DRIVING ALONE OWN JEEP
Favorite thing: DRIVING ALONE OWN JEEP IN MONGOLIA
It’s always a risk to drive without a guide in Mongolia. We strongly recommend to very well organize logistic and way points before leaving for Mongolia because is really easy to lost own way. You might always remember that in Mongolia roads are few and running tracks are bad. If you arrive with your own jeep better to have a mechanic one, as it twill be more easy to repair it. On Mongolia you can see for buying or renting a jeep, but in any case you must have some mechanic idea to be sure to make a good trip.
• GPS + satellite phone
• Prepare your road book by helping with satellite maps as Google map and decide your trip by writing way points GPS (see also paragraph about maps)
• List of villages and points where to find food and petrol
• Have mechanic idea to be able to repair your vehicle during the trip, take from home all you think to need to repair your own vehicle
• On jeep roof have around 70 litres of petrol
• On the back of jeep have around 20 litres of water
On the way:
Following your road book, the way points will help you to see if you are on the right position in real time and so to search your way if you are far from the right position, as it’s easy to be lost also because often so many running tracks are in front of you. On the way you will meetRelated to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: HYGIENE: we only bathed twice in 2 weeks and only washed our hair once in a horse-pond with icy water but the second time we took a bath in the spring hot water in Sarjaalud with boiling water, because the hotel has only hot water (50° Celsius)… you can have a massage in the re-education center for 3€ . this resume to what you have to expect according your program and stay of journey. In some towns you can find public showers (clean and not expensive 0.50€ for hot shower). If you wash yourself in a river or horse-pond DON’T POLLUTE WATER WITH SOAP, because this water will be drunk by animals. You can take with you moist towels BUT no ecologist at all! don’t take with you a lot of toilet things and clothes as you will not wash yourself often and the same will be with washing yours clothes… AND AS EVEN YOU CAN’T NOW BELEIVE IT YOU WON’T FEEL DUTY…Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: WHEATHER continental with hot summers (important rain in the North West mountains) and very cold and hard winters. In U.B., during summer you can have 40°C and during winter –40°C. During spring the wind can be very strong or blow very hard. The best season to visit Mongolia is from May to September. April and May are also months to be considered to visit Mongolia as few tourists and weather start to be warmer mild April with sometimes real hot sunny days, but risk of strong wind and also weather can change suddendly in few minutes. In June and September you can have summer days as winter days so bring all for these 2 seasons! In summer, take with you some warm clothes as the nights can be cold especially on the North and Central Mongolia. The difference of temperature between night and day can reach 10 to 15°C. From 15/09 the weather starts to become colder and sometimes the temperatures can go down under 0.Celcius. A real cold wind starts also to blow. You must take some warm clothes and real warm sleeping bag. During winter you need clothes to be protect from rain, wind and fierce cold. Take always with you a sleeping bag and a tent as your nights can be cold and also there are few hotels.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: BUDGET:
The exchange rate in 2013 was around: 1 €=1870T, 1$= 1500T. Small $ banknotes changed by lower rate. ATM. Only Tugrug, you must go to the cashier to have with your credit card currency money. Actually ATM takes VISA and sometimes MAESTRO AND MASTER CARD, to the cashier sometimes also others major credit card plus those. BE AWARE of the commission you will have to pay by using your credit card, they are still high, also be aware to the limit you can take as the limit in Mongolia is different than the one you have in your own country. In UB the ATM are many and also you find them near major shops. On countryside you can find ATM in aimag capital. some sums and some touristic places. To the cashier on countryside you can change only $ but lower rate than UB. Euro aren’t so easy changed in countryside. Better you change all you need in UB as you can change again tugrug agains currency money when come back. You will spend from 15-40 euro/day according if you sleep in your own tent, on the gers or on the tourist camps (20-50$/night/p.), and according your way to travel: walking, bicycle, bus or renting a horse; more if you rent a jeep: around 100euro/jeep/day (petrol and driver included). And remember that a jeep is really the solution to meet nomads and have an opportunity to divide traditional life and live incredible emotions.
ON THE STEPPE: take with you change in local money as you will need it to pay your nights under the gers and maybe for small expenses if you go through a town. We traveled 2 weeks without finding a town, only sometimes small villages to buy gas. So count how many nights you think you might spend under the ger and you must have the exact change for each as you can’t ask change from people who probably don't have a cent in their name and your driver can’t have always have enough money to help you out.
In Mongolia the law says you have to pay all in Tugrug so if you pay in currency money you can have to pay major price.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Favorite thing: VISITING mongolia you must go a few days on the steppe and renting a jeep will easilier to meet local people and divide with them traditional mongolian life. To have a chance to meet a real good driver contact the driver we met: firstname.lastname@example.org
you must also see Naadam in Ulaan Baatar or in some small towns
you must go also in Gobi desert and in a place called White Stupa
You must see all!
Fondest memory: our best memory is the 1.st night under the ger when the rain started to fall down: REALLY GREAT... (see travelogue)
and also the trip to Tsaatans tribe (see travelogue)Related to:
- Budget Travel
Films to watch
Favorite thing: Before I set off for Mongolia, I watched a few TV programmes that centred on the way of life of the Mongolian's as well as showing the beauty of the country. It may be an idea to check them out before you set off so as to get some idea as to what to expect.
Firstly, one of the best for showing the landscapes is Long Way Round which stars film star Ewan McGregor (of the recent Star Wars trilogy fame) and Charley Boorman. Both of them are keen motorcyclists and they completed a trip around the world on two bikes from London to New York in which they passed through Mongolia.
Secondly, a TV programme called Tribe (series 1) which features Bruce Parry who spends a month living and interacting with the Darhad people of northern Mongolia. He helps them to pack up and leave their ger in the autumn plains and take a 3-day journey through the mountains to their winter camp.
And lastly, a TV programme called Ray Mear's World of Survival which features Ray Mear's studying and living with Mongolian people.
Getting a tour when in mongolia?
Favorite thing: You can sort it out when you're there. They usually need only 2 days to organise everything. It's best though to have a clear idea of your itinerary in advance.
We booked with Tserentours, they charged lumpsum fee of $130 per day for 2 persons in a jeep with guide/driver all in (based on camping & excl. special requests).
Then you can go wherever you like (as long reasonable road conditions and not more then ca. 300km per day), but they need to have it decided in advance.
Bargaining is not so common, but at least try to negotiate more inclusions, such as cost for a day horse-/cameltrek, canoeing, bathhouse use and such things.
If you want to sleep one night in a hotel/guesthouse as a nice treat halfway the trip or so, try to include that in the lump sum price as well.
Also make sure you include special food wishes in the contract.
F.e. food was included but our guide rarely wanted to buy meat - likely to save on the budget. So if you want to eat decent meat every day make sure that's agreed!
You can also just rent car/driver excl. petrol; you then need to shop/cook for yourself and the driver. driver normally speaks no English. should cost lumpsum around $55,-- a day in UB, a bit cheaper in the provincial towns (like Tsetserleg).
Opinion about agency Ger-to-Ger
Favorite thing: We used their services just a month ago (Blue Lake trek) with overall positive opinion.
a few comments for consideration:
* Ger-to-Ger says 85% of the price goes to the families where you stay with and that guide you. That's good to know, also to avoid abuse of Mongolian hospitality. F.e. most regualar agencies employ a local guide for the whole trip (usually student in early 20's)that are supplied with a lumpsum to feed the (tourist-)guests. Then along the way they regularly visit familis in remote ger's that usually generously present food and tea as a custom, although they have very little. Unfortunately we have seen & heard about guides /operator who accept these invitations but do nothing for these families in return while saving a on their own budget. We found this very shamefull practise and with Ger-to-Ger at least you ensured - as they say - that the money goes to those who deserve it.
* Great also is very close living together with the families. Although other agencies that go with guides from UB also may claim something similar, I doubt (from own experience)that they arrange such a close encounter with different families & their lifestyles for extended periods.
* Disadvantage is that you're just dropped at a family and from then on no one speaks English or German so we could not communicate a single word apart from dictionary and a few greetings.
* be aware, the trek did not always work out the way the fancy brochure/website advertised it. f.e.:
- Itinerary map showed a nice trekking circuit but in reality there was 2+ days of back tracking - that was a disappointment.
- Activities with families as per program didn't always happen.
- Also the distances per day as printed were not always followed by the local guides, so some days were too easy, on others we were totally destroyed.
As for the back office, good & friendly organisation. But they charge a compulsary $25 p.p. for an introduction in local customs & itinerary, this is a bit of a waste while the office girls obviously didn't know much of the reality (we were misinformed on our detailed questions regarding the trekking aspects), and the necessary info on customs came directly from a booklet that you got anyways - and also can be read during a 10 hour bus journey to the region where the trek starts.
But overall, it was a great & more genuine local experience than the jeep tour with guide/driver that we did afterwards with another agency.
if you need to know more pls let me know!!
Favorite thing: You are able to get visa issued at Mongolian border when you arrive Ulanbator.
I am 100% sure, i have helped few travellers before and one of them was Canadian.
You need invitation letter from your host in Mongolia sent to the Airport customs before your arrival and, you should hold the copy in your hand.
The letter should have clear information about your host's contact details etc.
Genghis Khan - The man
Favorite thing: Not many historical figures are bigger than their country but Genghis Khan (1162-1227) was certainly one of them. In the west he's always been perceived as a great statesman and warrior of the Mongol empire who knew of no limits or boundaries. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of northeast Asia and he pursued an aggressive foreign policy by starting the Mongol invasions of East and Central Asia. During his life, the Mongol Empire eventually occupied most of Asia and his descendants went on to stretch the Mongol Empire across most of Eurasia by conquering all of modern-day China, Korea, Caucasus, Central Asian countries and substantial portions of modern Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. It's no wonder, then, that he is revered among Mongolians. For example, it is not uncommon for Mongolians to refer to Mongolia as "Genghis Khan's Mongolia," to themselves as "Genghis Khan's children," and to Genghis Khan as the "father of the Mongols" especially among the younger generation. His name and likeness are endorsed on products such as beer, vodka and biscuits; streets, buildings such as hotels and even the airport, and other places. His face can be found on everyday commodities, from liquors to the largest denominations of banknote. Put simply, he's the biggest name in Mongolia and his image is widely used for the tourist industry and on souvenirs. You simply won't be able to avoid him!
Favorite thing: When you leave UB and the towns, the tarmaced roads will simply end in the middle of nowhere. This particular road, on the way to Ogii Lake was actually being worked on with several trucks delivering roads and such like for the road surface. It's good to see that roads in Mongolia are being built but it'll take them a long time to complete the whole country.
Favorite thing: Ever watched the film "Back to the Future" and the scene where the Doc returns from the future and visits Marty and Jennifer? Marty says to him "You don't have enough road to get up to 88mph". Doc replies, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads". Well, it's kind of like that in Mongolia, minus doing 88mph and the time travelling, that is! When you leave UB and the towns, the tarmaced roads will simply end in the middle of nowhere. You'll just end up on dirt tracks that will roll over the steppe landscape like a highway in their own right as there'll sometimes be more than one carved out of the dirt.
Favorite thing: Umnogobi province is home to part of the Gobi desert and, of course, you'll see plenty of these guys walking around along the dirt tracks. These are Bactrian camels that normally have a fury neck during the winder but this is sheered for wool during the summer. Mongolian's capture wild camels and it takes a year for them to be obedient but well worth the time as a camel can transport up to 160kg in weight, 100 miles a day without food or water.
Favorite thing: Horses are everywhere in Mongolian but most of them belong to people and are not wild. The wild one's are caught and tamed but it takes a very skilled horseman to do this. It's no wonder that Mongolian's are said to be the best horseman in the world. Whenever we encountered them, on our tour, we would stop the car in order to take pictures of them as they are so beautiful.
Wild mushrooms, rosemary and chives
Favorite thing: When you're outside Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia has some of the cleanest air I've ever encountered. When we travelled between Karakorum and Ongi Temple in the Gobi desert, I kept smelling this wonderful fragrance that I just couldn't put my finger on what it was or where it was coming from. We stopped where some other tourists had stopped and I got talking to an American woman about the smell. She picked something from the ground and let me smell it and that was it! Wild rosemary! Also in the ground was wild chives as well as wild mushrooms. I could've started a meal with all of this at my feet!
I stayed here for a couple of nights - the first and last night’s of my Mongolian tour. This 4-star...more
My opinion is pretty simple, they need to become more professional.We got a twin bedroom on Sunday...more
Very good high end hotel. Modern, recently built. Very good service. We went there with very low...more
Top Mongolia Hotels
- Ulaanbaatar Hotels
- 315 Reviews - 927 Photos
- Hovsgol Nuur Hotels
- 4 Reviews - 18 Photos
Explore the World
- Neyyattinkara Hotels
- Chalk River Hotels
- Kampung Tekek Hotels
- Langham Hotels