- 3 nights hotel accommodation in Ulaanbaatar City.
- 9 night ger camp or wooden cottages with shared bathroom. Some places, they don't have central electricity and so they use generator which they shut down at night.
- English speaking guide service.
- Entrance fees to Protected Areas
- Daily mineral bottled water
- Airfare (Ulaanbaatar to South Gobi, one way)
- All transfers by a van in the city and 4WD Mitshibishi Delica in the country side.
- 3 meals a day (Starts with dinner on day 1 and breakfast on day 13. Some breakfasts and lunch may be provided in boxes for early morning transfer and long day drive.
Trip Does Not Include
- International airfare
- Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone and other expenses of personal nature.
- Extra expenses or loss due to nature and unforeseen events such as flight cancellation and delays, road blockade, illness, accident or any other reason beyond our control
- Travel insurance
- Emergency medical transportation and evacuation costs.
- Optional horse ride, camel ride, horse shows costs.
Note on the itinerary
We try our best to adhere to the itinerary but it should be taken as a general guideline or scope of activities rather than an inflexible schedule. Depending on the local conditions or time factor; itinerary order can change from the exact sight to see to the exact city or village for overnight stops, but we will still maintain the total quality of the tour. Our guide and driver are flexible and will do their best to help you enjoy the trip at your pace.
Trip Difficulty Level, Road and Transport
This is an easy to moderate plus graded trip, rated 3 on a scale of 1-5 (1 being easy and 5 difficult). So, all travelers in general good health can go on this trip. That said, be prepared for long day drives on bad roads. The trip involves such mild adventures like camel riding, horseback riding, sand dune hiking, and boating. Drives can be four or five hours long, with occasional stops. Road conditions vary. We use 4WD vehicles for all transfers and tours.
Although, no extreme adventures are involved, this is also not the trip for luxury and leisure seekers. But any discomfort will be more than rewarded by great adventure. You should be willing to walk and hike, in addition to the long day drives on dirt and rocky roads. Outside Ulaanbaatar, roads are unpaved, so they are bumpy and can be dusty as well. Please, bring the pollution mask to protect your nose and mouth to avoid inhaling the dust. This trip definitely requires some degree of physical fitness. The more physically fit you are, the more you will be able to enjoy the trip. If you do not lead an active life, please start soft training two or three months prior to the trip. Engage yourself in hiking, jogging, swimming, cycling, or aerobics for 25-30 minutes a day. Avoid using elevators or use bicycles instead of car if it's a short ride.
We use 4WD Mitshubishi Delica van which is good in Mongolian terrain. There will be maximum four passengers per vehicle.
As a rising capital city of the Mongolia, there are many modern Italian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Japanese, Latin American and Mongolian restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, where is available to be served western and eastern standard meals or Mongolian traditional cuisines. Most of the old style restaurants serve Russian food, and this type of food is common in the tourist camps in countryside. Small local restaurants and cafes serve Mongolian food such as buuz and khuushuur (steamed and fried beef, mutton dumpling) and others.
While in Ulaanbaatar, you will have western style full buffet breakfast at your hotel. Lunch and dinner will be arranged in tourist class restaurants in the city which can be Asian or western styles. In tourist ger camps, we have limited choices but they are adequate. Usually breakfast includes breads with butter, cheese, jelly, eggs, pancakes and cereals with milk. There also will be some fresh fruits. For lunch and dinners, you will have soup, some appetizers, rice items, noodles, dumplings and chicken or pork or beef. There will be also vegetable dishes. If you have a special dietary requirement, please let your guide know in advance.
If you have an early morning flight, you will be provided a breakfast box. There are some long day drives and maybe we don't reach camps in time for meal. It's advisable that your bring some dry foods, energy bars etc. to munch on the way but you can buy them in Ulaanbaatar and Dalanzagdag town in South Gobi.
Please, be informed that Mongolia is not the destination for fine dinning!
Guide & staff
Our tours are led by experienced local guides who are proficient in English, with ready knowledge on history, culture and religion of Mongolia. Guides in the different cities can sometimes change.
Passport and visa
Remaining validity of your passport must be at least 6 months on the last day of the tour. Please, also make sure you are not running out of blank visa pages for entry and departure seals. American citizens don't need visa for Mongolia for up to 30 days.
Best Time to visit Mongolia
June to September is the best time for travel to Mongolia. The weather is mild, and generally dry throughout the central and southern areas. It can still be cold in the northern mountainous areas. The temperature in the steppe averages around 66°F, and may fall to 50°F, or below, at night. In the Gobi, temperatures in summer average 85-95°F; however, the nights can get quite cool. In the mountains, temperatures will decline with the rise in altitude. It can rain in July and August across the northern and southern areas, but the rain is brief and doesn't affect the tours. Winter begins at October and lasts through April. This is not the best time to travel to the north.
Climate and Weather
Mongolia is located in the Northern Hemisphere temperate zone. Situated at an average altitude of 1500 m (4,920 ft.) above the sea level separated from the oceans, surrounded by high mountain chains that are blocking the wet winds, Mongolia has an extreme continental climate. While the winter continues long with cold temperature but summer is short and warm. Winter lasts from November to late April, Spring May through June. Summer continued from July through to September. The highest day time temperature in Ulaanbaatar ranges from 70-80 degree F and at night, it drops to 55-55 degree F. Temperature in South Gobi is few degree higher than in Ulaanbaatar, so at some point, you can feel the heat.
In Mongolia there are 250 sunny days a year, often with clear cloudless skies. Therefore Mongolia is known to the world as a country of "Blue Sky", however July is a raining month and the chance of precipitation is more than 50%, but the rainfall is usually light or moderate and often comes with light thunderstorm. So, please, be prepared with wet weather clothing. Mongolia is also humid during this time of the year. The relative humidity ranges from 80-90% during the month July.
Here is the general packing suggestions. You may or may not want to bring all and so please, use your best judgment. Large, flexible bag
Instead of a sturdy suitcase, it's advisable to bring a large flexible bag with plastic liner as it needs multiple load and unload from the cars. We travel on varying road conditions and mostly on gravel road while in South Gobi. Make sure your bag is water proof, though.
While the main luggage is transported by the car, you may still want a small backpack for your personal items such as camera, wallet, snacks, medicines, cosmetics etc.
Morning and evenings are cool and can be also chilly. But days are generally warm and at times you may feel hot and humid, particularly in the Gobi. There is also good chance of rain and so you need to be prepared with the wet weather gears. For the evening and morning, you will feel the need of light jacket, fleece or light sweater.
During a typical day, when you leave your hotel or camp, you may choose to wear a light cotton shirt or t-shirt, a pair of long pants. If you are starting early, surely, you may want to wear a fleece or light jacket on top of your t-shirt. The trip doesn't involve any significant hiking, so light but water proof walking or jogging shoes should work. But make sure your shoes are well broken inn and that you wear thick cotton socks to prevent blisters.
Cotton shirts and blouses absorb moisture, and can leave you shivering if the temperature drops or if you are hiking and stop to rest. Some travelers prefer polypro, as the polypro tends to absorb odor more readily. You may find that you want a light pair of sneakers or rubber flip-flops to walk in at day’s end in the camps. Don't forget to pack some pollution masks that prevents you inhaling dusts when you are traveling in the desert.
Headlamp Or Flashlight
When you are camping in the South Gobi or the in the Lake Khuvsgul, headlamp or the flashlights are very useful. Electricity is nearly unavailable or it goes off at night and if you need to go to bathroom, it will be useful. Bring spare batteries.
Foot wears.Our trip involves some hiking and there are opportunities of camel and horse riding experience. Make sure your shoes are good for these activities and they are well-broke in.
You also need rubber slipper for the use during camping.
Binoculars and CamerasThere will be opportunity to see the birds and animals and binoculars are very much recommended.
Photography EquipmentMongolia is the paradise for photographers! Please, bring a good camera with powerful lenses and spare batteries.
Detailed packing list will be provided with the final trip dossier that will be sent 8-10 weeks prior departure.
Tukrig is the national currency of Mongolia. The exchange rate is approximately 1900 Tukrig for US $1. Most banks and the larger hotels in Ulaanbaatar will be able to change the major currencies, although US Dollars are the most widely accepted. It is also possible to change traveler’s checks and get cash advances on your credit card. American Express, VISA and Master card are the most widely accepted in major tourists centers. In Ulaanbaatar, one of the most centrally located banks for both traveler's checks cashing and credit card advances is the Trade and Development Bank. You are also able to change money at your hotel in Ulaanbaatar but once you leave Ulaanbaatar, money exchange facility is almost nonexistent. So, when you travel outside Ulaanbaatar, please bring enough local money to buy drinks (beer, soda,), souvenirs or tip the luggage helps or for the horse or camel rides.
Many shops and restaurants only accept local currency, be sure to exchange your money upon arrival. Exchange rates are better outside in the street.
Tipping is optional but it has been now a practice due to influence of tourism. Obviously your guide and driver are the staff you need to tip. There is no definite structure for tipping but US$ 5 per person per day to the guide and $2-3 per person per day to the driver should make a decent trip. Other staff such as hotel bell desk, camp boys and girls who help with your luggage etc will be happy with some loose changes but it's not obligation.
Photography is prohibited inside the monasteries and museums. There will be signs posted or your guide will let you know when photography is not allowed. Some monasteries charges fee for the camera which is not included in the trip cost. If you do not plan to take pictures, you can just put your camera inside the backpack when you enter the monuments. We do not encourage you to do so but those who are taking pictures inside are rarely asked if they have permit or not. Camera fee is also charged at the culture program house but you are least likely to be checked if you had paid the fee for the camera.
The Mongolian telephone system is in the process of being modernized but still lacks many of the services we rely on elsewhere. Dialing Mongolia is relatively simple although may take several attempts. Mongolia's national code is '976'. Making international telephone calls from Ulaanbaatar is relatively easy. Most hotels have International Direct Dial Facilities. Alternatively, calls can be made from various telephone exchanges around the city. The 'Central Post' Building located on the southwest corner of Chinggis Khan Square is the largest telephone exchange.
Cheaper calls are available if calling from other telephones in the city, i.e. offices & hotels, especially between 22.00 and 07.00 weekdays, 17.00 and 07.00 Saturdays and all day Sunday. The large telephone exchange on Chinggis Khan Square has the facilities for you to send faxes and emails.
Your hotel in Ulaanbaatar also have Wi-Fi in the room and common areas. If you bring a quad band GSM unlocked phone, you are able to buy a local sim and use it while you are in Ulaanbaatar but once you are away from the city, the phones are not reliable.
Vaccinations and Health Concerns
There are no particular immunizations required unless you are coming from a yellow fever infected area. It is very important that you consult with your physician for appropriate vaccination you want to take. Other than the updated routine vaccinations, CDC recommends Hepatitis A and typhoid which you can get through contaminated food or drinks while you are in Mongolia. Some travelers consider taking Hep B which you get through sexual contact or contaminated needles. You may also want to consider rabies as stray dogs are common and you may come in contact with other animals.
In Asia, untreated water should be avoided; visitors can buy bottled water or purify on their own. Stomach upsets are likely to be the most common cause of illness in travelers. Your trip meals, if included will be arranged in good tourist standard restaurants or hotel with highest level of hygiene and when you are to buy your own meal, please select a good restaurant. You can ask your guide for recommendation. Drinks or salads can contain ice or have ingredients washed in unsafe water. Standard of care in hospitals varies, but there are traveler’s clinics in Ulaanbaatar. Medical insurance is essential. For traveler’s health advice, visit the websites:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Traveler's Health Info.
Travel Health, Public Health Agency of Canada.
Electricity, plugs and sockets
In Mongolia the standard voltage is 230 V. The standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power sockets that are used are of type C / E.
Please, check the label in your appliance if it can be used in Mongolia. If it does not, you will need a voltage converter. Also bring a set of International adapter.
The Mongolian language is the official language of Mongolia and best-known member of the Mongolic language family. The number of speakers across all its dialects may be 5.7 million, including the vast majority of the residents of Mongolia and many of the Mongolian residents of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
Except the Travel trade professionals, tour guides, hotel front desk staffs, others do not speak English. So some basic knowledge of Mongolian Language will be helpful. Here is a resource on learning some basic Mongolian language.
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
We also suggest you enroll US government's SMART program to get updated about the travel conditions of the countries you are traveling.
- A completed trip registration form with authorization of $300 per person on land is requested at the time of booking of the trip. We also request a passport copy.
- When it's time to purchase the in-tour airfares, we will request you the second part payment.
- Balance payment is due 90 days before the departure. Balance payment by credit card attracts 3.5% fee. Payment made within 90 days prior to the trip date is accepted by cashier's check or wire transfer only.
Cancellation and refund
Notice of cancellation and refund request must be received in written form.90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
- 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 300 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
- Less than 30 days: 100% Airlines,trains, hotels and government controlled destinations may have their own cancellation and refund policies which will supersede Highland Asia’s Cancellation and Refund Policies.
While we plan and do our best that your trip goes smoothly as planned but there are always chances of unforeseen events and conditions such as illness, accident, inclement weather conditions, and flight cancellation or missed connection or loss of baggage etc. that may cause interruption or delay or total cancellation of your trip putting your hard earned travel investment in jeopardy. It's also possible that you may need medical assistance, emergency evacuation or medical transportation when you get ill or involve in an accident when you are traveling in remote areas. Far & High's Tour cost does not cover any of these expenses or losses and so we strongly recommend you that you should protect yourself and your travel investment against those unfavorable conditions.