Gobi Desert Mongolia Travel Guide
How To Travel In The Gobi Desert Mongolia
Five Quick Facts About Travelling In Mongolia
- Mongolia is BIG, it has the 18th largest land mass in the world.
- There are very few roads outside Ulaanbaatar mostly its just tracks or even more often just tyre tracks in the dirt.
- There are no signs and very few maps.
- The terrain is beautiful but very unforgiving, if venturing into the Gobi this needs to be taken very seriously.
- Villages and towns are few and far between and often hard to find.
Ways To Travel In Mongolia
Private Driver & Guide
Hiring a driver and a guide means you can design a trip that suits you, takes you where you want to go and can be as long as you want it to be. By hiring a driver and guide you can travel to more remote parts of the country and visit areas off the tour trail. It is important to note if you do travel into more remote parts of Mongolia it will mean no toilets (rocks work well) and limited opportunity to shower.
Do I need a driver and a guide? Yes you do. The drivers job is to drive – all day – and get you through some tough, rugged terrain. The guides job is to look after you, cook the meals and make sure you have somewhere safe and comfortable to sleep. You need them both.
We hired a driver and guide through Golden Gobi and they were excellent.
Every guest house in Ulaanbaatar offers tours along with a number of the big travel companies. These tours generally follow a generic route which takes in the ‘big ticket’ items of a particular region of Mongolia.
If you elect to do a tour with a guest house it is important to do you homework and research companies thoroughly as the quality and professionalism varies greatly. You need a driver and guide who are experienced in the wilds of Mongolia, can negotiate with nomads and know their way around an often hostile environment.
When we travelled in the Gobi twice we encountered massive storms and our driver & guide were able to quickly change plans to avoid the weather and find alternative accommodation that was safe.
Alternately you can do a tour with one of the big international tour companies. These tours generally follow a well worn route and stay at Tourist camps which usually have both toilets and showers.
Some decide to hire a car and travel independently. If you chose to do this some tour operators will be able to kit you out with sleeping bags, tents and camping equipment.
A word to the wise – If you decide to travel independently you will need an excellent GPS, be able to carry water and food for multiple days and have a knowledge of where all the small towns and villages are so you can replenish both petrol and water supplies.
What Should A Good Tour Operator Offer
- Experienced driver and guide.
- All transportation including pick up and drop off from your guest house. This also includes a fuel costs.
- All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- 1.5 litres water per person per day
- Tents, sleeping bags, ground mats.
- A combination of camping and staying in nomad family gites.
- Entrance to National Parks