Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads

From: $4,699

per person dbl occ

Dates: Jun-Aug - see all dates

Total Days: 11

Activity Level: 3

Reserve This Trip

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7 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time

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Price:

2014

REI member: $4,699

Non-member: $5,099

2015

REI member: $4,799

Non-member: $5,199

Additional Fees

Single supplement: $1,099

Internal airfare: $599 (subject to change)

Special payment and cancellation policy applies; see itinerary for more information.

Trip Dates:

2014

  • Jul 20–30
  • Aug 3–13
  • Aug 17–27
  • Aug 31 – Sep 10

2015

  • Jun 15–25
  • Jul 20–30
  • Aug 3–13
  • Aug 17–27
  • Aug 31 – Sep 10

Or, book a
private departure.

Group Size: 4-12

Activity Level: 3

Activities:

  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Camel Trekking

Accommodations:

Hotels/Lodge 5 nights; Ger Camp 2 nights; Tent Camp 3 nights

Trip Highlights

  • Explore Mongolia's beautiful countryside on foot, horse, and camel
  • Learn about a rapid changing country and experience warm Mongolian hospitality
  • Trek through the Gobi Desert and camp under a canopy of stars
  • Tour Ulaanbaatar and see traditional song and dance, praying monks, and temples

The sweeping landscapes of Mongolia have lured intrepid travelers for centuries. It was here in 13th century that Chinggis Khan built the world's largest contiguous empire, and Mongolia remains a land largely untouched by the modern world.

Join REI for a cultural journey where we discover Mongolia's character from its ancient past to its modernizing capital. Ride a horse through rolling hills of pale grass; discover pictographs and prehistoric carvings left behind by nomadic people; and hike in the Gobi, where brilliant blue sky stretches off in every direction. At a private campsite our chef serves dinner beneath a curtain of stars, unspoiled by city lights.

Along our journey, we get glimpses into the lives of the people who call Mongolia home. In Ulaanbaatar we experience Mongolia today, a city on a rapid rise that still pays homage to its past with Buddhist temples, praying monks, and traditional song and dance. Throughout our adventure we experience the warm hospitality of the Mongolian people. Join us, and fall under the spell of this beautiful land.

Explore even more of Asia on our Angkor Wat extension!

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 - Arrive in Ulaanbaatar (UB). Hike to Zaisan Memorial for city views.
  • Day 2 - Hike in Hustai Nuruu National Reserve near the Khenti Mountains.
  • Day 3 - Traverse the Moilt Valley on foot and keep an eye out for wild horses.
  • Day 4 - Travel like a Mongolian on horse to the mysterious Ongot stone complex.
  • Day 5 - Learn history at UB's museums and enjoy traditional dance and song.
  • Day 6 - Hike the Gobi's Yol Valley. See the stunning "Flaming Cliffs" at sunset.
  • Day 7 - Camel trek along sandy dunes and camp underneath a star-filled sky.
  • Day 8 - Enjoy mountain hiking and experience the hospitality nomadic families.
  • Day 9 - Explore the "singing sands" of the Gobi's supreme dunes, Khongoryn Els.
  • Day 10 - Back in UB we visit the historic Gandan Monastery complex.
  • Day 11 - Our journey to fascinating and quickly changing Mongolia ends.

See full itinerary

Trip Itinerary and Details

Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.

  • Day 1 - Arrive in Ulaanbaatar (UB). Hike to Zaisan Memorial for city views.

    Our trip begins today in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Upon arrival at the airport you will be welcomed by your driver and transferred to our hotel located in the heart of the city. At 3:00 p.m. this afternoon you will meet your guide and fellow travelers in the hotel lobby for introductions before setting off to visit Zaisan Memorial which honors Mongolian and Soviet soldiers killed in WWII. Situated on a hill just south of the capitol, the hike up the stairs to the top of the monument rewards us with panoramic views of the entire city and the Tuul River meandering through the valley below. This evening we enjoy our first taste of traditional Mongolian cuisine at a welcome dinner in town. Dinner included.

  • Day 2 - Hike in Hustai Nuruu National Reserve near the Khenti Mountains.

    This morning you will meet your guide for the drive (3 hours) to Hustai Nuruu National Reserve, a spectacular, protected park located at the base of the Khenti Mountains. Hustai Nuruu is home to abundant wildlife including one of the last remaining species of wild horse on earth, the Takhi. Our lodging tonight is at a ger camp located inside the park. Gers are traditional Mongolian yurts that have been used as family homes for centuries. Constructed of felt stretched over a wooden frame, your private ger contains a bed and a small fireplace to ward off the evening chill. This afternoon our group will select from the many hiking options available. Perhaps we will hike to the fire tower whose high perch affords great views of the countryside, or our group may opt for rolling hills with a keen eye for spotting wildlife. It's a great chance to stretch your legs! We return to our ger camp this evening in time for dinner. Overnight in traditional Mongolian gers. All meals included.

    Optional hiking: 3 -4 hours, rolling terrain.

  • Day 3 - Traverse the Moilt Valley on foot and keep an eye out for wild horses.

    After a hearty breakfast, we spend the day traversing the hidden Moilt Valley; this is a superb nature hike. Wild horses roaming the reserve, marmot, corsac foxes, falcons, deer, and many species of predatory birds are all possible sightings so keep your binoculars handy! This evening we experience Mongolia the same way as generations before us. Our guides will set up our tented camp before preparing a delicious dinner. As night falls, enjoy the star-filled sky and the serenity of this space. Overnight in tents. All meals included.

    Hiking: 5 -6 hours, 2000' elevation gain. Terrain: gradual steep trail covered with dirt, gravel, and grass.

  • Day 4 - Travel like a Mongolian on horse to the mysterious Ongot stone complex.

    Today we will explore Mongolia by horseback- get ready to saddle up! We will get an early start this morning as our driver transfers us by van to the start of our horse trek where we meet our sure-footed horses. Our skilled horse wranglers can accommodate all levels of riders- beginners welcome! Our full day of riding through the green landscape brings us back to our ger camp and a well deserved hot shower. Along the way, we will stop at the Ongot stone complex. These mysterious stone figures depicting men date from the Turkic period (7-9 A.D). They all face one direction and are behind one another as if in a line. Some interpret this configuration as depicting a noble man or general with his subjects or soldiers following behind. These stones are rare historical evidence of the culture that dominated the area at the time and are especially important to historians because not many written accounts have survived the burden of Mongolia's nomadic lifestyle and turbulent battling periods. Overnight in gers. All meals included.

    Horseback riding 4-6 hours. Terrain: generally flat.

  • Day 5 - Learn history at UB's museums and enjoy traditional dance and song.

    This morning we will depart our ger camp and return to Ulaanbaatar. Your guide will introduce you to the legacy of Chinggis Khaan with a tour of the National History Museum. Learn about the fascinating history of this country and the dramatic changes it has experienced throughout the centuries. Following lunch, we will also visit the Natural History Museum which showcases the spectacular fossils found in the Gobi Desert. On display are a towering tarbosaurous skeleton (closely related to tyrannosaurus rex), large Hadrosaur fossils (duck-billed dinosaurs), dinosaur eggs and the famous "fighting" dinosaurs, all of which illustrate the richness and importance of the paleontological sites in the Gobi. This evening in Ulaanbaatar we enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and hoomi (throat) singers followed by dinner at a fine local restaurant. Hoomi singers produce two or more notes simultaneously using their tongues, teeth, larynx and palate. It is a wonder to hear it for the first time. Overnight at a comfortable hotel in the heart of the city. All meals included.

  • Day 6 - Hike the Gobi's Yol Valley. See the stunning "Flaming Cliffs" at sunset.

    Once again we leave the city for wide open spaces, flying over vast steppe to the Gobi (1.5 hours), Mongolia's southernmost province of semi-arid desert. Upon arrival we drive to Yol Valley for our first Gobi hike. This valley gradually narrows into a lush gorge that protects a small icefield year-round. As you delight in the cool streams and wildflowers, be on the lookout for gazelles, sheep, ibex, and the many species of birds of prey that live in this protected reserve. It is a lovely space that will challenge your ideas of what life in the Gobi is like.

    Following our hike in the valley, we return to our vehicles and transfer to the award-winning Three Camel Lodge in time for in time for a scrumptious lunch. After some free time to relax, we meet this evening and drive to the legendary "Flaming Cliffs" (1 hour), named for the red-orange sandstone which glows brilliantly at sunrise and sunset. In 1923 Roy Chapman Andrews and his expedition team from the American Museum of Natural History discovered the first nest of dinosaur eggs at this location. Paleontologists from all over the world continue to uncover fossils at this rich site. We return to our lodge for a delicious dinner made from organic meat grazed locally by Gobi herders and produce grown by nearby farmers. Overnight at Three Camel Lodge. All meals included.

  • Day 7 - Camel trek along sandy dunes and camp underneath a star-filled sky.

    We wake early this morning to the sight of the sun rising over the vast Gobi desert. After breakfast we drive through the rugged Gobi-Gurvansaikhan Mountains towards Gyalaan Valley where we meet with a local camel herder and begin camel trekking through the spectacular Gobi landscape. Our surefooted animals carry us alongside the dunes to a picturesque lunch spot. Late this afternoon we will reach our tented camp located in a beautiful, hidden place overlooking the dunes of the Gobi. Far from any city lights, the stargazing here is truly mesmerizing. All meals included.

    Camel trekking 2 - 4 hours; Driving time: 4-5 hours depending on road conditions.

  • Day 8 - Enjoy mountain hiking and experience the hospitality nomadic families.

    Today is all about hiking through the classic Gobi landscape! The mountains surrounding the Ayaldai Valley are starkly beautiful, and we plan to spend a full day exploring them. The exact route and distance will be determined based on weather conditions and the group dynamic. We may have the opportunity to visit with a remote, nomadic family and experience the warm hospitality offered to passing travelers in the form of food, shelter, and friendship. Relatively unchanged for centuries, Mongolia has one of the last remaining horse- and camel-based cultures in the world. We'll return to our tented camp this evening for a delicious dinner prepared by our camp chef. All meals included.

    Hiking 6 – 8 hours, up to 18 miles.

  • Day 9 - Explore the "singing sands" of the Gobi's supreme dunes, Khongoryn Els.

    We explore the "singing sands" of the Khongoryn Els dunes which run about 60 miles alongside the Gobi-Altai Mountains range. These mountains of sand reach upwards of 2,500 feet, and with the right winds air turbulences along the ridges create a characteristic "singing" sound. These are rightfully known as the Gobi's most magnificent dunes, and our hikes treat us to magnificent sandscapes-a photographer's dream! We return to the Three Camel Lodge in the evening. All meals included.

    Hiking: 2 – 4 hours, up to 9 miles; Terrain: packed sand.

  • Day 10 - Back in UB we visit the historic Gandan Monastery complex.

    Enjoy one last golden morning in the Gobi Desert before transferring to the local airport for our return flight to Ulaanbaatar. Back in the capital we visit the historic Gandan Monastery complex, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. This large complex houses the recently renovated Chenrezig and Kalachakra Temples and the magnificent golden statue of Migjid Janraisig ("the lord who looks in every direction"). Woven through Mongolia's nomadic culture is a rich Tibetan Buddhist tradition with ancient Shamanist practices still evident. The afternoon is at your leisure with time for sightseeing or shopping for cashmere and other souvenirs. We come together again in the evening to enjoy a farewell dinner and a toast to an excellent adventure. All meals included.

  • Day 11 - Our journey to fascinating and quickly changing Mongolia ends.

    The trip concludes today following breakfast. Guests will transfer on their own to the airport for flights home. Breakfast included.

Note on Itinerary

Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule above, the itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control, including weather and terrain conditions.

Air Travel

Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.

Price Includes

Single or double occupancy accommodations each night of the itinerary; meals as noted in the itinerary; skilled bi-lingual guide; private transportation throughout; park and site entrance fees; horse and camel trekking equipment; airport transfer when arriving on Day 1.

Not Included

Airfare to/from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; internal airfare within Mongolia (mandatory add-on, price is subject to change); airport transfer on Day 11; passport or other travel documents; alcoholic beverages; insurance of any kind; medical immunizations; items of a personal nature; optional gratuities to your guides.

Special Payment and Cancellation Policy

The cost of your internal flights within Mongolia (mandatory add-on and subject to change) is due with your final payment 60 days prior to departure. The cost of your internal flights is non-refundable within 60 days of departure unless REI Adventures cancels your trip for any reason. If you needed to cancel your trip for a reason covered by travel insurance, this flight cost would be eligible for reimbursement by that plan.

Qualifications

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. It will be enjoyed by anyone who is physically fit and enjoys active days. Travel in Mongolia requires flexibility and a positive attitude. Horses, camels and vehicles will carry all the gear. You only need to carry your daypack, but you still need to be in good physical condition to really enjoy this trip. Hiking is moderate with some uneven, rocky trails and sections of steep elevation gain and loss. Horse and camel trekking require no previous experience. Be prepared for some extended drives on rough roads. Roads outside of Ulaanbaatar are unpaved, bumpy and dusty.

Weather

Summer in Mongolia is June through September with average temperatures are in the 80s during the day, dropping to the 30s at night. The Gobi Desert is a plateau about 3,000'-5,000' above sea level with extreme temperatures that can range from 100ºF (or higher) during the day to below freezing at night. Mongolia has an average of 260 cloudless days a year, but come prepared for rain, wind, and some very cold nights and mornings. A dusting of snow is always possible at this northern latitude, even in the summer. The rainy season extends from mid-July to August, but showers are usually brief.

Single Travelers

If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.

General Information

This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).

We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.

Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering.  To obtain maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection.  This gear list has been created to help you choose equipment for the trip.  Try to bring only what is necessary - this will help you and the field staff. 

Gear Checklist

Provided Gear
  • All group camping gear
  • All required gear for camel and horse trekking
Official Papers
  • Valid passport
  • Airline tickets
Luggage
  • One piece of luggage, wheels and a retractable handle recommended
  • Duffel (approx. 4000 cubic inches) for horse trekking/Gobi camping
  • Daypack to carry water, rainwear and clothing layers, camera, sunscreen, etc.
  • Rain cover for daypack, waterproof
  • Luggage tags and luggage locks, 2 sets
  • Passport security pouch or belt
Travel Clothing
  • A few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and to wear into towns
Outerwear
  • Rain jacket and pants: lightweight, waterproof and breathable
  • Midweight fleece jacket
  • Down jacket or vest
Footwear
  • Hiking boots or shoes, lightweight, sturdy, waterproof
  • Casual, comfortable shoes for town
  • Sandals, to wear at camps
Clothing Accessories
  • Sun hat with brim
  • Bandana
  • Fleece or wool gloves for cool evenings
  • Fleece or wool hat
  • Low gaiters for dune walks
Clothing
  • T-shirts, at least two synthetic
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Thermal underwear top and bottom, light- or midweight
  • Bicycle shorts with padded seat area, for horse and camel trekking
  • Hiking pants (synthetic, quick-drying)
  • Hiking shorts (synthetic, quick-drying)
  • Underwear
  • Hiking socks and liner socks
  • Casual socks
Travel Accessories
  • Sleeping bag liner or sleep sheet, required for camping
  • Flashlight or headlamp, and spare batteries/bulb
  • Sunscreen and lip protection with high SPF
  • Sunglasses and retainer strap
  • Personal first-aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Travel towel (see "Things to Consider")
  • Toiletry kit
  • Toilet kit: ditty bag: 1 roll toilet tissue, Ziploc bags, hand sanitizer or Wet Ones
Optional Field Gear
  • Trekking poles
  • One quart water bottle or hydration system (see "Things to Consider")
  • Camera, memory cards, batteries (see "Things to Consider")
  • Electrical adapter plug / converter
  • Travel pillow
  • Ear plugs and eye shade
  • Binoculars
  • Watch with alarm clock or travel clock
  • Spare contact lenses or glasses
  • Reading and writing materials
  • Favorite snack foods and drink mixes

Things to Consider

  • Always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing and medications in your carry-on baggage in case your luggage is delayed.
  • Mongolia has a dry, arid climate; consider packing extra amounts of lotions or moisturizers, lip balm and eye drops.
  • Bottled water will be provided while traveling outside of Ulaanbaatar. The bottles will be transported and recycled in-country. You can bring your own one quart water bottle and/or hydration system but please note they will be filled using individual bottles of water.
  • Carrying a large camera is not advised while participating in the horse and camel treks. Large cameras can spook the animals and potentially cause an accident. If you wish to take photographs while riding the horses and camels, please bring a compact camera.
  • The REI MultiTowel Lite or similar is recommended as a pack towel. See www.rei.com for details.
  • Laundry facilities are limited. We suggest hand washing quick-drying clothing items. Bringing a travel clothesline and a few packets of detergent are useful for this purpose.
  • Make sure your hiking shoes/boots are broken-in and bring moleskin Second Skin® or Blister Block® for foot treatment. Thin liner socks made of silk or synthetic fabrics worn under regular hiking socks may minimize the risk of blisters.
  • Bathroom facilities outside of Ulaanbaatar are often rustic, and you may not have access to a toilet while hiking during the day. Please bring a personal ditty bag with a roll of toilet tissue, Ziplock bags for disposal of soiled tissue, and a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Women should pack any necessary feminine hygiene supplies. Your ditty bag must be included in your daypack for all excursions.
  • During the summer months Mongolia has an average of 16 hours of daylight. The sun rises before 6:00 a.m. so wearing an eye shade could help you get a good night's sleep when camping.

Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
REI AdventuresMongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads
 
4.6

(based on 9 reviews)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Once in a lifetime experience (9)
  • Guides (8)
  • Activity level (7)
  • Well organized itinerary (6)
  • Exceeded expectations (5)

Cons

    Best Uses

        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Casual adventurer (5), Avid adventurer (3)
        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
        • Active adventures (7), Destination (7), I liked the itinerary (7), All the details planned for me (5), Commitment to sustainability (3)

      Reviewed by 9 customers

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      Displaying reviews 1-9

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      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Amazing Destination

      By Diane Mortenson

      from Minneapolis, MN

      About Me Casual Adventurer

      Pros

      • Activity Level
      • Exceeded Expectations
      • Guides
      • Once in a Lifetime Experience
      • Well Organized Itinerary

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

          Everyone that we met was extremely nice and welcoming. The Mongolian people are very nice and friendly. The food was really quite good, and they were able to accommodate my friend's vegetarian requests without any apparent difficulty. Our guide Aagii was able to change accommodations for us at the last minute while we were in the Gobi when a storm came up and we were suppose to have tented - instead she was able to facilitate our staying at a Ger camp. Her foresight and flexibility in this situation was much appreciated. Her knowledge of her country and culture and her willingness to share her insights truly made this a fabulous trip.

          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
          • Active Adventures, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
          • Why did you choose this trip?:
          • I was interested in seeing the Gobi and learning about a culture I didn't know much about.
          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
          • Everything! Visiting Hustai National park and seeing the wild Taki horses to camel trekking in the Gobi to seeing an emerging country find it's legs - it is difficult to choose. Our guide, Aagii, made our visit especially memorable. What a true ambassador for her country!
          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
          • The gear list that REI provides is great. It is very complete. Might want to consider bringing extra camera batteries for when you are away from the city as recharging is not always possible.

          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Mongolia; different kind of freedom.

          By purzelbaum

          from Morton Grove, Illinois

          About Me Adventurer - Over 60

          See all my reviews

          Site Member

          Pros

          • Accommodations
          • Activity Level
          • Exceeded Expectations
          • Food
          • Group Camaraderie
          • Guides
          • Isolated Beauty
          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
          • Quality Equipment Provided
          • Well Organized Itinerary

          Cons

          • Smog Chuckholes In Ub

          Best Uses

            Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

            The scenery was incredible. It's the place to lose oneself and gather your thoughts for a healthy break away from social media, emails, electronic toys, the masses and their questions. Our guide, Aagi, took very good care of us and was able to improvise quite well when we were rained & snowed of one night's we should have camped in the Gobi by Khongor Sand Dunes.
            The people, both the Mongols, the guide, the drivers and cooks in our group were amazing.

            • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
            • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary
            • Why did you choose this trip?:
            • No single reason to visit Mongolia -
              Ancient nomadic lifestyle still common, fresh air, space, peace and quiet, big blue skies, and the milky way hanging overhead at night.
              To understand a thing about Mongolia.
            • What was the highlight of your trip?:
            • Sparsely habited gers. Silence. Wild horses - Takhi. Deer roar call, howl of the wolf, soaring of vultures, raptors.
              Nomads with herds of horses, cattles, sheeps, goats, and camels roaming across the countryside.
              Endless dry steppes, clear skies, sunrise and sunset, stars at night. Areas with sand dunes Mountain ranges with narrow gorges, the famous Yolin Am (Ёлын Ам, Lammergeier Valley, Vulture Valley) is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains.
              Rock formations, flaming cliffs.
              Vast open space remind me there is Stillness where All of Creation Begins. A place where quiet is easily found and solitude does not come at a premium.
              Gorgeous People, the Mongolians say lovely things such as "wishing you good things and happy and safe journey"
            • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
            • If you bring US $, make sure the notes were printed after 2000 and crisp, there be less rejects. Also, large notes of 50$ and 100$ will get a better exchange rate.
              Many overland roads in Mongolia are only gravel roads or simple bumpy cross-country tracks. Brush up on Mongolia rich history, traditions, culture and gorgeous people. Bring razor blades, shaving cream, notebooks, pencils, chewing gum when visiting nomadic family. Oh yeh, you have to try the fine vodka and fermented mare's milk.

            (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            more than i expected by far!

            By mtnhombre

            from boulder colorado

            About Me Avid Adventurer, Over 50 active kid

            Pros

            • Activity Level
            • Amazing virgin landscapes
            • Exceeded Expectations
            • Excellent tasty meals
            • Fun knowledgable guide
            • Once in a Lifetime Experience

            Cons

            • Smoggy traffic of UB

            Best Uses

              Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

              get off the beaten path and see mongolia before it is mined and decimated.

              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
              • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Great gear great trips, I Liked the Itinerary
              • Why did you choose this trip?:
              • to explore the culture and landscape of this unique and fast-changing country.
              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
              • climbing a mountain of a sand dune.
              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
              • be ready for unexpected beauty, unique culture and for long drives on dusty, bumpy roads

              (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Special Trip!

              By Susan PB

              from Tokyo, Japan

              About Me Avid Adventurer

              Site Member

              Pros

              • Activity Level
              • Exceeded Expectations
              • Guides
              • Once in a Lifetime Experience

              Cons

                Best Uses

                  Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

                  The Three Camel Lodge is outstanding! We could have stayed there longer. Expect some fairly long drives on unpaved roads. That's how people travel in Mongolia.

                    • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                    • The camel riding in the Gobi desert was superbe! Over two days, we trekked into a remote but beautiful area with sand dunes and camped overnight. This experience was a 10+ and we loved our camel guide as well as found the camel riding to be really fun. One suggestion - bring a sand board!
                    • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                    • See Mongolia now before the life of the nomads changes too much due to urbanization and the mining boom.

                    (7 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Ten Stars for Mongolia

                    By CatCoop

                    from Mid-Atlantic

                    About Me Casual Adventurer

                    See all my reviews

                    Site Member

                    Pros

                    • Activity Level
                    • Group Camaraderie
                    • Guides
                    • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                    • Well Organized Itinerary

                    Cons

                    • Accommodations
                    • Food

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

                      Pros: The Hustai in August was covered with wildflowers and scented with wild sage; the Gobi was unexpectedly green with large patches of aromatic wild onions. Horseback riding, with a visit to a nomadic family and stops at historic sites along the way, was quite fun (and western saddles were provided). The warm hospitality of the nomadic families we visited, who would open their gers to a group of strangers and offer us food and drink, amazed me every time. Our guide, Baatar, took very good care of us and was able to improvise quite well when we were rained out of one night's camping in the Gobi. The Three Camel (eco)Lodge was rustic, but nice. There is much to see and do here, and it is nothing like what you see and do at home.

                      Cons: The hotel in Ulaan Baatar was not very nice. The quality of food throughout the trip was highly variable, downright nasty at times. While the camel riding was fun for a couple of hours, it was much longer, harder, and smellier than expected. Road travel, even within Ulaan Baatar, was rough indeed, and when you are outside of the city the "road" is usually a ungraded dirt track filled with ruts and potholes, diving up and down ravines, and the long jarring lurching jolting drives were difficult.

                      Overall, Mongolia is an amazing country that is finally coming into its own after years of repression by China then the Soviet Union. Its citizens are warm and friendly, and the rolling steppe and Gobi desert are starkly beautiful and photogenic. The mix of activities offered during this trip is quite good, because you don't do too much of one thing too many times in a row. Although there were some definite cons to the trip, I've given the pros ten stars out of ten, so overall I rate this trip as a must-do five.

                      • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                      • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                      • Why did you choose this trip?:
                      • The idea of going to a place so far out of the Western mainstream appealed to me.
                      • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                      • The warmth and openness of the nomadic families we met, who were blending the traditional herding lifestyle of their ancestors with modcons like solar panels and satellite dishes, was the greatest highlight of many on this trip.
                      • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                      • Unless you are a die-hard carnivore, I would recommend requesting the vegetarian option. Bring a trekking pole if you ever use one at home: there were three hikes where I was very glad I had mine. Definitely bring the recommended padded bicycle shorts, especially for the camel trekking. Bring small back-up camera for horse/camel riding. Bring antibiotics in case of GI upset.

                      (12 of 12 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Great trip but be sure you get the facts

                      By TrekkerGirrl

                      from Maryland

                      About Me Avid Adventurer

                      Pros

                      • Guides
                      • Once in a Lifetime Experience

                      Cons

                      • Accommodations
                      • Activity Level

                      Best Uses

                        Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

                        Mongolia is an incredible, vast, nomadic country that's on the cusp of something huge. Go now before it changes; in 5-10 years it will be a different beast. People are warm and inviting; the horseback riding is amazing; camel trekking was an eye opener in all the good ways; Gobi will blow your mind. The Three Camels Lodge is the highlight accommodation-wise; UB hotel something of a disappointment and not worth the money.

                        • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                        • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, I Liked the Itinerary
                        • Why did you choose this trip?:
                        • Mongolia has always seemed so far away, exotic and unknowable. Really wanted to travel there and had no idea what to expect.
                        • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                        • Gobi Desert - climbing a 900' sand dune. One of the most difficult climbs ever. Also, introducing toasted marshmallows to our horse wranglers at Lake Khovsgol.
                        • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                        • Make sure you understand from REI exactly what to expect, and then do investigating on your own anyway. Accommodations and activities were not quite as described by REI in the US; it's a mystery why their written materials aren't more accurate given the cost of a trip like this. Obvious communication deficiencies between in-country tour org in Mongolia and REI stateside.

                        (16 of 16 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        This is the first one do do twice

                        By monghoul

                        from Denver, Colorado

                        About Me Casual Adventurer

                        See all my reviews

                        Pros

                        • Accommodations
                        • Food
                        • Great bragging rights
                        • Guides
                        • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                        • Range of experiences
                        • Well Organized Itinerary

                        Cons

                        • Activity Level
                        • Burdensome tipping
                        • Second meal in UB

                        Best Uses

                          Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

                          One of the things I really enjoyed about this trip was the accomodations were comfortable rustic. It seems many trips these days are becomming too citified. The guide, BATAR, was a prize. Judging from the ride, the driver must have watched Hatari several times. The cooks in the back country were amazing. Also the horsemen treated us to an impromptu rodeo. The camels were a hoot. There was an unbelieveable variety of scenery. The sunsets and midnight skies in the desert are unbelieveable - better than those here in Colorado. Make your own plane arrangements or double check REI's to make sure they are OK. A fellow traveler made their own plane reservations returned home 15 hours earlier than I.

                          • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                          • Active Adventures, All the Details Planned for Me, Commitment to Sustainability, Destination, Good Value
                          • Why did you choose this trip?:
                          • This was somewhere I'd not been, the price was right and REI does a great job - no hiccups. This was my 13th trip with REI
                          • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                          • Trekking in the GOBI and the 3 Camels Ger Camp.
                          • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                          • Enjoy. This is an outstanding trip and Magolia hasn't been too touristed up yet so hurry. The food is great, but if you are a veggie, the choices may be limited in the back country. Also the second dinner in Ulann Bataar is at a trendy American chain restaurant. You may want to find a small local restaurant around the hotel area. Despite what the guide says the Hotel is an expensive place to convert your money, 7%. American dollars are accepted everywhere - even at the Ger camps so take a lot of ones and fives to have the correct change. Tipping is a little onorous. REI suggests a couple of bucks per day per person per traveler but the expected tip - according to the guide - is $8-9 per dayper person per traveler. So the gratuity total is over $200 per traveler. Activity level is not all that strenous. Hiking is mostly level and you can skip the steep part of the hike in the first leg of the trip. One can ride the van in the GOBI if it gets to be too much.

                          (11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Beautiful People, Beautiful Country

                          By Christy

                          from Asheville, NC

                          About Me Casual Adventurer

                          Pros

                          • Accommodations
                          • Activity Level
                          • Exceeded Expectations
                          • Food
                          • Group Camaraderie
                          • Guides
                          • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                          • Quality Equipment Provided
                          • Well Organized Itinerary

                          Cons

                            Best Uses

                              Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

                              The food is delicious and don't be afraid to try new things. Plenty of bottled water is provided. Be sure to bring your toilet paper and baggies for disposal.Although the campsites have an enclosed toilet tent and the ger camps have decent bathroom facilities, there will be occasions where the facilities will dicey at best. Just approach it with a sense of humor and remember it makes a great story to tell when you get home. Definitely bring bicycle shorts for the horseback and camel riding.

                              • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                              • Active Adventures, Destination, Good Value, I Liked the Itinerary, Travel with Like-minded Outdoor Enthusiasts
                              • Why did you choose this trip?:
                              • We wanted to try something completely different, something off the beaten track, to be immersed in a culture completely different from our own.
                              • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                              • It's hard to beat riding horses and camels to our campsites. The scenery was incredible. The people, both the Mongols and the people in our group were amazing. I see lifelong friendships in our future. We're already planning a reunion trip.
                              • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                              • Take everything you think you know about Mongolia and disregard it. This tour gives you the perfect opportunity to interact with a culture that is simple and complex, quietly friendly, and always delightful.

                              (11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              4.0

                              Great overview of beautiful country

                              By Carrie

                              from Columbus, OH

                              About Me Casual Adventurer

                              Pros

                              • Accommodations
                              • Activity Level
                              • Food
                              • Group Camaraderie
                              • Guides
                              • Once in a Lifetime Experience
                              • Quality Equipment Provided
                              • Well Organized Itinerary

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                  Comments about REI Adventures Mongolia Multisport: Through the Land of Nomads:

                                  The hiking day at the lake includes a pretty steep hike at the end that can be skipped by remaining at a plateau.
                                  The long hiking day at the desert can be cut in half by hiking in the morning and after lunch, driving to the camp site and sand dunes with a stop along the way to see a nomad family.

                                  • Why Did You Choose to Travel with REI Adventures?:
                                  • Destination, I Liked the Itinerary, Recommended by a Friend
                                  • Why did you choose this trip?:
                                  • To exprerience this unique country
                                  • What was the highlight of your trip?:
                                  • The people (native to Mongolia and those in the group).
                                  • What would be your advice to potential travelers?:
                                  • You don't need to bring your own water filtration/water bottles -- plenty of bottled water is supplied. A seated toilet tent is set up at each camp site so it is not au natural. Bring an empty duffel bag to pack the clothes/items you need for each excursion (lake and desert) so you can leave your large suitcase and extra clothes at the hotel. There are more people serving you that you should tip than you expect so bring more cash than you think you need (ex. a cook and 5 horse wranglers for three days; a cook, assistant and driver for three days plus 2 camel wranglers for a day; a driver for all other days). Bring padded bike shorts for the horse and especially the camel riding.

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