Mongolian tour guide

Story of Pearl of Mongolia travel

We are Enza Tours LLC the Mongolian travel agency. We would like to share the story.

One of our lovely tourist family from India, we hope that they have a wonderful time in Mongolia. We offered different Mongolian travel destinations and they chose Pearl of Mongolia tour. So let’s read about the story!

Click here to check Dr Preethi Anand’s Blog

Sain baina uu! Greeted a friendly smile at the airport. Mongolians are simple, warm people.

Having travelled some 40 odd countries, I was looking for something different for this time around, something challenging and wanted to see something Real, get dirty, and get adventurous too and no phone services or no 4G! Wanted to go to a place where no one spoke English and wondered where we were from.

Travelling with an eight-year-old, I thought, would not permit me to go too adventurous, as it turns out, it can be, in fact, more fun than I imagined in doing non-conventional things. Never underestimate the spirit of a child!

May is a month of Joy for us since we celebrate two birthdays just three days apart.

somewhere in between Ulaanbaatar and Amarbayasgalant

Our tour started with our Furgon loaded with our things, food supplies etc. for the next few days. A drive of about 400 km off the road was the plan to reach the monastery Amarbayasgalant. It lies in a calm and peaceful Iven valley near Selenge River, at the foot of the Mount “Buren-Khaan”.

So how exactly was Mongolia even different from the rest of my travel?

"It was awesome; it is the most beautiful landscape that I have ever seen, and yet I am not able to verbalize how beautiful Mongolia was. I can‘t find those words to describe what I really saw. I am once again attempting to summarise and relive my extraordinary journey.

The mighty Khangai

The next coming days did indeed give me the fundamental insight of Mongolian tradition, culture and more than anything, their way of living.

Of all the things that impressed me about Mongolia, it had to be the family life and hospitality and how different the world runs there. Mongolians are very simple and shy, easily mistaken to be rude and hostile. However, once you exchange the snuffbox with the family and have the hot milk tea, that misconception vanishes in thin air.

At the traditional home of a nomad family

Travelling with our Guide Luna and our driver Dunia proved more valuable in terms of understanding the people and the culture. She was so knowledgeable, and so much relevant information was shared.

Ger for the first time!

Our first real Ger, semi-nomadic life started when we reached Uran Togoo. We camped there in a small Ger camp that night. It was definitely exciting to see; also maybe because we were exhausted by the 8-hour drive overland and something I definitely don’t think could be considered “roads” in the world, the Ger was magical and comfortable.

For me, the Ger retained that magical sense of comfort for the rest of the trip. Inside it smelled like fire, horse, grass and general cosiness, if cosiness has a scent, let’s just say that it does.

The walls are covered with felt, and amazing hand-woven tapestries called tuskies sealing in the warmth and giving the Ger a beautiful colourful decor, different from anything we’ve experienced around the world. The sound of the fire at night is so romantic makes you forget the world outside for a brief moment.

A Ger is a traditional round shaped dwelling that has been used since the Mongols started nomadic life.

Like I said before the Mongolians hospitality was simply the best. The family of the Ger camp did them every bit to make us feel comfortable in many ways, sometimes even going their way out.

We had Gambir (a crispy bread) some rice, eggs for breakfast.

Gambir, mongolian traditional bread

We all became so close to Luna, the trip manager, guide, cook etc, etc. Making sure everything ran smoothly, she was a real powerhouse and kept everything organized, sorted and put a smile on our face day in and day out. She made us feel comfortable in every possible way

A fantastic singer, she was also a superb rider and cooked too.

She did so much for us, whenever every chance I had, I did go up to her and thanked her for all the things she was doing for us.

Our guide Luna on her horse. She was a fantastic rider 🙂

Hiking on the Uran Togoo is moderately strenuous. If not for the wet patches and the loose branches the hike is pretty straightforward. If you feel exhausted, reaching on the top of this volcano make will make it all go away. The peak is over 1600 mt and it forms a circle shaped ridge about 500 mt and that contains a crater lake about 20 mt wide and 15 mt deep.

Uran Togoo volcano

That night we reached Khuvsgul lake driving 350kms about 7 hours, yes I am not exaggerating. It is this exact thing that made this trip so different and exciting. However, before reaching, we did have lunch by the very picturesque Tarialan Soum, Khuvsgul province. I always looked forward to these pit stops, eagerly waiting to explore while our hot fresh meal would be prepared.

Somewhere in Shine-Ider province

I have always been very keen and interested in cultural travel, educational travel. For me, just doing something isn’t enough; I need to have a reason behind it or be able to take away some valuable experience in the end.

Moreover, I love learning about other cultures and countries; however, you interpret that. While I have no pretensions of leaving Mongolia an expert, if I take away some insights into the way of life of the people there, make a few people smile and have some beautiful memories, I will count that a success.

Baigalia and Hujaa are waiting for us to show their simple ways of living today. Here on a metal stove with a tall chimney that juts out the roof and is where the boiling of the milk tea was going on. She offered us traditional milk tea and homemade bread.

The freshly baked Bread was kept on the little bread crumbs on a large plate. She also showed us the way to milk the yak, tie the little ones while she is at it.

Finally, this was the day that we were all waiting for. We would be riding horses for about 40 km in the jungles and woods in search of the Tsaan family (reindeer family).

Let me tell you something that I have not told anyone; I was terrified of this day! I said to myself, I will either fall from the galloping horse or I would be bitten by the horse. Luckily none of this happened, and I instantly could connect to mine, and I also named him. I named him Raphael, don't know why maybe I liked to call Rafa,

Raphael <3

Mongolians do not name their horses. I don't know why, but they never do.

The horses here are shorter and more extensive. They can go for long distances; Luna told me one of the reasons for the Mongols in their attacks and invasion was their horses. Horses play a significant role in the daily life of the Mongols; it is traditionally said that "A Mongol without a horse is like a bird without wings.

A nomadic family that we were fortunate to have visited. She welcomed us with an open heart to her home and culture. Mrs Baigalia, the charming lady of the Khuvsgul!

I think the coolest thing that I have done in my life was to sit on a horse and take control and Tchu tchu him to gallop! It was definitely fun and scary when he Rafa took charge and started to walk his way. Never mind, one short pull, Rafa would realize who was in charge. Isn't it fun to learn new things every day?

The herders here live for their animals, follow them to places that the animals would take them, same does the Tsaan family too, they follow their reindeers.

Tsaatan (reindeer family) that lives in a Tipi. A tipi is a hut that is made of animal skin and wrapped around wooden poles. Another traditional dwelling of the nomads

If Ger was the simplest dwelling I had seen, Teepee was, even more, simpler in its way. It is easy to build and dismantle. Since they move a lot, the reindeer family prefers to live in Teepee.

Tipi or teepee

We started from Khatgal around 9:30 and started driving towards Shine-Ider village,

From Khatsgal to Shine-Ider is about 260 km. 130kms was a paved road, and the rest is off road.

Now we have stopped 150 km we found a beautiful spot to have lunch. By a frozen river and hills surrounding our little car and cake 🙂

We celebrated Ishta s 8th birthday by this beautiful landscape. I have a feeling that this is the best way to celebrate. Enza tours had arranged her a cake and many gifts. She loved her cake and her super hat 🙂

That smile that Mongolians greet us is charming and welcoming. About 5kms distance to our today’s camp that is to Shine-Ider, we stopped by a small family house to have some fresh yak milk and yak yoghurt. It was delicious.

Their home is set in the middle of the valley with yaks and herds of sheep goats surrounded. We had our refreshments and had dried yoghurt. It was some strange taste and sweet.

This family was so great in their hospitality. Here we tried ‘dried crumbs of yoghurt’ yak yoghurt and warm yak milk!

We arrived at our today’s camp in Shine-Ider, Ulziit khishigt (ulsheeth khisith). It’s a very cosy place. The toughest part of our tour was the usage of the toilets. I never thought I could bring myself up to using a Pit toilet.

In winters the pipes are frozen, making it impossible to have hot water for shower and even cold running water in the pipes since the water is. We were frozen too. So the owner of the camp had dug out a pit for the poo that was hilarious when we saw it and almost unbearably funny to imagine us using it.

The efficiency of a person is at full test while on such tours. About 20 km of travel almost 2 hours drive our Ger camp, our guide decided that we will cook in some nearby nomads family house asking their permission since it was too windy outside.

These nomads are really kind-hearted people. They immediately accepted us and their hospitality was impeccable. They offered us goat milk tea and bread and some cookies.

It was a windy day and us modern nomads couldn’t find a place convenient to do our great outdoor cooking and picnic. We stopped by a random nomad family, asked their permission if we could cook in their Ger. How exciting

Our guide immediately set to cooking, boiling on the oven is a hot vegetable soup! Honestly, it was much fun and very very authentic experience to see the real nomads and their living ways.

Our Nomad family lady is preparing us goat milk tea.

The landscape continues to inspire us during our off-road journey. The road was merely full of pebbles, rocks and dusty. About 160kms, we have a paved road to reach our destination.

In total we have done about 1440 km so far has been our entire journey since our start from Ulaanbaatar city.

It was a snowstorm, and the hail storm was very windy and very, very cold. We decided to hike the Volcano Khorgo finally. It was relatively easy to walk the hill except we had to be careful about the loose lava stones. These stones are light, and the way it is scattered gives you a feel of the eruption.

We reached Altan Nutag (resort), which is in Tsenger (higher). This is a natural spring water area. The resort draws water from the natural spring water source and collects it in a pool. This resort has three different pool with three different water temperature: the big pool and two small lakes.

We are overlooking the majestic hills. Immersed our body in the 41degre hot water Snow on our face n head we sat there for over 2 hours enjoying every bit nature offered us today. Snow heat mist clear sky cool breeze… What a creation 🙂

Imagine this much snow on our heads, and you will reasonably get an idea of what I spoke earlier

Today we also had something more special; Airag, It’s a mare’s milk that is fermented. (It tastes like buttermilk). Of course, there was a bottle of vodka that we had bought it. Had a little bit of that and Airag too.

Tuluu (thulo) -cheers in Mongolian, to this beautiful experience and time!

  • Airag is also called as the Khumis by Kazakstan

  • Airag is only available in summer and autumn.

  • Northern Mongolia doesn’t do Airag.

  • Gobi region has more sour and fermented Airag

After driving for about 90 km, we stopped by a beautiful cliff overlooking a river which was just by the Karakorum city for our famous lunchtime!

Luna and Dunia one of our picnics discussing on that day's lunch 🙂

From Karakorum 85 km we reach Elsen Tasarkhai which is mini Gobi I mean this is a part of the Gobi. There is Mountain Khugnu khan outlining the dunes.

The elder of the family Mr Bor who welcomed us in a traditional Mongolian way. They exchange snuff with the guests and guests are to sniff it and return it. The elder also handed down a conventional cigar that was super strong.

The elder of the family Mr Bor who welcomed us in a traditional Mongolian way. They exchange snuff with the guests and guests are to sniff it

Looking back, it almost brings me to tears thinking about how much of their life and culture they were willing to share with us, no questions asked and without worry or problems. Here on the Eurasian Steppe at the end of the World, people are more friendly and welcoming than any I’ve ever encountered.

I love being in a place where hospitality, respect and courtesy to anyone you meet reign supreme.

Finally goodbye to our sweet host and driver.

It's never enough

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ENZA TOURS LLC | Mongolian Travel agency

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Phone :(+976)89112100

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Phone : (+49) 1629084594