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Travelling with Inspiring Vacations allows you to explore the wonders of the world in a variety of different ways. We have partnered with a worldwide network of local travel experts to bring you culturally unique and delightfully unforgettable travel experiences. Whether it is meandering through narrow canyons by rail, cruising the idyllic waters of the Mediterranean or touring through the backroads of provincial towns, Inspiring Vacations trips offer amazing value and will leave you inspired.
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There will be a group meeting today at 6:00pm - please look out for a note from your tour leader at the hotel reception with more information about this important meeting, but please do not be alarmed if the note is not there as this is often a travel day for the tour leader and they may arrive in the afternoon. If you arrive early, the rest of the day will be free to explore the Mongolian capital!
Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Ulaanbaatar before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Ulaanbaatar.
This morning we head out on a guided tour to see some of Ulaanbaatar's best and most treasured sights, including the Gandan Monastery and the National Museum.
This afternoon we will spend a few hours exploring the Black Market. This huge market contains every single item a Mongolian may need, so a trip here will certainly give visitors a fascinating insight into people's lives, whether they are nomads or urban apartment dwellers.
Today we drive out of the city and into the vast plains of Mongolia. We hope to arrive at Khar Bukh Balgas ruins in the early afternoon.
Khar Bukh Balgas was built during the Kitan period in about 1000CE, and was part of a chain of fortresses that were used to govern and control the northern region and borders of the Kitan state. Upon arrival at the site, we will explore the ruins and learn about the various kingdoms that dominated Mongolia during that era.
After our visit to the ruins we will drive to Ögii Lake where many nomadic families spend their summer. The lake is famed for it's great bird watching opportunities where it is not uncommon to spot at Swan Goose, White Spoonbill and Dalmatian Pelicans.
Today we have an early start as we head to Mongolia's earliest capital, Kharkhorin (otherwise known as Karakoram).
Our first stop on the way to Kharkhorin will be at the Kultigen Monument. This massive stone tomb was built in honour of a Turkic prince and warrior killed in a nearby battle. We then continue on a fairly short drive to Kharkhorin.
Kharkhorin was famed throughout Asia at the capital of the Mongol Empire. We will visit the ruins of the old city, the Erdene Zuu monastery, and other historical monuments in the area.
Today we head south
Today we will continue our journey through the Orkhon Valley to the Tuvkhon Monastery, which we can embark on a two and a half hour trek to visit (the first hour will be uphill!). This monastery was established during the 1650s by Zanbazar, one of Mongolia's most respected religious leaders. The monastery's wooden buildings are integrated with a natural system of caves perched near a hilltop, from which you have beautiful views of the Orkhon Valley and the surrounding pine forests.
Today our trip heads north, crossing the Khangai Nuruu Mountains through a series of passes until we reach an area that Mongolians call 'The Paradise of the Horse Herders' due to its lush grasses and open valleys.
We drive to the Tsenkher hot springs, where water flows out of the ground at 82°C, and where we can enjoy a relaxing soak.
This morning we will take a short, easy walk to meet one of the many nomadic families that spend their summers in the region. The afternoon is free to explore the valley and surrounding hills either by foot or by horseback.
This morning we drive to Tsetserleg, the provincial capital, where we will make a short visit to the local market. If time permits, we will also visit the provincial museum.
We will then continue our journey north past the Tamir river, and will wild camp tonight.
Today we continue noth past Taikhar Chuluu (a massive rock which is connected to local mythology) and the Chluulut Canyon to arrive at our ger camp near the Khorgo volcano.
In Chuulut Canyon we will stay at a nearby ger camp.
This morning we will take a hike to the top of the Khorgo Volcano and take in the incredible views over its perfect crater. From the top of the volcano we continue our hike though fields studded with pine trees, stopping off en route at the Yellow Dog Cave, an interesting volcanic phenomenon.
We will then return to the truck and continue our journey north. We will aim wild camp tonight in the remote plains north of Khorgo.
Over the next few days we continue driving north on one of Mongolia's most beautiful routes, crossing high mountain passes, vast grasslands, and small creeks! We will pass by the beautiful alpine Lake Zuun en route.
We hope to arrive at Mörön, the provincial capital, the following afternoon. We will visit the local market, Danzadarjaa Monastery and the local museum. If we don't have time on this section of the trip, then we can visit the town after coming back from Khövsgöl Lake.
We will aim to wild camp near Zuun Lake and near the town of Mörön.
We hope to arrive at Mörön, the provincial capital, this afternoon. We will visit the local market, Danzadarjaa Monastery and the local museum. If we don't have time on this section of the trip, then we can visit the town after coming back from Khövsgöl Lake.
This morning we will drive out to an ancient burial site featuring Mongolia's mysterious deer stones, these are memorial stones representing important leaders and warriors, carved with deer motifs. After visiting the site, we continue our trip northward to one of the world's biggest fresh water sources, the stunning Khövsgöl Lake.
Khövsgöl Lake and its amazing surroundings are home to several of Mongolia's ethnic minorities as well as a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife. One of the most interesting ethnic groups living near the lake is the Tsaatan, also known as 'The Reindeer People'. A small tribe of Tsaatan consisting of about 40 families lives with its herds of reindeer in the forests around the lake. These graceful animals provide the tribe with all its basic needs - milk, meat and transportation. As there are very few Tsaatan left and this is a mobile population, we may meet them but there are no guarantees - however, the scenery of the area is well worth the exploration.
Today we will take a hike around the forests and meadows near the lake. Lying at about 1650m above sea level, surrounded by mountains rising above 3100m, the waters of Khovsgol are deep and spectacularly clear and pure. We will hike through thick pine forests carpeted with flowers and explore the setting of Mongolia's 'Blue Pearl'.
We will spend the next 3 days crossing central-northern Mongolia on our way back towards the capital of Ulaanbaatar. We will aim to wildcamp in the plains east Moron tonight.
Today's drive offers diversified landscapes from vast, open steppes to beautiful sand dunes. At the end of a long drive day we will cam near the Selenge River
After packing up camping this morning we will continue on our journey and aim to reach the town of Bulgan where we will find a wildcamp on the outskirts of the town.
This morning we will try to visit the Amarbayasgalant Monastery. Built between 1727 and 1736 by the Manchu Emperor Enkh Amgalan, Amarbayasgalant is among the largest monasteries in Mongolia to have survived the purges of the 1930s. With about 60 monks living and studying here, the monastery functions today as one of Mongolia's central religious institutions, and consists of 29 different temples, all built in the classic Tibetan style.
Today we have a full day drive from northern Mongolia back to the city of Ulaanbaatar. This evening is free to relax and explore, and to have a well-earned final meal and drinks in one of the city's many restaurants!
Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Ulaanbaatar. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact your sales agent if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.
Breakfasts x 20, Lunches x 8, Dinners x 15
Overland Expedition Vehicle
Comfortable Hotel 3 nights
Yurt Camp 9 nights
Camping without facilities 8 nights
Deposit & Payments
Book now and secure your package with only a $380 deposit per person.
Pay a 2nd instalment of $588 per person within 28 days.
You will then be invoiced for final payment 90 days prior to departure.
Select the purple 'Reserve Your Seat' tab to begin your booking (you must 'Sign Up' first by entering your email and creating a password)
Then select the purple 'Book now' tab of the tour you have selected
Select your Departure Date, Departure City, Number of Passengers, Room Configuration, any Upgrade Options, and enter any Special Requests
Click the purple ‘Proceed to Secure Checkout' tab
Enter your credit card or PayPal details to secure your deposit/payment. You may also pay via BPAY (not available within 70 days of departure)
Once your order is complete, you will be prompted to complete a Booking Form so that we can fulfil your booking
Your position on the tour will be confirmed within 48 hours of completing your order. If your place cannot be confirmed, a full refund of the deposit will occur
Tour Kitty of USD $720 per person is not included in the price and it is payable locally (refer to Important Information)
Anything not mentioned in the itinerary or optional
Comfortable Hotel 3 nights
Yurt Camp 9 nights
Camping without facilities 8 nights
Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels or hostels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation when staying in hostels, gers or yurts. The type, variety and standard of accommodation will vary greatly depending on what options are available at the time; hotels can vary from very basic rooms without electricity or running water to high standard hotels with good facilities! Generally in hotels most rooms will be single sex, twin-share, but in South America many rooms are triple/quad-share. Hostels, gers and yurts are nearly always multi-share and may be mixed sex.
The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we wild camp away from the tourist crowds. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays allowing us to get close to the indigenous population and ensuring that our money stays within the local community.
We do not offer a single supplement during the booking stage, as this will be unavailable for camping with a full truck, and difficult to confirm in many hotels. However, if you would like to ‘upgrade’ to having your own room whilst on the road then this is possible if you pay the difference yourself, subject to availability. Your tour leader will assist with this as they make ongoing bookings on the road.
The maximum group size we take on our overland journeys ranges from 19 to 22 depending on the geographical location; however the average number of passengers is more likely to be around 16. On some departures there may be more than one truck doing the same route. This means that you will be in the same hotel or campsite as another Dragoman group on some days. To ensure that you are not always at the same place at the same time as another group, your itinerary will most likely be slightly altered from the itinerary advertised on the website and in the Trip Itinerary. Even on the majority of our trips where there is only the one truck, you may from time to time meet up with other groups at points on the road, and may partake in activities jointly with other groups on these occasions.
Meals and Group Participation
On an overland journey you are more than just an individual passenger - you're part of the team. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. While camping on overland journeys, the meals are included in the kitty. This means that you will have to work together to cook for everyone in your group. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your group's turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people using a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple! (On trips south of Nairobi we
have a cook on board the truck; however you will still be required to help them to prepare meals). An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it
will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.
Our Overland Trucks
Dragoman's fleet is truly unique. We use rugged and sturdy Mercedes-Benz trucks (known for their durability) that will take you off road and off the beaten track. They are specially modified at our workshop in Suffolk, UK, into our custom designed overland vehicles. Features such as our integrated cabs are unique to Dragoman trucks, and our customers regularly say that they make our trucks the best on the road. With their distinctive orange and white livery and their personalised names, our trucks have become iconic. All of our trucks are affectionately named and have their own individual personality. Many of our passengers remember the name of their truck many years after their trip!
Our trucks are fully equipped for self-sufficient wild camping, and have comfortable coach-style seating. All Dragoman trucks are owned and maintained by us, and our crew follow a strict maintenance schedule - this means we can manage the quality and safety of our fleet. We currently have 26 overland trucks (and 1 overland bus) on the road worldwide, and the fleet is growing all the time! For more information on our trucks, please visit: https://dragoman.com/overlanding/our-trucks/meet-the-fleet
In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip. The kitty is payable in instalments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew and the kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip. The kitty covers all things that the whole group does, such as:
• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees
• Meals whilst camping (not whilst staying in hotels)
• Activities listed as included (e.g. National Park or historical site entrances, excursions, etc.)
The kitty system is unique to overlanding and allows us to have flexibility and transparency on our trips. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally. It also helps to keep the costs competitive and save on administration costs so that we can pass the saving on to you. Dragoman makes NO PROFIT on kitties, as they are the group's fund. We constantly update the kitty prices on our website and the kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Prices can go up or down with no notice, and exchange rate fluctuations will affect costs. If there is money left in the kitty at the end of your trip, then this is divided between the group and you receive a refund. Once you book your trip it is very important that you check our website on a regular basis and just before departure for any changes to the kitty amount. Some hotels and hostels increase their rates substantially over Christmas and New Year. Please therefore be aware that the kitty for trips in this period may be substantially higher than for the rest of the year and an additional amount may be required from you.
Paying your kitty
Remember to arrange to bring sufficient cash USD to pay your kitty at the start of the trip, or to arrange for prepayment (if available for your trip). If you choose to prepay your kitty then this must be done via bank transfer 3-4 weeks before the start of your trip. Please note that prepayment is not available for our trips to West Africa, Iran, Tajikistan, and any trip in Africa north of Nairobi. For more details on how to prepay your kitty, please refer to your Kitty Payments sheet which will been sent to you via email or visit this link: https://www.dragoman.com/files/Dragoman_Kitty_Document.pdf
If you are bringing the kitty out in cash, please ensure your USD notes are clean and undamaged and no more than 8 years old. If needed, your tour leader will be able to accept some of the kitty in local currency, and they will let you know the exchange rate locally. In most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines, using either a cash passport or a credit/debit card. However, please bear in mind that most cards have a maximum withdrawal amount per day, local ATMs may run out of cash, and your bank could block the card despite you warning them of your travel plans, so it could be impractical to try to get the entire kitty out from an ATM.
Please note that we cannot accept traveller’s cheques on our trips.
Travel insurance is required to protect yourself against the unexpected. We have partnered with nib to offer our customers competitive rates for their travel insurance. You can book comprehensive or budget cover simply by clicking HERE to arrange your policy.
Visa & Passport information
It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of your return.
Citizens of the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and most EU countries will need a visa to enter Mongolia as a tourist for up to 30 days. Citizens of Canada will not need a visa for visits up to 30 days, and citizens of the USA will not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days. Citizens of other
countries should check with the relevant consulates as to whether a visa is required.
If a visa is required, you will need to obtain it in advance - this will not usually require a Letter of Invitation. You can either apply yourself directly to the embassy, or hire a specialist visa agency to make the application on your behalf (which is recommended, especially if you are applying for several
There are certain circumstances where the visa can be obtained on arrival at Ulaanbaatar Chinggis Khan International Airport (usually when there is no Mongolian Embassy in your country of residence). If you are on a longer combination trip (such as Istanbul to Ulaanbaatar) and you need a visa, we advise you to obtain it in the Mongolian Embassy in Beijing en route with the help of your crew.
If you are asked to provide an address in Mongolia on your visa form, please use the address below:
Tel: +976 11 325544
If you are asked to provide an inviting party in Mongolia on your visa form, please contact Dragoman or your agent and we will provide you with a suitable name and address to put as this contact.
A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home. It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.
Malaria & Other other Mosquito-Borne Diseases
There is a risk of contracting malaria in some areas which we travel through. If your trip goes to a areas with malaria it is always best to get expert advice before travelling about the types of malaria pills available, whether they are recommended, and take any that are prescribed as instructed. Consult your GP or travel clinic for the most up-to-date requirements. Other mosquito-borne diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika are continuing to spread and are becoming a bigger problem around the world. Mosquito bite prevention is vital to avoid contracting any of these diseases, as there are no vaccines or specific treatments available. Health professionals have issued warnings for pregnant women travelling to areas affected by the Zika virus. For more information about Zika please visit:
• WHO: www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/zika-virus
• Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/zika
The Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria usually bite between the hours of dusk and dawn, whereas the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever, dengue fever, chikungunya and Zika bite both during the day and the night. To prevent being bitten, it is recommended to cover up by wearing long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, preferably light-coloured and buttoned at the wrists. Do not sleep without closing your windows, tent door, etc. and use a mosquito net in hotels or if sleeping outside where there are mosquitoes present. Use mosquito repellent applied directly to your skin or soaked into your clothing. Treating clothes and mosquito nets with a Permetherin solution also provides significant protection. It should be available at most travel stores. Mosquito coils are useful on still nights and in hotel rooms, but cannot be used inside the tents. For more advice on how to avoid bites please see: www.travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/38/insect-and-tick-bite-avoidance
Recommended vaccinations and other health protections vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest specific health advice on the regions and countries you are planning to travel in, so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel. The following websites are also a helpful resource: www.nathnac.net and www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Contingency Emergency Fund
Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond Dragoman's control (e.g. a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although Dragoman will help organise travel arrangements, in circumstances outside Dragoman's control you will be required to contribute the additional costs involved and therefore we ask you to bring the equivalent of USD400 as a contingency fund. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore never used. We also recommend that you bring an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies in some instances only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.
A Few Rules
We expect all group members to act respectfully towards our staff and other group members. Bullying will not be tolerated. Engaging in commercial or exploitative sexual activities, committing acts of violence or threatening violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff is not allowed. Any customer engaging in such activities will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited and conduct yourself in accordance with our responsible travel policy. Any customer found contravening such laws or regulations will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price. Although we are aware that in some parts of the world taking, carrying or selling drugs, or carrying weapons may be legal, it is not acceptable for Dragoman customers and our tour leaders have the right to ask you to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price if you are found to be engaging in such activities.
Issues on the trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. If this is the case please contact our customer relations department on firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also choose to provide details in your feedback questionnaire which we ask you to complete at the end of your trip, but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete
Children must be 18 years old or over and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.
Final documentation will be provided approximately 30 days prior to travel.
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