Month in Mongolia

For our extended visit to Mongolia in June-July ’04, we asked Tim Todd of T.E.I. Tours & Travel (Box 23784, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523; 800/435-4334 or 925/825-6104 or to arrange our largely custom, 29-day tour.

Having previously visited the “essential” tourist sites in the vicinity of Ulan Bator (Ulaanbaatar), we intended on this trip to experience as much of the natural, cultural and archaeological breadth of Mongolia as possible. Tim exceeded all of our expectations. In addition to covering all of our itinerary desires, he made invaluable suggestions based on both his personal experience and the advice of his excellent contacts.

Our driver and translator both were first-rate. In addition to providing planned visits with local families and to archaeological sites and tourist locales, they expanded on our interests with unscheduled personal contacts and site visits.

This itinerary was perhaps the trek of our lifetimes. After a reintroduction to (and shopping in) Ulan Bator, we flew to the Gobi Desert and from there experienced Mongolia as only driving, camel and horseback venues can deliver.

After seeing the Flaming Cliffs, Yolyn Am Valley and the dunes of the Gobi, we ventured north via an infrequently traveled path to Inscription Mountain and Tsagaan Agui (White Cave). From there it was on to Khujirt, Orkhon Falls, Karakorum, Tsetserleg, Tsaagan Nur (White Lake), Murun (including Naadam!), Khatgal, Lake Khovsgol, Bulgan and Erdenet before returning to Ulan Bator.

The cost was $5,230 per person (a larger group would have made it cheaper on a per-person basis). This covered airfare from San Francisco to Beijing to Ulan Bator and return; internal flights in Mongolia; the services of a translator and driver (sometimes the same person and sometimes two different folks); lodging; meals; admission fees, and internal transport (car, camel and horse).

Sacramento, CA