I started researching on a trip to Mongolia a year ago and realised I had just missed the season. So I waited all these months to kick-start the conversation with prospective tour operators. Nomadic Journeys and 360 Mongolia was the first site I researched, and upon first contact with them, they didn't disappoint. Narangarav, who was liaising with me via email never failed to reply in a prompt fashion and always had a lot of information to to quell my concerns- I was planning to travel with my 6 year old son.
They were were helpful in suggesting itineraries that would suit us and once we decided to go ahead, the transactions (they have their own convenient online payment portal) and pre-departure checks went along very smoothly. We didn't need need a visa, so that was great.
Even when we had last minute inclusions to our group, it was handled with no fuss.
We arrived on 1 Sept 2017 and although Nomadic Journeys offered to help with the hotel bookings in UB, I decided to try out my own choice. Discussions with Nagarangav was easy and seamless via whatsapp and he was understanding and helpful in getting me an additional airport transfer as I had missed my connecting Air China flight from Beijing to UB.
(A word of caution on Air China- be prepared for delays, crappy after-service and missing flights. We missed our connecting both ways, which is never fun with a young child in tow).
We arrived at Jalman Meadows the next day after a 3 hour+ drive and we were to spend the next four nights at the ger camp then move off for another four nights on a Yak Trek.
Although four days and nights at one place seemed excessive, we realised that there was actually a Leno ugh activities to keep us busy all that time. Even though we were technically self-guided, the English speaking staff would ask us nightly what our plans were for the next day, so they had ample time to prepare. If the horse were booked or it was raining, they would suggest alternative times and other things to do.
Being shrewd researchers- we plied them with questions on throat singing, wrestling, fermented mare's milk, visiting a nomad family.. And although there was nothing like that there except a nomad family nearby, they were helpful in giving us suggestions and alternatives, even telling us that the men at the camp could wrestle for us if we wished. We bashfully declined their sweet offer!
When it came to the meals, they really outdid themselves with what they had to offer. Meals were served in the restaurant ger at fixed times, three times a day and it consisted of a salad starter, soup and a main course. Breakfast was a local spread of dairy products, fried breads, cured meat and eggs. I've never been this well-fed in a while! I really love meat and Asian dishes so I was hoping for more local fare, but the western dishes they churned out was no less than delicious. For all the meals we had there, nothing on the menu was repeated! A good thing to note, in Mongolia alcohol is very affordable and there was lots of wines and local Vodka at the camp to keep us warm and happy.
Some of the activities we did were horseriding- there's always a horseman with you so not to worry. Also I was pleasantly surprised to see some helmets and half chaps available for the guests use. My son and I lugged our own helmets there. :)
We got to enjoy rafting, archery, hikes, making friends at the bonfire and generally just taking in the majesty of the land and people.
Also good to note that the outhouse situation was superb as well. They made everyone feel pretty comfortable in what seemed like a little log cabin with mirror, sink, paper towel dispenser, soap and bin. Very posh! Just don't look down with your headlamp in the middle of the night. Ha.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Jalman Meadows is located on the Upper Tuul River, which meanders gently through the vast meadows of wildflowers and through the lush hills that holds larch forests and birch. It is silent and peaceful here, except for the buzzes of grasshoppers and the singing of the birds. The time seems to stand still in this remote place. At Jalman Meadows, Nomadic Journeys operates this wilderness ger camp in a 360 degree landscape. The ger camp is seasonal in the summers, and is fully collapsible. It may be relocated leaving no more impact on the area than a herdsmen family would. It has 14 double occupancy gers and triples may be accommodated in these. There are also 2 family size gers, with one double bed and two singles. The gers have fire stoves, wooden floors and are beautifully decorated in traditional nomadic style with hand-crafted furnishings. Showers are provided in two separate gers. The shower ger has a fire stove, why it is warm and cozy. It is five-star camping at its best. Activities offered at camp are horseback riding, rafting, hiking, bird watching, kayaking, river side ger sauna and mountain biking. ... more less