WHOAx 2020 MONGOLIA.jpg

(Wo)Men’s joy is in wide open and empty spaces

- Mongolian proverb -


 

WHOAx Expeditions is all about leaping out of our comfort zones as we team up to take on less charted adventures together! We founded WHOAx to feed your need for more exploration. It’s all about less hand holding and more independence and spontaneity. Step up and be a pioneer, expect the unexpected and take it to the next level! Bring your curiosity, positive vibes and sense of adventure, and come take the trail less traveled with WHOA.

 

WHOAX 2020: MONGOLIA

ROAD TRIP & BIKE THE GOBI + TREK THE ALTAI WITH AN EAGLE HUNTRESS 

JUNE 8 - 19 **SOLD OUT** 
—OR—
JUNE 22 - JULY 3

$3,750


Rugged, vast, unpredictable and rich with culture Mongolia is an explorer’s dream…which makes it a perfect addition to our WHOAx Expedition line up! Join us on this specially designed WHOAx expedition that will give us the rare opportunity to discover the passions and challenges of local women in Mongolia through adventure. As we road trip, bike, and hike around the Gobi and Altai Mountains, we’ll see that these women (young, old, urban and rural traditional) are so much more than nomads, and we’ll begin to understand the breadth and depth of the lives of women in this magnificent country. Mongolia is not an easy place to travel, and it will challenge you, but that is truly one of the most rewarding parts!

DATES:
PAYMENT OPTION:
Quantity:
BOOK IT!

+ WHAT'S INCLUDED

INCLUDED

• Accommodation in UB hotels, gers, tents and homestays as indicated in the Daily Breakdown
• Airport transfers to and from ULN
• Hearty, homecooked meals where indicated
• All transportation between locations
• Domestic flight to Ulgii
• Tents, GIANT XTC 800 bikes and helmets
• 3-day guided hike in the Atali region
• Experienced and professional local female English speaking guides to offer cultural insight and support throughout the entire journey
• Fair and generous tips for our amazing local guides and drivers
• Passionate WHOA GAL (Group Adventure Leader) to make sure you feel mentally and physically prepared leading up to and during your WHOAx Expedition

NOT INCLUDED

• Flights to and from Ulaanbaatar
• Entrance fees to museums, temples, etc not indicated as included in the itinerary
• Additional drinks, meals, snacks, and miscellaneous items not mentioned as included in the Daily Breakdown
Global rescue and travel insurance (mandatory)

max group size: 10

*Putting down a $500 deposit will reserve your spot on this expedition (which is a good idea because it will fill up fast)! You'll be invoiced and must pay in full at least 3 months before the expedition start date. All deposits are non-refundable. Discount codes can not be applied to WHOAx Expeditions.



DAILY BREAKDOWN

Day+1+-+Ulaanbaatar.jpg

DAY 1

ULAANBAATAR

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital city and home to roughly 45% of Mongolia’s population. If you’re up for it, we’ll spend the day with one of our local female guides discovering the local side to this vibrant city. The day is not about museums or shopping – it’s about having experiences that showcase the diversity and urban way of life in this great city compared to that of the rural population we’ll see later. We’ll visit the Nogoon Nuur (Green Lake) community project - a community space created for the local population of the nearby Bayangol ger. In the evening, we’ll get the team together for drinks and dinner to kick off our amazing adventure! 
Included Meals: Lunch, Welcome Dinner
Accommodation:
Hotel Nine Ulaanbattar

Day%2B2%2B-%2BBaga%2BGazriin%2BChuluu.jpg

DAY 2

ULAANBAATAR to BAGA GAZRIIN CHULUU

Ride Time: approx 5 hours 
Bike Distance: approx 35 km
Today we’ll load up our bikes, hop in our Furlongs, and hit the road! Our final destination today is Baga Gazriin Chuluu - a site comprised of extensive granite rock formations, dry riverbeds and elm trees surrounded by steppe habitat. In the afternoon, we’ll take a secret and rocky 3 hour hike into the interior to take in more stunning views. 
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodation: Tent camp

NOTE: We’ll have support vehicles along with us on the bike rides, so you can hop in at anytime if you’ve had enough!

Day+2+-+Gobi+Oasis.jpg

DAY 3

BAGA GAZRIIN CHULUU to GOBI OASIS

Ride Time: approx 6 hours 
Bike Distance: approx 50 km

Today we’ll have the pleasure of meeitng Byamba Tseyen, a retired forest engineer, local conservationist, and the driving force behind the Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project. This project’s focus is on growing and nurturing small seeds and branches in harsh conditions, and then replanting them in areas that are in desperate need of defense against desertification. A single young tree can absorb 26 pounds of CO2 per year, so we’re (very) slowly doing our bit towards managing carbon emissions! As well as planting your own tree, we’ll make a substantial donation per person towards the work of Gobi Oasis. In the evening, we’ll stay as the guests of Byamba and her daughter-in-law, Urnaa, and prepare and enjoy dinner together in their ger.  
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodation: Private ger homestay, shared local shower house

Day+4+%265+-+Erdenedalai.jpg

DAY 4

GOBI OASIS to ERDENEDALAI

Ride Time: approx 4 hours 
Erdenedalai is Mongolian for Jewel Ocean, and even though it has low annual precipitation, no permanent lakes and very few springs, roughly 5,880 herder households make their home in this remote transition zone between steppe and desert. This small, tight knit traditional community in the middle of the Gobi is skipped over by most international visitors…which is exactly why we make it one of our bases! We’ll spend our time in the home of Tsegmid, roughly 14 km from the main centre of Erdenedalai, getting genuine insight into the local way of life through the eyes of the rural families there. In true expedition style, we’ll leave the afternoon and evening open (this leads to a more respectful experience with our gracious hosts)!
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodation: Private ger homestay, shared local shower house

Day 4 & 5 - Erdenedalai (1).JPG

DAY 5

ERDENEDALAI

Today will be a relaxed day spent traveling from ger to ger via bike where we’ll meet families in the area, and gain more insight into their everyday way of life. In the spirit of true, organic Mongolian exploration, we leave the plan entirely flexible and in the hands of our hosts. (Just be prepared to swap a spin on your bike for a gallop on a horse - the locals love it when we bring the bikes!) The day will finish with a traditional Mongolian barbecue prepared by our team, where we‘ll invite the local community to come and feast with us. 
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 
Accommodation: Private ger homestay, shared local shower house

Day+6+-+Middle+Gobi.jpg

DAY 6

ERDENEDALAI to ULAANBAATAR

Ride Time: approx 6 hours 
Today we’ll head back to Ulaanbaatar (with the option to stop along the way to stretch our legs with an impromptu bike ride)! You’ll have the rest of the day to explore on your own. Our local trip guide will be on hand to help point you in the direction of anything specific you might be looking to explore in UB!
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 
Accommodation:
Hotel Nine Ulaanbattar

Day+7+-+10+-+Akerim.jpg

DAY 7

ULAaNBAATAR to ULGII to ATALI 

Travel time: 2 hours by air, 5 hours by car
In the morning, we’ll fly far west to Ulgii and drive to the small community of Altai in the Bayan Ulgii Province deep on the Chinese border. Our destination is the summer pasture of Kazakh herders Asker and Ahgul and their six daughters; one of whom, Aigerim, is a young female eagle hunter! The views of lush alpine meadows, open plains, dense forests, high snowy peaks and the crystal-clear rivers and lakes are so worth the effort it takes to get here!
Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Tent camp

NOTE: There is a 15 kg (10kg check-in and 5 kg hand luggage) weight restriction on this flight. Hand luggage ‘officially’ restricted to 1-piece. Excess baggage charges are between $4 - $7 per kilo depending on the route. The domestic airline may change the flight time schedule closer to the day of departure, and we will adapt our itinerary accordingly!

Western+Mongolia.jpg

DAY 8 - 10

3-DAY ATALI TREK

In the company of Aigerim, the modern day Kazakh eagle hunter, we’ll enjoy the wilderness of this glorious region on a three day trek. On this hike we’ll experience the organic Kazakh style of exploration by leaving the route flexible and in the hands of our horse wrangler/herder guide. Following a more rigid route would be wrong in a country of such freedom! Instead, our focus becomes getting to meet and know our Kazakh horse wrangler/herder in their homeland. 

WHAT TO EXPECT ON THIS EPIC KAZAKH TREK…

This truly is the road less traveled, so we’ll have to be prepared for a mixture of terrain with everything from dry river beds to mountainous alpine ridges! Although we set the location in advance, the route is not set in stone, allowing us to be as flexible as possible in relation to the weather and ground conditions. Distances per day will be around 20 km, but be prepared that some could be shorter or longer days. Meals will be hearty and rustic as all food has to be carried with us, and prepared by our local trip assistant. Our main luggage will be transported by pack-horses or vehicle, and our tent camps every evening will include a kitchen tent, toilet, and individual tents. Heated water for washing will be provided en route.

Day+11+-+Ulgii.jpg

DAY 11

ATALI to ULGII

Travel time: approx 4 hours
After our trek, we’ll spend the day relaxing and exploring Ulgii alongside our Kazakh translator, Jako, and her family. We’ll be able to visit a great local market and meet the women of a local NGO called Otau Crafts. These women take great pride in supporting themselves and their families while also keeping their centuries old history and traditions alive by crafting rugs using only the wool from their sheep. In the evening, we’ll reconvene for a casual and festive meal with Jako in her home, complete with dancing and music!
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner   
Accommodation: Homestay, shared local shower house

adli-wahid-1142314-unsplash.jpg


DAY 12

ULGII to ULAANBAATAR

Travel time: 2 hours by air, 1 hour by car
Today we’ll head back to UB, and you’ll have the rest of the evening to explore the city. We have included a hotel this evening, and don’t suggest booking a flight until June 20 in case our domestic flight is delayed or arrives late in the evening.
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch   

NOTE: Domestic flight departure and arrival times are TBD and could be delayed, so please DO NOT book a departure flight from ULN until June 20. There is a 15 kg (10 kg check-in and 5 kg hand luggage) weight restriction on this flight. Hand luggage ‘officially’ restricted to 1-piece. Excess baggage charges are between $4 - $7 per kilo depending on the route. The domestic airline may change the flight time schedule closer to the day of departure, and we will adapt our itinerary accordingly!


 

WANT TO COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE?

Biking+.jpg
NAME *
NAME
 

MONGOLIA 101

Does all of this have your inner explorer somersaulting with excitement?! We get it.
Here’s some more info on other exciting things you can expect on this epic Mongolian WHOAx Expedition.

El+Team.jpg

MONGOLIA: MODERNITY & TRADITION

Mongolia is the second largest landlocked country in the world, and, with a population of 3 million people and over 70 million livestock, one of the most remote. The literacy rate hovers around 97% (yes, 97%), and there’s a drive for modernity and progress that exudes from its people. That said, the infrastructure is still very basic. Mongolian people are tough and resilient and make their way of life in both the city and countryside look easier than it is. Mongolia will challenge you and at times irritate you but it’s worth the effort…just bring your flexibility, openness and sense of adventure with you!


OUR LOCAL PARTNERS: ETERNAL LANDSCAPES

Eternal Landscapes is an independent woman owned and operated micro business that offers extraordinary experiences alongside the local families they have long-term partnerships with. We love that they are driven by the philosophy to support locals and create trips that are beneficial to all. Also, that they are not shiny, polished travel professionals, but rather passionate adventurers, who genuinely know and love Mongolia and are eager to share and learn with every group!


TRAILBLAZERS: OUR LOCAL FEMALE GUIDES

On this WHOAx Expedition we’ll be joined by several local female guides who will show us an authentic perspective of their homeland. They are dynamic women who are breaking barriers and don’t fit the guide stereotype. Bottom line, we’ll be traveling alongside women who sincerely love their home country, jobs and genuinely care about making this experience as extraordinary as possible for all the guests. One of the many reasons we chose our partners, Eternal Landscapes, is that they have always made it a priority to give women in Mongolia a starting block and to employ them with long-term opportunities. This is one way we can sustainably invest in the future of Mongolia, and influence to improve the prospects for other women!

OUR HOSTS: InteractING wITH LOCAL FAMILIES

Along our journey we’ll have the privilege of encountering a network of local families throughout the country. These are based on long-term, personal friendships and relationships that our local partners have built up over 13+ years. Experiencing this type of travel is unique and the opportunity of a lifetime, and there are some things to keep in mind:

•We never ask a family to change their daily living for us for our own benefit or comfort. We don’t ask them to change their daily schedule or to put on an ‘act’ as this would lead to a contrived, inauthentic experience.

•Mongolians can be warm and welcoming and they can also be taciturn, reserved and very indifferent.

• There will be tasks in which you can participate. But, you need to be proactive. Offer your time and help.

• Nothing is over planned on our adventure because we never want to disturb the rhythm of life of the families we’re visiting. We are just trying to share/ experience a portion of their life. As in our everyday lives, sometimes plans change and a family might travel to Ulaanbaatar unexpectedly. Remember, their livestock and their family life must come first. Reverse the situation and think about the impact on your life if visitors wanted to document everything about you.


General (3).jpg

OUR SWEET RIDE: The Russian Furgon

Road journeys are a huge part of Mongolian life. Embrace them as part of the experience and enjoy what is called the ‘middle landscapes.’ Each of our Furgons has a high wheel-base, ample luggage space, a sociable layout with forward and backward facing seats, surround side windows and most importantly, impressive off-road capability necessary for Mongolian road tripping. Each of our Furgons will hold three to four adventurers, and has its own simple mobile kitchen, sunshade, a small library as well as a 220v charger.


GRUB: WHAT WE’LL EAT

Along the road, we’ll provide honest, heartening meals. Each of our vehicles has a simple portable kitchen, so that our trip assistants can have the freedom and flexibility to have picnic lunches en-route, and can prepare them as we’re exploring the local landscapes and taking in the views. It’s a simple and basic set up, so don’t expect kale smoothies, Thai curries or paella, but it will definitely do the trick! Everyday we will get as much fresh produce as possible but fresh fruit is not available daily, so please remember where you are and that there will certainly be limitations as to what can be provided. We can accommodate those with dietary requirements like vegetarians, dairy or gluten free and even vegans.


THE WEATHER: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

Mongolia’s weather system has a reputation for a reason, so be prepared for e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g! Yes, it may well rain, but see it as a blessing. Mongolian herders celebrate rain as without it fresh pasture cannot grow and they lose their livelihoods!


OUR Accommodation: GERS & TENTS

Some nights along the way, we’ll use family operated ger camps. Rural families frequently offer accommodation as a way of supplementing their income and providing extra financial security for themselves. The circumstances and type of ger accommodation provided will change from family to family. Consider them as small rural businesses NOT rustic luxury homestays. Several nights we will be staying in tents near family gers at campsites with amazing views. At our camps we’ll always have a kitchen tent and toilet tent. 


TOILETS & SHOWERS: ROLL WITH IT

Some will be better than expected. Some will be worse than expected. That’s part of the adventure! Local Mongolian families don’t have access to running water, and to bathe they visit the local town shower house…so this is what you do as well! You’ll queue with the locals and get your own private cubicle with plenty of hot water. Why? It gives you an introduction to real daily life for a majority of Mongolians in both urban and rural areas.