Mongolian Odyssey

4720 €

ITINERARY

Day 1, Ulaanbaatar - Khustai: Ulaanbaatar, meaning 'Red Hero', is the capital city of Mongolia. Situated on the Tuul River, it is a mixture of traditional and modern. The ornate flowing eaves of the monastery temples stand beside communist planned courtyards and modern sky scrapers. Khustai - In the 1990's, the world's most primitive horse, the Takhi (Przewalski's Horse) was reintroduced into Khustai Nuruu National Park after thirty years of extinction in the wild. This desert/steppe environment is also home to maral deer, steppe gazelle, boar, wolf and lynx.

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, greeted by your guide and driver. Head straight out to Khustai National Park. After an early dinner, take an evening jeep safari into the park to see the Takhi prehistoric horses. You may also spot deer, ibex, marmots - and if you're lucky, a wolf. Accommodation in a ger,dinner.

Travel Details : 1.5 hours drive UB - Khustai.

Day 2, Khustai - Khogno Khaan: This red rocky mountain (1967m) rising from the steppe is part of a 46,500 hectare natural reserve. Khogno Khaan is a perfect place for walking and horse riding and good for spotting ibex, wolves and many varieties of hawk. The ruins of Uvgun monastery, destroyed by the western Oirat Mongols in the 17th century, are hidden in one of its numerous valleys in the southern slope. The buildings are located in a serene bowl shaped valley and a walk up the steep valley sides offers grand views across the plains.The current monastery down on the valley floor was reopened in 1992.

After a scenic ride through open steppe, stop for a picnic by Bichigt Rocks, a site of ancients petroglyphs. Arrive after lunch at your destination and, once settled into the homely ger camp in the foothills of this mountain range, visit the small restored monastery complex of Uvgun Khiid. You may be shown around this historic place by one of the three generations of women that now run the temples. Perhaps take the opportunity to get your fortune told by the resident soothsayer. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: Approx. 5 hours drive Khustai - Khogno Khaan.

Day 3, Khogno Khaan - Bayangobi - Kharkhorin: Bayangobi, the most Northern part of the Gobi, is a unique combination of Bat Khaan mountains and desert- type sand dunes - the Mongol Els - which run for a distance of 200 kms. It is home to families of camel herders and provides a heartland alternative to the Gobi desert in the South. Kharkhorin, formerly known as Karakorum, was the once the capital of the Chinggis Khaan's Mongol empire in the 13th century.

In the morning take a 45-minute hike up into the mountains to explore the magnificent ruins of the first Uvgun monastery. Then it's off to Bayangobi for a picnic lunch. You may choose to ride camels on the sand dunes and/or horses in the open steppe nearby. Perhaps visit a family of nomadic camel herders who live near a small lake that attracts a wonderful bird life. Late afternoon you will arrive at Kharkhorin and settle into your gers. After dinner we hope you will enjoy a concert of Mongolian music that includes the art of Khoomi (throat) singing. . Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: 2.5 hours drive Khogno Khaan - Kharkhorin

Day 4, Kharkhorin - Erdene Zuu Monastery - Tsenkher Valleys: The remains of Kharkhorin, destroyed by the Manchurians, were used to help build Erdene Zuu (Hundred Treasures), the first Buddhist monastery, in the 16th century. 108 stupas are spaced evenly along the walls which enclose an area of 1,600 square metres and several temples which escaped the communist purges of the 1930's. Nestled in the foothills of the Khangai mountains, the Tsenkher Valleys contain some of the lushest green forested countryside of mountains and rivers in Mongolia.

In the morning visit Erdene Zuu Monastery in time to hear the young monks calling the other monks to prayer. Picnic by one of the ancient turtle rocks with fantastic views overlooking the Orhon valley, before visiting the monument of the 3 Empires and the aptly titled Fertility Stone. In the afternoon continue north through fertile valleys to a remote countryside spot where we have our own rustic Panoramic Journeys camp consisting of our own gers maintained by our nomadic family friends. Enjoy a walk, and swim or fish in the nearby river before tucking into some home cooked food or barbecue. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: 2.5 hours drive Kharkhorin - Tsenkher Valleys.

Day 5, Tsenkher Valleys - Chuluut Gorge - White Lake: The dramatic Chuluutin Gol Gorge runs along a fault line and the river below is a great fishing spot. Nearby, an ancient forest protects a vast tree covered in offerings including blue Khadags (ceremonial scarves). This is a famous tree and local legend tells that if you have lost something, when you sleep beneath the branches you will wake and remember where it is. (White Lake - see below)

Drive across rolling hills to the Bronze Age “deer stone”, sacred forest and to the dramatic Chullutin Gol Gorge where you stop for a picnic at this fantastic spot. Continue to tonight's ger camp in a valley east of White Lake, surrounded by mountains and an imposing volcano. The area is home to traditional yak herding families, their way of life unchanged for centuries in many ways. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: 7 hours drive Tsenkher Valleys - White Lake.

Day 6, White Lake: White Lake (Tsagaan Nuur) was formed by lava flows many millenia ago. Rare species of flowers and pine trees grow in the black volcanic soil and ancient lava flows streak out across the meadow which is home to alpine wildlife. This astonishingly beautiful crystal clear lake is renowned for its fish and birdlife, including the Ruddy Shellduck and Great Cormorant.

Walk from the camp along the local nomad trail over the back of the mountains to see the lake for the first time. Visit nomadic families and gain an understanding of their nomadic culture, their resilience and resourcefulness. Watch or take part in herding and milking the yaks. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: No long drive today, just local outings around the lake.

Day 7, White Lake - Khorgo Volcano: Khorgo Volcano, was reponsible for creating Tsagaan Nuur thousands of years ago, and is now extinct. The crater is accessible by foot or on horseback, providing excellent views of the lake and surrounding basalt-covered countryside. Local wildlife is also abundant and the area is a haven for birdwatchers.

In the morning climb to the summit of the volcano and walk around the crater rim. Delicious fish caught from the pristine lake for lunch before a horse ride, fish or bathe in the lake from the beach. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: No long drive today, just local outings around the lake.

Day 8, White Lake - Jargalant: The sleepy town of Jargalant makes for a useful stopover on the overland trail from the heartland to Lake Khovsgol in the North. Located in the northern Arkhangai province, the rocky roads make for few travellers - which make the region a more unspoilt haven of rugged beauty. The area is also noted for its natural hot springs.

Set out north into the mountains to Jargalant. Relax in the thermal baths at the ger camps and perhaps treat yourself to a massage. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: 4 hours drive White Lake - Jargalant

Day 9, Jargalant - Muron - Ushigiin Uver: Muron is the lively capital of Khovsgol province and bears the hallmarks of being a trading outpost close to the border with Russian Siberia, in that it is slightly wild and rough around the edges. However, this adds to its charm and unique atmosphere - none more so at the bustling market in the centre of town. Local hero Davaadorj, who fought against the Japanese at Khalkhiin Gol in 1939, is immortalized with a statue in the town's main square.

The road north to Muron is one of Mongolia’s less traveled routes and takes you through some stunning territory. Beautiful valleys and high mountain passes make for wonderful panoramic views. Visit the bustling market in Muron town and stock up on supplies, before a short drive west to the ancient deer stone site of Ushigiin Uver where a guide should be on hand to tell you about the carved stones and burial grounds before settling into the nearby ger camp. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: 6-7 hours drive Jargalant - Ushigiin Uver.

Day 10, Ushigiin Uver - Khatgal - Lake Khovsgol: The gateway to Khovsgol, the small charming town of Khatgal is located on the Southern tip of the lake. Wooden houses are the norm here due to the abundance of timber from the surrounding mountain forests. Known as the Blue Pearl of Mongolia, Lake Khovsgol is surrounded by mountains covered with pine forests and lush meadows. Containing between 1% and 2% of the world’s fresh water it is the second largest lake in Central Asia. It is 136 kilometres long and 36 kilometres wide and at 1645m above sea level it's whole length is frozen from January to May.

Drive north to Khatgal, and pick up a take-away lunch of Mongolian buuz and hushuur at a guanz (cafe) before heading north to the lake, whose vastness appears in all its majesty after crossing Jankhai Pass. Drive along the western shore of the lake to the ger camp at Toilogt. In the afternoon maybe a leisurely horseride or walk along the lakeshore, before relaxing with a drink on the terrace of the ger camp overlooking the sunset across the water. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: 4.5 hours drive Ushigiin Uver - Khovsgol.

Day 11, Lake Khovsgol - Khoridol Saridag Mountains: The Khoridol Saridag Mountains to the west of Lake Khovsgol are home to 68 species of mammal including musk deer, brown bear, lynx, marten, beaver, elk, reindeer, moose, argali, ibex and wolf. Here the teepee dwelling Dukha folk herd reindeer, and the region has strong shamanic roots.

Ride or hike with local Darkhat guides up through the meadows and Siberian forests into the Khoridol Saridag Mountain range. On your return to the lake it may be possible to enter a shaman’s ger and be present as he journeys into the spirit world. (This will depend on the lunar calendar and other events.) Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: No long drive today, just local outings around the lake.

Day 12, Lake Khovsgol - Tsaatan Visit: The Tsaatan, or 'reindeer’ people, are a tiny ethnic group living on the fringes of civilization in the rugged mountains of North Mongolia, close to the border with Russian Siberia. There are only around 80 Tsaatan families, spread over an area of 100,000km2. They live in teepees, rather than gers, and have little contact with other humans for much of the year. Their entire existence is based on reindeer –total population under 1,000 - which provide milk, skins, transport and meat.

Day to rest at the camp at the lagoon on the shores of Lake Khovsgol. Fishing, kayaking, walking or even more riding if you wish. You may have an opportunity to visit a family of Tsaatan reindeer herders (or Darkhat) who live in the area - be invited into a teepee, taste some reindeer cheese, and learn about the lifestyle of these reclusive people. At the end of the day you may like to make use of the small sauna at the camp. Accommodation in a ger, breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Travel Details: No long drive today, just local outings around the lake.

Day 13, Lake Khovsgol - Ulaanbaatar: Ulaanbaatar boasts some impressive museums and a wide selection of restaurants. It is also a great place to pick up some quality cashmere and other traditional Mongolian products.

A last morning relaxing by the lake before heading back to Muron in time for your flight back to UB. Evening at your leisure in the capital. Accommodation in a hotel, breakfast and lunch.

Travel Details: 4-5 hours drive Khovsgol – Muron.

Day 14, Ulaanbaatar - Gandan Monastery - History Museum - Shopping: Gandantegchinlen Khiid (Gandan for short) is the largest and most important monastery in Mongolia. The monastery's main attraction is the magnificent Migjid Janraisig Temple which houses a 25m high, 20 ton guilded statue. It is a working monastery with ceremonies every morning and 150 monks in residence.

After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel, head off to Gandan monastery in time to watch the ceremonies which take place mid-morning. Visit the excellent Museum of National History and gain an understanding of Mongolia’s remarkable past. Before you leave Mongolia you may want to stock up on some of the things that have caught your eye during your stay and other items that can be purchased at very reasonable prices. We'll be on hand to guide you around the State Department Store, Gobi Cashmere and the Central Market, where haggling and vigilance are top of the agenda! A last dinner at one of our favorite restaurants rounds off the day. Accommodation in a hotel, breakfast and dinner.

Travel Details: No long drive today, just local outings around the city.

Day 15, Ulaanbaatar - Home: After the breakfast in the hotel you will be transferred to the airport.

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love. We love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Baba Dioum, Senegalese Poet.

The ultimate cultural journey to the land of Chinggis Khan and the Mongol Empire, incorporating Buddhist temples, excellent museums and historical sites. We see a traditional nomadic way of life unchanged for centuries and natural gems in a country of invigorating scale and beauty.

Mongolia is one of the world's best-kept secrets. Three times the size of France and with more horses than people, it is one of Asia's last unspoilt destinations. Nomadic Herders still roam the steppe as they have since the time of Chinggis Khaan. A visit to this stunning land is an invigorating experience.

On a Devri Alem Journey immerse yourself in the staggering beauty and warm hospitality of Mongolia. Experience the vast landscapes and rich cultural and natural heritage of this wonderful country. We invite you to get under the surface of this unique land. We give you opportunities to not be tourists but privileged guests of Mongolia.

Let our experience of this spectacular country and its wonderful people make your stay inspiring, fulfilling and memorable.

Mongolia is a magical country, and every month of the year provides a different reason to visit - July for the spectacle of Naadam, September for the autumn colours around Lake Khovsgol, February for the magical Ice Festival, to name just a few. However, June, often mistakenly overlooked, provides a wonderful opportunity to see the Mongolian countryside at its best.

The freshness of spring brings with it a depth of beauty and burgeoning expectation - lush heartland greenery, mountain meadows filled with flowers, fattening herds, hearty ruddy-faced nomads tending to the newborn livestock and reveling in the onset of summer.

Mongolia has always been a land of mystery. As the Mongol armies stormed their westwards in the twelfth century, our European leaders feared the worst. Who were these terrifying warriors and where were they from? The first envoys returned with incredible stories that stirred the imagination of Europe.

Whilst we aim to give clients 'the best of Mongolia', and in the best possible comfort, the infrastructure of the country is such that we simply can't promise Western-style luxury at every stage of the trip. And neither would we want to, since this would destroy the magic of the country and not allow our guests to experience the beautifully remote places we visit, coupled with an insight into the nomadic culture and heritage. So, what I'm trying to say is that we don't want to over-promise 'luxury'. We do the best there is given the fact that we are in Mongolia, but unfortunately we have had experience of some very ignorant people coming to Mongolia expecting their entire Western lifestyle to be catered for at every turn. We need to manage all your expectations sensibly and anticipate your needs.

Naadam is very recommended as it is the main annual festival, and if you know nothing about Mongolian geography or culture then you will be very satisfied with this trip and have an amazing time. It includes going into the nomadic heartland of Mongolia, seeing the old capital of Chinggis Khaan at Kharkhorin, witnessing the Naadam festival there, seeing monasteries, visiting nomadic families, going to palaeontological sites in the desert, walking the dunes, staying in rustic authentic but comfortable/stylish accommodation, with good local & western style food. We also have some of the best drivers and guides around, and we could make sure these are available for your clients.

However, if you have specific interests in Mongolia - i.e. some people like mountains and lakes, so love going up to Lake Khovsgol in the North; others are interested in the Kazakh culture in Western Mongolia where they hunt with golden eagles and there is an eagle festival in October please let us know if you would be interested in things like these. Mongolia is a country where people can be disappointed if you don't do your research on where you want to spend the short 2 week holiday. It is a massive country after all - 3 times the size of France, but the most sparsely populated place on earth.

FESTIVALS

NAADAM FESTIVAL
The Naadam Festival is the biggest event of the Mongolian year! Naadam, which means "games", is celebrated in every town and village across the country. It features the three manly sports: wrestling, archery and horse racing. The strongest wrestlers, fastest horses and expert marksmen come together to compete for the National title.

Imagine the magnificent spectacle of 500 stallions and their brightly dressed jockeys thundering bareback over the steppe at the end of a thirty-kilometre race. Imagine the haunting sound of the jockeys, who are boys and girls as young as six years old, singing to encourage their horses past the crowd to the finishing post.

This ancient festival dates back many centuries and was originally created as a celebration during weddings or spiritual gatherings. It later served as a way to train soldiers for battle. Chinggis Khan's nine yak tails, representing the nine tribes of the Mongols, are still ceremonially transported from Sukhbaatar Square to the Stadium to open the festivities. At these opening and closing ceremonies there are impressive parades of mounted cavalry, athletes and monks.

The wrestlers display their strong physique in a warm up "Eagle Dance" whilst their coaches announce their heroic deeds. Then over a dozen pairs will fight simultaneously in front of an excited audience. The round ends when one of the contestants touches the ground with their knee or elbow. Meanwhile, men, women and children compete, shooting arrows at a target sixty meters away. Since ancient times, this has been accompanied by singing of folk songs to cheer the competitors on.

THE REINDEER FESTIVAL
The Reindeer Festival takes place at the end of June beside Lake Khovsgol in the forested mountains of Mongolia's most northerly province. The festival is a celebration of nomadic life, shamanism and Tsataan tradition. The festival pays homage to the reindeer, spiritual symbol of the Darkhad and the life-blood of Tsataan culture. The event includes an Opening ceremony praising the spirits of the mountains and lake, Reindeer Racing and Showing, shaman rituals, craft fair and concert as well as boasting well-contested traditional Naadam events of Wrestling (in which foreign gentlemen may enter), Archery and Horseracing. This is a well-organized, atmospheric day, which is very popular with the local people.

THE YAK FESTIVAL
Join local herders at the annual Yak Festival on 1st and 2nd of August in the northern Khangai Mountains. The event lakes place in a picturesque valley beneath the extinct "Khorgo" Volcano at Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake. Nomadic culture is very strong here and the area has one of the highest concentrations of yaks in the world. The event is eagerly anticipated by the community and great fun is had by all. The event includes yak racing and showing, wild stallion and yak rodeo riding, milking contests and of course the traditional Naadam events of horse racing, wrestling (yes gentlemen, you can have a go here too) and archery. This is another fantastic, well run festival in a stunning location.

THE EAGLE FESTIVAL
Run by the Mongolian Eagle Hunter's Association, this festival is held during the first weekend in October. It showcases the lives and livelihoods of many of the nomadic people of Mongolia's westernmost province Bayan Olgii. Heavily imbued with neighbouring Kazakhstan's heritage, culture and language, the people and the landscape are markedly different from other parts of Mongolia.

Dark, rocky mountainous terrain forms the backdrop to the festivities which incorporate an opening ceremony, parade, cultural exhibitions, demonstrations and handcrafts in the centre of town followed by sporting activities and competitions 4km out towards the mountains. Dressed in full eagle hunting regalia and mounted on groomed decorated horses, the entrants compete for the awards of Best Turned Out Eagle and Owner; Best Eagle at Hunting Prey and Best Eagle at Locating Its Owner from a Distance. Other sporting activities include horse racing, archery and the highly entertaining Bushkashi - goatskin tug of war on horseback

HORSE CULTURE

Mongolia's history and culture is inextricably linked to horses. Nomads learn to ride as soon as they can walk to a horse. The Mongolian language is imbued with the omnipresence of the horse culture. For instance horse references are found in terms of respect for welcoming someone "have you ridden well?" or "ride in peace". When a nomad wants to indicate that they are going to the bathroom, they simply say that they are "going to see my horse". The word for "poor" is formed from the verb "to go on foot".
Unlike Westerners, Mongolians don't give their horses names. They consider it enough to distinguish them by their colour. Their vocabulary is so precise in terms for the nuances of a horse's coat that despite the number of horses in vicinity, there is never any confusion about which horse he is referring to.

FLORA, FAUNA & NATURAL HERITAGE

Few countries in the Northern Hemisphere compare to Mongolia in the size, diversity and health of its natural ecosystems. Here the high Altai Mountains, Siberian taiga forest, Central Asian steppe and vast Gobi desert converge to provide a variety of habitats and rich biodiversity.

Mongolia is a wild treasure with over 150 endemic plants and a list of internationally endangered animal species including snow leopard, saiga antelope, argali sheep, Gobi bear, wild ass and white-napped crane. Przewalski's horse has been successfully reintroduced here into the wild after an extensive breeding programme overseas.
Mongolians have a deep respect for their natural heritage. Conservationists by tradition, they have relied directly on the land for food and materials since ancient times. They are proud to have had the world's first nature reserve. Today 13.2% of the country is protected, with a targeted increase to 30%.

Mongolia is the habitat of 140 mammal species, 390 bird, 20 reptile and 76 fish species. Because this zone has been spared from harmful human activity, it provides habitats for representative and often rare species. There are an estimated 28 species of endangered mammals living in Mongolia. This includes the wild ass, wild camel, Gobi argali sheep, Gobi bear, Ibex and black tailed gazelle as well as various wolves, antelopes and jerboas. There are also 59 species of endangered birds including many species of hawk, falcon, buzzard, crane and owl.

Many specimens of Mongolian flora have yet to be classified. Of the 150 endemic plants in the country, more than 100 are listed as endangered or rare species. In the 1990's worlds most primitive horse, the takhi (Prewalski's horse), was reintroduced into protected reserves, after thirty years of extinction in the wild.
All of our itineraries take time to enjoy Mongolia's flora and fauna. Contact us to find out which best suits your interests.

CLIMATE

Mongolia is one of the highest countries in the world, with Ulaanbaatar, at 1,350m above sea level, being one of Eurasia's highest capitals. Average altitude is 1,580m. The highest point is Khuiten Peak (4,653m) in the west and the lowest is Khokh Nuur Lake (532m) in the east. Mongolia is known as the “Land of the Blue Sky” and enjoys around 250 sunny days a year, often with clear cloudless skies.

The high central Asian mountain ranges protect the country against the humid air masses which move in from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans creating an extreme continental climate. The climate is arid with the humidity at zero.

Despite the average temperatures given in the table below, Mongolia weather is known for its sharp fluctuations due to changes in wind direction. Daily temperatures may fluctuate by as much as 20C-30C. Southern Mongolia (the Gobi Desert) has the hottest temperatures at 40C in the summer while Khovsgol in the North has the coldest winter temperatures at –45C-52C. Snow and rainfall are very low. The mean annual precipitation is 200 - 300mm of which 80 to 90% falls within the months May to September. However, enough rain does occur in July and August to swell rivers and snow blizzards can occur in winter. The highest peaks have small glaciers.

Mongolia is the land of spring winds. In the Gobi and steppe areas winds often develop into devastating dust storms, reaching a velocity of 15-25 metres per second.

FOOD

Good food is an essential part of any holiday. In Ulaanbaatar, you may be surprised by the range of restaurants and the delicious food available everything from Indian to Mexican…not forgetting some quality Mongolian food too. In the countryside the food is more simple nomad fare, you will sample traditional foods such as Khorkhog – goat meat steamed in an urn with hot stones, Buuz – meat dumplings, Tsuvan – fried meat with noodles. Ger camps will provide a mix of western and Mongolian style dishes for your dinner and breakfast. Lunch generally consists of our famous picnic with carefully chosen goodies from local markets and Ulaanbaatar supermarkets.

ACCOMMODATION

NOMADIC CULTURE

GERS

Over half of the Mongolian population live in Gers. These round, squat tents are ideal for the nomads way of life, for they are easily collapsed and moved. They are made from quick drying felt which can withstand harsh winds, rain and snow. They are always put up so that the door is facing south towards the Sun.

There are many superstitions and beliefs associated with living in a Ger. The hearth symbolises links with the ancestors and thus it is a sin to desecrate it in any way. There are very particular places and methods for things inside a Ger. The Northern wall opposite the door is an honoured place; this is where one often finds an altar with framed photos upon it. Men keep their saddle and koumiss bag on the western side of the Ger, here they believe they are protected by heaven. The women keep their utensils to the eastern side of the Ger where they are looked after by the sun.

Mongolian's are aware that visitors from other countries do not share the same traditions and are not likely to be offended by guest's cultural "faux pas". However adhering to the believes and social codes is good practise and will be respected by your hosts.

In the Mongolian countryside, accommodation is in ger camps. In these ‘countryside hotels’ each couple has their own comfortable, stove lit, traditional ger. Ger camps have western style bathroom facilities and hot showers are available at certain times of the day.

HOTEL

In the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, we stay at one of the cities best hotel Ulaanbaatar Hotel which was established in 1961 is considered as a pioneer of contemporary hotel business in Mongolia. Since then Ulaanbaatar hotel has been serving for business travelers, tourists, and foreign and domestic guests for more than forty years and gained vast experience in this area. The hotel offers beautifully enriched and fully equipped 106 comfortable guestrooms, including 43 deluxe and junior suites, all of them recently renovated.

The hotel was awarded “The Best Hotel 2005” in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar Hotel is located 17 km from the airport, 3 km from the railway station, 300 m from Sukhbaatar Square and Government Palace. Close to the state and government agencies, cultural and entertainment centers, business organizations and shopping malls.
s (4 star), which is just off central Sukhbaatar square.

'We reserve the right to change hotel details, as on rare occasions it may be necessary to use a different hotel of a similar standard'.

Maximum Participants: Guaranteed departure for minimum 2, maximum 12 participants. Private itineraries for Tailor-Made trips for small groups can be arranged.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do you provide tailor made programs for Mongolia?
Yes we do. Please contact us for more details.

Are there hotels and logdes in the countryside?
There aren't lodges in the countryside, only gers. The accommodation is all in gers, but at a very high standard.

Do the transportation cars have air conditioning?
Usually we use the characterful Russian UAZ furgons as vehicles. They are mechanically more reliable on the roads and look more fitting with the surroundings. However, they don't have air conditioning. So, if this is a priority, then we will rent Land Cruisers which have air conditioning instead with an extra cost.

Are there ventilation in the gers?
Ventilation is a natural part of a ger: the roof has a flap that can be opened, there is a door, and the undersides of the felt around the base of the ger are often turned up and tied back to let air through. However, it is never too hot in a ger (except if the fire is too hot - if it is on at all, as it is rarely used in summer). They are perfectly designed - hence the fact they still live in them like they did 500 years ago - to keep out the cold in winter, and to keep out the heat in summer.

Are there hair drier connection in the gers and lodges and in a hotel?
We advise clients to bring relevant plug adaptors to fit into Mongolian sockets. In the Ulaanbaatar hotel there is electricity, the plug extensions sometimes are fully converted to accept all plugs, and the rooms have hair driers. In gers there are no electricity, but we will have a cigarette lighter socket adaptor in the car to plug things like phones/ipods/cameras/hair dryers/irons into.

Are credit cards acceptable around the country?
Dollars, Euros and travelers cheques can all be exchanged for local currency in Mongolia, although travelers’ cheques are accepted in fewer outlets. It is possible to withdraw money with debit cards from cash point machines in Ulaanbaatar, and over the counter at some banks (passports usually required as well, depending on the bank). Credit cards are accepted in many of the “touristy” shops in both cities. Whilst in the countryside in Mongolia, only cash is accepted in the vast majority of places.

How much money shall I bring to the country?
It is always difficult to give advice to people when we do not know their spending habits and penchants in advance. However our advice - a per person cash amount of € 150-300 (based on a 2-3 week trip), with the option to purchase/withdraw further using credit/debit cards for significant purchases (cashmere, leather goods, caviar, musical instruments, fur, antiques)

Credit and debit card charges made automatically by your bank/Mongolian banks for withdrawals and payments do apply, as is mostly the case whenever traveling abroad. In Mongolia these charges can be as high as 3% when paying for items by card – but cash withdrawals at ATMs tend to have lower charges/no charges (although sometimes ‘hidden’ by a non-beneficial exchange rate).

How about tipping?
Either individually or as a group, you may like to place any “Tip” in an envelope and give it to your guide(s) and driver(s) before your departure. We hesitate to give guidelines for this voluntary “thank you”. As a guideline, and from experience, the local currency/$ equivalent of between € 1,5-2 per traveller per day would be appreciated by all concerned. This fluctuation in range is up to your personal choice, but also may be affected by length of trip (i.e. if you are on a 3-week trip you are unlikely to tip 45 € each (15 € is probably more realistic), and whether you are traveling as a larger unit within the group, in which case a reasonable group amount which works out at a lower per person share is also more applicable.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

None of our tour packages cover any international flights. In other words, all of our tour packages are inclusive of land only services. We have the following reasons :

• You may have your own favorite airline you used to fly with. We do not want to limit you with any airline specified by us.
• You may have your own class (business, first, etc.) you used to fly with. We do not want to limit you with an economy class ticket specified by us.
• You may be a member of an airline loyalty program. We do not want you to lose your miles.
• You may have miles enough to purchase your own ticket. We do not want you to lose your advantage.
• You may have an agreed IATA Agency that provides your and your companies flight tickets. You may have contractual advantages to take benefit of. We do not want you to lose your advantage.

If you say “above reasons do not interest me, I want to get this service also from you”, we will be more than happy to provide you the following services :

• best available seat reservation,
• best available price,
• best available payment alternatives,
• inform your loyalty program about your miles,
• other services related to your flights,

Besides international flights by scheduled airlines, we also provide rent a car, bike, van, midibus, coach, boat, helicopter and jet with/without driver, in and out of Turkey. Please contact us for more details.

VISA

Employers

1. An official letter from your company (with a letterhead of your company) is required indicating your purpose of trip to the related country (touristic, business, etc), stamped and signed by the authorized person(s).
2. Commercial activity certificate of your company from Chamber of Commerce or Chamber of Industry dated last 6 months.
3. Recent tax certificate(photocopy) of your company.
4. Signature circular(photocopy) of your company.
5. Trade gazette (mark your name, if you’ve a partnership).
6. Personal or company bank account book.
7. 2 Recent passport-sized digital photograph (photographs must have white background).

Employees

1. An official letter from your company(with a letterhead of your company) is required indicating your purpose of trip to the related country(touristic, business, etc), stamped and signed by the authorized person(s).
2. Photocopy of your SSK registration approved by SSK.
3. Photocopy or the original of your payroll for the last 3 months.
4. Documents 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 listed under “Employers” header above.

Housewives

1. A letter to the consulate or the embassy indicating the purpose of your trip to the related country.
2. Evidence of property owned(house, land, etc.).
3. Documents showing your husband’s business status (according to his job all related documents mentioned under each header is required additionally).
4. Personal bank account book.

Retirees

1. A letter to the consulate or the embassy indicating the purpose of your trip to the related country.
2. Retirement book and account book of the bank showing the retirement salary.
3. Evidence of property owned (house, land, etc.).

Students

1. A letter to the consulate or the embassy indicating the purpose of your trip to the related country.
2. Student registration document from your school.
3. Your parent’s business status documents (according to their jobs all related documents mentioned under each header is required additionally).

Further to above, additional documents required by the consulates/embassies of each country are as follows.

ITALY

• Visa application form must be fully completed in capital letters.
• 1 recent passport-sized digital photograph (must have white background).
• Photocopies of pages 1 to 4 and last page of your current passport as well as photocopies of the pages of your passport showing Schengen visa/s issued before.
• Empty visa page is required.
• Travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 during your stay in Italy.
• A letter (with a letterhead) addressed to the consulate/embassy from your employer stating that during your stay in Italy “in case of any accidents or health problems, all expenses will be paid by them immediately”.
• An invitation letter from Italy.
• The company in Italy sending an invitation letter should fax its commercial registeration record to the consulate in Istanbul and to the invited company; this fax document must be included within your application documents.
• Signature circular valid for the last 1 year.
• Original commercial activity certificate valid for the last 3 months.
• SSK documents of the employee benefit paid by the company for the last 4 months (original and photocopy).
• Payroll for the last 4 months.
• Company’s bank account transactions document for the last 6 months by the bank.
• Photocopies of the confirmed hotel reservation document in Italy and confirmed airline round-trip booking document.

SWITZERLAND

• For the first time visitors of Switzerland, visa is issued for a short period.
• If you do not have a previous visa to Switzerland, for commercial visits an invitation letter from Switzerland should be faxed to the consulate and a photocopy of this fax document must be included within application documents.
• For touristic visa application, photocopies of current account book or credit cards must be included within application documents.
• In the application form, the purpose of your trip must be explained very clearly.

GERMANY

• If you do not have a previous Schengen visa given by German Consulate, you should apply personally for a commercial visa. If the departure date to Germany is not certain then instead of the departure date, a note of “because of commercial visit” should be written instead on the application letter.
• 2 Recent passport-sized digital photograph (photographs must have white background).
• On the application letter, the purpose of the trip, departure date, occupation of the visitor must be written. On the letter it should be stated that “incase of any accidents or health problems in any Schengen country, all expenses will be paid by your company immediately” and “it is guaranteed that the visitor will definitely return before the necessary visa expires”.
• Travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 is required during your stay in Germany.
• Application form and letter must be signed by the applicant.

FRANCE

• Confirmed hotel reservation document in France and a photocopy of confirmed airline round-trip booking document.
• A travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 during your stay in France.
• For commercial applications, there must be a commercial invitation letter received from France.

CZECH REPUBLIC

• The visa is obtained in 5 working days.
• Your passport must be valid for at least 3 months beyond your return date.
• Photocopies of the following pages of your passport are required; page with photo, page that indicates the validity of the passport and last page where your ID information is written.
• Original application form must be clearly filled in by the applicant and must be signed by the owner of the passport. This form must be filled in with capital letters, one box is reserved for one letter and all boxes must be filled in properly. Please do not write any letter out of the boxes.
• In case of necessity the Consulate might require additional documents from the applicant.
• Photocopies of your personal bank account book and credit cards.
• Visas can be obtained free of charge. There is no visa charge!

HOLLAND

• Confirmed hotel reservation document in France and a photocopy of confirmed airline round-trip booking document.
• Travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 during your stay in Holland.

ENGLAND

• Application must be made at least 3 weeks before the trip.

BELGIUM

• Touristic / commercial etc. visa application to Belgium must be done personally.

EGYPT

• The visa cannot be obtained before 7 working days.
• While applying to the visa, only the documents are taken and passport is given back. In 5 working days you
will be called by the consulate to bring your passport again and after then the visa is issued and passport is given back to you in 2 working days.
• Touristic visa is issued in 2 working days.

AUSTRALIA

• All application documents are requested both in Turkish and in English.

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

• Touristic / commercial etc. visa applications to USA must be done personally.

Other than the above Schengen countries, all Schengen countries below request travel health insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 during your stay in the related countries.

• Austria (no agency applications, personal applications)
• Belgium (no agency applications, personal applications)
• Denmark
• Finland
• Iceland
• Spain (for green passport holders, visa is not required for trips less than 90 days
• Sweden
• Luxembourg
• Norway
• Portugal
• Greece

TRAVEL INSURANCE

As a result of the valuable efforts of the Turkish Ministry Of Tourism, the travel insurance is now obligatory for all travelers by law. In addition, we kindly would like to aware you that most of the countries and their related consulates require a health insurance with a minimum coverage limit of Euro 30.000 to confirm your visa.

During your travel, you may have some health problems and high expenditures accordingly. Lost baggage, robbery, lost ticket, law issues, etc. are also within the possibilities of a travel. We highly reccomend a travel insurance to financially protect yourself abroad.

HEALTH INSURANCE

If you do already have a health insurance please double check if it is valid in and out of Turkey and if it covers also lost baggage, robbery, lost ticket, law issues, etc. Please be aware that some insurances are very cheap and do not cover most of the above mentioned topics. Please do not forget that the coverage limitations of an insurance is the most important thing to know.

TRAVEL CANCELLATION INSURANCE

Most of our products are valuable, non-refundable, having an advance purchase period of 2 or 3 months. After making the payment, it is not possible to get a refund and if you need to cancel your trip under specific circumstances, you should have a cancellation insurance to protect your financial loss. It is at your own risk to have a cancellation insurance or not.

We are always at your disposal to assist you in purchasing any travel, health and/or travel cancellation insurance. For more information, please apply to one of our travel advisers either by e-mail or phone.

DEVRI ALEM OUTGOING TOUR PACKAGE TERMS AND CONDITIONS

Devri Alem will act as a sponsoring organization and has selected qualified professional tour operators to organize and administer all travel packages announced in this web site and other exclusive medias. The designated tour operator(s), in turn, acts only as agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with these tours (other providers), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. The passenger tickets in use by the carriers shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the passenger; the carriers are not responsible for any act, omission, or event during the time participants are not aboard their conveyances.

Devri Alem and its designated tour operator and tour administrator shall not be held liable for :

a-) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, watercraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and

b-) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent, thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control. The participant waives any claim against Devri Alem and/or its designated tour operator and tour administrator for any such loss, damage, injury, or death.

By registering for the Devri Alem trips, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. Devri Alem and its designated tour operator reserve the right in their sole discretion to accept, decline to accept, or remove any participant on a Devri Alem trip.

Devri Alem and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in their judgment, conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of participants.

Neither Devri Alem, its designated tour operator, nor its tour administrator shall be liable for any air carrier's cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the participant's Devri Alem trip departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant.

Basis of Prices; otherwise stated, all prices are based on two persons sharing a room or cabin or compartment. All prices and fares are quoted in Euros. The rates are based on current tariffs and are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, if it is necessary to levy a surcharge we reserve the right to do so and notification will be given at the time of final invoicing.

Eligibility; anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the entire journey. For family trips, children must be the minimum age indicated in the trip itinerary. Otherwise, there are no age restrictions, but all participants must be in good health.

Payments, Cancellations, and Refunds; a deposit of 35% of the package price is required for each person to reserve space on Devri Alem trips. Final payment is due no later than 60 days prior to departure. Devri Alem reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by 60 days prior to departure. For reservations made within 60 days of the departure date, full payment is required when the reservation is accepted. All cancellation notices must be received in writing and will become effective as of the date of the postmark. If you cancel 120 days or more prior to departure, a refund less an administrative fee of EUR 200 of your deposit will be made. Per person charges for cancellations that occur less than 120 days prior to departure are as follows:
119-61 days prior to departure: 100% of your deposit amount;
60-45 days prior to departure: 50% of the trip price;
44 or fewer days prior to departure: 100% of the trip price

Some products payments, cancellations, refunds and general policies may be different than the above and will be advised to you at time of reservation by your travel consultant.

This policy also applies to pre- and post-trip extensions. Any airline tickets issued are subject to the carrier's refund policy.

If you cancel your package and find yourself a suitable person to take over the contractual obligations (but only if the cancelled space is still available), No cancellation fee is to be paid.

Leaving a trip in progress, for any reason whatsoever, will not result in a refund, and no refunds will be made for any unused portions of the trip. Devri Alem reserves the right to cancel any trip because of inadequate enrollment that makes the trip economically unfeasible to operate or because of good-faith concerns with respect to the safety, health, or welfare of the participants. If Devri Alem or its designated tour operator cancels a trip prior to departure, you will receive a full refund of monies paid to Devri Alem or its designated tour operator, except in the event the cancellation is due to a major global event which has resulted in the cancellation of multiple trips, in which case, you will receive a refund and/or credit equivalent to monies paid to Devri Alem or its designated tour operator. If we cancel the trip in progress, you will receive a prorated refund based on the number of days not completed on the trip. We will not be responsible for any refund for nonrefundable airline tickets or for any airline tickets purchased by the passenger directly from an airline or travel agent.

Guests who have not signed this terms and conditions but participating a trip with a person who has paid for the trip and signed this terms and conditions, they do automatically accept all these terms and conditions.

Travel, health and cancellation insurance is available at an additional cost, and is strongly recommended and advised.

Itinerary Changes; the itineraries and staff presented here are subject to modification and change by Devri Alem or its designated tour operator. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but alterations may still occur after final itineraries are sent.

Health Requirements; you must be in good physical and mental health. Any physical condition requiring special attention, diet, or treatment must be reported in writing when the reservation is made. Devri Alem and its designated tour operator reserve the right to decline to accept any person as a member of a trip or to require any traveler to withdraw from a trip anytime when such action is determined to be in the best interest of the health, safety, and general welfare of the trip group or individual trip member.

Medical Precautions; for some of the trips to be realised in wilderness and similar destinations such as the Amazons, some countries in Agrica, etc, Devri Alem may require Yellow Fever Vaccination, Malaria Prophylaxis, etc. due to the CDC (Center of Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) recommendations.

Photography and Video; we reserve the right to take photographs or videos during the operation of any trip or part thereof, and to use the resulting photography for promotional purposes. By booking a reservation with Devri Alem, participants agree to allow their images to be used in such photography; participants who prefer that their image not be used are asked to identify themselves to their travel consultant at the time of booking.

Other; additional Terms and Conditions may apply to some trips and will be provided with pre-trip mailings.

By registering for a Devri Alem trip, the participant agrees to the Responsibility statement and the Terms and Conditions herein.

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