Western Mongolia is an escape into the world as it once was. Outside the city of Ulgii there are no roads no electricity poles or wires, no houses, no paths – just purity. Spend your days trekking through countryside with often no other humans or even animals until you reach your camp and your evenings learning the ways of the nomads.
Ulgii and the West
Like Ulaanbaatar, you should not be spending much time at all in the city of Ulgii. However, to explore the West you’ll need a guide. Outside of the city there are no real roads, people don’t speak much Mongolian, let alone Enlgish, and you’ll need permits to visit everywhere.
Exploring the West
Finding a guide
I hopped on a trip out west with a friend I met at the my hostel in UB. She found him through Couchsurfing but unfortunately I do not have any of his information anymore. Take a look online, ask around tour companies in UB and talk to fellow travelers for extremely helpful feedback and suggestions.
Some people forget that getting off the beaten path often time means leaving behind the comforts that come with it as well. Expect to sleep on the ground, go to the bathroom outside behind a rock, have no showers and no wifi for the duration of your time outside of the city. Beyond that, you can expect absolute serenity. You are truly in the wild and it is an unforgettable experience. You will meet and connect with real nomads, escape into nature and recapture the beauty in simplicity.
What to Expect
Trekking, horseback riding, and climbing the Altai Mountains are all available. Do not opt to visit eagle hunters. While it may be an old Mongolian tradition it is outdated and cruel.
My tour was 10 days which was, truth be told, too long. Some of the time is physically traveling the distance which can’t be altered. Talk to your guides and make sure you understand what each day entails and work with them to tailor your trip to what you’re looking for. I would’ve loved around 5-6 days instead.
If you’re not going back to UB then head onto Russia or Kazakhstan.
For more general information on traveling Indonesia such as visas, money, Covid updates and more, visit my Mongolia travel page