27 February 2015

Winter Travel in Mongolia - Images From A 2014 Winter Journey

I know you are probably not going to believe me but....winter is a wonderful time to experience Mongolia. Yes, it does have a bit of a fearsome reputation and you may think that -30 does not make for a  very enjoyable holiday but trust me (!).....

Not only does winter obviously offer a sharp contrast to the busy summer season but the landscapes come into their own. Also, the ger becomes very much the nucleus of the herders way of life with the livestock being brought closer to the homestead for protection. Because of this, as a visitor, the families’ way of life is brought closer to you. Winter in Mongolia is a time of year when families have more time to spare and are freer and more relaxed.

Throughout the months of November through to February, I offer Mongolia winter tours. It wouldn't be for everyone, but for those who choose to travel at this time of year, Mongolia produces a stunning natural show as these photographs that I have just received from our December 2014 guests show.

Yes, Mongolia still has a limited tourist infrastructure and access to winter recreation activities that you may be used to elsewhere are limited. But, I'm an old-fashioned kind of girl and for me, travelling in the winter in Mongolia is as much about experiencing the landscapes and meeting and spending the time with the locals rather than hard-core adrenaline activities. Enjoy being part of a minority who visit Mongolia in the winter - enjoy slowing-down and seeing and experiencing Mongolia like few other people get to do.
For now, enjoy experiencing the journey without having to pop to the outdoor loo in minus 30 temperatures!

Preparing for the camel trek at Khogno Khan Nature Reserve - Bulgan Aimag. Khogno Khan is a granite mountain within an area of secluded valleys, fresh water springs, open steppe and the striking Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes. 

Ulaan Tsutgalan - the Orkhon Waterfall in its winter guise. 

The Orkhon River has had UNESCO World Heritage status since 2004. This region is considered the cradle of Mongolian civilisation and w is an area rich in nomadic life as the Orkhon River provides an essential lifeline for nomads and their livestock. 

Looking great in their Mongolian deels! 
At Ulaan Tsutgalan - for the winter months, an extra layer (or two) of eskii (felt made from sheep wool) is added to the ger to help insulate against the winter temperatures.



Turuu showing how to prepare to put on the traditional Mongolian felt winter boot!





The winter beauty of the Orkhon River. Note the excellent felt boots!

Ulaan Tsutgalan in all its incredible winter glory


Yep. That's a Grey Wolf!
I'm waiting for photos from Turuu, Ross and Enkhee that have just returned back to UB from our Tsagaan Sar Insight trip. However, if you're planning on visiting Mongolia within the next week or so and looking for an experience, join us as we head south to the Thousand Camel Festival held in the small community of Bulgan in the southern Gobi. And if you're wondering what on earth to expect from Mongolia's Thousand Camel Festival, then this article in the British Guardian newspaper may help!