Set amid the Orkhon Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site, ancient Karakorum—Kharkhorin today—was Genghis Khan’s capital during the 13th century. Experience its historic charm and vibrant nomadic culture on this guided overnight tour, which includes meals. Tour the Kharakhorum Museum, visit 16th-century Erdene Zuu Monastery, and spend time with a family of horse-riding nomads—access you couldn’t hope to achieve independently.
Explore ancient Karakorum and Erdene Zuu Monastery on an overnight tour
Experience local life with a family of horse herding nomads
Refuel with authentic Mongolian fare
Enjoy personalized attention from your guide in a group of maximum 15
Way overpriced, poor quality, unsafe & unprofessional
, May 2019
As previously instructed, we were waiting in the hotel lobby at the specified time. When after 15 mins nobody had showed up, we asked the receptionist to call again. After some words were exchanged in Mongolian between the staff, I was handed the receiver. I was expecting an apology for the delay. Instead, I was scolded by agency staff in an accusatory tone that we had not informed about the hotel we were staying at. Obviously, the "accusation“ is unsubstantiated. It is rude and very offensive, and totally inappropriate to blame the customer (who did everything as instructed) for obvious internal miscommunication on the agency's part.We were told the driver would arrive “soon“ at the hotel, which turned out to be more than an hour after the scheduled departure time and cutting into the limited time available for the tour.
Unfortunately, the lack of professionalism and poor-quality service did not end there.
The vehicle for the 8+ -hour drive was a small Isuzu 4X4. As together with two other passengers we were 5 people, three of us had to spend the trip crammed into the tight rear seat bench. I spent the whole trip in the middle seat. Totally uncomfotable, resulting in stiff legs and necks! Moreover, the vehicle seemed hardly roadworthy. The trunk hatch could not be opened, making loading and unloading extremely inconvenient. Getting in and out of the vehicle was equally inconvenient, as one rear door was stuck so that each rear passenger had to get in one by one through the other door. And the condition of this door was most worrisome! It was prone to be opened without warning while on the road. Hardly a safe and comfortable vehicle!
Our driver was also supposed to be our “guide“. We cannot determine how knowledgeable he is, because he was simpy unable to communicate properly. Unable to utter complete sentences, he spoke an unintelligble gibberish of English and German fragments.
Not only was he unable to divulge any meaningful insights about Mongolian culture, he also did not provide any information about details of the trip. When would we visit the monastery and/or museum in Kharkhorin? Thursday or Friday? No clear answer. How and when would we get back to Ulaanbaatar? No clear answer, either. It turned out that on Friday we had to wait for more than three hours (!) with nothing to do after we had had lunch and the “nomadic culture experience“ at a local family’s yurt, before we were finally picked up after 5.15 pm by a van carrying passengers from another tour. We finally arrived back in Ulaanbaatar after 10.30 pm.
The guide’s appearance made us uncomfortablre, too. Both days he wore a military style adidas hoodie, with the hood over his head most of the time. On the second day he was pretty smelly in this outfit. Furthermore and most worrisome, his apparent and admitted lack of sleep added to the concerns about road safety
We have travelled to more than 100 countries and taken many tours, but this was by far the worst (not even considering the very basic standard of the ger camp accommodation).
All this might be tolerable had this been a low-budget tour, but at $ 638 it’s totally unacceptable. It is simply unbelievable that Tripadvisor allow themselves to be associated with such an incompetent and unprofessional tour operator, charging an outrageous price for dismal quality!