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A Journey to Reindeer & Duka Culture

Travel Buddies - 7 days

  • A Journey to Reindeer & Duka Culture
  • 7 days / 6 nights
  • Difficulty: Medium
Overview
Route
Included
FAQ
Packing List
Accommodation
Travel Buddies
Safety
How To Book

Overview

> Meet a local reindeer herder family
> Get to know the local customs and traditions
> Enjoy a horseback ride through the forest and mountains

Our journey brings you to the Duka tribe from western Taiga, who will share their way of life and unique culture.

Several decades ago, due to the annexation by the Russian empire, reindeer herder nomads originally called “Duka” from Tuva moved to northern Mongolia, at the end of Siberian forest, surrounded by massive mountains. Ever since, they settled in Taiga and became a minor ethnic group of Mongolia. Duka people move 3 to 4 times a year in search of pasture and suitable weather for their herds of reindeer. They live in teepees (rounded tents) and mostly rely on animal husbandry. The reindeer herders’ tribes consist of only 50 families herding a total of 2000 reindeer and living in the eastern and western parts of Taiga.

Note: the minimum of trekkers for this route is 4. If you are traveling alone, get in touch with our booking experts to join a group!

Route

What's the plan?

DAY 1: Fly to Khuvsgul Province, Visit Lake Khuvsgul
This morning, our Travel Buddies guide and driver will pick you up from your accommodation and will head to the domestic airport for a local flight to Murun. Upon arrival, our local driver will pick you up and drive to the lake Khuvsgul. This crystal clear lake contains about 1.5% of the world’s freshwater and is surrounded by high mountain chains, thick pine forests, and rich in wildlife. We will walk along the shore of the lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery. We will stay overnight in tourist Ger camp (2 people share a Yurt with single beds, shower/bathroom in a separate building).

Accommodation: Tourist Ger camp | Meals: L, D

DAY 2: Drive to Tsagaan Nuur Village through Darkhad Valley
Leaving the lake Khuvsgul, we travel to the Darkhad Valley, home of the Darkhad small ethnic group of Mongolia. The journey will take us over the high mountain pass, Red Taiga, with mountain ranges of 2700m above sea level, and through Siberian pine and larch forests. We will arrive in Tsagaan nuur village after a bumpy ride. Stay overnight in a local guesthouse.

Accommodation: Local guesthouse | Meals: B, L, D | Distance: 7-8 hours

DAY 3: Horse Riding to Tsaatan - Reindeer Herders
This morning we will pack everything on horse and we will get ready for the 5/6-hour horse ride through the forest and mountains. You will then meet our host family's and will settle in your teepee next to them.

Accommodation: Nomad family | Meals: B, L, D

DAY 4: Learn from Duka Culture
Spend a memorable day with a reindeer herder family, sharing their daily life and helping the with herding activities. Experience riding a reindeer and milking it. You can photograph the family and reindeer. Stay another night in teepee.

Accommodation: Nomad family | Meals: B, L, D

DAY 5: Travel to Tengis & Shigshed River Valley
After breakfast, we leave the family and ride on horseback to the Tsagaan nuur village, where we meet the driver and continue the trip. We will head to Tengis & Shigshed river valley, rich in fish and wildlife. Stay overnight in tourist Ger camp.

Accommodation: Tourist Ger camp | Meals: B, L, D | Distance: 200km

DAY 6: Murun; Capital of Khuvsgul Province
Today we travel to Murun town. We will visit a provincial museum to learn more about the different ethnic groups living there and natural wonders. Wander around its outdoor market selling local food & products. Have a rest in a local hotel after this wilderness trip.

Accommodation: Local hotel | Meals: B, L, D | Distance: 150km

DAY 7: Fly to Ulaanbaatar
This afternoon we take a commercial flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Upon arrival, we will pick you up and transfer to the hotel you arranged.

Meals: B, L | Distance: 1 hour 20 minutes

Included

Included:

√ Domestic flights
The flights from Ulaanbaatar to Murun and back are included in the price of the trek.

√ Transport
During the trek, all necessary transportation will be in a 4WD vehicle.

√ Guide
You will be accompanied by an experienced, English-speaking guide at all times.

√ Meals
During the trek, our staff will take care of preparing the food. All meals detailed in the itinerary are included. Food during the tour can be found many varieties of a typical meat-based dish with vegetable and rice/pasta/noodle and some fruits. Fresh veggies and fruits are rare to find. Fortunately, vegetarian foods are available and can be requested. A gluten-free diet can be catered such as some fruits, rice, vegetable, and meat.

√ Fees
The admission fees and all activity fees are included in the price.

√ Accommodation
Accommodation during the trek is included in the price. You will spend your nights in a tourist Ger Camp on your first and fifth day. You will also spend 2 nights with a nomad family. Your second and last night you will spend at a local guesthouse or hotel. Your trekking company will take care of all the arrangements.

√ Water
We will provide you with 1.5 liters of bottled water per day during the trek.

√ Luggage Transfer
During the trek, horses will carry your main bag. You will only have to carry a day bag with your personal items, water, and packed lunch.

Excluded:

× International Airfare
Flights to and from Mongolia are not included. To get an idea of which airlines are flying on Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN), have a look at their website.

×Visa application & fees
Your trekking company will not take responsibility for the travel visa for Mongolia. This should be organized by yourself. You can find a list of visa-free countries here http://www.consul.mn/eng/02visae.php.

× Accommodation before and after the trek
Before and after the trek you have to take care of your own accommodation.

× Tipping
The tip is not included in the price of the trek. Tipping is optional, but if you had a good time, try to be generous with those who made it happen.

× Travel Insurance
Your international travel insurance is your own responsibility. Discuss your itinerary with the insurance company before you travel.

×Personal Expenses
All personal expenses such as alcoholic drinks, laundry, souvenir, and other similar expenses are for your own account.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Best season
The weather in Mongolia is definitely one of its most curious features: it is so far inland that no sea tempers its climate. Moreover, Mongolia has 3 distinctive regions: the south, with the Gobi Desert, The North-west with its mountain ranges, and the center.

Mongolia is popularly known as “The Land of the Blue Sky” because it has an average of 230-260 annual days of sunshine. Despite the sunshine, temperatures in Mongolia can get really low, especially in winter (December-February), with temperatures of -30° C.

When is the best time to visit Mongolia? Well, summer and beginning of autumn are the seasons most recommended, that is, between June and September. During these months, temperatures range between 15°C and 30°C. Spring and late Autumn are not bad options neither, but bring a thicker jacket, because temperatures at night get down to -8°C.

Despite the low temperatures, remember to bring with your sunglasses and sunscreen, it is not called “the land of the Blue Sky” for nothing.

What should I bring for my nomad family visit?
It is polite to leave some form of gift with the host to repay them for their hospitality. In general, money does not make a good gift, so leave something personal like postcards from your country, Polaroid photographs and sweets are all thoughtful tokens. It is, however, impolite to take photographs without asking. Many Mongolians dislike tourists taking photographs of them or their children without warning. However, they are usually delighted if you do take their photograph, provided you will then send copies back to them.

How do I get the visa for Mongolia?
You need a visa upon arrival if you are traveling to Mongolia from a country that has no Mongolian consulate or embassy, you can pick up a 30-day tourist visa upon arrival at the airport in Ulaanbaatar. You’ll need 108,000 tugrugs (45 USD) and two passport photos – you should also have a pre-approval letter from an organization or company in Mongolia. In case of booking a tour with us, we will help you to get a visa support letter and further assistance.

Tipping
Tipping is not that common in Mongolia. However, it is common to tip guides and drivers. How much to tip is never clear, but we advise to tip your guide and driver some 2-5 USD per day of trek. If you got a good service and had a good time thanks to their work, show them your gratitude. Be generous, it will be much appreciated.

Packing List

Packing List

When trekking, packing the right equipment is essential. You need to always be ready for the unexpected. We asked our trekking partners in Mongolia to see what they recommend you to pack for your adventure and these are their recommendations:

- Trekking shoes
- Warm clothing
- Windproof and waterproof Jacket
- Small towel
- Camera
- Hat or bandana
- Sunglasses
- Toiletries
- Sunblock/lotion
- Lip Balm
- Insect repellent
- Sandals (optional)

Accommodation

Accommodation

During the trek, you will spend your nights in 3 different accommodation types.

First of all, you will spend your first and fifth night at a nomad family homestay Ger. Gers are traditional small buildings build by nomad families. Do not worry, we will heat the Ger during your stay.

You will spend your second and last night in a local hotel. The rest of the nights of the trek you will spend with a local, nomad, reindeer herder family, where you will get to know their customers and way of life.

Travel Buddies

Travel Buddies

Trips at “Travel Buddies” take you to the best parts of Mongolia and bring you closer to the untouched nature, various landscapes, indigenous history, cultures and traditions of the last nomad on earth.

Back in 2006 when we stepped into tourism, group tours organized by international travel companies were common but not private and tailor-made tours due to lack of Mongolia’s information accessibility and online local experts.

To help independent and small group travelers creating their trip to Mongolia and customize it to their needs/wants, Zoljargal and Urtnasan founded “Travel Buddies” in 2009. Since then, we have been planning and organizing thousands of dream Mongolia trips for our clients. Today Mongolia travel experiences are enriched that you can choose any travel style with options of basic to upmarket facilities.

Safety

Safety

Safety is of the outmost importance to us. That is why this is an area in which we simply do not compromise when it comes to keeping the cost of our trekkings low. Our guides have been selected on the basis of their technical competence, proven safety performance, impeccable judgment, friendly attitude and ability to provide useful and expert instructions. They are also very professional and well trained in first aid and personal protection equipment.

How To Book

How does it work?

On Bookatrekking.com you can find and compare the adventures of your dreams. Is this trekking adventure your match? In that case, you can proceed to book. At Bookatrekking.com you make a deposit of 15% of the total amount. You will have to pay the remaining eighty-five percent (85%) of the price of the booked product to Bookatrekking.com forty-five (45) days prior to the departure date of the booked trek.

Bookatrekking.com uses only the safest payment methods. Once your booking has been received, your place is reserved, your place is safe and you can look forward to your chosen trekking.

After you have made your booking, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with all necessary information and the contact details of the trekking company. If you have any questions or if you want to clarify something, you can obtain information directly from the right person. Of course, you can also always ask us your question. Send us an e-mail on support@bookatrekking.com

The trekking company will also receive your details and can therefore always contact you and provide you with extra information.

Cancellation Policy

You wish you didn’t have to, but there is no other way: You find yourself having to cancel your plans. In this case, you lose your deposit, but since you haven’t paid the large sum yet, you at least save that. Please do let us know if you cannot make it. A no-show can be a small disaster for your trekking provider, who did its best to block your dates. View our complete cancellation policy here.

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