What could be a more remarkable adventure than visiting the Reindeer Herders of Mongolia during the magical and picturesque winter? This is a truly awe inspiring journey.
The Reindeer Herders, or Tsaatan, live in the Northern most province of Mongolia, migrating through the mountainous region bordering Russia and enduring brutal weather for half the year. Traditionally the Tsaatan relied solely on reindeer to survive; milk, meat, fur, antlers and as a form of transport. The Tsaatan of Mongolia are the last truly nomadic reindeer herders, moving 4 times a year with their reindeer and living in teepees (orts). To survive in the world today and to combat changing climate and environment, the Tsaatan are being influenced by modern times, using solar panels, mobile phone and cheap Chinese clothes as well as more durable canvas to cover their teepees.
As the main source of income, tourism is seen by the Tsaatan community as a valuable tool in preserving the culture of the Reindeer herders.
Dates: March 1-10, 2017 (10 days, 10 nights)
- Take the overnight sleeper train to start the journey to Northern Mongolia.
- Walk on the world famous frozen Hovsgol Lake and enjoy the local Ice Festival
- Ride a horse drawn sled across the frozen lake accompanied by the jingling of the harness bells then warm up over an open fire
- Experience the majesty of the snow covered Horidal Saridag Mountains and the awe inspiring Darkhad Depression from the comfort of a warm vehicle
- Ride horses or reindeer to the remote Reindeer herder community and spend two nights in a teepee with a Tsaatan family.
- Give a donation to the local school to help encourage the education of Reindeer Herder children.
Exact itinerary subject to change depending on location of reindeer herder community and Ice Festival program
Day 0: Overnight train to Erdenet usually leaving from Ulaanbaatar 7pm.
Day 1: Meet your driver and head north to the shore of Lake Hovsgol. Overnight in ger camp (with toasty underfloor heating!)
Day 2: Enjoy the Hovsgol Ice Festival. See ice sculptures, skating races and ride a horse drawn sled!
Day 3: Another full day to enjoy the ice festival.
Day 4: Start the epic journey to the Mongolian Taiga. A long drive over the Khoridal Saridag mountain range and into the Darkhad Depression. Overnight at a family run guesthouse in Tsagaannuur.
Day 5: Visit Tsagaannuur school and present donations provided by EXPAT. Check in to the boarder office and begin the journey to the heart of the Taiga by car and horse. Ride into the Reindeer herder camp at lunch time.Meet your host family and settle into your “Urts” (Teepee).
Day 6: Full day with the Reindeer Herder community. Go with the men of the family to herd the reindeer, learn about the culture, or help cook and gather fire wood.
Day 7: Say goodbye to your hosts and start the journey back east to Renchinlumbe village. Stay in a family run guesthouse.
Day 8: Arrive at Lake Hovsgol and spend one evening on the shores of the lake. Enjoy hot showers and good food.
Day 9: Start the journey back south, reaching Erdenet before dinner. Overnight in local hotel.
Day 10: Morning to explore Erdenet city, the home of Mongolia’s copper mine and textile factory, before arriving back in Ulaanbaatar after lunch.
NOTES ON VISITING SENSITIVE CULTURES
EXPAT Adventure Travel respects the socio-cultural authenticity of the Tsaatan communities. We aim to conserve their built and living cultural heritage and traditional values, and contribute to inter-cultural understanding and tolerance. If we deem a tour or activity to be damaging to the community, we reserve the right to change or cancel the tour or activity.
We ask all visitors to the Tsaatan community to in turn respect the people, culture and traditions. More details and clear guidance will be given when booking.
English speaking guide and private car, sleeper train tickets to Erdenet city, accommodation as specified, horse or reindeer riding, meals as specified, all entrance fees and taxes.
Please contact us to get the full itinerary and a quote or to make modifications to meet your needs.