Wild Mongolia

Intrepid Travel Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
94%
Travel Style: Array Mixed
Physical Level: All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included. Moderate
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
15 days
From: $ 2,800 $ 187 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • 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

Short Description

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 Small group tour
Spend most of the time outdoors. Common trip themes and activities include cycling, hiking, kayaking, whitewater rafting.
Itinerary Focus Active
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Ulaanbaatar
End City Ulaanbaatar

Destinations

Mongolia

Attractions & Cities Visited

Gandan Monastery Ulaanbaatar

Age Requirement

15-99

No single supplement
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Itinerary

Day 1 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 2,800
Price Per Day: $ 187 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceAvailability 
Jun-04-2023Jun-18-2023$ 2,80010 spots left Reserve
Jun-25-2023Jul-09-2023$ 2,80011 spots left Reserve
Jul-02-2023Jul-16-2023$ 2,80011 spots left Reserve
Jul-09-2023Jul-23-2023$ 2,80012 spots left Reserve
Jul-12-2023Jul-26-2023$ 2,8008 spots left Reserve
Jul-16-2023Jul-30-2023$ 2,80010 spots left Reserve
Jul-23-2023Aug-06-2023$ 2,80012 spots left Reserve
Aug-06-2023Aug-20-2023$ 2,80012 spots left Reserve
Aug-16-2023Aug-30-2023$ 2,80011 spots left Reserve

4,078 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

94%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 3,053
Great 672
Average 130
Disappointing 66
Terrible 157
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Wild Mongolia

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Company Reviews

On behalf of ‘The Sticky Rice Family’…

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
On behalf of ‘The Sticky Rice Family’ Cambodia Express Tour Group, TKSD221105, we’d like to thank our tour Leader Raus for an incredible experience. Raus, was absolutely excellent. She was friendly, warm, positive, knowledgeable and involved. She went over and above to make sure that we were happy every step of the way. All of the tour inclusions were excellent and we felt that we saw everything there was to see. Big thank you to Raus from us all xx
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Legends Loyalty Promotion

1.0
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Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
In early 2019 I was dealing with Intrepid and booking my 6th and 7th trip which were paid for before June 2019. Upon return from these trips I booked another trip, my 8th and was off again to Turkey within weeks. At NO time was I informed verbally or via email that their Legends Program was ending and that I would need to book my 9th trip by end of June to receive my loyalty reward of $2200 credit, If I had been informed I could easily have done this.
At the beginning of 2022 I began plans for my next set of trips and contacted them to claim my loyalty reward. That's when I was told about the end of the Legends Loyalty Program. The company does not have a complaints department and so I have had emails replied from 7 different 'sales consultants'
Each time their replies have reiterated the same information. They have not taken responsibility for informing their loyal customers of the impending cessation of the Legends Program. I have contacted Consumer Affairs and been advised that I can pursue this under
section 1: Section 29 of consumer law regarding false and misleading representation of goods and services
2: Section 32: offering rebates, gifts and or prizes

As this was going to be a drawn out affair, in my most recent email, I offered to settle for a credit of $1200 rather than the $2200 they had been promoting for YEARS!!!
Dealing with Intrepid was taking its toll on me and I just wanted it over with. But we were dealing with a David and Goliath situation here. They do not care and have not taken responsibility for lack of transparency in informing their loyal customers of the sudden termination of this Program. I see that many other people are in the same situation. I have had many great trips with Intrepid and had wanted to continue my travels with them. But the principle of the matter will not allow me to continue with them.
I understand that a promotion may be discontinued at some point in time but it should be done in a way that takes into consideration those who have remained loyal... maybe paying a proportion of what a client would have been entitled to. AND they should have made an effort to alert customers about their policy change. As another Loyal Customer stated ...'You could have put a banner across your Intrepid homepage stating the program is ending..."

But no, you kept it quiet and duped your loyal customers. Shame on you!

I have not finished with this! Jump on board if you want to join me in this battle.
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Shockingly bad experience.

1.0
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Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Signed up for the Premium Turkey Trip, which is supposed to be higher end hotels and "the best guides". Sadly this was a case of extreme overpromising and underdelivering. Hotels were mixed and some were disgusting. Guide was not familiar with our itinerary, offered little guidance or help, and often gave us incorrect information. I have written and called Intrepid to express my numerous concerns. They have not responded. Very disappointing.
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Not a Premium Turkey trip

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
This was my 3rd Intrepid Tour. Unfortunately, my most recent "Premium" Turkey in Depth tour was a big disappointment. It did not measure up to "original" tours of Rajasthan, India or Nepal. These trips were lead by enthusiastic, organized and knowledgeable leaders. Our Premium leader unfortunately showed little passion for his country or it's history. His knowledge of the historical sites was basic only. The leaders ability to communicate with his guests left us wondering what our day would look like and if we would have to Google information to pass on to other members of our group. Late morning starts made for late arrivals at daily destinations and limited time to explore some interesting cities. On multiple occasions and by different guests, suggestions were made to the leader about communication needed by group. Additionally, the sunrise Balloon ride in Cappadocia was canceled. Our group of 9 and another Intrepid tour were instead sent in up after sunrise. Disappointing!
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Poor guide

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Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Poor guide. No leadershio Provided limited knowkedge of historic sites. Poor time management Missed out on most optiinal tours. 2 safey issues. Left group of 9 stressed and anxious.
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Where's my deposit?

1.0
Details
Value1.0
Guide1.0
Activities1.0
Lodging1.0
Transportation1.0
Meals1.0
Hello again
Still waiting for my deposit back from Intrepid! Six weeks and counting. It ceases to amaze me that that I felt I could trust them with organising a holiday for me at all in the first instance.
Intrepid Travel is incapable of responding to emails, updating their customers and maintaining good customer relations. They have been very disappointing and have left me extremely upset.
Each time that I complain about them generates a flurry of emails but not any resolutions.
Very poor and extremely unsatisfactory.
Intrepid Travel get your act together.
PS As predicted I got a response from Intrepid to say that the refund was being processed and apologies for the delay. NOT good enough.
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Private vehicle (Furgon - Russian van)

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accommodations

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

Guides

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.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Guide Hotel
  • 9/3 University Street 9/3 Их сургуулийн гудамж
  • Sukhbaatar District
  • Ulaanbaatar
  • 14201
  • MONGOLIA
  • Phone: +976 11353582

Trip ID#:

intrepid-CBSF

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