Winter Wonderland, the Taiga

Living with The Reindeer Herders

Winter Wonderland, the Taiga

Darhad basin, Northern Mongolia

  • Overland Discovery
  • Home Stay
12 Days
0 Flights
Not Child Friendly

Taiga is a winter wonderland of Mongolia, where one of the most interesting ethnic groups living near the lake is the Tsaatan or as they are better known – ‘The Reindeer People’. A small tribe of Tsaatan consisting of about 40 families lives with its herds of reindeer in the forests around the lake. These graceful animals provide the tribe with all its basic needs - milk, transportation, meat, skins and bones and antlers used as building materials and for tools.

Itinerary

DAY 1. ARRIVAL IN ULAANBAATAR

  • Dinner

Arrival to Ulaanbaatar and transfer to hotel. Depending on time of arrival, you may have a short city sight-seeing tour. Overnight in hotel.

DAY 2. ULAANBAATAR – MURUN

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today we will embark on a long drive north to Murun, the capital city of Khuvsgul Province. The long road offers diversified landscapes, from vast, open steppes to beautiful sand dunes. Today we cross the Selenge River, part of the Yenisei which is the world’s 5th longest river. It’s source is in Central Mongolia, and it runs through Siberia all the way to the Arctic Ocean. In the late evening we will arrive in Murun. Overnight in a local hotel.

DAY 3. MURUN – TSAGAAN NUUR

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast we continue driving north along the lake ice to Tsagaan Nuur village. Arriving in the evening we meet a nomadic family and hold a welcome dinner and learn about their remote life and unique traditions in Darhad basin. If time permits we do a short sightseeing in the village. Overnight with a nomadic family.

DAY 4. TSAGAAN NUUR – TAIGA

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Today we drive by beautiful Darhad basin lakes surrounded by high mountains covered with thick pine forests. We have our first experience meeting a Tsaatan family, known as Reindeer family. A small tribe of Tsaatan consisting of about 40 families lives with their herds of reindeer in the forests around the lake. These graceful animals provide the tribe with all its basic needs - milk, transportation, meat, skins and bones and antlers used as building materials and for tools. Overnight with a Reindeer people.

DAY 5 - 6. LIVING WITH THE REINDEER PEOPLE

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We embrace Reindeer people life style by participating in their daily life chores such as herding and riding reindeers, milking and drinking it with tea. Depending on the season of our visit we will learn distinct aspects of their life style. In summer Tsaatans choose to live in lower lands as reindeers feed mostly on green grass whereas in winter time they live in deep forest at higher altitude for their reindeers' need for moss. Overnight with a Reindeer people.

DAY 7. TAIGA – TSAGAAN NUUR

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Parting from the family around noon we drive back to Tsagaan Nuur village. Upon arrival we visit secondary school and hospital of the village to learn about the Mongolian education and healthcare system. Overnight with the same family hosted us on the second day of our adventure. 

DAY 8. TSAGAAN NUUR – MURUN

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After breakfast we drive back to Murun. On our way we will stop at an ancient burial site featuring Mongolia’s mysterious deerstones, memorial stones representing important leaders and warriors, carved with deer motifs located near Erkhil Lake. Arriving late in the evening we check-in to our hotel room. Overnight in a local hotel.

DAY 9. MURUN – URAN TOGOO VOLCANO - ERDENET CITY

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

An exciting day awaits us. Protected in 1965 by the government of Mongolia, Uran togoo volcano, is 1686 meters above sea level, dormant volcano that became dormant some 25 thousand years ago. We take an easy hike to the top the volcano for the view of  the crater inside as well as the surroundings. Afterwards we continue driving to Erdenet, Mongolia’s third biggest city, founded in 1974 in an area of large copper mine. In the afternoon we visit the copper mine and learn about its history, operation scope and contribution to the county's economy. Overnight in local hotel.

DAY 9. ERDENET CITY - AMARBAYSGALANT MONASTERY - KHUSTAI NURUU SPA

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

After a short drive we arrive at Amarbayasgalant Monastery. Built between 1727 and 1736 by the Manchu Emperor Enkh Amgalan, Amarbayasgalant is among the largest monasteries in Mongolia to have survived the purges of the 1930’s. With about 60 monks living and studying there, the monastery functions today as one of Mongolia’s central religious institutes, and consists of 29 different temples, all built in the classic Tibetan style. Leaving the monastery in the afternoon we continue driving to Khustai SPA. The SPA was established as part of a unique project to reintroduce the world’s last surviving wild horses back to their natural environment. Overnight in ger camp.

DAY 11. KHUSTAIN NURUU SPA - ULAANBAATAR

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

We enjoy a morning of leisure, resting from the past few days of intensive exploration. We then go on an exploration of the wildlife of the protected area. On the brink of extinction during the last century, only a very few Takhi or Przewalski’s horse were left in zoos around Europe. This graceful steppe horse was returned to Mongolia, and today, thanks to this special project, two herds again roam the Mongolian steppes. After lunch at the ger camp we go to Ulaanbaatar for free shopping time in the late afternoon. Mongolia is world renowned for its fine cashmere and you will find this and many other souvenir items in the city. Overnight in a 4-star hotel.

DAY 12. DEPARTURE

  • Breakfast

After breakfast at the hotel, we drive to Chinggis Khan International Airport for our departure flight.

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Dates & Pricing

Discounted rates:  

4 travelers – 5% discount
6 or more travelers – 25% discount

  • Prices are based on twin share occupancy.
  • Applicable only for travel groups of 4 people or more booking their trip together.
  • The discounted price is the price for 2 people (below) less the discount.
  • Mongolian Ways Ltd. reserves the right to change tour prices and programs due to changes in flight schedule, changes in airfares, and other local circumstances.

  • $2,746 Per Person (From 2 people)
  • $262 Single Room Supplement

Additional Information


Inclusions
  • Meals as indicated in the program
  • 4WD vehicle
  • Drinking water
  • Local English speaking guide
  • Local support team
  • All entrance fees

Exclusions
  • International airfare to/from Ulaanbaatar
  • Travel insurance
  • Mongolian Visa
  • Excess luggage
  • Gratuities
  • Expenses of personal nature (food and drinks beyond those provided, laundry, etc.)
  • Anything not mentioned in the program

Accomodation
  • 2 nights in a 4-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar
  • 2 nights in a local hotel in Murun
  • 2 nights with nomadic family
  • 3 nights with Reindeer family

Note: The above listed hotels are tentative, and shall be confirmed only upon confirmation of the trip.


Testimonials

John Alexander

With such short notice and the special requirements we asked for, everything was perfectly organized. Our request for highly specialized tour was accomplished with ease and excellent in every way. Click here to read Victoria and John's visit to the reindeer shamans.

Victoria and John Alexander, USA

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