Mongolia - Best Tours & Trips 2019
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Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.
Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.
Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.
Price Per Day
Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.
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Rivers & Seas
Cities & Attractions
Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.
Flights & Transport
Continents & Regions
- Sleep in a traditional mongolian ger
- Ride a horse across the mongolian countryside
- Learn traditional crafts and skills from nomadic hosts
- Compete with mongolian nomads in archery
- The spectacularly varied Mongolian landscape - vast rolling steppe, mountains and deserts
- Sleep in traditional style ger camps (Mongolian tents)
- Karakorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire
- The rolling sand dunes and landscape of the Gobi desert
- One of the last remaining nomadic cultures in the world
- Visit nomad communities and stay in traditional ger camps
- Learn Mongolian archery, horse riding and how to erect a ger
- Explore the sand dunes, canyons and mountains of the Gobi desert
- Naadam festival departures: a showcase for traditional sporting events held in July
- Visit the fascinating Erdene Zuu Monastery.
- Take in the phenomenal natural beauty of the Orkhon Valley
- Soak in the Tsenkher hot springs.
- Take a guided tour of Ulaanbaatar's and see the best sights.
- Overnight in traditional Ger Camps.
- Snap portraits of Mongolian throat singers, camel herders, and traditional nomad families, and learn about their age-old culture.
- Stay in an award-winning ger camp in the Gobi desert, and set off on photo hikes amid nearby gorges and dunes.
- Fill your lens with the vibrant pageantry of Naadam, Mongolia’s most celebrated festival, documenting wrestling, archery, and horse racing competitions.
- Meet with monks on a visit to Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar, and go on a photo shoot in the eccentric Winter Palace of Bogd Khan.
- Visit National Museum of Mongolia
- Explore Kremlin
- Visit Tretyakov Gallery & Moscow Subway Ride
- Explore Genghis Khan Statue
- Visit Baikal Limnological Museum
- Visit Gandan Monastery
- The ultimate train journey that covers 2 continents, 7 time zones and countless views of mountain, lake and steppe scenery.
- For travelers seeking for luxurious experience, there is option of the outstanding Golden Eagles services of the train.
- Meet people of different cultures and countries in a train can be the most interesting things ever in a journey.
- Visit Moscow for the Kremlin, St. Basil's Cathedral, Red Square, extraordinary metro system and Bolshoi Ballet.
- Visit Irkutsk and Lake Baikal, the oldest, deepest and one of the largest lakes in the world.
- Trans-Mongolia trip takes you to the rolling hills, grassy steppes, dusty Gobi Desert and takes you to meet the fearless descendants of Genghis Khan at their traditional ger homes.
- Conclude the whole trip in Beijing by visiting this ancient capital of China and the incomparable Great Wall.
- Altai Snowcock
- Black-billed Capercaillie
- Daurian and Chukar Partridge
- Swan & Bar-headed Goose
- White-naped & Demoiselle Crane
- Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier)
- Himalayan & Cinereous Vulture
- Golden Eagle
- Pallas’s Fish Eagle
- Saker & Amur Falcon
- White-winged Scoter
- Horned (Slavonian) Grebe
- Oriental Plover
- Asian Dowitcher
- Swinhoe’s Snipe
- Pallas’s Sandgrouse
- Ural Owl
- Henderson’s Ground Jay
- Mongolian Lark
- Siberian Rubythroat
- Brown & Kozlov’s Accentor
- Azure Tit
- Chinese Beautiful Rosefinch
- Guldenstadt’s and Eversmann’s Redstart
- Saxaul Sparrow.
- Watch the opening ceremony of the naadam festival
- Cheer on wrestlers and archers
- Listen to famous throat singing
- Sleep in traditional gers
- Devour mongolian barbecue in the grasslands
- Experience this incredible rail adventure through China, Mongolia, and Russia – one of the world’s greatest, most epic journeys.
- Stay in the Mongolian wilderness in a ger camp and experience local life up-close.
- Immerse yourself in Mongolia's rich cultural heritage, from the country’s original Buddhist temple to the city built by Genghis Khan
- Live life on the shores of magnificent Lake Baikal in a Siberian village
- Experience a traditional Russian banya – a refreshing steam, wash and birch branch ‘massage’
- Encounter fascinating sights over the 6000 kilometres from Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to Moscow’s iconic Red Square
- Check out our Beijing to St Petersburg trip ( search 'CBSQC' on our website) if you are interested in continuing this epic journey in Russia from Moscow to St. Petersburg.
- Attend the Eagle Festival in the remote Altai Mountains
- Explore Mongolia's vast wilderness stepp and Gobi Desert
- Experience traditional nomadic culture
- Ride the rails through mongolia's grassy steppe and siberia's taiga forests
- Stay in a local village on lake baikal
- Admire the grand structure of moscow's kremlin and red square
- Marvel at the rich art collection in the hermitage
- Climb aboard and discover Russia, Mongolia and China on one of the world’s greatest and most epic journeys.Here's just some of what is in store for you: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/picture-worth-8000-kilometres-trans-mongolian/
- Share in traditional tastes with a visit to the home of one of our local friends – indulge in a meal of hearty regional flavours and assist the family in baking pastries
- Live life on the shores of magnificent Lake Baikal in a Siberian village
- Experience a traditional Russian banya – a refreshing steam, wash, and birch branch ‘massage’
- Stay in the Mongolian wilderness local-style with an overnight in a tourist ger camp
- Discover Mongolia's rich cultural heritage, from the country’s original Buddhist temple to the city built by Genghis Khan
- Cross 8,000 kilometres to end in buzzing Beijing and discover China’s ancient past and contemporary culture
- Contemplate the soviet architecture and influence in ulaanbaatar
- Explore the ruins of remote monasteries
- Share a ger with a nomadic family
- Soak in the tsenger hot springs
- Visit mongolia's ancient capital
- See the wild horses in khustai national park
- Journey by train across the steppe
- Dine on lake baikal's fish
- Admire red square and chinese temples
- Spend the night in a traditional mongolian ger
- Wander beijing's hutongs
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Top Mongolia Experiences
- Bouncing through Gobi National Park in a van, taking in spectacular desert landscapes, especially the amazing Flaming Cliffs.
- Taking a guided tour of the National History Museum
- Hearing the strange sound that is khoomi throat singing.
- Walking around the ancient Buddhist monastery of Erdene Zuu
- Dinosaur hunting in Ikh Bogd Mountain!
- Seeing famous archaeological sites at Altai Tavan Bogd National Park
- Attending the annual Eagle Festival in Ulgii, and watching eagle hunters and archers compete in a variety of contests.
- Trekking at the beautiful Naiman Nuur lake, naturally formed from years of volcanic eruptions
- Riding a horse along mountain trails in Terelj National Park.
- Seeing the majestic Singing Dunes from the back of a camel, before making the long, hard climb to the top to watch the sunset.
- Staying a night in an authentic Mongolian home, called a "Ger"
Mongolia Trip Reviews
281 Mongolia Tour Reviews - Summary 100% Recommend
Mongolia Tours and Travel Guide
Mongolia Attractions & Landmarks Guide
Mongolia is one of those countries that stirs the imagination of adventurous travelers. Landlocked, sparsely populated, and one of the few places left where nomadic lifestyles still thrive, Mongolia is truly a place to get away from it all -- unless you visit during one of its colorful festivals (the spirit of Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan -- featured in the recent Netflix series Marco Polo -- lives on at Naadam, a festival featuring traditional sports like horse-riding, wrestling, and archery). The Gobi Desert is here, along with huge lakes, hot springs, mountains, and marshes. Ready for an adventure with yaks and yurts? We're here to help.
Seen by some as a scar on the beautiful landscape, and others as a haven in which to relax and recharge after touring the wilderness, Mongolia's capital city of Ulaanbaatar divides opinion. This once run-down city has undergone a recent spring cleaning, particularly in the center, where broad boulevards are lined by sparkling glass buildings and immaculate squares. The surrounding areas give more of an indication of the Ulaanbaatar of years past, with streets lined with run down buildings and traditional gers.
Visitors to Mongolia are likely to be more interested in the great outdoors than in the capital city, but if you do have some time to kill in Ulaanbaatar (or UB, as it's known locally), there are a few sights worth checking out. As well as its many squares and statues, UB boasts its fair share of markets and museums. Try the National Museum of Mongolia to explore the country's history, or the Museum of National History to see sculptures and religious exhibits. Or try the newly opened Museum of Dinosaurs to see some impressive dinosaur remains that have been unearthed in the Gobi. And don't forget to visit the karaoke bars!
The best time to visit UB is in July, where the city celebrates Naadam festival. Try to avoid visiting in winter (November to January), when temperatures plummet and the city becomes covered in a black cloud of pollution from the burning of coal in the nearby gers.
There is no shortage of natural wonders in Mongolia Though one may envision harsh landscapes, there is actually a lot of variety. A convenient weekend getaway for tourists and locals, Terelj National Park is located just a short journey to the east of UB. This scenic area offers treks along mountain trails with sights of massive stone structures, stays in local ger camps, and the option to rent horses.
The vast Gobi desert stretches throughout most of southern Mongolia as well as a large part of China. It's impossible to travel throughout this region without your own car or hiring a van and driver. Or better yet, a guided tour will take care of transport, accommodation, food and translation. Sights on a Gobi tour include the Ice Canyon, a deep canyon filled with ice throughout much of the year, the Singing Dunes, massive sand dunes that "sing" when the wind blows, and the Flaming Cliffs, colorful cliffs where large amounts of dinosaur fossils have been found. Other highlights include home stays with families in local gers, and a ride on a Bactrian camel.
The west of Mongolia has a large Kazakh population, and so the culture and language differ from the rest of the country. Often called the "Wild West", this off-the-beaten track region is home to the eagle hunters of Mongolia. The best time to see them in action is at the annual Eagle Festival in the city of Olgii, held in the first weekend of October. Western Mongolia is also a good place to observe traditional khoomi throat singing, especially in the city of Khovd and the town of Chandimani. Getting from central to western Mongolia by local transport is a long and painful process. Cramped local buses run the two-day journey from Khovd to Ulaanbaatar, and rarely allow passengers to buy tickets to destinations in between the two. An internal flight is a much easier option, and a private car and driver is the only way to see sights in between Khovd and UB.
The Siberian region of Northern Mongolia sees freezing winters and lush green summers. When the weather is right, visitors can enjoy horse riding, kayaking, mountain biking, and trekking. Major attractions in this region are the picturesque Lake Khovsgol and the Buddhist monastery of Amarbayasgalant.
Harder to get to, but worth the journey, is the land of the Tsaatan reindeer herders. Accessible by several days in a van and a few more days on horseback, this region along the Russian border is truly remote. But those who make the journey are rewarded with experiencing the traditional lifestyle of the reindeer herders, as well as the spiritual traditions of local shamans.
One of the most remote areas of Mongolia, and, arguably, the world, Eastern Mongolia is an untamed stretch of grassland. Aside from the occasional gazelle or marmot, it's possible to feel completely alone. The few visitors who venture into this region do so to follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan, who was born in the eastern Khan Khentii Mountains. Revered as a great leader in Mongolia, visitors to the east can take a jeep tour to various places associated with the Mongol conqueror. Or better yet, grab a horse and explore the area in the way of Genghis Khan himself.
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