MONGOLIA WILDLIFE, NATURE AND NOMADIC LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR
|TOUR DATE: Aug 07 - 22, 2017
DURATION: 16 Days
GROUP SIZE: 4-13 persons
Stunning Landscapes, True Life of Nomads and Fascinating Wildlife Photography Tour
From Siberian Taiga through Vast Mongolian Grasslands to the Central Asian Gobi Desert
This tour will give you the best opportunities to watch and photograph many different species of wildlife in different habitats at meantime experiencing the unique nomadic lifestyle and stunning natural landscapes in Mongolia. As wildlife photography tours require very specific knowledge and skills, our conservation oriented experts will help you find many vertebrates including amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals of Mongolia. This is open to everyone who loves nature and wildlife photography.
Throughout this tour, we will be assisting the Mongolian ornithological society to collect information on birds of this poorly known country, which will update the Mongolian National Bird Database run by the Mongolian Ornithological Society. Expect more than 180 species of birds, 35 mammal species, 7 species of amphibians and reptiles for the trip depending on a season.
Tuul river woodland
DAY 1. ARRIVE IN ULAANBAATAR CITY
DAY 2-3. HUSTAI NP
DAY 4-5. UGII LAKE
DAY 6. KHARKHORIN (Karakorum)
DAY 7. ELSEN TASARKHAI
DAY 8. ULAANBAATAR CITY
DAY 9-10. YOLYN AM (Gobi Altai High Mountains)
DAY 11-12. KHONGORYN ELS(Sand dune)
DAY 13. DALANZADGAD TOWN
DAY 14-15. TERELJ NP
DAY 16. DEPARTURE
Bird migration and travel season
Spring migration starts in April and finishes in the middle of June. Late migrants are still on migration by end of June. Autumn migration starts by late July and continues by mid September. During the spring migration you can see a lot of migrants with wonderful breeding plumage. In autumn, you know most of migrants have winter plumage. However, this is the best time to see the plumage changes from breeding to wintering specially waders. Many forest species are difficult to see in breeding ground. On migration you can see most of illusive species in the middle of open steppe without any hiding substrates.
July to August is the best time to see breeding birds with fledglings near breeding site. You will have an opportunity to compare ages and sex difference between adult, fledgling and first winter birds. This time of the year is the best for travel in terms of weather condition and cultural activities.
Bird and Wildlife watching and photographing travel can be difficult, as long drives and poor road conditions are the rule in Mongolia. Adventure birding and photographing safari requires travelling in long distance to see animals. Therefore we cover long distances crossing the country to visit different sites in different natural zones. Once we get there, we will spend for birding in a day or two days while driving through the sites. This means we will have a lot of driving in order to see spectacular wildlife and specialties and local cultural experience.
Most lodges will have electricity although some of them work off generators with limited times. For the urgent charge of battery and other device we will use a car inverter that converts 12V to 220V. You would ask us beforehand.
International travelers would consider your luggage’s safe arrival in Mongolia. Due to several reasons of International flight links and flight delay, a luggage very rarely does not come through safely at the time of your arrival. If it happens, your guide, driver and office managers will help you to find your luggage. Sometimes, it costs you some money. However, please note that Mongolica Co.Ltd and its team will not be responsible for any delay of your luggage and any costs that you may incur for luggage retrieval or sending luggage. We will always strive to assist you in any way possible. You should always keep all receipts and documentation, and contact your airline or insurance for reimbursement.
First day or second day you will meet your Mongolian team. They are your guides, cooks, drivers and possible field assistants for the trip. Tour guide will be your tour leader and responsible your trip in Mongolia. He or she will look after you together with other local staff during your trip. Your leader will be a local man/lady who knows place and experienced with such field trip. Please consider you would respect local people including team members. Mongolians respect friends and guests very importantly.
YOUR FELLOW TRAVELERS
If you travel on a birding and photographing group, please consider a fellow traveler will join in your group. Your fellow travelers will probably come from different countries with different cultures and customs. Some of them will be very old or very young. We would like to ask you to understand various needs and preferences of your group-patience with your fellow travelers. If you would do this, then the benefit of your trip will be for everyone in terms of travel experience and team management. Please you would remember that you have respects and responsibilities to your group including Mongolian team. If you go to a place at a certain time, please remember your group is waiting for you patiently.
20 breakfasts, 20 lunches, 20 dinners
The meals are provided at the booked hotels/lodges in which you are accommodated. Depending on birds and wildlife abundance and occurrence, we will have all meals in the field near destination sites. Due to long drive, road condition and exciting birding and photographing, we will rarely eat our meals very late than expected. You would understand this situation. All meals you have during the trip will be prepared from fresh local products. Please remember your dietary requirement should be confirmed prior to arrival.
We will use 4WD cars in the field depending on your trip requirement. For our true birding tours in remote areas with rough roads, we will use Russian 4WD car for our travel. Japanese 4WD Delica micro bus, Toyota Land Cruiser, and Russian Jeep will be used for our tours. If there is a large group, 2-4 vehicles will be used, and your group will be split up. Our travel roads will have a range of conditions from new to very poor. Mongolia is a dry country specially, in early spring and late autumn. On field roads can be very dusty. Mongolica’s strict requirement is to drive on dust roads, mountain and muddy valleys less than 60 km/h. Speed is usually 30-50 km/h for your a safety.
Our cars are regularly serviced and follow a strict maintenance schedule. However long travelling days in rough conditions of many of the roads in Mongolia, vehicles can and do breakdowns or tire flat on occasion. If such situations occur, all drivers will maintain the vehicle issues as quickly as possible. We always mind not to disrupt your trip. Your patience is requested if the vehicle you are traveling in happens to encounter a mechanical fault.
Our service is that single travelers should not have to pay more than travels in a group. However, to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travelers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Comfortable hotels (2 nts), tourist ger camp (8 nts), and comfortable tented camp (0 nts)
MY OWN ROOM
Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops.
TOURIST GER ACCOMMODATION
Ger is a “tent/yurt in Russian” designed by nomadic people a thousand years ago. We will accommodate in a ger at tourist ger camps. Each ger of local tourist ger camp (Tourist ger camp) has simple furniture consist of a stove, 2-4 beds, mobile table, small wooden chairs, and small board with clothes hooks, thermo-flasks, cups, and towels. While we stay at ger camps, you would share one ger with 2-3 travelers.
TOWN AND CITY HOTELS
Hotel in Ulaanbaatar
A three star hotel Khunnu Palace in which most of our costumers stay in may be booked for your two nights in Ulaanbaatar. For more information, please visit its website.
Please visit Mongolian hotels website where you can find most of the hotels located in every provinces of Mongolia.
If you need our help in certain situations, please call to +11-976-70110148 (also you can reach our cell phone 976-88180148, 976-99180148, 976-91000148). If for some reasons you do not receive any answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so that you may be answered your call and assisted as soon as possible.
We will bring you with your luggage to the Chniggis Khaan International Airport from your hotel. Your guide, office manager or our assistant will bring you to the airport and help you to check in. For any issues relating to flight delay or any urgent questions, please call us.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
Mongolica Local Office
From outside Mongolia: +254 727 208 832
From within Mongolia: 0727 208 832
WHAT TO TAKE
During the trip, we will move a lot depending on destinations and bird/wildlife. Due to space limitation rules of airlines and vehicle capacity, we would advise you to pack as lightly as possible. Your baggage should be labeled and restricted to one soft compact suitcase, sports bag, or backpack, no larger than 30-40 cm (height) x 30-40cm (width) x 50-60cm (length), maximum 20 kg, plus a day pack. The cost of transporting any luggage beyond these restrictions is the responsibility of the client. Please note, if you are travelling with a large amount of luggage and wish to leave a portion of your luggage at the hotel, this will be possible. It is important to pack clothes for warm days and cool evenings, as well as a warm jacket for early morning. The country is very open so you would bring wind stop light clothes, water proof jacket and light, quick-drying, and other practical clothes for our tour.
Fleece or wool jumper/jacket
Small towel and swimwear
Shirts/t-shirts, cool and breathable
Long-sleeved shirt or sweater for evenings
2 pairs of long trousers
A pair hiking pants/track pants
Comfortable mountain hiking shoes
Watch or alarm clock
Purification tablets or filter (bottled water is also available for purchase)
Flashlight or Headlamp (with extra batteries and bulbs)
First-aid kit (should contain Lip balm with sunscreen, Aspirin, Ibuprofen , band aids/plasters, tape, anti-histamine, Antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
Hand sanitizer gel/Sanitizer wipes
Camera and extra memory card/film
Extra batteries and Electricity Plug Adapter
For donation: Notebooks, pens, pencils, pins, flags, pictures, postcards, candy, small souvenirs from your country for local villagers or children.
Optional Items: binoculars, guidebooks, bird songs, reading/writing material, maps etc…
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
Cash or Credit card (only available to get money in Ulaanbaatar city and large towns for personal spending)
Pre-departure information and trip details
Any entry visas
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels and ger camps in the city, town, and rarely in tourist ger camps for a charge. You would write a list of items for washing. It will be difficult for hotels to have your laundry ready if you arrive in the late afternoon and leave the next morning.
All countries require travelers to have a valid passport (with at least 6 months validity). You will get your visa in your country before your departure. Please contact to our sales manager or office manager to get detail information on your visa issue.
For practical information on weather, typical costs, visa information, special events and others, please check http://www.mongolica.org/ in detail.
DETAILED TRIP NOTES
Most of banks and exchange centers in town and city will prepare to exchange EURO and US Dollars (Series 1999 or earlier are not accepted and very difficult to change in Mongolia, because of past forgeries) in to Mongolian Tugrik.
The climate of Mongolia is described to be severe and greatly variable geographically and time wise. Mongolia is far from the world oceans, surrounded by high mountains and highly elevated above the sea level averaging 1.5 km. The climate of Mongolia is characterized by "short dry summer (June to middle of August) and long cold winter (end of November to April) with spring (April to beginning of June) and autumn (end of August to end of October). Summer rainfall seldom exceeds 380 mm in the mountains and is less than 50 mm in the desert areas.
For more updated and regional weather news, please visit weather online. And see weather of Ulaanbaatar, Arvaikheer.
Electricity is 220 Volts. Electric plugs types will be two or three rounded pin standard plugs in most parts of the country. While you are staying at hotels or tourist ger camp, you will encounter one of these types of plugs.
This is an electricity inverter which converts car 12 voltages into 110 or 220 voltages with 300 or 500 WATT. We will use these types of inverters (110 and 120) in the tented camps.
The official language is Mongolian. Young people in a town and city can speak English with different levels. At tourist camps most of assistants can speak in English.
MONGOLIA IN STATISTICS
Population: 2,929,751 (National Statistical Office of Mongolia, Jun 3, 2014)
Estimate total population in 2050: 4,211,244 (UN Pop Division, 2011)
Annual population growth: 1.5% (World Bank WDI, 2012)
Human Development Index (HDI): Rank108 of 187 ranks (UNDP, 2013)
Life expectancy at birth (men/women): 65/74 years (WHO, 2009)
Net Enrolment Rate in Primary Education: 99% (UNESCO, 2010)
GDP per capita (current $US): 3,673USD (World Bank WDI, 2012)
GDP per capita, PPP (current international $): 5,462$ (World Bank WDI, 2012)
GDP growth (annual): 12.3% (World Bank WDI, 2012)
Proportion of seats held by women in single or lower houses of national parliaments (global ranking): 14.9/90 %/rank (Inter-Parliamentary Union)
Ecological (Deficit) or Reserve: 9.80% (Global Footprint Network, 2008)
For more information: http://www.nso.mn/; and http://aid.dfat.gov.au/
Geographical position: Asiatic continent (41°35'N - 52°09'N and 87°44'E -119°56"E) West to east 2,392 km., North to South 1,259 km
Neighbor Countries: North by Russia and on the east, south, and west by China
Total area: 1,565,000 sq. km (the 19th largest country in terms of area in the world)
The Topography of Mongolia: Consists mainly of a vast plateau with the elevation ranging from 914 to 1,524 meters (m) broken by mountain ranges in the north and west.
Peak of Mongolia: In the Altai Mountain, the Khuiten Peak is 4,267m high above the sea.
Air Temperature: The temperature ranges between -15° and -30°C (-5° and -22°F) in winter and 10° and 26.7°C (50° and 80°F) in summer. Annual mean temperature in Altai, Khangai, Khentei, Khuvsgul mountainous region is lower than - 4°C, and between the mountains and in base of large rivers, the average temperature is lower than -6 to -8°C. In the steppes and desert regions it is lower than 2 C, while in south Gobi, the average temperature is higher than 6°C. The average temperature of 0°C is in Mongolia.
Precipitation: In general, the amount of precipitation in Mongolia is low. Annual mean precipitation is 300-400mm in the Khangai, Khentei and Khuvsgul mountainous regions; 250-300mm in Mongol Altai and forest-steppe zone; 150-250mm in the steppe zone and 50-100mm in the Gobi-Desert.
Mongolian Government Facts:Mongolia has embraced multi-party parliamentary democracy since 1990. The parliament calls itself the State Great Khural and consists of seventy-six deputies. The parliament can veto presidential decrees with a two-thirds majority.
The Economy: On a minimum salary you will collect US$150 a month for full-time work. The Mongolian currency is called the tugrik. Printed in the UK, it smells of mutton after a few months use in Mongolia. The Mongolian Stock Exchange is the smallest in the capitalist world.
Read more: http://www.mongolia-travel-guide.com/ and http://www.mfa.gov.mn.
Every client is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travelers like to drink more than others. Some of them like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits.
The local currency in Mongolia is the Mongolian Tugrik (MNT).
Exchange rate: 1USD=1678 MNT; 1EUR=2304MNT; GBP=2781 in January 2014. Otherwise please check www.mongolbank.mn (See in English). MNT can be obtained locally by changing foreign currency at any bank and local currency exchange centre in Ulaanbaatar city. Your guide will inform you where you can change money throughout the tour. The easiest foreign currency to exchange is the USD, EUR and GBP. Exchange rate for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 USD will be lower than 50 and 100USD. If you plan to bring cash, please bring foreign currency (EUR, GBP, and USD) with you. In more rural areas, it will be difficult to exchange money. Please do not bring Travelers' cheques to Mongolia. Visa/Master cards are the most widely used in the banks in Ulaanbaatar city. The easiest way to get cash from you card will be in Ulaanbaatar city. You can’t pay any payment in countryside using any credit cards. Always take more rather than less, as you don't want to spoil the trip by constantly feeling short of funds. Your GUIDE will be the best person to advice on this issue.
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional $200-300 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control. This is a rare. But just in case.
Tipping is an expected - though not compulsory - component of your tour and an expression of satisfaction with the persons who have assisted you on your tour. It is one of the most direct ways to give your support to locals in tourism industry. Although it may not be customary for you, it is the considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during the tour. The best method of tipping someone is to discuss with your group member, or decide you and give them by putting their tip into an envelope before you depart. Farewell dinner will be the best practice to give tips to someone telling “Thank you”.
Please note that it will be your full responsibility to consult with your travel or private doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
Please ensure you have all the inoculations recommended by your doctor for travel in Mongolia. Please also carry a basic travel first-aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as medical facilities are basic throughout the country. The local tap water is usually drinkable. Just in case please use any water treatment tablets, drops, etc. Good, clean, and inexpensive bottled water is widely available throughout the trip. If you have any health condition that we would aware, you must inform Mongolica team prior to the purchase of the tour, and upon arrival, to the Guide so we can be prepared to help you.
Summer and autumn we do not have any serious disease transmitting insects and animals. In early spring, ticks will be in tall grasses and trees in the steppe. Even you can find it hem from you head and surface of clothes. There is no confirmation of the encephalitis transmitted by ticks in the steppe yet.
Horse flies, midges, and mosquito
Insect eating birds follow insects. It means we will travel in blood sucking insect environment in only limited time in northern and some areas of Central Mongolia near water sources like lakes, marshes. Due to their life cycle these insects will be active only in July and August in Mongolia. Nothing serious blood sucking insects will be in the Steppe, Gobi Desert, and High Mountains. However, we would recommend you the followings;
Bring your own insect repellents:
Wear protective clothes against insects such as mosquito hat-nets, gloves etc.
Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants.
We would recommend you to bring your sun blockings such as sun glass, sun cream, others. At midday in the steppe and Gobi Desert, air temperature will be sometimes +35+40C. Please consider it. Most time, sunburn will turn a pleasant tour into a painful tour.
You would consider Mongolia is open steppe country. Wind is strong and cool in the evening and early morning. Please bring your wind-proof clothes and lipstick and lip-moister cream and liquids.
A combination of strong wind and bight sun force you dehydration. So please drink more water in a day.
For the travelers, diarrhea is normal while people travelling overseas. It is easy to get an upset stomach due to a change of water (Mongolian water has high mineral contamination, particularly in the south), climate, food and stress.
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Most countries have own national governmental regulations for safety issues of a travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice before departure. We also recommend you to use of a neck wallet or money belt for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, credit cards, travelers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your jewelleries at home. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your Guide has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your guide will accompany you on all included activities. During your tour and optional activities, your guide will be always together with you. However, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of our planned itinerary, will be your full responsibilities. This case, Mongolica Co. Ltd will not be responsible any loses. Of course we will help you anything possible from our end. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Ulaanbaatar city and local towns are generally safe during the day. But please remember there can be a risk throughout any major city at night like large other cities. Protests and demonstrations in the street are not usual in Mongolia. Protests and demonstrations, local people argues, conflicts and drank people appear in the street please leave the area immediately. Walking through terrain, steep mountains, tall cliffs in high mountains, dense forest and by deep rivers, we recommend you to follow your guide and his/her instructions. Your insurance will cover any injury and loss in these difficult conditions of birding and photographing. Swimming in the lake and rivers are always at your own risk. We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety.
TOUR SPECIFIC SAFETY
If you walk in the street in Ulaanbaatar city, please leave your passport (It’s better to carry a photocopy of it instead), traveler's cheques, flight tickets and money that you won’t be using in the safe deposit at the hotel reception. This is free of charge to Mongolica clients.
Please remember that like in any other city, you should never leave your bags unattended, nor flaunt, cameras, and other own stuff.
People are generally friendly, but don’t let people take advantage of you, especially the sales people!
People on the street who ask you if you want a souvenir and products, best to avoid these people.
All these instructions will be in the city. In countryside people are friendly, gentle, guest- and aged people- respects, and hospitable.
Please do not take photographs of police stations, military base camp, and local people without their permission. It is better to ask them to take their photos. Please discuss with your guide and he/she will manage it.
Customers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off rocks and small cliffs, carry their own luggage and walk 3-4 hours a day at a minimum. It means that travelers would have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete the chosen trip. While your guide will work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please take a look the physical rating in this tour in detail information.
A COUPLE OF RULES
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any tour. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some countries but is not acceptable for our customers. Our philosophy of travel is to respect towards everyone in our tour and local people. The exploitation of prostitutes is the contrary to this philosophy. Our guides have the right to expel any member of the group who has got a drug and use prostitutes.
Please note all accommodation is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.
RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL
Our philosophy of travel, products and services is to travel with less impact on wildlife, environment and local culture and support local communities, businesses and individuals to develop sustainable tourism opportunities in Mongolia. There are few tips for sustainable responsible and sustainable tourism development aspects to all travelers. Please keep in your mind the following tips:
Use rechargeable batteries. Mongolians do not have proper disposal facilities.
Please ask anyone before taking photographs and send their photographs to them after your arrival in your home. Please ask people if you want to use their photographs for your website, newsletters, and public open access multimedia sources.
Please use thrush bin or plastic bags in a car or tourist ger camps.
MONGOLIAN ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY
Thanks to our commitment to responsible tourism, we support the Mongolian Ornithological Society’s activities. The MOS is a non-profit organization and dedicated to bird research, conservation and education in Mongolia (www.mos.mn). This NGO one of the active and leading organizations works toward bird research, conservation and education within Mongolia. Mongolica Co.Ltd encourages and financially supports the MOS organizations, souvenirs, students and members’ university and English course tuition fees, publications, poster and journal Ornis Mongolica, and birding and bird watching activities such as National Bird Watchers’ Day, Guide Training, Biodiversity Photograph Contest, Bird Photography Exhibitions, DVD, and Optics etc… Mongolica matches your donations and pays most of administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation goes directly to support their projects. Your donations will be spent for MOS projects recently developed under your acknowledgements:
Ornis Mongolica Journal annual printing cost will be 1500USD.
Bird and Wildlife Guide Training in 2014-2016 cost will be 2000USD.
Bird Conservation Calendar in 2014-2016 cost will be 1600USD.
Birds of Mongolia DVD (Part 1: Forest Survivors in 2014), (Part 2: Unlimited Migrants on the Steppe in 2015), (Part 3: Why not Gobi Desert Birds in 2016), (Part 4: Great Migrants in 2017), (Gilders of High Mountains in 2016) cost will be 800USD for each 1000 copies.
All your optic and field equipment donations will be very helpful all new generations of bird/wildlife watchers and photographers.
We would like to hear from you! Your feedback information is very important to us. You will have opportunities to receive a special discount (5%-10%) on the price of your next birding and photographing trips in Mongolia if your feedback is completed within 30 days of finishing your trip. It will be helpful to improve our products and services in the future. Please use feedback form at www.mongolica.org.
NEWSLETTER AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA ACTIVITIES
Our travel e-newsletter contains travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from Mongolica, subscribe it through www.mongolica.org.
Please become Facebook and Twitter friends of the Mongolica in order to read interesting ideas and posts, share your knowledge and experiences, and find your true friends.
KEEPING IN TOUCH WHILE YOU ARE IN FIELD TRIP
If someone needs to contact you while travelling, we recommend that you set up or use a fee email address in case you use official email address (sometimes server of a hotel and ton hotel does not accept your host server due to high filter). If someone wishes to contact you in an emergency while you are on the trip we recommend that you pass Mongolica office manager email address to your friends, family members and close friends. We recommend that family and friends don't try to contact you through phoning hotels en route, as our hotels are subject to change, and our hotel receptions often don't have English speaking staff.
5 nights in the booked hotel
0 night in tented camp near birding sites
12 nights in tourist ger camps in countryside
Transport in the country and terminal transfer
All transportations by 4WD, including petrol
Full board per day
English speaking guide
Meals (Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner) and bottled water each day
Camel and horse trek
Organize city tour and shopping
Entrance fees to all National Parks, museums, monasteries and cultural events
English speaking guide and bird watching and photographing guide
Entrance fee to the protected areas, border permits
All camping equipments (tent, kitchen, cooking equipment, cook etc.)
Horse and camel trekking and birding
All expenses with nomadic families
Visa support invitation letter if necessary
All types of insurance
Alcoholic drinks and items of personal nature
Binoculars, telescopes and tripods
We cannot warranty:
Occasional flight delays or cancellations
Poor roads conditions
Items of personal nature
Adverse weather conditions