Saturday, May 24, 2014

Planning Mongolian Tours For The Family

By Marci Glover

Planning a family vacation is always an exciting task. Many people like to sit down with their children and make a group decision about where they will go. This allows everyone to have input and voice their feelings. It is becoming increasingly common for families to embark on an adventure tour that really takes them off the beaten track and allows them to experience something totally unique.

International travel is now much easier than it used to be. Flights are available from all major airports and prices are surprisingly affordable. Those looking for something a little out of the ordinary are now choosing Mongolian tours as one of their top picks. This amazing country has so much to offer. Spectacular scenery, a rich heritage and culture, very friendly people and a chance to experience the great outdoors.

Most tours begin and end in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. This vibrant city is home to over a million people and is growing at a very fast pace. It combines many traditional elements of Mongolia, yet still has a modern feel. The local people offer a very warm welcome and most visitors are immediately struck by the friendly and cosmopolitan vibe of the city.

The best times to visit are between May and October. The winter weather is very harsh with sub zero temperatures for much of the time combined with frequent snow storms. Even in the summer months the temperatures do not get too high and in the mountains it can remain quite chilly. Packing for the weather is essential and good water proof clothing will really be needed. Those planning on getting off the beaten path will need a pair of sturdy walking boots and a good back pack.

Most tours and package vacations take place during the summer months. The winter weather is simply too harsh to consider traveling and even the tough local people don't venture far. The warmer months between May and October are the best times to visit. The summer season is short especially in the higher elevations, but those willing to travel will be rewarded with some of the world's most spectacular scenery.

Some of the highlights of the Naadam are the world famous horse races. The nomadic culture has been dependant on horse for centuries. They provide milk for food and are a primary means of transportation. Children learn to ride almost before they can walk and by the age of ten are proficient riders. Young boys love to race their horses against each other and the winners get the bragging rights for a year.

A horse back riding tour of the grasslands is a wonderful option. Most are suitable for those with basic riding experience as the ponies are small and quiet to ride. This is one of the best ways to see the countryside and meet the locals. Spending the night in a ger, or portable home, is an amazing experience. The ger can be taken apart, packed on the back of a horse or ox, and taken to the next stopping place.

The Gobi desert is one of the most incredible places on earth. Despite the harsh conditions it is still home to many animals. Archaeological evidence shows that humans have also founded settlements here in the past. Dinosaur remains from millions of years ago have also been excavated and added much to our understanding of the prehistoric world.

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