TRAVEL GUIDE

Mongolia is truly one of the world's last undiscovered travel destinations and the safest country to visit. It is a land where you can experience wide-open spaces, cobalt blue skies, forests, deserts, crystal clear rivers and lakes, and the traditional hospitality of the nomads. Permanent dwellings are few and far between, fences even fewer and the land is owned by the people, like one large National Park. As a tremendous destination to experience the outdoors, Mongolia also boasts of unique history dating back to the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan. Simply put, it is a land of adventure, horses, nomads, and blue sky.

  • Best time to visit Mongolia

    So when is the best time to visit Mongolia?

    It depends on what you want to do. Are you an adventure-seeker with a love of the great outdoors? Then our group and handcrafted journeys which explore the wild side of Mongolia might be for you. Or do you want to explore the cultural highlights of the country and experience the legendary Mongolian hospitality close up ? There are opportunities galore for travel to Mongolia which features festivals and homestays to fit the bill.

    There are many festivals held throughout the year. From the ‘three manly sports’ of Naadam (archery, horse racing and wrestling) to the celebration of nomadic life and the special relationship Mongolia enjoys with the horse, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to experience these and other aspects of Mongolian culture.

    Do you want blue skies and dry days? Or does the magic of winter appeal? It is said that you can experience all seasons in one day in Mongolia! Although most people travel in the summer when ‘the Land of the Blue Skies’ lives up to its name, there is much to see out of season. The country bursts into life in the Spring as the flowers blossom and lambs and foals gambol across pastureland. (It is also James’ favourite season!) The Autumn brings a palette of beautiful colours to the forests and foliage – this is the time to ride through the Terelj National Park and appreciate the cooler temperatures and the breathtaking scenery. The spectacular snowscapes and frozen lakes and rivers of the North provide a dramatic backdrop for the Ice Festival at Lake Khovsgol in the Winter.

    At Camel Track, we pride ourselves on our adaptable and flexible itineraries that cater for all our guests’ preferences. To help you decide when is the best time for you to visit Mongolia, we’ve come up with this handy seasonal guide:

    SPRING IN MONGOLIA – March – May

    Tourist popularity: There are not many tourists about

    Weather: Dry but very windy

    Seasonal highlights: Nauryz, after the hard winter the country comes to life with spring flowers in bloom and young animals on the plains

    SUMMER IN MONGOLIA – May – August

    Tourist level: This is the most popular time to visit Mongolia

    Weather: Warm to hot days with rain possible

    Seasonal highlights: Naadam, bright blue skies

    AUTUMN IN MONGOLIA – September, October

    Tourist numbers: Not very crowded

    Weather: Clear and cool

    Seasonal highlights: Eagle Festival, the camels look great in their new coats and the autumn colours of the landscape are breathtaking

    WINTER IN MONGOLIA – November – February

    Tourist numbers: This is the quietest time of the year, but Winter tourism is a growing area

    Weather: Dry, but bitterly cold

    Seasonal highlights: Tsagaan Tsar, Thousand Camel Festival, Ice Festival

    Once you have decided when is the best time for you to visit Mongolia, take a look at the trips we offer. We can organise private handcrafted holidays for you or you might like our small group tours - these can vary from cultural journeys offering a comprehensive introduction to Mongolia combining variety, flexibility, relative comfort, relaxation and a range of optional activities, to active adventures which explore the wild side of Mongolia. Trekking and camping are ideal exploratory activities for remote regions and seldom visited communities.

    Whichever time of year you are considering visiting Mongolia, we will be able to guide you on the most suitable type of journey, ideal accommodation and of course, designing your travel to be just right for each individual.

  • What to pack and bring

    Even if travelling in summer be prepared for a sudden change of temperature. Nights can be chilly with the temperature in the steppe and mountain areas. The key to clothing is the layering system. Layers can be added or discarded with temperature fluctuations.

    We suggest you check the climate of your travel season, month and then choose the appropriate clothes. In most cases, you will not need to bring towels as you will be provided in the hotels and tourist Ger camps.

    It’s available to check 30 days extended weather forecast from http://www.accuweather.com/en/world-weather                                                           

    Clothing Suggestion:                                                                                                                                                                                                           

    SPRING IN MONGOLIA – March – May

    Medium weight clothing, light coat, hat, Western Suits, long sleeve shirts and travel shoes

    Light weight clothing, sweater and light coat

    Weather: Dry but very windy

    SUMMER IN MONGOLIA – May – August

    Summer clothing, short sleeve shirts, skirts, sandals, sweater in evenings, rain wear and travel shoes

    Light, loose tropical clothing, short sleeve shirts, skirts, caps

    Weather: Warm to hot days with rain possible

    AUTUMN IN MONGOLIA – September, October

    Medium weight clothing, light coat, hat, Western Suits, long sleeve shirts and travel shoes

    Medium weight, warm clothing, light coat and boots

    Weather: Clear and cool

    WINTER IN MONGOLIA – November – February

    Heavy, warm clothing, overcoat, thick woolen sweater, hat, gloves and boots

    Weather: Dry, but bitterly cold

  • Weather forecast

    Mongolia is known to the world as country of “Blue Sky of 4 Seasons “. In Mongolia there are 257 sunny days a year, often with clear cloudless skies.

    Along with Southern Siberia this part of Asia has a continental climate, with long, cold, dry winters and brief, mild, and relatively wet summers.

    The average summer temperature is +21°C, (+65°F) and winter is –20°C, (-13°F). The average rainfall is 200-220 mm.                                                         

    Mongolia Weather by the Seasons

    Winter

    November to February are the winter months, temperatures are consistently well below freezing. In January and February the temperature can sink as low as -30°C and will not rise above freezing until April arrives. If a visit is planned at this time then very warm clothes will be a necessity as wind chill is a very significant factor. This season features little but strong winds and snow covered landscape but often days of fine, clear weather will break through where the sun shines down on the snow.

    Spring

    Springtime breaks in March and April and temperatures are generally still below freezing. The locals consider this to be the worst of the year. After a long winter with harsh weather, livestock will be thin and may be close to death. There will be much hardship throughout the region but particularly amongst the nomads.

    Summer

    The summer season starts in May and lasts until August with temperatures peaking in July. This is the most popular season for tourists visiting Mongolia. The month of May might still see some snowfall, but the weather is usually good.

    Almost all of the rain in Mongolia falls between the months of June and September; this is due to the influence of the Chinese summer monsoon. The rainfall is heaviest in November causing the rivers begin to swell and greenery to return to the landscape.

    Autumn

    September and October see cooler weather throughout Mongolia. When the autumn sets in, changing colours in the forests of the north provide even more appeal to the already spectacular landscape. At this time of year the weather is known to be extremely variable and clothing should cater to pretty broad conditions. There may be occasional snow in the north however travel is generally unaffected.

  • Mongolia visa information

    Visitors must obtain visa approval prior to entry. A tourist visa for Mongolia can be obtained from any Mongolian Embassy or consulate office worldwide.

    Visas are valid for 30 days and can be extended through our head office in Mongolia.

    How to apply for a visa to Mongolia

    Requirement & Procedure

    1. Passport valid for 6 months beginning first day of travel

    2. Visa Application form Click here to download the Visa Application Form

    3. One passport-size photo

    4. A letter of invitation from the host company in Mongolia.

    5. Visa fee: The visa fee depends on Embassy and type of visa you have required.

    Please contact in person by telephone or e-mail the nearest diplomatic or consular mission of Mongolia.

    (Mongolian diplomatic and consular missions abroad).

    Pre Approved Visa is only available for who travel from the countries with no Mongolian embassy or consulate office!                                                   Get more info: http://www.mfa.gov.mn/?lang=en

  • Top 10 adventurous thins to do in Mongola

    There are many reasons you might want to visit Mongolia - perhaps to seek the vast open spaces, so rare in other parts of the world; perhaps to immerse yourself in unspoilt nature; to breathe the clean air; to hike and horse ride; to find nights dark enough to throw the glittering heavens into sharp relief. In the countryside (and most of Mongolia remains countryside) the Eternal Sky held sacred by Mongolians since well before the time of Chinggis Khan levitates majestically over wide-open grassland prairie, steppe, subarctic evergreen forest, wetland, alpine tundra, mountain, and desert. It stretches above yak, goat, reindeer, camel, wolves, bears, marmot, squirrel; forms the tapestry on which hawk, falcon, eagle and crane craft momentary, dissipating brushstrokes; and frames some of the last traditional nomadic peoples and wild horses on Earth. Make the most of your time in Mongolia and consider our top 10 Adventurous things to see and do:

    1. Go stargazing in Mongolian Gobi Desert Stargazing is something (I feel) that everyone should experience because it really does feed the mind and soul.This has to be the ultimate experience of peace and tranquility. Enjoy time and space to think under a glittering canopy of endless stars - whether you are spending a night under canvas or just stepping out from your ger to glance up.
    2. Do Horse riding in Navel Eight Lakes Horse riding is central to Mongolian life, children become highly accomplished early and riders can handle their horses with skill and ease. The tough, sprighty and numble Mongolian horse has stamina and strength that belies it diminutive size. Taking a ride across the open steppe is the perfect way to feel a connection with the vast landscape and nomadic people. Your carefully selected horse will carry you across all sorts of terrain and a short guided trek up to Navel Eight Lakes is a great experience.
    3. Stay with a nomadic family in their beautiful house, Ger For many, the highlight of a visit to Mongolia is to spend time with a nomadic family, witnessing first-hand their way of life, unchanged for centuries... apart from a few modern-day additions of satellite dish and solar panel. Help out with daily tasks of rounding up and milking the animals and making curds or buuz (dumplings), learn about daily life, the joys and the hardships of living a nomadic existence, but mostly experience the genuine warmth and infamous hospitality of Mongolia's nomads. You may even be able to help out putting up a traditional ger.
    4. Milk a camel, cow, horse, or goat When you stay with a nomadic family, I’m pretty sure you’ll get to see them tend to their herds and even milk a cow. I suggest you immerse yourself in their culture and offer to lend a hand. This is something you won’t get to do anywhere else.
    5. Do Camel Riding in the Real Gobi Desert Whether you are visiting the Gobi's Khongoryn Els (the Singing Dunes), some of the largest sand dunes in Mongolia, or the shifting sands of Elsen Tasarkhai in Bayan-Gobi a camel ride is almost obligatory. The Bactrian camels of Central Asia are the two-humped variety and wear very shaggy coats in the winter. You'll feel like a true explorer. 6. Experience Eagle Hunting in Western Mongolia - The ancient art of falconry as practised by the Kazakh Mongolians has remained unchanged for millennia. Admire the speed and power of the noble eagle and marvel at the close relationship that exists between her and her master. Set against the majestic Altai mountain views, this is an experience that truly epitomizes Mongolia.
    7. Experiencing "The Blue Pearl" Ice Festival on the Frozen Khovsgol Lake Every year, on the southern edge of the Siberian forest, the Blue Pearl of Mongolia, Lake Khovsgol, completely freezes over. The ice forms to a depth of five feet creating an extraordinary winter playground. The nomadic reindeer herders, Tsaatan, from the north, join local residents to celebrate the winter, with traditional games and races over two days. In temperatures of down to -35°C, contestants compete in sports such as ice-skating, ice-wrestling, tug-o’-war, dog-sledding and horse sleigh racing.
    8. Visit Taiga and meet Tsaatan (Reindeer People) The highlight of our trip is meeting the Tsaatan nomads and their friendly reindeer. As one of the few remaining indigenous groups of reindeer herders, the Tsaatans are a disappearing culture. Staying with them is a priceless opportunity to experience their way of life while it’s still around.
    9. Drink Airag (fermented mare's milk) Traditional Mongolian Local Beverage Airag is a fermented mare's milk, which has a slightly sour taste and a small percentage of alcohol. Airag is considered an alcoholic beverage though it is neither made from fruit nor from grain. ... Airag is white in color and it has a foamy sour taste, which is the result of the natural sugars in horse milk. After you visit to Mongolia, you must try to taste it and drink like a Mongolian Khan. It would be something you have never experienced.
    10. Be right on time for the #Naadam Festival The Naadam Festival is the biggest event of the Mongolian year! Naadam, which means "games", is celebrated in every town and rural district across the country. The National games in Ulaanbaatar are held between the 11th & 13th July every year, but dates vary outside of the capital. The festival features the three manly sports: wrestling, archery and horse racing. The strongest wrestlers, fastest horses and expert marksmen come together to compete for National and regional titles. Local festivities and merry-making are also key feature - something that everyone's encouraged to participate in! All generations come together to celebrate this annual festival.
  • FAQS

    Who is this trip suitable for?

    "If you’re adventurous, open-minded, and excited to immerse in a new culture, this is the trip for you!

    You should also be ready to embrace the great outdoors. Though we will have comfy hotels and Western-style toilets in Ulaanbaatar, restroom and shower facilities in the Mongolia countryside will be a little more basic."

    How safe is Mongolia?

    "Mongolia is one of the most peaceful countries in the world, and is generally considered safe for tourists. However, petty theft is still an issue, and solo travelers often end up stranded in the countryside if their horse gets stolen.

    We will take the following precautions for a smooth and safe trip:

    1. Travelling in a big group of at least 15 people, to prevent targeting by thief syndicates

    2. A local guide will accompany us at all times, with firsthand knowledge of the areas

    3. Travelling in a private all-terrain vehicle with a local, experienced driver

    4. Staying in home-stays in the countryside with trusted nomad families

    Participants will be briefed further on safety precautions closer to the trip date."

    When is the Best Time to travel Mongolia?

    May to September is the best season, with the peak season in July for the Naadam Festival. July and August are also the wettest months of the year, but be assured, our climate is such that you will still have many sunny days at this time. The best time to visit the Gobi is June or September.

    How do I get to Mongolia?

    All direct flights come into Ulaanbaatar – most of them from Beijing, Seoul, Hong Kong,Tokyo, Moscow, Berlin and Istanbul. The Trans-Mongolian train from Moscow or Beijing makes a particularly exhilarating entry into the country. There are domestic flights and trains from Ulaanbaatar to the rest of Mongolia. Many of the tours use a 4WD Japanese and Korean vehicle, jeeps to transport you to your destination.

    How can I find your company in Ulaanbaatar?

    "When you arrive in Ulaanbaatar airport or train station, one of our representatives will pick up you with a board “Discover Mongolia” Then you will transferred to the hotel or tour destination as mentioned on your itinerary.  Please tell us your arrival and departure dates and times as early as you can. We do not supply you with vouchers for the tour but you may wish to bring a copy of our invoice or final confirmation sheet with you as proof of ID.

     

    Emergency contact: Please call at

    976-99794114, Mrs. Altanzaya, CEO and Founder

    976-99791441, Mr. Janchiv, Travel advisor"

    How to book my tour?

    "In order to confirm your place on a tour you will need to return a completed booking form with a deposit of US $200 per person. On receipt of your deposit, we will send you confirmation of your booking along with details for the payment of the balance. The booking will not be accepted and no contract raised until the deposit is received. 

    The balance is due 8 weeks prior to the departure date. If you are booking within the 8 weeks of the tour start date, then full payment is required at time of booking. If the balance is not paid by the due date, CAMEL TRACK will treat the booking as cancelled and apply the cancellation charges as detailed below. The Company will not accept responsibility for any monies sent by post. Payment can be made by bank transfer, international money transfer services or VISA and MasterCard."

    Do I need a certain level of fitness?

    "Not really, this is a moderately easy trip that’s suitable for all ages! However, you should be prepared to rough it out, as we’ll spend two nights camping in the wilderness. 

    In the countryside, we’ll be riding in a hardy 4×4 all-terrain vehicle, which is spacious and well-ventilated, with padded seats for extra comfort. However, as most roads in the countryside are unpaved, the ride can get very bumpy. We’ll also be riding horses for up to five hours at a time. 

    While with the Tsaatan reindeer herders, we’ll rest in sleeping bags, in a teepee, on soft ground. There’ll be no toilet facilities at the nomad’s camp, so you should be ok with doing Number 1’s and 2’s in the wild (it’s actually quite freeing). You can also choose to go on casual hikes around the nearby mountains, but this is completely optional — there’s still tons to do in the camp itself!"

    Do I need to bring any cash along?

    "It is just up to you. Our trip price covers everything you need, though we recommend bringing US$200 – US$500 for souvenirs, tips for locals (purely voluntary basis), and in case of emergency.

    In Ulaanbaatar, USD can be converted for local currency, the Tulgrik (MNT). Credit cards (mostly VISA and Mastercard) are also accepted in many shops, sometimes even in the countryside."

    What will accommodation be like during the trip?

    "We’ll get to try different types of accommodation in Mongolia, each promising a unique experience. In Ulaanbaatar, we’ll be staying in three-star hotels, while in the countryside, we’ll be in a mix of accommodations, including Mongolian traditional gers, Tourist camp, and Tsaatan teepees.

    The guesthouses and gers have proper beds with mattresses. While at the Tsaatan camp, we’ll rest in thick sleeping bags, in teepees, on soft ground.

    In the countryside, it’ll be 3-4 people per tepee and 4-6 people per Mongolian ger. These will be gender-divided unless you have special preferences (e.g. signing up with friends).

    If you’ve got any accommodation requests, let us know and we’ll see what we can do. 🙂"

    What is the approximate tip for the guide and driver?

    Tip is entirely voluntary. Just for your reference to tip the tour guides and drivers, if they have delivered a real good service. Tip for your local tour guides: More than 100 USD per person. It would be the most encouraging thing for them to work harder. 

    What is your cancellation policy?

    "There will be service charge of US$100 per person on cancellations received at least sixty days prior to the booked tour departure. Otherwise the deposit is non-refundable unless credited towards another trip departing within one-two years. If you cancel your booking after you have paid in full the following cancellation charges will be made: 

    between 43 and 59 days before departure:........20% of the tour cost 

    between 29 and 42 days before departure:........25% of the tour cost 

    between 15 and 28 days before departure:........ 30% of the tour cost 

    14 days or less before departure (or fail to join the tour):…….50% of the tour cost 

    Minimum charge for cancellation is your deposit of $200 per person. 

     

    These dates refer to the date we receive written notification of your cancellation. We strongly recommend you protect yourself by purchasing travel insurance. We have very rarely had to cancel a tour but reserve the right to do so for any reason. If the tour is cancelled by us, all payments will be returned in full."

    What will be eating during the trip?

    All meals are included on the trip. Our local expedition guide is also an experienced chef who will prepare anything from Mongolian, Italian, and even Korean cuisine. We’ll also get to try authentic Mongolian food in Ulaanbaatar city and during our nomadic home-stays. If you’ve got any food requests, let us know and we’ll see what we can do. 🙂

     

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