"How much do you really know about Mongolia? Give it a chance and discover one of the most fascinating countries possible! A real insight into the culture, history and diversity of this country!"
The rugged natural beauty of Mongolia’s wilderness is one of the country’s most alluring features. This unique itinerary concentrates on conserving Mongolia’s fragile environment with an emphasis on collaboration with local people. You’ll begin in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbaatar, where you’ll delve beneath the façade of museums and tourists shops, getting to know the city’s true character and people. Ulaanbaatar has experienced rapid urbanisation, with large and unplanned residential ‘ger’ districts springing up all around the city. You’ll meet the people who live in these communities and find out what life is really like there.
Visit a family-run conservation project in the Gobi Desert, which aims to combat desertification by planting and nurturing trees. Staying with the founders of the project, you’ll be inspired by their passion for grassroots conservation work. The imposing Khangai Mountains will form the backdrop for the rest of your tour. As you continue, you’ll walk ‘ger to ger’ and meet several families who work as part of a cooperative, gaining a rare opportunity to learn about real life in Mongolia. Visit the stunning Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park and work alongside community members and rangers to clean up the park. Help to ensure the sustainability of Mongolia’s future by protecting its rich and wild natural resources whilst also having an authentic, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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Eternal Landscapes are experts on Mongolia, choosing to specialise rather than spread ‘worldwide’. Working with real people, the company asks that when you go on one of their trips, you try to embrace the differences and enjoy the challenges of life in Mongolia rather than expect the Mongolian people to change their ways to suit you. This not only gives you a more authentic experience, but also makes the whole thing more respectful and enjoyable for the local people too. During this trip, you will visit the Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project, a family-run conservation project that aims to combat desertification in the by planting trees. Part of the payment for this tour is given as a donation to the project.
The disposal of waste, particularly plastics, is a big issue in Mongolia. As part of its commitment to responsible travel, Eternal Landscapes helps cut down on plastic waste by paying a local NGO to craft material tote-bags to be given to tourists for free at the start of their trips. On this tour, you’ll participate in three-day waste collection at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park alongside community members and rangers. Eternal Landscapes has organised this event for three years, covering all of the costs for both the clean-up and for participating travellers. The company constantly strives to evaluate their achievements and weaknesses so they can increase their commitment to sustainable travel in Mongolia.
Ulaanbaatar: Mongolia’s capital has transformed from a nomadic Buddhist centre into a cosmopolitan city that is becoming rapidly urbanised. However, it still retains its strong sense of Mongolian identity, and is an interesting place to explore. You’ll take an informal walking tour that has been created by the ‘Ger Community Mapping Centre’ (GCMC), meeting families living in the city’s ger areas. The GCMC carries out research in these ger areas in order to work towards improving life in the communities. This tour’s purpose is to humanise the ger area by allowing you to meet real people living there rather than commercialise it.
Gobi Oasis: Stay with the founders of this non-profit and family-run conservation project that combats desertification by planting trees in Mandalgobi. Spend time with the family and learn to cook traditional Mongolian meals at their comfortable ger accommodation. Leave a legacy by planting your own tree at the nursery! You’ll be inspired by Gobi Oasis’ grassroots conservation work. Take an optional day-trip to Ikh Gazriin Chuluu and discover amazing granite rock formations located in a steppe and semi-desert landscape.
Erdenedalai: Although it’s not at all near the sea, Erdenedalai translates as ‘Jewel Ocean’, and is a small town that will give you a real insight into life in the middle of the Gobi steppe. Driving between Bayanzag and Erdenedalai you’ll cross Gobi’s immense plains and get a sense of the raw wilderness of the desert. The close-knit community of Erdenedalai is home to most of Eternal Landscape’s drivers, and you’ll stay with one of the driver’s families.
Khogno Khan Nature Reserve: Journey to Khogno Khan, a holy granite mountain nestled between valleys, dunes, freshwater springs and open steppe. The Nature Reserve here is protected due to its specialised taiga and steppe plants. There are also numerous birds making their home in a small oasis in the sand dunes, including the Demoiselle Crane. Explore the fascinating area by foot, visiting a working monastery at the foot of the mountain and also 17th century ruins of another monastery. If you’d like, Eternal Landscapes can organise a camel or horse trek to allow you to explore the sand dunes.
Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh – Arkhangai: Walk ‘ger to ger’, meeting some of the families involved in the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh which works to help herders to diversify and increase their income. You’ll gain more of an understanding of the ways of life of these herders who produce spun yak wool, and learn about the vital importance of yaks in this region. The animals provide not only meat, but also dairy products, wool and a form of transport.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park (Great White Lake of the River Terkh): You’ll spend most of the day on the road, leaving early to drive through the rural heartland of Arkhangai Aimag and the Khangai Mountains. Stop for a while in Tsetserleg, the capital of the province, and explore the bustling local market and Galdan Zuu Temple. Continue on your journey to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park through ever-changing scenery. The park is one of Mongolia’s natural gems, with volcanic craters, mountains, verdant valleys and idyllic steppe scenery. You’ll stay at White Lake in a family ger camp, enjoying the warm hospitality of Batbold and Jargaa. Be sure to take an opportunistic cookery lesson from Jargaa, who is an excellent cook!
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park (Great White Lake of the River Terkh): Explore the beautiful area at your leisure whilst the Eternal Landscapes team get ready for the park clean-up. Hike into the mountains, go trekking on horseback or relax by the lake.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park - Clean Up: As visitor numbers increase in Mongolia, the amount of waste polluting the natural environment also increases. Eternal Landscapes have decided to do something about this issue; along with members of the Tariat community, you’ll help to clean up the north shore and surrounding area of the park. You’ll spend three days helping with the clean-up, enjoying picnic lunches and plenty of tea during the day. With plenty of enthusiasm and patience you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to a fantastic environmental cause whilst also interacting with local people and enjoying spectacular views! Celebrate your last night at White Lake by toasting to newly formed friendships and wild Mongolia. Enjoy a traditional barbeque (‘khorkhog’) and relax after all your hard work.
Kharkhorin and Orkhon River Valley: Travel to the homes of traditional herders living alongside the Orkhon River and, their schedules permitting, help them with daily tasks. You could also take an optional horse trek or travel a short distance to Kharkhorin, the hub of the Mongol Empire during the 13th century. Ascend ‘Turtle Hill’ and enjoy far-reaching views of the town and surrounding steppe landscape. You can also visit Mongolia’s oldest monastery, Erdene Zuu, and explore with your own personal written guide. Learn more about the history of the Orkhon River Valley and the Turkish and Mongol Empires at the fascinating Kharkhorin Museum.
Ulaanbaatar: Take an early transfer back to Ulaanbaatar where you will say a fond farewell to your Eternal Landscapes team. Explore independently, or use one of Eternal Landscapes’ guides/trip assistants to help you discover modern life in the downtown area of the city.
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