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Leo Liu, one of Goway Asia’s Destination Specialists, recently visited Mongolia on a remote adventure. Here, Leo shares many of the highlights of his trip and gives you some tips on how to plan and approach a Mongolian vacation.
What is the biggest misconception about Mongolia?
A trip to Mongolia doesn’t mean you only stay in a ger (which is a kind of Mongolian round tent). In fact, Mongolia has a lot more to offer tourists. You can see Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, the Genghis Khan Museum, Bayanzag or the Flaming Cliffs, and the Khongor Sand Dunes in the Ghobi Desert. There are also numerous monasteries, and the exciting capital city, Ulaanbaatar.
You did a lot of hotel inspections on your trip. What was your favourite hotel and why?
I recommend the Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel in Ulaanbaatar, since it is right beside the Sukhbaatar Square (previously called Chinggis Square), which is located at the centre of the city. It’s about a 10-minute walk from the National Department Store and close to most important spots in the city. It’s also a deluxe property.
You stayed in a ger during your vacation. Can you give us some insights into this experience?
It’s an exciting and unique experience. It gives you an idea of a real nomadic way of life and lets you stay in the midst of nature, which feels very cool. However, it’s important to note than in many ger camps, you have to share facilities with other travellers, which means shared bathrooms and showers.
As a Goway Asia Expert having sold Mongolia for years, was there anything that surprised you about the country?
Yes, definitely. For instance, if you head to the Gobi Desert or a ger camp, sometimes the hot water supply might not be available, so you should be prepared for that. Also, you have to be in good shape and active to really get the most of the remote destinations. You have to be ready for hiking and not mind three-to-four hour drives, since they’re a common occurrence. As well, there are no toilets on the prairie, unless you are driving by a small village or settlement, so it’s not what most travellers are expecting. However, if you’re not looking for remote adventure, it’s easy to book you an Ulaanbaatar stopover package, which showcases many of the country’s highlights.
What destinations would you recommend if clients wanted to extend their trip into another country?
Are there any tips about travelling to Mongolia that agents might share with their clients to make their clients’ trips even more enjoyable?
There are several things travellers should consider when heading to Mongolia. You should carry small gifts for local adults who welcome you into their communities and small games, balls, or even stationary to give to kids you encounter. You should always have bottled water with you when you’re staying in a ger. Also, you should expect to share local nomadic foods and drinks with the people you meet in remote areas, because it’s rude to refuse what’s offered you. And it’s always smart to pack warm clothes as nights can drop to around 0°C, even in August and September.
Do you have a favourite Mongolian dish that you tried during your visit?
It has to be khorkhog, which is a type of Mongolian barbeque. It consists of slices of meat, usually lamb, cooked inside a metal container holding hot stones and water and set over a fire. It’s delicious.
Please reach out to our Asia Experts who can assist you with your clients request for this very unique experience.
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