Booking Your Trip
If you think that a trip with Zavkhan Trekking could be just what you've been looking for, here is what you need to do next:
Step 1. Contact us regarding availability. Our trips often become fully booked, so it does pay to confirm there is still a place for you. We are very happy to answer all your questions at this point, so you know exactly what you are getting yourself in to. We will send you a slightly more detailed trip plan for your preferred trip option. If the trip is almost full we can place a temporary hold on your place.
Step 2. Check flight availability. Flights can become scarce and rather expensive at the height of the season, so make sure you can get to Ulaanbataar. See here for advice on getting to Mongolia.
Step 3. Return the booking form. We will send you an online booking form, once you are ready to secure your place.
Step 4. Pay the deposit. We will email you an invoice for the deposit (20%). See payment options below. Once we receive your deposit, your place on the trip is secure. The balance is due 10 weeks prior to departure.
If something unforeseen happens and you can no longer make it on the trip (such as falling unexpectedly pregnant – yes, we have had that!), read about our booking conditions here. A formal statement of our booking conditions is included with the booking form.
The price for all trips includes:
- Transfers to and from the airport/train station (including arrivals before Day 1). Excluding Combo trips.
- Transport while in Mongolia, including support vehicle for the duration of the trip, and internal flights.
- Accommodation in Ulaanbaatar for two nights (Day 1, and one night upon returning to Ulaanbaatar). Excluding Combo trips. If you require extra accommodation, we can advise.
- Accommodation outside of Ulaanbaatar, mainly in hiking tents but also our own ger on Altai trips.
- All meals for the duration of the trip, from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on the final day, including snacks, tea and coffee
- English-speaking trip leader
- Local horse wranglers/guides
- National Park and border area fees
- A free T-shirt. No, just kidding!
(there are some small differences for our Mongolian Horse Trek and Gobi Combo)
The price excludes:
- We know you've got common sense, so we don't need to list all the obvious exclusions such as visas, travel insurance and your international flights! If in doubt, please ask.
- Excess baggage fees on domestic flights. Up to 15kg of luggage per person is included in the trip price - if you need to take more you may need to pay a small fee to the airline (about $4USD per kg)
- Tips. There is absolutely no requirement to tip the local staff, but if you do wish to tip, as a way of saying thanks, we can advise on that. Please see the FAQs for more information.
When to arrive and depart UB
On all trips, Day 1 is the day on which the group meets in the evening for our first dinner together, before leaving for the countryside the next day. You should aim to arrive on Day 1 or earlier. If necessary, you can arrive late in the evening of Day 1 – missing the first meet-up is not the end of the world. A more serious issue is if you arrive in the evening but your luggage doesn't, leaving little chance to find extra clothing etc before leaving the next day.
Book your return flight for the final day of the trip (for a 17 day ride, that's Day 17). We will be returning to UB one day prior to this. If necessary, you can depart late on the day we return to UB (for example the 12.20am Korean Air flight). However we do not recommend this as obviously it can get quite stressful if our domestic flight back to UB is delayed.
If you would like more time to see UB, arrive on 'Day 0', or stay on after the trip. We recommend one to two days as a good amount of time to spend in the city. Ask us about arranging extra accommodation.
Single supplementIf you don't like the idea of sharing a tent with a stranger (it will always be same-sex), we will arrange for you to have your own tent. A single supplement of $300NZD will apply. If we stay in a ger at any time, you will need to share (possibly with three generations of locals, two sheep and a goat).
***UPDATE*** For the 2018 season we will be providing individual tents for those who would prefer not to share. The single supplement will no longer apply. Hotel accommodation will also be in private rooms, where possible.
1. Credit/Debit Card - We accept payment by Visa or Mastercard (no additional charge). If you would like to pay by credit card please use the Pay Now button on your online invoice. This will direct you to a secure credit card payment form (Payment Express).
2. Telegraphic Transfer - We will forward you our bank account details for this simple payment method.
3. Internet Transfer (from within New Zealand)
Account Name: Zavkhan Trekking Limited
Account Number: 02-0810-0044064-000
4. Other methods
If you would prefer another option such as PayPal, please ask.
What we provide
- Chaps. Feel free to bring your own if you prefer (chaps are the things that stop your lower leg getting rubbed – you don't need the full length version modelled here by Sam G!).
- Saddle bags. These are big enough to fit items you will need during the day, such as water bottle, suncream, snacks and camera.
- Tack. Saddle, bridle etc, are all included.
- WE DO NOT SUPPLY HARD HATS, however we strongly recommend you bring one.
Personal Camping Equipment
- Tent (not shared unless you choose to)
- Eating utensils (plate, bowl, mug, cutlery)
Group Camping Equipment
- Camp kitchen (pots'n'pans, knives, chopping boards etc)
- Seats. We use camping chairs as a bench-mark for the line between 'wilderness adventure' and 'tourist camp'. So no camping chairs, but we do provide simple wooden benches with padded cushions, to draw up to the camp fire in the evening.
- Wash stand. We are big on hygiene, so we set up a hand-washing station, with soap and hand-towel.
- Reference books. Guides to the birds and beasts of Mongolia, language guides, maps.
- Binoculars. For spotting the birds and beasts. If you have a particular interest in wildlife, and a favourite pair of binoculars, bring them along. When someone yells 'wolf', it will be gone before your turn with the binos.
- Inverter and battery charger. For running mains power electrical items (~230V), including charging cameras. There is an adaptor which takes standard international plugs, and a charger for re-chargeable AA and AAA batteries, so bring those rather than disposables. For 12V charging, our vehicles have standard cigarette lighter sockets. You could even bring your hair drier (but we know you won't).
- Water filter (Zavkhan trips only). Read more about drinking water in the FAQs.
- Clothes washing bowls, warm water, and laundry powder.
We strongly recommend that you consult a specialist travel doctor well in advance to get the latest information on what vaccinations to consider for Mongolia. There are no legally required vaccinations, but the following are standard for any developing country:
- Hepatitis A
Rabies is present in Mongolia (as it is in the US and Europe) and some travellers do get vaccinated for it. Consult your doctor and don’t pat the dogs! See our Health and Safety FAQs for the risk from rabies.
Obtaining a standard one-month single entry tourist visa to Mongolia is straightforward, and should not require an official invitation. We can help with any questions you might have, but most things you need to know can be found on your country’s Mongolian Consulate website.
****Update January 2016****
The list of 42 countries previously exempt from visa requirements has been withdrawn. Citizens of the countries on this list now require a visa, with the possible exception of Germany. Please note that the information on Mongolia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website may not be up to date. It is important that you confirm the latest requirements, through your closest Mongolian Consulate. Please ask us if in doubt.
UK: Mongolia's embassy in London
You must apply in person, or have an immediate family member do it for you. Alternatively you can use either of the embassy's two approved visa agencies:
Both agencies charge around 55-60GBP on top of the 40GBP visa fee.
New Zealand: Honarary Consul in Lower Hutt
- Postal applications are accepted. Visa fee is $230NZD.
Points to note:
- Duration - One month is standard, and an extension for an extra month can be obtained once you are in Mongolia. Anything more than that may or may not be possible (if you really want to stay longer than two months, let us know).
- Entry/Exit - request an 'Entry & Exit' visa.
- Validity - enter Mongolia within 90 days of obtaining the visa.
- Supporting documentation - sometimes you may be asked to provide documents such as travel itinerary, hotel reservation, or contact details for a host organisation in Mongolia. We can help with that.
If you are coming through Russia or China, visa information can be found at
Russia's embassy in the UK
China's embassy in the UK
(If you are transiting through Moscow or Bejing, you may still need a visa).
What to bring
- Sleeping bag (essential)
- Sleeping mat (essential)
- Pillow (OK we admit it, we’re soft!)
Riding / camping clothes
- Boots / walking shoes (more...)
- Comfortable trousers (zip-off travelling pants are not recommended, but jodhpurs are OK - even for guys)
- Shirts / T-shirts
- Spare shoes / sandals
- Thermal tops and leggings
- Jersey / polar fleece / down jacket
- Raincoat (DO NOT bring a horse-scaring poncho-style plastic coat)
- Light water-proof over-trousers
- Comfy underwear (G-strings not recommended)
- Swim wear
- Sun hat (with a string if you expect to be galloping!)
- Beanie / warm hat
- Gloves (warm ones mainly, but also for riding if you have soft hands...)
Personal first aid kit
We suggest you have your own kit containing at least the items listed below. Talk to a travel doctor about including more serious medication such as antibiotics. Mongolia is actually a very healthy country because of the climate and low population density, so no problems with malaria or other tropical nasties. The plague did I hear you ask? Well yes, it does occur but is nothing to worry about (unless you are a marmot poacher).
- Diarrhoea - Imodium or Lomotil
- Rehydration salts - if suffering from above
- Constipation - mild laxatives. Remember you’ll be on a low-fibre diet!
- Headache or other mild aches and pains - paracetamol or disprin
- Coughs and colds - nasal decongestant, throat lozenges
- Skin care - sun block, lip balm
- Wound care - antiseptic ointment
- Selection of bandages
- Insect repellent and after-bite cream
Other useful items
- Head torch
- Water bottle
- Dry bags (plastic bags) for keeping gear dry
- Fishing rod / handline
- Pocket knife
- Photo album (to show the locals your family, horse etc.)
- Spare boot laces
- Sewing kit
Mongolia is not the easiest place to get to - a good thing some might say. Options are changing all the time and we will be adding more information to this page for the 2018 season. There are several international 'gateway cities', with all flights arriving into Ulaanbaatar (airport code ULN). Your first step should be to visit, or contact, a travel agent and see what they recommend. If you think you can do better by searching the internet, have a go. Good deals can sometimes be found (see links below). Also feel free to contact us for advice on getting to Mongolia.
Air China and MIAT (Mongolia's national airline) both fly to UB daily. Most of us can transit through Beijing visa-free with a connecting flight leaving in less than 72 hours - you can leave the airport for a quick overnight trip in to the city. Beijing is definitely worth visiting for a couple of days, so it's not a bad idea to plan a stop-over.
Aeroflot flies to UB several days a week. MIAT also has flights from Berlin, via Moscow, twice a week.
Korean Air has daily flights to UB from Seoul. This is a convenient route from the UK, and avoids potential hassles with Chinese visas. MIAT also has daily flights.
MIAT has flights from Tokyo and Osaka, several times per week.
If you have the time, and a good sense of adventure, the train is a great way to arrive - eco-friendly too. The Trans-siberian is the classic train journey, a five-day ride departing from Moscow, crossing most of Russia and then down to UB. For a shorter, but still fascinating trip, take the train from Beijing up to UB. One-and-a-half days straight up through the middle of the Gobi desert. Tickets for trains can be difficult to find in summer, and are relatively expensive if bought from a western travel agency. For a great source of information, and places to buy tickets, try The Man in Seat Sixty-one.