Tsaatan Mongolia – Remarkable Dukha Reindeer Herders Tour

Tour Overview

This Dukha tribe tour is an extraordinary 12-night 13-day journey to the Tsaatan Mongolia, the Reindeer herders tribe of the Northern parts of Mongolia. Particularly the secluded Taiga region of Khuvsgul province in the north. This tour has been one of the Nomadic Trails’ best-selling tours for more than 15 years.

On this tour, you will spend time with the remarkable Reindeer people with remarkable cultural practices. These traditions passed down from their ancestors provide a deep insight into their nomadic way of life.

Escape to this remote destination and enrich your memories with life-changing experiences. Spend the night under the starry sky peeking through the tee-pee roof of reindeer people. Also, taste extraordinary milk of reindeer and be a part of the tradition of the Dukha tribe at the summer and autumn camp of the Reindeer herders Mongolia.

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Tour highlights:

Tsaatan Mongolia Dukha Reindeer Herders tour MAP

Epic scenery of southern edge of Siberia

Ride small Mongolian horses to the Taiga forest

Witness the everyday life of a nomad tribe, Tsaatan Mongolia

Enjoy the hospitality of a local family

Be a part of “ Everyday life activities of Nomads”, such as making dairy products

Meet face to face with the reindeer tribe shaman

Relax with the stunning view of Khuvsgul Lake, the Blue Pearl of Mongolia

Tour Destinations:

Ulaanbaatar City
Ulaan Uul Town
Traditional Mongolian Folk Concert
Tsaatan Tribe Summer Camp
Tsaatan Tribe Autumn Camp
Murun town

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ulaanbaatar city

We meet you at the international Chinggis Khan airport of Mongolia upon arrival and transfer you to your hotel.

Depending on your flight schedule, we will visit the National History Museum of Mongolia close to your hotel and have a short walk around the main square - Sukhbaatar.

A traditional Mongolian folk concert with talented throat singers, dancers, and a beautiful contortionist is available in the evening.
After enjoying your welcome dinner you will be lead back to the hotel for a good night's rest.

Hotel
Lunch, Dinner
Sandra Henri with Nomadic Trails traditional Mongolian folk concert Tumen Ekh
Day 2
UB - Murun town - Ujig River valley

This morning we transfer to the airport and take a flight to Khuvsgul province in the northern parts of Mongolia. This domestic flight continues for an hour.

Upon landing, we will be greeted by the Nomadic Trails team. After that, we make a short visit to Murun town, the center of town and supermarket for some snacks and refreshments. We also collect border permission, as we will be very close to the Mongolian and Russian borders.

On the second day of our Dukha Reindeer Herders tour, we will also start our drive on dirt road towards

Tented camping
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Sandra-Henri-with Nomadic Trails morning tented camping
Day 3
Ujig river valley - Ulaan Uul town

On this day we are driving through Mountainous areas to Ulaan Uul town. This day visit to main Ovoo, where we can make an offering of milk or rice and wish for a safe journey onwards.

Past two big passes, we will be in the territory of the Darkhad Depression. This area boasts of its nature as there there are more than 300 lakes and big rivers in its territory. After we make a short stop at the town, we drive out and head to our mountain camping site of the day.

Tented camping
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Tented Camping with stunning mountainous scenery
Day 4
Ulaan Uul town - Khogorog river valley

Continuing through the beautiful Darkhad depression this day we will visit a nomadic family with livestock in Hogorog River Valley. Be a part of the locals' culture.

For the night, we will be staying in Ger - Mongolian traditional dwelling, built by the local family.

Ger stay
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Sandra Henri with Nomadic Trails Khogorog river home stay
Day 5
Khogorog River Valley - Taiga / Reindeer Tribe Camp

After having a brief instruction on riding Mongolian horses, you will get acquainted with your own horse before it is time to set off. Start riding towards Taiga, the region where part of the Tsaachin communities lives. You will be introduced to the amazing world of the reindeer-herding people (Tsaachin).
Due to the marshy road conditions, we will not use vehicles to reach the area. We will gather all luggage and supplies including food and transfer them to the Taiga by horses. Horse riding is approx. 2-9 hours. depending on the tribe camp.

Tee-pee
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staying in tee-pee with reindeer herders mongolia
Day 6
Taiga- Reindeer Tribe Camp

Spend this day staying amongst the Tsaachin people and experience their everyday life. Learn of their unique traditions such as milking reindeer and processing milk products like cheese.

Enjoy the tribe hospitality by talking with the local people and understanding their local culture and how they have managed to maintain such a traditional way of life for so long. Take in the beauty of the larch forest and wildflower patches. Be inspired and gain power while meditating in untouched wilderness.

Tee-pee
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Young reindeer riders during Dukha Reindeer Herders Tour
Day 7
Taiga-Reindeer Tribe Camp/Khooloi Lake side

After breakfast, we ride through the mountain and arrive back at the big river Khogorog. Your mind will be swirling with the incredibly rare experience you have just had over the past few days. Stay in ger near the local family and their farm animals.

Ger stay
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horse riding through flower valley in Mongolia - horse riding tips featured image
Day 8
Khooloi Lake side/ Ujig River valley

We will drive through Tsagaan Nuur town, the most northern town of Mongolia. Then we continue driving to the Ujig river valley for our camping site for some rest. In short, it is a driving day through the beautiful scenery of mountains and flower valleys.

Tented camping
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Sharga river valley
Day 9
Ujig River Valley- Khuvsgul Lake

After early breakfast, we drive to Khuvsgul Lake, the deepest lake in Mongolia. It is a freshwater lake known as the Blue Pearl of Mongolia. We set up our camp on the shore of the lake. Free relaxed evening at the lakeshore.

Tented camping
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Tented camping tour lunch with Khuvgul lake scenery
Day 10
Khuvsgul Lake

Full day at the lake. We can do some yoga and meditation at the lakeshore for our relaxation. Overall peaceful day to enjoy the beautiful view.

Tented camping
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Khuvsgul lake view Northern Mongolia
Day 11
Khuvsgul Lake/ Murun- Uushgiin over (Deer stone Monuments)

We head north to most north getaway town - Murun. We visit an ancient site of a burial ground and Deer stone with deer scripts. There is one interesting deer stone with a human face out of the 22 that are here.

Ger camp
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Deer-stone near Murun town
Day 12
Murun/ Ulaanbaatar

The day starts early with breakfast and a short drive to Murun town to take an internal flight back to the capital, Ulaanbaatar.

We transfer to the hotel and have a free afternoon which you can use to rest, explore around on your own, or have us guide you to the National Department store for some souvenir shopping.

Later in the evening, you will have a farewell dinner and conclude your Tsaatan Mongolia tour.

Hotel
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Ulaanbaatar Sukhbaatar square view
Day 13
Departure

We will transfer you to your international departure.

what's included

inclusions

exclusions

Packing tips, horse riding equipment:

Bring good quality riding boots, rain jackets, riding gloves, windproof jackets among others. No need to bring a saddle or bridles. Because we provide comfortable western-type saddles, and horses are taken good care of by our horse guide.

You can also bring the following for your own comfort and usage:

  1. Your own helmet (we do offer them in case our travelers do not bring theirs).
  2. Small-sized saddle bag for a water bottle and other accessories.
  3. Saddle pads

There are mosquitoes near rivers or lakes in the evenings in the Northern parts of Mongolia. Therefore, a mosquito spray, which is very effective, is highly advised.

Horse riding and riding time for this Tsaatan Mongolia tour:

We have successfully organized our horse riding to the Taiga with travelers who have never ridden a horse before. Don’t worry, you will have full detailed instructions from your Tour Leader on how to ride a horse, how to sit on the saddle, hold the reins, and more.
All of our team members are trained in First aid, so we are capable of giving you first aid and taking you to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible. But as the ground is mossy and soft and you follow the instructions from your horse guide, there is a very small chance of you getting injured.

There are of course horse-riding time limits per day. Each day will be a bit different from another, depending on the local weather. A broad estimate for your expectation would be anything from 2-8 hours including breaks and meal stops. There will be activities where we stop at local herdsmen or sightseeing that still counted in as riding hours.

Don’t want to ride a horse but still wish to travel with your group?

A wide variety of choices will be open to you should you choose to pass on horse-riding while your friends or group-mates go horse riding. For example, our destinations allow activities such as fishing, photo shooting, hiking through the mountainous. You only need to contact us. We will tailor the Tsaatan Reindeer Herders Tour Mongolia specifically to you and your group.

Want to travel with your children?

If you are confident that you can ride a horse well, you can ride with your child. Even if you are cannot, we can hire an extra local horse guide to lead your child safely to our destination at the Taiga reindeer people.

Trip accommodation:

We will be staying two nights in the Taiga where we will be sleeping in tee-pees. For days before departing to the Reindeer people, we will stay near the local family in gers, which is a traditional Mongolian dwelling. For the rest of our trip, we will be camping in 2 person tents which are designed for 3 seasons. We will sort out the rooming to men/women, we will not mix two genders unless the tent mates are partners. If you would like to room alone in a tent, please note that you will be charged a tent-single supplement.

Even during summer, mornings and evenings are quite chilly in the Taiga and mountainous regions, therefore, we will be providing you with warm blankets made of camel wool and waterproof mattress. We highly recommend you bring a warm sleeping bag with you.
For all our days except at the Taiga where we will share the Reindeer Herder’s toilets, we will be setting up our shower tent and toilet tents. In Kharganat, you will be staying in a ger camp.

Tented trip food:

Our professional expedition chef will be preparing both Mongolian and European cuisine for you. Depending on the itinerary of the day for example with lengthy driving, we will also be eating a packed lunch. Please don’t forget to write in our passenger list about your dietary requirements and allergies.
We will be providing you with mineral water, tea, and brewed coffee, but soda and juice will not be provided.

Reindeer related information:

Reindeer produce very little milk, so you cannot purchase it. But not to worry, you can still drink reindeer milk tea made by a local reindeer family. Some families with many reindeer sell cheese, so when you meet such families you can ask them to buy some.

After we ask the owner first, we can also ride a reindeer for a short amount of time.

Domestic local flight:

The baggage allowance for a domestic flight in Mongolia is 15kgs in total: 10kg for check-in luggage and 5kg for hand luggage. For extra luggage, you pay 3000-5000 Tugriks (local currency) per extra kilogram.

Tour guide and Leader:

Certified English-speaking experienced Tour Leaders and Tour guides will be your friend and close partner for the duration of the trip and even after your departure. All Nomadic Trails team members have been trained personally by Nomadic Trails experts and the Mongolian Professional Tour Guide Association.

Extra tips:

In the mornings, if you get up early, you can go on a walk, meditate, do some yoga or even read books.
During our drives, you will see stunning landscapes and visit hospitable nomadic families who are happy to share their dairy products such as fermented milk with guests. You will get to taste extraordinary cheese made from reindeer milk at the Taiga as well as getting to know reindeer families. You will witness the stunning view of mountains of unique formation, serene lakes, and lively rivers. Sipping wine near a bonfire in the evenings, sharing memorable moments from our trip, observing the starry sky is indeed a moment one can simply enjoy.

Tour reviews and testimonials

Angie N
5/5
Custom Reindeer Tsaatan and Eagle Festival Tour
Tulga is such a hard worker and is committed to bringing the best possible experience to his guests and no request is too big. His knowledge of his country is as vast as the country itself

and he was able to provide a varied, personal, unique experience. I wanted to create my own personal itinerary and Tulga had the knowledge, contacts, experience and sense of adventure to make that happen.
I’ll be returning in 2020 to travel with Nomadic Trails again. Can’t wait!

Elaine
5/5
Private Reindeer Herders Tour
Tulga led our week-long trip with friends to visit the Tsaatan people. It was a fantastically well organised trip, with Tulga and his team looking after us perfectly throughout. We stayed in some beautiful spots

on our way to and from the reindeer people and Tulga ensured that our time with the Tsaatan was respectful and he clearly had an excellent relationship with them built over a number of years. We were always consulted over decisions about activities and where to stay.

The chef who accompanied us throughout the trip was really good (meals included freshly baked bread, pancakes, pizza…). And we were lucky with the weather too.

Eszter Tandel
5/5
Custom Reindeer Herders Photography Tour
Looking for a travel agency in Mongolia? Nomadic Trails is definitely the best choice! I just arrived home from a photography tour organised by Nomadic Trails.

It was a very memorable trip ful of actions, and funny happenings.
Our guide, Tulga was very professional and never the less very patient. Tsetsgee, our cook made an excellent job as well, she was able to cook perfect dishes even in the middle of nowhere.
See you soon guys! … because every great journey needs to be continued!

John
5/5
Group Reindeer Herders tour
Tulga designed our itinerary to cover as much quality experiences as we can in 7 days. We had a wonderful time boating at Khovsgol, tent camping in 5* spots – all with superb sunset view, before

hopping on our horses to go to the Tsaatan reindeer tribe, then finally staying at one of the best camps in Murun.
Everything was so well-organized. Noteworthy is Tulga’s relationship with the tribe, which is an important consideration when we were planning this trip as we want to be as respectful as possible to the tribe for them not to feel uneasy during our stay.
Our group was delighted to have raw and authentic Mongolian experience without having to sacrifice comfort – we had delicious food, great accommodation and comfortable transportation all throughout our trip – thanks to the incredible team of Nomadic Trails!

Kimberley H
5/5
Private Reindeer Herders Tour
I was very pleased with my trip with Nomadic Trails. Our guide Tulga was knowledgeable and experienced. The staff was friendly and accommodating and we were served great food.

The experience staying with the reindeer tribe was incredible and something not to miss in northern Mongolia.
Overall the whole tour was well organized and I would have another tour in the future.

Matthew K
5/5
Custom Reindeer & Golden Eagle Festival Tour
We travelled with a large group and everything from the second we landed was perfectly organized. We had the opportunity to see the beauty of Mongolia and interact with incredible locals

thanks to Nomadic Trails. Tulga and everyone on his team were so accommodating to any of our requests and even helped us navigate our way through the local market and barter for souvenirs. Truly delicious food as well at every stop. Phenomenal all around. Thank y’all for everything! Unbelievable experience in Mongolia!

Meridith
5/5
Private Reindeer Herders & Horse riding Tour
Excellent! Nomadic Trails is a top rate outfit. We thoroughly enjoyed our horse trip with Tulga and Naraa. They met our highest

expectations and we went back for another trip the next year. The culture, food, horses and especially the country were wonderful. We highly recommend Nomadic Trails if you want to see real Mongolia.

Sandra Henri
5/5
Private Group Dukha Reindeer Herders Tour
Ulaanbaatar
Why is it the experiences that move us most deeply are the hardest to put into words? Perhaps it’s because experiences of the soul don’t need to be broadcast, filtered and hash-tagged, they just are.

And so Mongolia goes about being magnificent, in the quietest and humblest of ways, surprising vistors with it’s immense beauty, and it’s magical ability to slow you down and re-centre you from within. Let’s call it a retreat for the adventurous.
The capital and a great place to do an international culinary tour. You’ll be spoilt for choice of restaurants here. When I first arrived in Ulaanbaatar, I noticed how sweet is was to see friends affectingly arm in arm, strolling down the street together, whilst I raced past making a mission of my evening walk. ‘C’mon guys, can’t you see I’ve got places to be?’ was ticking through my mind, still in work mode, crossing off the to-do list. It was then music to my ears that Mongolian time very simply consists of before noon or afternoon. Ah bliss, I thought, I’d never be late again!

Mongolian countryside

As we headed into the vastness of the Mongolian countryside, it was the calm that struck me the most. 360 degrees of breathtaking wilderness, and although I tried, I don’t think the camera can do it justice. An energy so old and powerful, pure and untouched, this place is simply magical. Collectively our group began to relax and laugh our way into truly soaking up this experience. (as well as working out all our remarkable 6 degrees of separation!) Even the breakdowns and delays were greeted with laughter, knowing the worst that could happen was that we set up camp in a different piece of paradise.
Over 3 days of journeying by plane, 4WD and horseback, we arrived at our destination, the Reindeer Tribes living on the Siberian steppe. We collectively gasped as we emerged from the forest to see the smoke coming from the first of the teepees. Like stepping through the Narnia door, we entered a different world, so surreal, and such an honour to be one of the few travellers allowed to visit each year. Yet thanks to the many years of rapport established by our guides, it felt like we were welcomed home, with freshly brewed tea and happy kids eager to play.
Living nomadically means that packing up all your earthly possessions (including satellite dish), riding 6 hours, and setting up camp at the next season’s residence, is all in a days work. Foraging and hunting for food, whilst surviving -40 degrees in the winter, these people are next level resilient (as well as the original minimalists). The Tsaachin are innately connected to the rhythms of nature as well as interconnected to each other. With a gentleness, humility and warmth that we seem to have lost. I hope the Tsaachin can sustain their lifestyle for generations to come, as we have so much to re-learn from their wisdom. Ah if only I could have paused time, stayed a while longer and asked another 1000 questions.
And so my memories of Mongolia linger fondly, with my wind horse (soul) happy, hoping that one day I’ll return to fill my cup with Mongolia’s calm once more. Thank-you Lisa, Tulga and your phenomenal team for creating an atmosphere as magical as your country. (and Puujee, how you created 3 course meals for the 10 of us each day on a camp stove, was flippin’ amazing!) .
Because positive impact travel grows our shared humanity, which grows compassion, which ultimately grows a more peaceful world.
And when in Mongolia, a polar plunge is a must isn’t it?

Viktoria Varga
5/5
Reindeer Tsaatan Custom Photography Tour
We had a wonderful trip in Mongolia organized by Nomadic Trails. I highly recommend them to anyone considering coming to this wonderful country.

Tulga, our tour guide is very knowledgeable and helpful, his driving skills also worth a praise and believe me, on these roads, it is a big advantage for someone like me with a motion sickness.
They provided a cook for us, who exceeded all of our expectations.
If you want a truly amazing experience just go with them!

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