 

    Food and dietary requirements

    MONGOLIA Those with special dietary requirements may choose to supplement included meals with supplies brought from home. Vegetarian lacto-ovo options (while limited) can be offered for all included meals, provided we are notified at time of booking.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. MONGOLIA The official currency of Mongolia is the Tugrik (MNT). Tugrik may only be obtained within Mongolia. The easiest currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, although it is possible to exchange RUB, CNY and other currencies at some exchange points. Larger denomination notes often attract a better exchange rate. Major credit cards may be accepted in some shops and restaurants in the capital. In Ulaanbaatar you will be able to find ATMs that accept international cards and use them to withdraw local currency; however these should not be relied on as your sole financial source. Some souvenir sellers and tourist restaurants may accept USD or EUR as payment but all other purchases in Mongolia must be made in local currency. CENTRAL ASIA & MONGOLIA: If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: - we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill, however check if a service charge has already been added. In China tipping in restaurants is not common practice. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest RUB30-50 (Russia)/US$1-2 (Mongolia, Central Asia)/CNY10 -15 (China) per person per activity day for local guides. Adjust the amount accordingly for guides who are with you for less than a full day. Porters: In some hotels in China a porter may offer to carry your bag to your room. We suggest CNY5 per bag for porters. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of RUB50/US$2 (Russia/Mongolia/Central Asia) or CNY5 (China) per person per day is generally appropriate. Adjust the amount accordingly for drivers who are with you for less than a full day. Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline $US3-5, or the equivalent in any currency used on the trip, per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Many travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller suitcases or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps or handles. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. A lockable bag or small padlock will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. Essential: - Clothing: a mixture of lightweight and dry fast clothing and warm layers are recommended essential for travelling in this region. Long shirts, pants, scarves are useful for covering shoulders & knees when visiting religious sites. - Shoes: sturdy and comfortable shoes for walking long distances are essential. - Personal travel documents inc. your passport (visa), travel insurance, flight tickets and trip notes. Photocopies of your passport and visa, passport size photos and travel insurance will be handy. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary. - small first aid kit including items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent, and essential medicine depending on your doctors advice. - Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card and money belt - Sun protection like a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Recommended: - Refillable water bottle (1.5-litre capacity suggested): The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Cell phone, camera with spare batteries, charger, and adapter plug - Hand wash, travel wipes, toiletries and a small towel - Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries) - Torch or flashlight esp. for stay at local guesthouses or homestays Optional: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec - Feb when temperatures are low. - Sleep sheet. If you are travelling during the hot season you may wish to pack a sleep sheet so you will be comfortable no matter what the weather. - Earplugs to guard against street noise and snorers. - A good book, a journal and music player for overnight train rides and longer drives. Other things to consider: - Check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - Laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash

    SLEEPING BAG A sleeping bag is required for some nights on this trip. You can bring your own, or hire one in Ulaanbaatar for 20 USD for the trip, however quality can not be guaranteed. Please let your agent know at time of booking should you need to hire one.

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. For additional Conditions of Carriage regarding COVID-19, see here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/conditions-carriage

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, please contact our local office: Intrepid’s Local Operator: +976 99183751; +976 96003751;+976 99086929

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller MONGOLIA LOCAL DRESS: We recommend that you dress respectfully at all stages of the trip especially when in and around religious sites such as Buddhist temples. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees for both men and women.

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

    Transport notes

    This is a trip that includes extensive travelling in some remote terrain away from modern facilities and conveniences. As we spend a lot of time on the road each day, it is important to realise that the emphasis on this trip is on the journey, travelling through amazing landscapes and staying in some stunning locations. As we travel by private transport for the duration of the trip we spend a lot of time together with our group members. If you are looking for an active or independent trip with lots of choice for physical and cultural activities daily then you might want to consider whether this trip is the right one for you. However, if you are keen to explore a fascinating country "road trip" style, take in the scenery as you go and are willing to sit back and enjoy the ride (however long it takes to get there!) then this will definitely add to your experience of Mongolia.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. We pair up solo travellers with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport or the information we have in our booking system, so if you identify differently from the gender marker on your passport, please let us know in advance. We also have a Single Supplement available on most trips for travellers who prefer to have their own room. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

    Accommodation

    Tourist Ger Camp (10 nights),Family Ger Camp (2 nights),Hotel (2 nights)

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