Wild Family Explorer, Gobi Desert

Ulaan Baatar – Middle Gobi – Southern Gobi – Ulaan Baatar

Mongolia provides the backdrop for a family holiday like no other – rejuvenate your spirit of adventure and spend quality time with your family on a trip you will always remember.

Wild Family Explorer, Gobi Desert

Ulaan Baatar – Middle Gobi – Southern Gobi – Ulaan Baatar

ITINERARY

Mongolia provides the backdrop for a family holiday like no other – rejuvenate your spirit of adventure and spend quality time with your family on a trip you will always remember. These family itineraries are private trips of discovery adapted to suit your family and can be fully customised whether you’re looking for be adventure, education or exploration. You can choose to hike, camp or stay in a ger homestay. Perhaps go camel trekking or horse riding, relax in hot springs under the stars or even travel on a leg of the Trans-Mongolian.

This holiday traditionally starts and ends in the capital Ulaan Baatar. For this holiday you will have your own private vehicle and your own dedicated trip assistant.

 

See sample itinerary below:

Day 1: Ulaan Baatar Ger district walking tour with local NGO. An opportunity for your children to experience the way of life of Mongolian children in Mongolia’s capital city

Overnight: Overnight at a hotel of your choice in Ulaan Baatar

 

Day 2 and 3: Gorkhi-Terelj National Park Short drive to area of stunning mountain forest steppe. Informal cookery lessons, horse treks, day-hikes, picnic lunches and the chance to stay with a herding family

Russian Van: 2 hrs.

Overnight: Rural Family Operated Ger Camp (private ger)

 

Day 4: Baga Gazriin Chuluu Granite rock formations. Spectacular (but easy) 2 hour walk for views out over the semi-desert steppe.

Russian Van: 5 – 6 hrs.

Overnight: Rural Family Operated Ger Camp (private ger) or Tent Camp. Your preference

 

Day 5: Gobi Oasis – Tree Planting Project Spend the day at this family conservation project. Learn more about the desertification of the Gobi. You’ll each get to plant your own tree as well.

Russian Van: 2 hrs.

Overnight: Homestay (private ger)

 

Day 6: Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park Stay overnight at small ger camp operated by a local herding cooperative. Located in the foot hills of the national park. Take an evening stroll, watch the sunset or learn from the owner the art of traditional Mongolian felt making

Jeep: 5-6 hrs.

Overnight: Family Operated Ger Camp (private ger)

 

Day 7 and 8: Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park and Khongoryn Els (singing sands) Explore further the national park before heading to Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. Includes an (optional!) one-day camel trek through the dunes (with a stop for a picnic lunch so you can stretch!)

Russian Van: 5-6 hrs.

Overnight: Family Operated Ger Camp (private ger)

 

Day 9: Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs) and Bulgan Stay overnight at small ger camp operated by a vegetable growing cooperative. Make your own dinner in a local ger restaurant before watching the sunset at the famous Flaming Cliffs

Russian Van: 4 hrs.

Overnight: Family Operated Ger Camp (private ger)

 

Day 10: Dalanzadgad Travel to the provincial capital of the southern Gobi. Enjoy a traditional Mongolian barbecue (vegetarians can be catered for!) and a private informal concert by local professional singers.

Russian Van: 4 hrs.

Overnight: Provincial Hotel

 

Day 11: Ulaanbaatar

Domestic flight back to Ulaanbaatar Overnight: Overnight in hotel of your choice.

 

Day 12: Farewell Mongolia

END OF HOLIDAY

**Please note that all travel times are approximate

 

KIDS

This Mongolian family holiday can be adapted to suit families with children of all ages. Itineraries can be customised to suit the age of the children and the activities parents think their kids will enjoy best. For families travelling with younger children, itineraries can be shortened and driving times lessened. Our partner operator responsible for this holiday will also make sure that each vehicle is equipped with activities and distractions to keep children happy. For example games of Twister, footballs and journals for kids to keep their very own trip report.

DESCRIPTION

This 14-day Wild Family Explorer – Gobi Desert holiday itinerary is an example itinerary to provide ideas and can be adapted to suit your family’s travel dates, accommodation choices and your preferred landscapes.

 

  • Explore the vibrant ‘frontier’ city of Ulaan Baatar on foot using your detailed ‘Welcome Pack’. Forget museums and shopping and head out to explore and discover instead!
  • Pay a visit the capital’s ‘Black Market’, where people sell everything from can openers to full size gers, spend the morning at a felt-making workshop or catch the local bus to Zaisan Hill for snap-worthy views over the city.
  • Sleep in a traditional ger and enjoy the kindness of your welcoming local hosts.
  • Visit the remains of Chuluun Sum (Rock Temple), the remains of an old monastery that is still used as a place of pilgrimage by the local herders to ask the local spirits for protection and help.
  • Keep an eye out for roadside ovoos, sacred stone shrines and help to strengthen one by placing more stones on it. Take part in another old Mongolian tradition by leaving a small offering, such as some sweets, alongside the ovoo.
  • Enjoy sunrise walks and experience the solitude and beauty of Mongolia’s landscapes.
  • Drop by Gobi Oasis, a small, family-run non-profit conservation project and give something back to the country by helping to plant saplings, rake the soil and water plants.
  • Travel to Ikh Gazriin Chuluu, a little visited location perfect for explorers young and old. This area is characterised by extensive granite rock formations and surrounded by steppe and semi-desert habitat home to nationally rare and threatened wildlife such as the Siberian Marmot. It’s also one of 70 Important Bird Areas within Mongolia.
  • Borrow a star chart and see gaze at some of the brightest night skies you have ever seen!
  • Witness otherworldly landscapes rich in marine fossils and vast, open expanses covered in sun-scorched rock and 30m high limestone formations.
  • Travel to Mongolia’s largest national park, the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan (Three Beauties National Park) a mountainous terrain rising out of the extensive desert plains and a region of incredible biological diversity. The park is home to over 600 plant species, around 250 species of bird and 50 mammals.
  • Climb sand dunes for breath-taking views, walk along the ridgeline of the dunes and see if you can hear the dunes ‘singing’ and then race one another down the dunes by running, sliding or rolling!
  • Enjoy a camel trek into the desert; enjoy a hearty meal under the night sky and then sleep under canvas. Along the way you’ll meet nomadic families and learn more about the life of camel breeders and the camels themselves.
  • Search for dinosaur fossils at the ancient rock formations of Bayanzag and witness the red sandstone cliffs known as the ‘Flaming Cliffs’.
  • Try khuushuur, traditional mutton pancakes and have a go at making them yourself! Wash it all down with a cup of salt butter tea.

WHEN TO GO

This holiday is best enjoyed between late May and early September. October is glorious but the nights will be cold. July is peak season and international flights can be expensive before and after the dates of the Naadam Festival (July 11th and 12th) plus visitor numbers are up and it can feel quite crowded.

 

Tips!

Accommodation: Accommodation in Ulaan Baatar is arranged as per clients’ individual requests based on their budget and preferred accommodation style. Each family ger camp is individual. Families will always have their own private ger but there may be other visitors. Most gers will have simple furniture such as single beds, a small central table and wooden stools (beds will vary – some will be very hard, others very soft). Family ger camps tend not to provide bedding and it’s recommended that clients bring a sleeping bag (although they can be rented in Ulaan Baatar). Rural families have limited electricity requirements – often solar panels or wind turbines provide energy to a small battery pack. They may use a generator for a few hours each evening but this is not guaranteed. Frequently a ger will be candle lit. Camping is under Vango Hurricane 200 tents purchased in the UK. All equipment is provided except for sleeping bags. You are provided with an insulating foam mattress (that covers the floor).

Toilets & Showers: Toilets are frequently Asian-style long drops. Throughout your journey you will have access to streams, rivers and lakes (limited in the Gobi) and it is possible to have a ‘bowl’ wash/shower using the water from these sources (the kids frequently love this). It is also possible to warm up a large pot of water so that clients can have a warmer wash/shower. There will be access to showers at some of the family operated ger camps and at the public shower houses of the local rural communities you pass through – the cubicles are clean, the water plentiful and hot.

Food: Meals included in this holiday will be detailed in the day-by-day itinerary. Although meals are limited to what can be purchased in Mongolia, vegetarians can be catered for as well as those with dietary issues (for example, wheat or dairy intolerance) and ‘fussy’ eaters. Kids need not worry, as there is plenty of pasta available in Mongolia!

Transport: Travel on this holiday is by Russian Furgon Jeeps driven by qualified drivers chosen for the quality of their driving and their innate mechanical skills. Each driver privately owns his or her vehicle and as a result the interior and seat layout will differ from vehicle to vehicle (but clients should expect forward and backward facing seats). The terrain of Mongolia is varied and rugged; the Furgon is a vehicle that can tackle it all. It is designed to be durable, reliable and strong. The vehicles do not have air conditioning but are cool even on the hottest desert day. Please note that due to the design of the vehicle, seat belts are not available. However, the tour operator is currently trying to fit ‘grab’ handles in the passenger area.

What to take for the family: A comprehensive list will be issued pre-departure.

Books:

Genghis Khan (Mc Classic Illustrated Biography) (Marshall Cavendish Classics Illustrated Biography) This children’s picture book focuses on Genghis Khan’s childhood.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang tells the story of Kublai Khan’s (fictional) grand-daughter, Princess Emmajin, who longs to become a great solider and in doing so much extract information from the Venetian merchant, Marco Polo, who in turn challenges her views and beliefs. The key message here is that it’s important to get to know foreigners and by understanding how others see the world, your own views can change. 

Edge of Blue Heaven: A Journey Through Mongolia by explorer and TV presenter, Benedict Allen is an account of his adventurous journey across the Gobi Desert on horse and camel.

Genghis Khan: And the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford is considered by many to be one of the best books written about the Mongolian conquerer.

Lost in Mongolia: Rafting the World’s Last Unchallenged River reads more like a travel journal and follows the adventures of Canadian, Colin Angus as he and his crew made a first descent of the Ider-Selenge-Angara-Yenisey river system (the world’s 5th longest river). This book is not for those who want to learn about the country’s history but more for those with adventure at the forefront of mind and who want a gripping read to take with them!

 

 

 

Movies:

The Story of the Weeping Camel [DVD] This is one of our all time favourite documentaries! The award-winning film follows a nomadic family in the Gobi Desert who face a problem when their camel gives birth to a rare white colt, and subsequently rejects it. The family send their two sons off to the nearest town to find a musician who can perform an ancient ceremony to unite mother and colt. A truly enchanting film for the whole family to enjoy (Rated U).

In The Wild – Mongolian Horsemen With Julia Roberts [1998] [DVD] Another good option is this family-friendly documentary about the Mongolian horse. Julia Roberts, a keen horsewoman herself, lives with a nomadic family in Mongolia and discovers their special relationship with the horse. She also learns more about the Takhis – the asiatic wild horses that were hunted to extinction in the 1960s but have been successfully bred in captivity and are now being reintroduced to the steppes of Mongolia.

Mongol: The Rise to Power of Genghis Khan [DVD] (2007) (Rated 15) is a historical action movie following the life of the young boy, ‘Temujin’ as he grows up to become the mighty Genghis Khan. If you enjoy films like Gladiator, Troy and Braveheart, then you should enjoy this too!

 

 

Articles: A Gallop Toward Hope: One Family’s Adventure in Fighting Autism By MOTOKO RICH, The New York Times

RATES

Price for a family of four – US $2,297 per person OVER 15 years of age. Please note that our partner agent will be happy to give you an exact quote based on your family’s requirements.

This holiday is organised by our partner tour operator, a joint Mongolian-English partnership that specialises solely in creating memorable holidays in the country they know and love – Mongolia. They are extremely experienced at organising holidays for families and know how to create unique holidays to keep both parents and kids happy.

Complete operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, will be given to you upon completing an enquiry.

Make an enquiry for Wild Family Explorer, Mongolia

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Your enquiry will be sent directly to our partner agent responsible for this holiday. Remember, you never pay more making an enquiry through globetotting than by booking directly with any of our partner agents.

My Family Adventure – Magical Mongolia

Most nights we stayed in gers, or yurts, owned by local families, but also spent a few nights in tents. Our guide was a wonderful British woman who runs a travel company focused exclusively in Mongolia.  Her #1 driver and partner is Turuu.  Both were amazing – if anyone is looking for a unique travel adventure, this is the place, and this is the team! Read more …

Susan Touchton

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