Mongolia nomadic Tsataan reindeer herders

£2,900

Price includes: accommodation, all meals, all transport within Mongolia, entrance fees and guides. It DOES NOT include international airfare, visas if applicable.

Dates: TBC September 2018 (14 days)

Join us in the beautiful vast wilderness of Mongolia for a truly unique experience celebrating a distinct and ancient nomadic culture; the Tsataan reindeer herders in the remote North Taiga.

During your stay you will have the opportunity to relax and unwind in the vast landscape that is Mongolia, travelling through beautiful lake and mountain landscapes before the smell of the wood smoke draws us in to the centre of the nomadic Tsataan reindeer herder community. Here you will be welcomed by the few remaining Tsataan alive and experience their way of life, living off the land amongst the gentle reindeer, sleeping in teepees and being guided by their Shaman.

We are truly privileged to be able to offer an expedition taking you to live amongst the nomadic Tsataan, before helping to support the very first Tsataan cultural festival. Set up by our Mongolian guides in collaboration with the Tsataan, the festival aims to celebrate their knowledge, culture and traditions which are at risk of being lost to history. It is considered that less than 300 remain of this ancient tribe whose ways are still guided by a shaman and who live entirely off the land.

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Itinerary

Day 1

On arrival to Ulaanbaatar you’ll be transferred to your hotel to relax and refresh before the evenings entertainment of traditional folk dancers, throat singers and contortionists.

Day 2

We begin your first full day in Mongolia by heading North to Murun Town. Here we will stop and see ancient deer stone monuments and visit a local bazaar.

Day 3
Today we begin our journey through the mountains driving off road through mountain valleys and rivers. We will also stop at the 13 Ovoo (shamanic cairns) to make a blessing and a small glacier before setting up camp in the pine trees in the mountain valley.

Day4

After a breakfast, we will drive to Tsagaan Nuur village, the smallest village in Mongolia, just 30km from the Russian border.

Day5

Today we collect our horses and ride out onto the East Taiga in search of our nomadic reindeer hosts, the Tsataan. The journey is likely to be a gentle 5-7 hours with plenty of rest. As we get closer to the reindeer herders you will smell the smoke from their tipi fires, hear the children playing and dogs barking, before seeing the small collection of tipis and large groups of reindeer.

Day 6

After spending our first night in our tipi, and experiencing our reindeer milk tea, we will walk with our Tsataan reindeer herder hosts up the mountain with the reindeer to find the best grazing spots. Here we hope you can begin to really relax in this tranquil place amongst the beautiful and calm reindeer. Today we will learn how to milk the reindeer and how to make the products that are staple to the Tsataan diet; bread, milk curd, milk tea, cheese, donuts, and fresh mountain blueberry jam. We will also learn about their traditional crafts.

Day 7

We will spend another night on the Taiga where you may hear the calls of the wild wolves. Today the Tsataan will introduce us to some of their medicinal plants that surround them on the Taiga, along with sharing their knowledge on the wildlife around them. We will also have the opportunity to share time with their shamans, who still guide the Tsataan.

Day 8

Today we will ride back through pine and larch forests and through rivers to get ready for the Tsataans first festival. We will stay overnight in a traditional ger.

Day 9

Reindeer Festival – this is the first time this festival has ever taken place and we are truly privileged to be able to be there for it. The festival aims to celebrate the culture and traditions of the Tsataan reindeer herders. The Tsataan do not use the reindeer for meat but they use them for milk and for riding and for enabling them to move their tipis and live the nomadic life so closely related to nature. Overnight stay in ger.

Day 10

Second day of Reindeer Festival. By now, hopefully you will have gotten to know our hosts really well so you can cheer them on as they participate with the other herders who have travelled far through the mountains to meet up with the few remaining Tsataan left in the world.

Day 11

Today we begin the drive back towards Murin town, crossing rivers and passing herds of yak and horses.

Day 12

Today we arrive at the great meadow and Murin town before heading back to Ulan Bator to relax in a 4 star hotel.

Day 13

This is your last full day in Mongolia and an opportunity to see some of the cities highlights and visit museums and monasteries.

Day 14

After a restful night in a 4 star hotel you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.

Accommodation

Wherever possible we aim to use accommodation that enhances the overall travel experience, and provides a real example of how the host culture lives.
On arrival and departure of the main city of Ulaanbaatar you will stay a night in a four star hotel.
Whilst staying in the village with the reindeer people it may be possible to stay in a tee-pee, however this will be communal.
Any accommodation mentioned in the itinerary is subject to availability and if not available substitutes will be of a similar quality.
Apart from the occasions where we stay in hotels, there is rarely a toilet or shower to use out in the wilderness and so often it is a long drop style toilet or a case of picking your spot out in the forest. Hot water will be provided for strip wash.

Physical Requirements

This expedition does not require you to exert yourself and so only a basic level of fitness is required. We will be walking up the mountains but this can be done at your own pace and is approximately 200m difference in height. You will need to be able to ride a horse for up to 7 hours or cover the same distance on foot if you do not feel comfortable riding.
If you have a physical disability, please get in touch to ensure that we can accommodate you safely.

Getting ready for your trip

Once we have received your booking we will send you further information for example on; visas, vaccinations and suggested kit list.

In the mean time, to get you excited and ready for your adventure, you may be interested in;

music-icon Music to listen to
•Hurrah Hurrah Hurrah – Bros Records, Mongolia On our last trip up to find the nomadic Tsataan, driving through the mountains, we played this a LOT. Their latest track ‘Savdog, Lord of the land’, came out on January 1st 2016 so if you like their music please consider supporting them by buying it. Thanks.
•Hollow Song – Temuulen Tmk, Mongolia
•We’d love to hear your suggestions for other music to listen to, to get excited about coming to Mongolia, driving through mountains, seeing eagles soaring, and reindeer gently licking your hands. Our guide has an unfortunate liking for 80’s ex-neighbours stars brand of pop so any recommendations will be good!
food-iconMeals to cook

•Basically, if you don’t like dairy, now might be the time to start getting used to it. We can provide vegan meals during your expedition but as fresh fruit and vegetables can be so difficult to get hold of in rural Mongolia, you might just want to get as much of a fix for them as you can before you leave. There are some incredible restaurants, including vegan, in the city.

film-icon Films to watch

•The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003)
Book-iconBooks to read

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