25 July 2015

Our Mongolia Research Trips - Take A Walk On The Wild Side!

An EL research trip is our way of getting to explore and discover parts of the country that we know and want to get to know better with the possibility of putting this knowledge into our small group and tailor made tours. It’s also a chance for the local Mongolian people we work with to show us the hidden side to their home. Sometimes we open them up for others to join.

Here's an introduction!

Khermen Tsav - Southern Gobi -  Wild Gobi Research 2014
Khar Nuur - Zavkhan Aimag - Wild Treks Research 2013

Meeting the locals in Byan Ulgii - Wild Treks Research 2013
'Our reward is another spectacularly broad river valley flanked by peaks sporting some amazingly sculpted granite outcrops. Camp is set up on the bank of the Buyant Gol River. We soon discover that, from just a short distance downstream of the camp, we can catch a tantalising glimpse of our objective, Otgon Tenger, the most sacred mountain in Mongolia standing proudly at the head of an adjoining valley. While at 4021 metres it is not the tallest mountain in Mongolia it has a permanent mantle of snow and gives rise to the only glacier in this range. 

Next morning we are reminded, not only that winter is on the way but that camp is located at about 2500 metres for there is a generous layer of ice on the tents and even the edges of the fast flowing are sporting mantles of ice. The sun and the eternal blue sky soon brighten the day, however.'
John Holman, Wild Treks Research

Otgon Tenger Uul would have to be my most memorable cultural experience.  Seeing the reverence Turuu  showed to the mountain and lake, taking part in the lake water ritual, knowing, seeing and experiencing the significance of the area made it a very special day.
Ross Briggs, Wild Treks Research

Otgon Tenger - Zavkhan Mountain - Wild Treks Research 2013
Wolf prints outside our tents - Wild Gobi Research
‘The Gobi will make you question everything you thought you knew about the desert. It will strip the layers of expectation, familiarity and ‘seen it all before’ mentality from the harshest of critics. No longer will you compartmentalise landscapes into preconceived boxes. 
Barren rocky outcrops, glistening natural springs bordered by lush green trees, wind swept dunes and blazing sunsets amongst the ghosts of prehistoric creatures. From the furgon, the back of a camel and on foot I moved through these changing scenes like the sole actress on a deserted film set. 
Hours spent with eyes squinted, brow furrowed in concentration. How could I possibly describe in words the immense space that was in front of me? 
The remoteness lends itself to a sense of freedom and unconscious ownership. Just when you feel an element of power over the landscape, mother earth will remind you of your perilous position in the world.’ 
Megan Greentree, Wild Gobi Research

Sunrise Khar Nuur - Zavkhan Aimag - Wild Treks Research

There are a few rules....by joining us on our research trip we consider that you are prepared to be completely flexible - the route is not preplanned in advance in the minutest detail. It means we can adapt and tweak depending on what we learn from the locals we come into contact with and the places they want so show us and share with us.

For a majority of visitors, making contact with the local people is an important element of their trip to Mongolia – for a moment or two, crossing the cultural divide. This is completely understandable but, for us, the power of the landscapes is also an integral part of any journey especially our research trips. It is time spent exploring and ‘just being’ in the landscapes which I also find the most uplifting and enlightening and this is an essential element of our research trips.

'Six Mongolian Bactrian camels took us across the foot hills of the mighty sand dunes of Khongoryn Els, led by Bagi, a local herder and, our guide.  
The dunes of Khongoryn Els sweep up against Zöölön Uul, a mountain range that is at the easterly reach of the Gobi Altai. You could say the dunes were a mountain range themselves. They are mammoth, the highest peak of sand being approximately 300m. They present the stereotypical beauty I think of in relation to a desert; sweeping lines and sharp contrasting forms lit by an unforgiving sun. There is certainly a beauty here, however, it is the gravel plains of the Gobi that stop my heart and leave my mind gaping in painful awe.'
Sovay Berriman, Wild Gobi Research
The intrepid ladies! Still smiling after five days camel trekking through and around the immense Khongoryn Els

Wild Gobi Research
Our research trips are not tests of endurance or competitive races. Naturally, there will be some challenges but they’re mainly about seeing the world from a different perspective, new horizons and the joy of the great outdoors. 

If you’re looking for the style of trip where you want to tick off the sights  in a ‘tick-it-off-the-list-job-done’  kind of way then this trip won’t suit you. Also, if you’re looking to scale the highest peaks, ford the deepest waters, experience the life of the most remotest ethnic group on a trip where you can boast about the challenges you faced then this trip isn’t for you. But, if you’re looking for a slower paced more immersive experience and are open and flexible as to what you do experience  then welcome on board!!

19 July 2015

Mongolia's Naadam Festival - a (fairly) brief guide!

Mongolia's national Naadam was celebrated in Ulaanbaatar on July 11th and 12th with smaller provincial events held from late June through to early August.

Out of 512 wrestlers over 9 rounds,  22-year-old E.Oyunbold from Khentii Province (who had previously only gained the state title of Falcon - sixth round)  earned the title of State Lion and became the second youngest champion of the tournament in the history of Mongolia.
Information and Image Credit -  UB Post

The origins of Naadam can be found in the khan meetings – the traditional councils held by warrior Mongols. Victory on a battlefield alone did not confer legitimacy of rule until publicly acclaimed at a gathering of representatives from every part of the territory/empire. At the gatherings, competitions were held in traditional games - considered essential skills for warriors.

In 1641, on the selection of Mongolia's first Living Buddha (Zanabazar), Naadam was celebrated every three years to pay tribute to the new Living Buddha. On the death of the eighth Living Buddha in 1924, Mongolia became a Communist state and Naadam was celebrated on the date of the 1921 Revolution that brought independence from Chinese rule – July 11th. In 1925, the first post-revolutionary Naadam marked the first anniversary of the Mongolian People’s Government – it featured tanks, heavy propagandist parades and showcased socialist military might.

As Mathilde Michaud wrote in the UB Post last year (2014):

'The Naadam Festival is a unique demonstration of this mixing of eras in Mongolian culture.... Emblematic of Mongolia’s independence and national identity, Naadam took a new turn, as it became the country’s national day, a commemoration of the two revolutions that brought the country to its newly redefined national identity. Naadam has also more recently been a celebration of the foundation of the Mongolian Empire by Chinggis Khan 808 years ago.'

The male and female archery tournaments were won by a husband and wife team - .B.Batbaatar and his wife S.Enkhtungalag. Thirty-two of B.Batbaatar’s 40 arrows hit his targets, earning him his first Ulsiin Mergen State Champion title. S.Enkhtungalag won her second State Champion title by hitting 33 targets out of 40.
A total of 250 archers competed in the men’s tournament, and 90 competed in the women’s tournament. 
Information and Image Credit - UB Post

Naadam is Mongolia's version of the Olympic Games and as an example of how highly the winners are regarded,  the winners of the 2014 wrestling competition won between them a Toyota Land Cruiser 200, a Lexus 570, a four-bedroom apartment, a three-bedroom apartment and with 15 million and 10 million tugrik in prize money from the government (not including prize money from the Naadam sponsors). 

The horse racing took place at Khui Doloon Khudag - outside of UB.

In the stallion race (male horses over five years old), 172 horses raced a distance of 22km. First place (out of the top five) was won by a horse trained by G.Temuulen from Ikhtamir soum, Arkhangai Province.
In the Ikh Nas race (castrated horses over five years),  320  horses competed over 22 km. The race was won by a horse trained by B.Buyannemekh from Khovd Province in western Mongolia.
In the Soyolon (five-year-old) tournament, a horse trained by D.Ganbaatar from Govi-Altai Province, finished first out of 264 horses in a 20 km race.
The winner in the Khyazaalan (four-year-old) tournament was a horse trained by U.Purevbaatar from, Arkhangai Province. A total of 209 horses raced in the 18 km tournament.
The champion of the Shudlen (three-year-old) tournament was a horse trained by D.Erdenebulgan from Dundgovi Province, which beat 90 other horses in the 13 km race.
In the two-year old race, a horse trained by Kh.Bat-Erdene from Govi-Altai Province became the champion by beating 161 other colts in an 11 km gallop for the finish line.
Information and Image Credit - UB Post

Naadam in Bayandalai, southern Gobi. Image by our guest Egon Filter

What about the rural festivals? A majority of the dates for these smaller festivals are decided a month or two prior to the event with each region deciding on the area's  festival dates. If you're interested in such an event then you must be prepared to be flexible as dates change frequently. Our lives might be connected to the world of timeframes and confirmed dates and deadlines but how many herders wear a watch?! The online version of the UB Post and websites such as Info Mongolia or blogs such as To Mongolia post details in advance.

This is only a very brief insight into my favourite Mongolian festival but I hope it helps to paint a picture. I'll leave you with part of the Naadam opening speech made by Mongolia's President (Tsakhia Elbegdorj):

'The national Naadam, the tradition of our statehood, historical and cultural wonder, and delight of the people of Mongolia begins with pride and vigour. 
I wish the wrestlers be strong, the cheer of horse riders be clear, the horse racing astonishing, archers be sharp and our people be peaceful. From this rostrum, I declare the supreme festivity of the Mongol people, the Naadam, open. Have a great Naadam festivity. May my Mongolia dwell eternally.'

12 July 2015

How to appreciate Mongolian archery

Saikhan Naadaarai!

The 2015 State Naadam is underway. As I'm writing this on July 11th,  in 32 degree heat the 512 wrestlers are down to 256 and competing in their second round, the Ikh Nas horses (castrated horses more than five years old) are currently racing roughly 27km at the Khui Doloon Khudag race ground and the first round of the 'Khasaa' style archery tournament has begun.

Out of all three of the 'three manly sports' I feel that archery is the least understood. 
For those of you who would like to know your surchid from your zurkhai then this post is for you!

Three Styles Of Mongolian Archery

First up. There are three main archery styles in Mongolia - Buriat, Uriankhai and Khalkh. All three  are included in Mongolia’s State Naadam competition with the Khalkh  being the common national archery. The national title-winning archery is Khalkh archery as the shooting distance is the furthest and it is standardised by age and gender. The other two styles are considered national heritage styles. Typically over 300 archers compete in the three different styles. Senior ones shoot first and the junior ones stand in line according to their rank.

In the Uriankhai style archery male only competitors shoot from  30 and 40 meters. In the Buriat style, both men and women compete and shoot from a distance of 30 to 45 meters.

Khalkh Archery

Teams of twelve archers emerge onto the shooting line and in turn launch four arrows each at the targets which are leather cylinders installed in the ground. The shooting distance is 75 metres for men and 60 metres for women. For those under 18, the distance is set at a rate of three to four metres per year of age.

The Target  - There’s no such thing as a bad score!

When you are on the archery field, look out for the small brown and red leather cylinders stacked in two or three rows on the ground. They are the targets -- called 'hasaa'. 

The red ones in the middle of the brown targets are the central targets for the archers, but hitting the red ones won’t grant the archer an extra score. The score is given only if a hasaa moves at least eight centimetres from its original location – the width of one hasaa. So long as it moves the requisite distance, hitting any hasaa is equally scored '1'. There are no special high-score hasaas. 

An archer is given 40 shots in total. Twenty of them are given to hitting 60 hasaas lined in three rows. The next twenty chances are given to hitting 30 hasaas lined in two rows. 


A group of judges (surchid) stand near the target area (generally named as zurkhai).  Archers, after shooting four times, will be obliged to stand at the zurkhai to serve as  a judge or co-judge, for the two next shifts.

  • The judges at the targets will use body language to convey technical information to the shooting archers. In the case of a successful hit, the surchid will raise their hands with the palms up and shout 'uukhai' which means a point is counted. 
  • When the arrow flies over the target, the surchid will make a sliding movement with their hands (with the palms down) over the targets, thereby showing the archer how high the arrow sailed over the hasaa. Watching this body language, the archer calculates their next shot. 
  • If the arrow strikes the ground short of the target, the surchid will show the length of the gap by their arms. If both arms are far stretched out, it will mean that the flight of the archer’s arrow was quite short of the target. 
  • Sometimes, the arrows reach the targets, but don’t hit the hasaa strong enough to make a score. The surchid will make a stepping or drumming movement with their hands.

The Bow

The archer is constantly calculating and calibrating. A softened bow needs to stretch further to reach the target, while a hardened bow needs to be stretched less. Variables include the changing temperature and weather conditions throughout the day of competition.  Another important variable is the strength and direction of the wind.

The winning marksmen and women are awarded the title of 'state marksman'  - also known as ‘mergen’ or sharpshooter. 

And that's Jess' brief guide to understanding Mongolian archery!

All the photos I have used were taken by our guests Sagi Bar and Egon Filter.

9 July 2015

Getting To Grips With Mongolian Wrestling

Naadam (Erviin Gurvan Naadam to give it its full title) is fast approaching. If you've heard of the Three Manly Games then you've heard of Naadam.  Naad means games and Naadam highlights the ‘three manly games’ of wrestling, archery and horse racing.

To clear things up, Naadam (whether the State Naadam in UB or one of its rural counterparts) is not for tourists. It is a favoured public holiday, one of Mongolia's top sporting events, a celebration of culture and tradition and pride, and a vibrant festival.

It is important that you see Naadam from a Mongolian perspective. Naadam is for Mongolians and we as visitors will not understand or necessarily agree with every aspect of it (such as the use of child jockeys). It’s a celebration of ordinary people and century’s old tradition melded together. It is a time when Mongolians eat, sing, drink and enjoy life to the full. It is a true celebration celebrating all things Mongolian. Just relax and enjoy being part of something so special and unique. 

This is your concise (almost) introduction to this fantastic event. First up is wrestling....

First. Yes! There are rules!

Wrestling is virtually the same in every Naadam except that the more local Naadams have fewer rounds according to the numbers of participating wrestlers. Also, the winners of local Naadams receive aimag (provincial) and soum (district) titles, but never a state title. 
  • 512 wrestlers compete in a single elimination tournament. These numbers are specific to the State Naadam. 
  • There are nine rounds with no age, weight or height divisions. The number of rounds does change if it is a rural Naadam. 
  • Wrestlers have little or no limit of space. In the open field they are free to move over a wide area and they have little time constraint. 
  • The object of a match is to get an opponent to touch his back, knee or elbow to the ground by using a range of techniques (mekh including throws, trips and lifts) based on the assessment of their opponent’s strengths or weaknesses. Ritual acts show the strength of the wrestler. It is a game of strategy, weight and strength. Experienced Mongolian viewers know how a certain technique works and immediately yell with excitement if such an ‘air technique’ becomes successful. 
  • The number of rounds won by each wrestler determines rank. In ascending order, the ranks are: Falcon (Nachin, 5th round), Elephant (Zaan, 7th round), Lion (Arslan, 9th round) and Titan (Avarga, the winner from amongst the Lion rank). The ranks given are names of powerful winged creatures or of animals considered the strongest on earth. Every subsequent victory at the national Naadam festival adds an epithet to the title of Avarga, such as "Invincible Titan," "Invincible Titan to be remembered by all" and so on. The Mongolian parliament added two additional ranks, Hawk (Hartsaga, 6th round) and Garuda (8th round) in 2003.

Which Wrestler To Follow

  • Mongolian’s who follow wrestling (nearly the whole population then) know immediately who is going to do well during Naadam by analysing the wrestler’s body shape. You might think that if a wrestler is tough and muscular looking, he will do well. Actually....not necessarily. 
  • Some wrestlers have tactics to win fast by moving quickly and employing unexpected tricks while others aim to prolong the process by not doing decisive movements while wearing down their opponent. 
  • The leaner more muscular men are typically better off at sharp, short, artful wrestling moves, while the ‘thicker’ ones are really good at endurance.

What To Look Out For

Mongolian wrestling has certain codes of conduct that are concerned with etiquette. For example:

Before and after the match, each wrestler does the traditional "Eagle Dance" (devekhbased on the flight of the mythical Garuda bird –said to symbolise power, bravery and invincibility. 

    When a wrestler loses the match, he then symbolically passes under the arm of the winner as a sign of respectEach wrestler has a zasuul who acts as both coach and herald. During lulls in the match the zasuul slaps his wrestler on the back and exhorts him to struggle on. 

    When a wrestler's clothes get loose or entangled, his opponent is expected to stop attacking and help the former to re-arrange them - even though it might mean giving up a good winning opportunity. The wrestler who loses the match unties his jacket which is said to represent that he respects his opponent’s strength.

    Rounds One and Two 

    All 512 wrestlers are listed according to their rank from the top and in the first two rounds the ranking list is folded - meaning the highest ranking contestant wrestles the lowest ranking wrestler. The second ranked contestant wrestles the second to lowest contestant, and so on. Thus the nearly equal contestants (around 248-257 on the ranking list) will be wrestling each other. These equally matched wrestlers are the most interesting to watch.

    Third Round 

    By the beginning of the third round, the number of wrestlers will have decreased to 128. Beginning from the highest titled wrestler, the wrestlers themselves choose whom they want to wrestle. This launches a totally different game. First of all, the high titled champions, knowing that they must conserve energy for the remaining six rounds, will not call (select) a wrestler whom they have never before wrestled because they are vary of surprises. So, they call weaker wrestlers whom they feel they can easily defeat. Of course, the outcome is not always as expected.

    Fourth Round

    Beginning from the fourth round the selection rule is again “folding”. By the end of the 3rd round, all 64 remaining wrestlers would be ranked from top to bottom and the list is folded. Again, the lowest ranking guy would wrestle with the highest ranking wrestler. 

    Fifth Round

    Falcon (winner of the fifth round) is a dream title for every young or new wrestler as they qualify for their first state title. If those who already have state titles win this round, almost no one cares. All the attention is directed towards young un-titled wrestlers In a very good year 6-7 falcons are born from 32 wrestlers. But more often, only 2-5 wrestlers reach this level. In some years, only one falcon is born.

    Sixth Round
    By the start of the 6th round you will notice that the bigger wrestlers are starting to dominate the game. Why? It is because after five rounds of competition, only the most well trained men who can endure several hard wrestling rounds remain.  Usually the new 'falcons'  fall on this round even though they can and do employ surprising tactics. However, one or two of the new falcons might survive elimination in the 6th round and therefore qualify for a new title— Khartsaga (Hawk or Kestrel). When that happens it becomes a game changing wrestling event and the audience shouts and whistles their excitement.

    Seventh Round - The Endurance Game (for you and the wrestlers!)

    In this round, the new title is Elephant. By this stage, only eight wrestlers remain. More than likely, seven of them don’t need the title Elephant because they may have already achieved this title previously and may be aiming for a higher title such as Lion etc. 7th round is the endurance round - you have been warned! 

    Because the ultimate victory of the Naadam is quite close, the big wrestlers don’t attempt risky moves. They wrestle carefully and slowly in order to makthe other wrestler tired or so frustrated that he tries too risky a move. By the end of 30 minutes of non-result, the judges draw who will receive the right to have his preferred grab. If the lucky one doesn’t succeed with his preferred grab, the next grabbing choice is made by his opponent. In this way, the judges force the wrestlers to compete faster.

    Eighth Round

    If a wrestler wins this round for the first time, his title will be Garuda —the mythical bird. If any of the wrestlers finds enough stamina and speed to “disturb the field” (meaning to do speedy, surprising tricks rather than just slow wrestling), then the audience becomes happy and loud and shout their support. 

    Ninth Round - Finally!

    For a Mongolian, depending on which province a contestant is from, the final round can be quite emotional. The title of Lion is given to a first-time Naadam winner. A wrestler earns the title Titan (Avarga) only after two Naadam victories from 512 wrestlers, or from just one such victory in a 1024-wrestler tournament.

    Mongolians know how a certain technique works and immediately yell with excitement if such an ‘air technique’ becomes successful. When that classic winning moment finally occurs and the entire stadium rocks with shouts, yells, whistles at their loudest, you’ll feel that you are in the right place at the right time. This is Naadam!

    Images by our guests Egon Filter, Katherine Walker, John Holman and Mick Egan

    7 July 2015

    Mongolia Adventure Travel

    Why do we travel? Isn't it to encounter a different way of life and a culture unique to ours? Don't we travel to take time out from our own world and to experience someone else'e for a while?

    Coffee break!
    As visitors to a country, shouldn't it be us who are prepared to be flexible and adaptable? To embrace (!) and enjoy any differences that we come across during our visit? After all, we've chosen to visit that country and it’s only for a short space of time.

    In relation to Mongolia, give it a week after your return and you won’t remember what you missed from your everyday life or the small discomforts you encountered. What you will remember are the essential ingredients of Mongolia – the vast landscapes, the way the locals make their life in this harsh terrain, the solitude, the impromptu friendships and the impact they have made on your daily life.

    As Jack Weatherford writes in Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World (those that read my blog frequently know this is a favourite quote of mine):
    ‘Compared to the difficulty of daily life for the herders, living permanently in those areas, ours were only the smallest of irritations.’

    The mighty Furgon!
    For a majority of visitors, making contact with the local people is an important element of their trip to Mongolia – for a moment or two, crossing the cultural divide. But here in Mongolia, the power of the landscapes must remain an integral part of any journey. 

    Waking up to a wilderness landscape  - en-route to Tsagaannuur in the Darkhad Depression.

    Taken by our guest Hui Li, 2013

    Storm clouds gathering - southern Gobi
    By our guest Aiko Michot, Untamed Mongolia, 2015

    The Khangai Mountains
    By our guest Kriti Kapoor, 2009
    Surely the travelling is part of the discovery? Image by Turuu!

    Zorgol Khairkhan in Dundgobi Aimag
    Image by our guest Hui Li, 2012

    Khoridol Saridag and The Darkhad Depression

    Image by our guest Lee Hayes, Wilderness Trails, 2012

    Khovsgol Nuur - Image by me!

    Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park

    Image by our guest Helen Long, 2013
    The people of Mongolia are well-matched to the land they inhabit and by travelling through the diversity of Mongolia’s landscapes, you can start to understand how the landscapes have helped to form the Mongolian personality  - the sturdy individualism, the hardiness, endurance, self-sufficiency, tolerance, and their spirit of freedom. 

    Time spent exploring and ‘just being’ in the landscapes is uplifting and enlightening. Travelling through the vast landscapes of Mongolia allows you to witness the local way of life but without being too intrusive. It’s a chance to remove your watch, take a break from the modern world and let each day and each journey unfold. Travelling in this way gives you time to think and gain a fresh perspective. As Tiziano Terrazani wrote in A Fortune Teller Told Me:
    ‘...the rhythm of my days changed completely. Distances became read again, and I reacquired the taste of discovery and adventure.’

    Khoridol Saridag Strictly Protected Area
    Image by our guest Zeynep Ozbek, Wilderness Trails, 2012

    Keep an open mind. Mongolian culture is unique among Asian cultures and a large percentage of what you may believe about life in an Asian country does not apply here. There's a hunger for knowledge, understanding, and excellence that drives Mongolian society, and things are changing quickly, but remember that a lot of major changes have happened within just a couple generations. Be patient with Mongolia. While it works through the changes that are going to make it better place, savour the gifts it offers and try to spend less time worrying about small issues  that aren't being met - such as hot showers or lack of western toilets. Remember, Mongolians are living this life everyday not just for a few weeks. 

    Respect that the local people of Mongolia wish to develop economically and gain access to material possessions that we take for granted. It’s the 21st century and nomadic herders have Smartphones. It doesn’t mean the nomadic way of life is dying out - it just means that the herders are adapting their lifestyle to suit the modern age. 

    Mongolians are not just divided between those who live in Ulaanbaatar and herders. It's not just about the minority groups of the Kazakhs or the Buriats or the Tsaatan either. Mongolians live in the cities of Darkhan and Erdenet. They also live in the other provincial centres as well as the smaller town and rural communities. To just want to experience the life of a herder is to ignore a majority of the population. There are teachers and Christians and those with disabilities and policemen and musicians and military personnel and accountants and miners and geologists and drivers and shop owners and construction workers and street cleaners - they are all Mongolians. 

    Retail Therapy
    Image by our guest, photographer Nick Rains, 2013
    Young and female in Mongolia - Enkhee and Oyuha

    At Baga Gazriin Chuluu - a local musician filming for a music video

    Image by our guest Susan Touchton, Wild Family Explorer, 2013

    A cobbler in northern Mongolia mending Hui Li's shoes

    Taiga Landscapes, 2013
    When you travel in Mongolia, be prepared to encounter Mongolian tourists - the summer is season is short and families make the most of the school summer holidays to travel together and explore their homeland. Yes they can come in big groups, leave a lot of litter and be loud. But, these are still Mongolians. Take time out to meet them. 

    A majority of Mongolians are not tourism professionals. Mongolians can be warm and welcoming and they can also be  taciturn, reserved and indifferent.  For sure you will want to experience the life of a herder but remember their lives are busy and their family life and livestock work comes first. In the summer months, the livestock are out grazing and this can take the herders away from their ger and from communicating with you. 

    Sunrise att Khar Nuur, Zavkhan Aimag

    Wild Treks Research 2013
    Risk it. Come to Mongolia but be prepared to experience it all - the good and the bad and the ups and the downs and the mutton. Come and travel in Mongolia - not in a  ‘tick-it-off-the-list -job-done’ kind of way and not necessarily in a climb or ride or kayak or trek  to the furthest, highest, remotest, most off the beaten track location kind of way either. Just come and immerse yourself in this glorious country with its rich diversity of landscapes, people and culture.

    As Jack Weatherford (yes, him again!) writes in the Mongol Queens:

    'In the mongol perspective, challenges choose us, but we choose how to respond. Destiny brings the opportunity and the misfortunes, and the merit of our lives derives in those unplanned moments.'