Monkey Business offers a variety of activities in Mongolia, from idyllic and relaxed Elstei Ger Lodge, to more active Camel Treks in the Gobi and Specialist Jeep Treks to see the unique charm and corners of the Mongolian Steppe.
Mongolia (along with Irkutsk) is one of the must-see stops on any Trans-Siberian
trip. It is a totally unique destination and one most people vow to return
to one day. The open steppe, searing deserts, huge clear blue sky, warm
hospitable people, genuinely nomadic culture and starlit nights make Mongolia
make most people vow to return to one day. Our programs are designed to
show you the best of what this fascinating destination has to offer in
the relatively limited time a stop as part of an overall Trans-Siberian
Destinations and Trips
- Gobi Desert
- Open Steppe
- Jeep Tours
- Seasonal Tours
As the capital of Mongolia, this is the base to arrange any longer trips to the Countryside and the main terminus for trains and planes. There are some interesting Museums and Monasteries to gain a further understanding of Mongolian Culture and History. This is also the main place to stock up on souvenirs, such as a pair of traditional Mongolian boots and Del!. There are plenty of local markets and Western Supermarkets to stock up food for the next part of the train journey. There is also a growing selection of local and foreign managed bars, restaurants and nightlife.
But the real beauty of Mongolia is the Countryside and so a day or two in the City is generally enough. While staying in the City we can book the 3* Bayangol Hotel for you. It is conveniently located just a few minutes walk south of the main square.
To avoid backing tracking in Mongolia, we arrange trips in the Gobi Desert starting from Sainshand. You will get off the Beijing-UB train early and spend a few days in the Gobi Desert before boarding a local train with your guide to continue the journey to Ulaanbaatar. Gobi Trips are available from the 15th of May till the 1st of October. This trip is also available for travellers starting in Moscow on the way to Beijing. You will take a local train from Ulanbaatar with your guide as far as Sainshand. After the tour in the Gobi desert you will board the International train #24 for onward travel to Beijing. Go to Tours >
The Shuren ger camp at Elstei is located about 50 km from UB and on the Mongolian steppe. 'Elstei' means 'sandy place' in Mongolian and there is very little on the horizon except green hills, clear skies, a nearby river and passing nomadic families. It is a very relaxing time and your guide will introduce Mongolian culture and you will experience the way of life of local Nomadic families. Locals are usually around to rent out their horses. You sleep in a traditional Mongolian 'ger' with comfortable beds with clean linen and blankets. The camp features a shower block and washing facilities with hot water and showers, modern toilets, a restaurant and shop. While in Elstei all meals are provided and are prepared to good standards. In the winter (from October to April, depending on weather) the ger is well heated by a wood burning stove but the shower block and restaurant are closed due to frozen pipes. Instead meals are prepared in a kitchen ger and basic washing facilities and toilet are provided.Go to Trips
If you are up for a little more strenuous activity while staying at Elstei Ger Lodge, you can get closer to the nomadic way of life. Starting off from Elstei ger camp you will ride a horse to the family camp and spend the night with a herdsman and his family. You will be in the center of the action and have an introduction to the nomadic lifestyle. You will quickly learn how to ride, look after the herd and practice the daily routine of the herdsman. Available from late April to mid-October.
Karakorum is around 370km south-west of Ulaanbaatar (UB), and was Ghenghis Khan's dream as the capital city of his Mongolian empire It was at its peak at the time of construction around 1220. The city was never completed in Ghenghis' lifetime and was only used for around 50 years before Kublai Khan chose what is now Beijing as the capital of the Mongols. Karakorum was abandoned and helped to crumble by Manchurian invaders. There is now little left of its former glory, except the beautiful landscape, the lovely journey to reach Karakorum and Erdene Zhu monastery, built from the sacked city. This Module is available all year around, depending on weather conditions - deep snow may make the route impassable. The jeep can take maximum 3 people as you are accompanied by a driver and a guide. This is a 3 or 4 day round trip, with most of the first and last day spent travelling.
Hustai national park lies in the foothills of the southern Khenti mountain range about 100km south west of Ulaanbaatar. The park area was used at the turn of the century as a hunting ground for Bogd Khan, afterwards by Mongolian political officials. While nomads also have used the park as pasture reserve for their stock, the park never had a permanent settlement or been used for agriculture. This limited use has allowed the preservation of one of the world's most threatened ecosystems - the steppe. Now this place serves as a breeding centre for the Takhi horse re-introduction programmes and its aim is the establishment of a viable, self sustaining population of Takhi. Takhi is the world's last truly wild horse. It is critically endangered. There is a possibility to watch them in the national park.
The Naadam festival is held from the 11th to the 13th July each year, and celebrates the 3 manly sports: Archery, Wrestling and Horse Riding.
This is a very popular time to visit Mongolia and we adjust all our tours to include as much of the Nadaam events as possible.
Read more about Nadaam and our tour programme on our dedicated Nadaam page >.
Though the situation in Mongolia improves each year, services, facilities and infrastructure are well below western standards. Winters are long and harsh; there are few roads and tracks are not always accessible (even with jeeps); public transport between places is unpredictable; service at most hotels is basic at best; and during the short summer season more tourists arrive than there are hotel beds available (double bookings are common, with the last one to arrive loosing out!) As one independent traveller put it eloquently in an interview on Lonely Planet’s travel program, “To get anything done in Mongolia you either need a lot of time or a lot of money!”
Area: 1,566,500 sq km (602,829 sq mi)
Population: 2.5m (estimate) - 1.6 persons per sq km
Capital City: Ulaanbaatar (Ulanbaatar or Ulan Bator, literally 'red hero'
Capital City: Population: 0.84m
People: 86% Khalkh Mongols, Kazakhs (6%), 8% other
Language(s): Khalkh Mongol, Kazakh
Religion(s): Tibetan Buddhism, Shamanism, Muslim (in south-west)
Currency: Togrog (MNT)
You can stay up to 30 days in Mongolia on a tourist visa (US citizens do not need a visa and can stay up to 90 days!). See more on our section about Mongolian Visas