Mongolia takes a very special place at Tropical Cyclist: every so many years the magic of the infinite, nomadic space draws us passionately!
Every time we are surprised how each cycling kilometer shows how varied a country, fifty times larger than the Netherlands and only inhabited by fewer than three million inhabitants, can be. Steppes, desert, hills, green wooded mountains and valleys, they provide a continuous variety in panoramas, flora and fauna. Horses - the Mongols know seventy different words for the noble animal; the love songs are mainly about horses - are the only fixed value. And of course there is the 'ger', the felt hut that can always be seen somewhere in the distance and that always reminds us of the nomadic blood of the Mongols. While nomads are the lowest class in almost all societies, in Ulaanbaatar even the richest are deep-down envious of the freedom of eternally traveling outside the city. Was the realm of Chinggis Khaan not one of the greatest in history, without a single permanent palace?
The asphalt is still limited, fortunately, because Mongolia is at its best when you cycle on the endless network of paths. Accommodations? The overnight stays in the 'gers' and in the tents surpass in all respects the stay in urban hotels. And our accompanying Mongolian cooks prove with every meal how well you can eat outdoors.
Mongolia, that land of infinite space, of boundless open air, of ultimate freedom, we must return to that in June 2020!
ROUTE CYCLING HOLIDAY MONGOLIA
- Day 1: Welcome to Ulaanbaatar, the capital and the only Mongolian place that is equipped with all modernities. In the evening we board the night train to Erdenet.
- Days 2/6: from Erdenet via Bulgan (85 km, hotel), Sayhan (95 km), Oiziyt (70 km) and Battsengel (70 km, three times camping) to Tsetserleg (80 km, hotel); through the vast landscapes of the Bulgan and Arkhangai provinces to the foot of the Khangai mountains.
- Day 7: rest day in Tsetserleg.
- Days 8/11: 200 km in four days, to the next place (Bayanghonkor, hotel). With no more than ten cars passing per day. With regularly wet feet crossing small rivers. With beautiful mountains and valleys. With few heavy climbs, but with demanding 'road' surface. With the highest point of the two weeks (2,700 meters). And with the nicest conceivable locations to set up the tents.
- Day 12: to Ayvakheer, in a combination of cycling (70 km) and transfer.
- Days 13 (90 km) and 14 (90 km) : to the most famous monastery of Mongolia, Erdene Zuu in Karakoram ('ger camp').
- Day 15 (over 50 km): a beautiful morning ride past the monastery Shankt Zuu. Erdene Zuu itself in the afternoon.
- Day 16: to the sand dunes of Mongol Els (90 km, 'ger camp').
- Day 17: transfer to Ulaanbaatar and time for the only real city in the country.
- Day 18: farewell, saying goodbye and enjoying in retrospect.
Cycling through Mongolia is not difficult because of the day distances or the gradients, sometimes because of the road surface. A good condition (but certainly not that of a top athlete) is a requirement, as well as feeling at home on a mountain bike. Above all, mental flexibility is needed to optimally enjoy this expedition-like journey.
At cycling.martinhilbers.info/Mongolia you can find beautiful pictures and detailed bike data, Martin was a participant in 2013.
PRICES CYCLING TOUR MONGOLIA
The quality-price ratio of a trip through Mongolia is high. But traveling through Mongolia is not cheap, because of the logistics (long distances) and because almost everything has been imported. Our combination of small groups, foreign areas and full care cannot possibly be low-budget. On the other hand, the price for participating in a tour covers almost all costs on the spot, because included are:
- all overnight stays
- the complete supply of drinks and food (except alcoholic drinks other than local beer).
- the (cycling) Dutch- and English-speaking guidance and that of the Mongolian team of cooks, interpreter and drivers of the following cars, who transport the luggage (and possibly bicycles and people).
- all transport and logistics between the start and the finish in Ulaanbaatar.
- all entrance fees including guides.
Participation in the tour costs 2,495 euros per person.
Those who want a single room/tent pay a supplement of 325 euros for this.
Almost no pocket money is needed in practice; simply because there is almost never anything to buy along the way!
- the daily cleaning, maintenance and repair of clothes and bicycle. In other words, in cycling terms: the care of mechanic and soigneur. This option costs 130 euros once, and then also applies to all future (hopefully many) Tropical Cyclist trips.
Flying to Ulaanbaatar is no longer as eccentric as before, but the number of airlines that have this destination in their portfolio is still low. That is why booking the airline tickets early is recommended.
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