INFORMATION ABOUT MONGOLIA
 
     
 

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LODGING: general information
If new hotels are build and if the guest ger are now numerous, still now, during a trip in Mongolia according how long you stay and area visited sometimes the choice will be limited and often you will sleep to nomad families.
If you sleep to a nomadic family: according possibilities you can have a bed, a matress on the  floor (often) or just your sleeping bag as matress. Nomad will provide, if necessary blankets.
If you sleep on a guest ger who belong  to a nomadic family, you will have your own yurt. You will have always inter action with the family by dividing meals and their daily life.
Toilet and shower: no evacuation system as we know, mostly is a hole on the ground sometimes can be closed, sometimes only some piece of wood on the hole! Toilet are far from the ger. You can note the will of Mongolia to put collective toilet in the village and in the touristic places.
Shower don’t exist in  all tourist camp: read well the description and if no lines about shower and hot water this means that the camp don’t have them! In luxury tourist camp toilet and showers are okay and clean with hot water and mostly with washing machine. In a nomadic family no bathroom and no special place to process to own toilet. Toilet are on nature, the family will indicate you, take your toilet paper!
Public showers: all towns have public showers, clean and no expensive, you can buy soap, towels…


1.IN THE GER:  to  experience traditional nomadic life will give a magic and unforgettable touch to your trip: don’t miss that opportunity. In the morning, before you leave, you should pay the lady around 6/8€night/person including the lunch (the driver will tell you the exact price). Take with you some presents who will be welcome. Appreciated presents, because they are useful, include: Swiss army knives, lighters, pencils and pens, exercise books and books to buy on U.B, clothes for everybody, soap, toilette accessories as comb, teeth brush… forks and spoons and knife and all you can use in a kitchen,  thread and sewing needles please good quality!, scissors,  cigarettes because Mongolian are fond of smoking, balls, pencils, t-shirts, caps. 


2.HOTELS: in U.B. you can find hotels of different categories, guest houses (don’t expect for luxury, but hot showers,  and reasonable prices  can be a suitable accommodation) During Naadam is common that the rooms are made dormitory -style. Sometimes on the small villages you can find small hotel with low comfort (10-15 euro/night) better you visit before to agree! Aimag capitals have now new hotels and also in countryside.


3.TOURIST CAMPS: are like camping site with around 10 very clean gers, (same used by nomadic families), a ger is used for showers and toilets (if you sleep at a  nomadic family home toilets are outside…) another ger is used for restaurant. Price: 30/50 $/night/person including lunch. Some  tourist camps don’t have iurt but small wooden houses, as roads are becomming better more and more tourist camp are created in turistic places. It’s also possible to find tourist camp less luxury and so less confort (no shower, no hot water…)


4.GUEST GER: since few years guest ger are more and more. These smallest tourist camp (1-3 iurts) belong to nomadic families and so they can earn some money. No luxury, no shower but you divide all with the family. No ger restaurant so you will provide to cook. 10-15 euro/night/person .
Tourist camp as guest ger open from mild june to mild September, before and after really difficult to find some open.


5.CAMPING: in U.B. isn’t permitted yet. In the towns it is better to ask  permission to pitch your tent behind wooden barriers of a house to not be disturbed by drunken men and this is also the reason why you don’t have to pitch your tent on the running track who drive to a village. Also never to near a river (inundation) or on the way of the flocks. For Mongolian mentality to pitch camp is totally natural and you can do it everywhere, but  pitching your tent near a ger permits you to experience family life and animal noises… TENT: even  if you think you don't need it, it’s better to take one with you because you might need to stay far from anywhere if you have a flat tire… the more independent you can be in the steppe, the better. 


ELECTRICITY : 
voltage: 200v frequency:50hz. On ger it’s difficutl even solar pannels. They don’t produce so much eletricity and so you risk that family will stay witout eletricity. Take with you batteries…to charge all your devices. The drivers on the cars have a device to charge.


 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  with boiling water, because the hotel had only hot water (50° Celsius)… This  resume to what you have to expect according your program and stay only in nomadic families. In some towns you can find public showers (clean and not expensive 0.70€ 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…

 
WHAT TO SEE:  
Naadam:   national holiday feast where Mongolian come from each part of Mongolia each year from July 11 to 13 in UB. They came to see their 3 manly and preferred games: wresting, archery and horse racing. During summer in the countryside you can see small Naadam, but date and places change often.
Don’t miss the big Naadam in U.B.: the opening ceremony starts at 10 am in the stadium, you can buy tickets outside or Mejet, the driver, can buy them for you, go earlier as seats without number.  The opening ceremony will enrapture you  and show you a new dimension, another world. The festival begins with a ceremonious ride by medieval warriors bearing the Nine Banners of Chinggis Khan accompanied with drum music… The wrestling performance starts at the end of the opening ceremony: it is a majestic show even though it is very slow and in the stadium you are far away from the wrestlers (take binoculars). In the small stadium, 100 meters away from the big one, you can see the archery contest. Horse races take place at 10 km from center town , and are only for children under 12; children leave alone for unbridled races of 25/30 km in the steppe and the winner will be sacred “gold lion”. If you in hurry you can see the 3 games in the same day without problem on 13th near UB.
Mejet can also provide to reserve tickets for opening ceremony. If not you can buy them on same day near stadium or in UB. Go early as seats aren't with number and have binoculars to se better wrestling. (mejet@yahoo.com
On summer you can find different small Nadaam, they are really interesting. by ex in Kharakorim Nadaam is around 7-8 July, in any case before UB. in each capital of aimags generaly Nadaam is on 11 July as UB. On countryside in July and August is possible to find smallest Nadaam but dates and places change every year. You can contact your driver in advance and see with him even it's difficult to know in advance date and places.
Mongolia is a vast country with very different landscapes. Mongolia is often imagined as a green steppe but that  is only partly true. South is a real desert  almost without sand; Center and West are hilly but without forests and the North is the kingdom of taiga.


IMPORTANT THINGS TO VISIT:  first at all discover the wonderful landscapes in the huge steppe and deserts where you can see traditional tents and wild animal life, hunting with eagles in November with Khazaks (information mejet69@yahoo.com unforgettable trip, be careful it is very cold in November). If you are only a few days, be aware that steppe starts a few km far from the capital, and a tour of 2/3 days can give you a good vision of the astonishing beauty of the Mongolian steppe.
Eagle festival in Olgii first week end of october click; also another festival held mild September (to be verificated for date) at Sagsai sun (west of Olgii) see Google map


SOME IDEAS: see also to have some more ideas: http://www.mongoliatours.org
   * visit monadic families and different tribes like Tsaatan (North West)and Khazaks near Khazakhstan border.
MORE IDEAS?:     click here list about main places to discover!   

  
HOMESTAY TO NOMADS:  you want to divide monadic life for some days or some weeks? Just contact mejet69@yahoo.com and he can provide for it.  Around 8 euro per day/person (2019), you will pay directly the family who will pick you at bus station to drive you to their ger. (transportation by nomadic family bus-station to their ger: +/-30.000 Tugrug per way for 30km 2019). The family will associate to their daily life according your will. Fully immersion as nobody knows more than 20 English words! No need to book advance, you can plan when you are in UB with mejet69@yahoo.com
Advice. Take with you some gloves to help the family, easy care clothes. If you go during winter easy and warm and big clothes, boots.
CAMEL TREK IN GOBI DESERT
During our last trip in Mongolia  we met on the small sun of Bulgan (Gobi desert 100km from Dalazangad) a nomad family who can organize camel treks.
All flexible :

  • number of persons (departure from 1 person) 
  • number of days (from 1 to infinity)
  • flexible trek (if you arrive with your own jeep , your driver can met you in another point of the desert, you can return at the start point, the same trek will not be propose to all groups…)

if you arrive by bus UB- Dalanzagad (+/-550km – 14 hours trip) the family have a contact in this town to pick you and where you can stay for night, buy the food (for the camel trek, Bulgan is a real small village but shops are small and it can be difficult to find all you need for the trek) and also to find on the market a vehicle to drive you to Bulgan. No regular bus for Bulgan so you might find a taxi and maybe pay for all the taxi if no vehicle is going to Bulgan when you will be there.
Price: the price is according how many camels you will need for your camel trek. 13 euro per day and per camel +13 euro day for the guide. You pay directly to the family! According how many people is your group and how long will be the trek you might take some camels more to transport food and luggage. If your jeep will pick you in another point in the desert you might pay the way back of the caravan. It will be always 13 euro per day and per camel, but without luggage camels walk faster (+/- half time will be necessary to return respect the trek) a camel walk during a trek around 20km per day.
You need only to take with you your sleeping bag, your food and your tent (a small ger can be rent)
The family have also some guest ger (10 euro/night/person) where before or after the trek you can rest or make a nomadic home stay.(2019)
More information? Contact me or directly mejet69@yahoo.com who will help to prepare your camel trek in Gobi Desert.


TRAVEL WITH KIDS : it’s possible to travel with kids in Mongolia, but you must adapt your trip and means of transportation according to the age of yours kids as some unpaved roads are difficult . We recommend to make short trips each day and choose private transportation as jeep with driver instead of a public bus and an itinerary who prefer asphalt roads.
MORE?: tell Mejet your desires and he will try to make them come true: mejet69@yahoo.com.See also itinerary on: www.mongoliatours.org


FOOD:
SPECIALITY: Mongolians appreciate a lot  milk products called “ white food”, and that is what they offer first to visitors. They believe that eating milk products make longer the own life. The meat (especially mutton) or “grey food” has also its place in Mongolian cooking. In U.B. restaurants offer you international cooking
Guantz or soup-kitchen, serve good and plentiful helpings of   traditional food for around 3/4 euro. on countryside the gunatz are often in a iurt.  
In nomadic families you will always welcomed with one or more cup of airak (fermented milk), cheese and salt tea:  TO REFUSE IS TO OFFEND if you are allergic just tell it!
Under the ger they will offer you airak, yogurt, hormog, cream and cheese. Cheese (camel, horse, yak or goat) can be salted or sweet and you will find 1000 different types: advice: take only a small piece and if you like it you take more, and if not you take something else… During summer, nomads  won’t serve you meat because it’s the period where make dry meat for winter food, but, for dinner you will find a little on your noodle soup (excellent). If you will be lucky they will offer you vodka freshly distilled (exquisite drink).
VEGETARIAN: it’s difficult as even in 10 years vegetable and fruit arrived. Mongolia like so much meat you will find in any dish they can cook and in countryside the specialties are 3 or 4 all with meat!
WHERE TO BUY: in U.B. you can find all you need in super markets. In the small towns you can find basic food and fruit and vegetable in markets or in groceries (delguur) but be aware to the date. It’s always difficult to find fresh vegetable and fruit, and on ger you can buy cheese, yoghurts, tea… For 1 person for 1 month=150-200€ for thebasic food. Better buy Mongolian products than exported one to go to countryside. Mongolian products are cheap, good and fresh and especially you will aid local economy and don’t have useless packing.
LEAVE FOR STEPPE: you must be autonomous before leaving for your tour. Follow driver  advice to buy everything you need. Buy water in big quantity or take a water filter. Mongolians don’t eat fish and lakes are full of big fish. For cooking the drivers have a camping stove. 
Don’t create litter... 10-15 years of tourism as already leave some prints especially on the area of classic tour and so  try to take away your own litter.
MAKE YOUR OWN COOKING: take a camping stove with enough gas for your tour. Now possible to find gaz for Campoing Gaz brand. The drivers use camping stoves which work with bottled gas, the Korean stoves are like diplomatic suitcase, the cover protecting the fire from wind: ingenious system, it takes up very little room and can be bought in U.B.(50euro) you can also find different type of camping stove as one who works with petrol and it’s easy to keep with you some petrol in a bottle and buy some to nomads who have a jeep as one liter is enough for 5 days for 2 hot meals/day


HELPING IN MONGOLIA:

  • VISIT SCHOOL:  possible from September to beginning June. Buy some exerice books, pencils, sweets al market in UB and give to the school you will visit. Take for almost 100-150 children. Classroom have 30-40 pupils. All schools have dormitories to permit to everybody to go to school so a sall school can have 400 children and more.
  • SANITARY SUPPLY/ MEDICINE: if you have some medical supplies as bends, dressing…as well medicines you can bring them and give them to Mejet and he will know where is the best to give (orphanage, hospital for poor…) as his wife is doctor she knows to whom give. If possible leave inside the box of medicine the explanations.

USUFUL/IMPORTANT:  

  • OPEN BOX to take with you 
  • SOME NYLON BAGS: pliable to put all your food.
  • TENT: better to take it with you because you can stay far away from ger… moreover, the more independent you are the better you will be
  • PLASTIC BAGS to put litter, you can only throw things out  in the towns or like us when came back to U.B.
  •  on the gers, before to burning anything in the fire: ASK BECAUSE FIRE AS WATER AND EARTH ARE HOLY.
  • PHOTO: Mongolians are very fond of photos, 100 photos  is not enough for a whole family! They will dress in their best traditional clothes for you. Advice: ask the addresses in Cyrillic letters so after just stick the address on the envelope (the Post runs good). You can make your photos processed in U.B. You really NEED a large wide angle and Mongolia eats plenty of digital memory! No electricity so take plenty of batteries, ask for refill on the few monasteries or restaurant you will find. Take an plug adaptation! 
  • GAMES AND MAGIC: Mongolians are fond of games and magic, you just have to become like D avid Copperfield… guaranteed success
  • HELP IN MONGOLIA  http://www.flourishingfuture.com/
  • WHAT TO DO IN U.B.: don't miss the folkloric dance and music in the theater in front of the post office (orange building) and also circus performance (10€)
  • BLACK MARKET: aware PICKPOCKETS!!!! Very big and interesting market with antique, traditional furniture and ger, not expensive!
  • BUY A GER: cost around 1000 € if complete and only the wood: 400 €, you need an official permit to export, ask to culture ministry
  • PHRASEBOOK: English-Mongolian and Russian-Mongolian are really helpful, as everybody can read in Mongolia.
  • MONGOLIAN FURNITURE:  in the Black Market you can buy different kind of Mongolian furniture and it is not expensive

SOUVENIRS: (2019)

  • 1. Cashmere:  price increases each season! New: you can find some item cashmere and silk (pullover and scarf)
  • Blanket pure cashmere: from 400.000 Tugrug (plaid)
  • Gloves:  20.000 Tugrugs
  • Pullover: from 120.000 Tugrugs
  • Scarf: from 60.000 Tugrugs
  • Cashmere hat: from 35.000 Tugrugs
  • Big scarf: from 140.000 Tugrugs (with new designer  from 240.000 Tugrugs)
  • 2. Felt item: be aware to felt quality as you can find from the worse to the finest one for same item. High felt and softness when you touch the item mean finest quality, also the price will guide you as for same item you can pay 3 times more
  •  Sleepers from 10.000 Tugrugs to 35.000 Tugrugs (finest quality)
  • 3.Yak wool:  pullover made with yak wool are softer than camel wool and really warm too.
  • 4.Camel wool: all kind of clothes are made in camel wool, generally they are brown. You can find item cashmere –camel wool, they are softer and  more expensive. 

 Advice: 

  • The cashmere, yak wool, felt and camel wool production is not regular in quantity. Don’t hesitate to go in different shops to find color / size/model as shops of same branch will maybe have not all the items. But all shops of same branch even in luxury center or in the fabric will have same price for same item. If possible go to the fabric as more choice and sale.
  • Be aware when item on sale: ask if the % written is already cut down of the price of the item or if you will get it only when you pay to cashier!
  • Be aware to look well item you want to buy as quality department is not so good on the fabric as on luxury shops (defects) .

Have nice trip in Mongolia and say hello to Mejet from Graziella and Angelo

more information: angy8@bluewin.ch

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