Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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clock-o3 days (Approx.)
TransportHotel pickup offered
ticket-oMobile ticket
commentOffered in: English

Overview

Get to the heart of the Silk Road on this guided 3-day door-to-door tour of Central Mongolia that includes Kharkharin (Karakorum), the Erdene Zuu Monastery, Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes, and Hustai National Park. Along the way, stay with a nomadic family in their home, see wild horses in their natural habitat, ride a 2-humped camel, sample homemade Mongolian dairy, and enjoy six authentic meals.

  • Explore Central Mongolia, including Karakorum, with a guide
  • Stay overnight with a nomadic family in their encampment
  • Ride a 2-humped (Bactrian) camel over the Elsen Tasarkhai dunes
  • Relax with door-to-door round-trip transport and six included meals

Reviews

Viator Traveler's Reviews

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M
, Jul 2018

I have booked many Viator tours before and the company usually emails me 1-3 days prior to the tour. This time, I received no messages until 10:30 the night prior at my hotel room from the front desk that my tour was changed to 0730 pick-up instead of 9:00am. The transportation provided was a personal vehicle of the driver and not the company’s. The car was very old and beat up. Our driver (Bat) spoke very good English and very insightful about the region. After 280km later, we rode the camels and had a great time. After 80km more, we arrived for lunch and to swap vehicles with a different driver (Tushka). All meals except one, were all communal meal; and not individually chosen. Lots of goat and mutton served. Tushka’s personal vehicle was also beat up and old; two doors were broke. We had to wait every time to get let out and crawl over seats. In a small vehicle, three of us were crammed into the back seat. My husband at 6’5” had back pains every single day. Tushka’s English was very poor, did not communicate anything about day to day itinerary. I had to ask all the time what was scheduled or where we were going. The first night accommodation; he said he was gonna place me as a female with 3 other men inside a yurt. He also said that we were going to pay for our own meals the next day for lunch and dinner and the following breakfast. After I offered to pay for my own yurt that first night, he then negotiated to get me a separate yurt with my husband. When I booked my tour, it did not specifically say that I was camping and have to provide my own toiletries. He also asked if we brought our own sleeping bag and pillows since other yurts have nothing in them. Showers and toilets were in poor condition with no hot water. He finally asked the owners to get me towels, and I received two hand towels. The next morning, we were to eat breakfast in the other yurt. It was bread and Nutella that Tushka bought the day prior. We ate in the sit down area and paid for our own meal for $2. While we were eating, we saw Tushka packing breakfast out to the other yurt. Apparently, he decided to buy the other two people breakfast vs eating the Nutella and bread. We told him that we paid for our own breakfast, and he replied that it was our choice even though that meals were provided with this tour. All things that we did; for example, getting an accommodation for the day, we had to wait a while because nothing was ever planned for the entire tour. It seemed like we go were touring spontaneously and no schedule to really follow. On the second day, he told us that he can buy us food now, because the company sent him money which he got from the ATM. He ran personal errands and bought food for dinner that night from the grocery store (ramen, bread, bologna). We swung by a hotel and lunch was absolutely horrendous that nobody really ate much lunch (again goat or lamb). My husband had to knock at people’s doors to ask for toilet paper. Then we drove to a State Park where he tried to get us a yurt for the night. Dirty used sheets, no bathroom, no running water, and no electricity. We refused to stay there and went back down to where we had lunch that day. We finally got a hotel room (no star associated) with no hot water. What was fishy about this stay was that the manager approached me later and asked how many were staying in my room and how much we paid the company for our rooms. They also did not know our tour guide which is weird because he supposedly been with the company for 2 yrs. I told the gal that I paid for the entire tour ($798) for 2 nights and 3 days tour and had no idea how much goes to the lodging. I was told by the manager that they are the cheapest in the area ($8) per person. Later they came into our room to verify how many are staying in my room. The room was very poor and we ate dinner in the other room with ramen, bread and bologna. The third morning, we had community breakfast (goat milk tea, bread, porridge). Again, bad meal. We asked multiple times for a vegetarian meal, and they decided one time to just pick the meat out of the menu. On the way home to Ulaanbaatar (400km roughly), we stopped on a truck stop and finally were able to pick our own meal which was decent. On the way back, he negotiated a toll from 50cents to a motorbike rate of 25 cents. Who does that and weird?! After 8 hrs on the road, in a crammed vehicle, he finally asked me where my hotel was (after telling him twice before that I was staying in a different hotel). He pulled to the ditch area and did his research to get us to our hotel. Again, no concept of planning. Mongolia is beautiful; however, this tour made me not only mad a lot of times, but also made me not appreciate this country as much. It seems that Tushka was given x amount of money (deposited into his ATM account), and he was going around negotiating things to save money which would benefit himself. Tour in a nut shell: Day 1 – drive around 360km and see a couple of things. Day 2: drive about 130km and saw a few things to include the park. Day 3 – drove 380km and saw a couple spontaneous things.


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