It is worth preparing well for a visit to Mongolia.If you know what to expect and what to bring with you, it will be much better. Outside Ulaanbaatar there are few shops - mainly selling washing powder, vodka and sweets - so if you've not brought something, you will have to do without. Also if you're doing a trekking tour or a riding trip of any kind, you have to be sure that you are fit enough and capable enough, or if you need to do some training beforehand. The most common questions that people ask are listen below, but if you can't find what you want here, you can e-mail your question.
No, We operate all the tours ourselves independently. We do not sell other company's tours.
Some travel companies copy each other's itineraries and offer them at a cheaper price without having researched or traveled themselves. All our tours have been genuinely well researched by us. All our vehicles, bikes and equipment belong to us, are maintained by us, and are of a good enough standard to withstand Mongolian conditions. We do not hire occasional staff or use hired vehicles. Some cheap companies rent their vehicles with drivers and take students as guides. We do not hand over our clients to other people and we run all trips ourselves with our own staff. Only in China and Russia we use reputable agents to organise extension tours.
Our clients have used the "Continental" Hotel for several years and always given positive reports on the service, rooms, restaurant and other facilities. It is located near to the city center, on the airport side of town, a few minutes walk from shops, bars and restaurants. We do not recommend that our clients stay in cheaper accommodation where security cannot be guaranteed and much time wasted struggling through heavy city traffic. However, if you prefer to stay in a different hotel, you can arrange it yourself.
If you want to arrive in Mongolia early, or stay longer after your tour has finished, we can make the extra hotel reservations for you at the "Continental" Hotel. If you want to travel in China or Russia, we can also help with arrangements using our experienced agents based in Beijing and Moscow.
The first reason is because in some cases we are working as the ground operator for other tour operators around the world so it is actually us "Off The Map Tours" doing the trip in Mongolia. The second reason is because sometimes our routes, text and photographs have been copied and used by other local companies without our permission. Therefore you have to research well and check the company carefully before booking a tour.
We do not sell international air tickets to Mongolia but we work with ATOL holding travel agents who can provide the flights. We can suggest the cheapest and most convenient routes to Ulaanbaatar. Most people coming from Europe use Aeroflot, Miat Mongolian Airlines or Korean Air. The alternative is to fly via Beijing in China and on to Ulaanbaatar using Air China or MIAT.
Some visitors do not need a Mongolian visa (tourists traveling on a US passport currently fall into this category). See the complete list: Mongolian Embassies & Consulates worldwide. Sometimes an official letter of invitation is required to accompany the visa application. We will provide this if necessary.
On camping tours there is a fixed menu for meals and we cannot provide different food for people with special dietary requirments. On ger camp tours it may be possible for vegetarians to request meat-free meals, but have to be prepared to accept whatever the cook can manage. The cooks are employed by the ger camps, not by us.
We have several vehicles including Land Rover "Defender", Russian UAZ Forgon and Kamaz. It depends on the size of your group as to which vehicle we choose to use.
In Ulaanbaatar you will be staying at the three star 'Continental Hotel' in the city centre. When out on tour you will either spend the nights at ger camps or camping in tents, depending on the route and how remote it is. Where there are 'Ger Camp' each group of two, three or four friends, will have a traditional ger furnished with beds, a wood-burning stove and table. There are toilet, shower and washing facilities at the camp. On some tours, for example the eastern route to the birthplace of Genghis Khan, you will be camping in the wild in our hardy dome 'Tents'.
This depends very much on the terrain. For mountain biking tours it varies from 35 - 65 km in a day. Horse riding tours are usually around 25km per day, and hiking trips between 12 km and 25 km (average 15 km). On motorbike tours the distance is usually 100 - 250 km per day but depends on the terrain and how many interesting things there are to see and do along the way. On good black topped roads the riding distance might be much greater.
Mountain biking, hiking and horse riding tours are graded based upon the average daily distance to be covered, the terrain and likely weather conditions. Your own ability and experience will determine how challenging the tour is for you personally. Generally speaking most of the trips can be achieved by anyone in good physical condition, provided they have trained beforehand. Several of the tours have complete vehicle support. If you need to know more, contact us for a more detailed description of the route. We have done all the tours ourselves and are familiar with the conditions. On motorbike tours participants must be confident riders and have some off-road experience. You should check with us before booking to be sure that the trail matches your ability.
Several nationalities do not need a Mongolian visa. See here: 'Visa Information'. Everyone requiring a Mongolian visa must get it before traveling. We do not take responsibility for people traveling without a visa and expecting to obtain one on arrival in Ulaanbaatar.
When you make a booking, you will receive a Tour Dossier in which there is a complete list of all you need to take in the way of equipment, clothing, medicines, etc.. Generally speaking you need to bring everything to cover all eventualities because outside Ulaanbaatar you cannot depend on anything being available. For motorbike tours you will need proper off-road motorcycling gear including helmet, rigid boots and body armour. Click here for more: 'Information'
We have 6 different itineraries of different lengths and with various kinds of scenery and terrain. All tours are circular, starting and finishing in Ulaanbaatar. Riders come from all over the world, from different climates and different time zones.
Some people have only a short holiday in which to enjoy the challenge of an off-road motorcycle tour in Mongolia, so we do short 3 or 4 day rides as well as longer routes. To see the landscape and our set-up, look at our video page.
None of the tours are suitable for beginners. Participants must be good confident riders, able to ride our tall enduro-style motorbikes and should preferably have some off-road experience. You will be riding on loose stones, rock, mud, hard pack and sand, and occasionally on tarmac. Some routes are more technical than others, so check before choosing a trip to make sure the trail matches your ability. The tours are not technically very difficult but the daily riding distances are long so you need to be fit and have stamina.
On motorbike tours the distance may be only 100km or as far as 300km per day; it depends on how many interesting things there are to do along the way and the distance between ger camps. If riding on a good asphalt road surface then we can of course ride much further.
Yes, Your travel insurance must cover you for riding a motorcycle of 450cc in Mongolia. Some insurance companies class this as a dangerous activity and charge an extra premium. If your driving licence is not endorsed for motorcycles, you must check with the insurance company if they will cover you. If you have an accident and need to make a claim, the insurance will not pay out if you have not informed them correctly before the start of the tour.
Yes, you must have a valid driving licence from your own country. If your driving licence is not endorsed for motorcycles, you must check with the insurance company if they will cover you.
Yes, Non-Riders are welcome and can travel in the support vehicles.
Unfortunately our motorcycles are not intended for 2 people and they have no rear footrests, so people cannot ride pillion.
Full face helmet, proper motocross rigid boots, knee pads, elbow pads, body armour (chest and spine protector), gloves. You also need riding trousers and a jacket. There is a huge variety of kit available on the internet or at motorbike shops, at a range of prices. If you protect yourself well that will be better. You can see here: 'Off Road Motorbike Protective Kit'
No, We do not rent our motorbikes except to people joining one of our fully supported tours with us.
We do not normally charge for normal wear and tear or replacement parts resulting from mechanical failures, nor for minor scratches to bodywork. A charge would be made as a result of crash damage and generally includes such things as bent handlebars, dented exhaust, foot pegs or wheel rims.
Yes, All our motorbikes are insured "Third Party" but not for damage.
If you are not experienced at off-road riding, you should get in some practice before the trip and take some lessons if possible. If you are fit and good at riding, you will enjoy the trip more and it will be safer. However, a few of our clients have been injured in training and had to cancel their trip, so please take care!
No, We will purchase all replacement parts ourselves from a reliable source. We use genuine new spares only to ensure the reliability of our bikes. You can request to see the Spare Parts Price List at any time.
A road motorbike helmet should be OK as long as it is full-face. Remember you will look different on your off-road KTM motorbike.
No, boots normally worn for road motorbike riding will not be suitable and not allowed.
Yes, you can bring your own parts and accessories. Please let us know well in advance.
You are welcome to join one of our motorbike tours, riding your own bike. Please ask about the price.
We have the tools that we are likely to need for maintenance and repair of our own motorbikes. We also take some spare parts. If you bring your own bike, it is up to you to decide what tools and parts you might need. You must remember that there are no bike shops in the remote places in which we travel, and even in Ulaanbaatar parts are unavailable.
We have some helmets and boots available to hire in various sizes, but you have to ask at the time of booking.
Between 4 and 12 riders, plus our staff.
Often single people join our trips. Typically a group would be made up of several single people and some friends who have signed up together.
Mongolian weather is unpredictable, so you should be prepared for hot sun, rain, wind and hail. It is not uncommon to see all four seasons in a single day. Generally speaking, July and August are the best months. If your tour is in June or September, the weather might be cooler and it is less likely to rain.
If you want to arrive in Mongolia early, or stay longer after your tour has finished, we can make the extra hotel reservations for you at the Continental Hotel. If you want to travel in China or Russia, we can also help with arrangements using our experienced agents based in Beijing and Moscow.
We have designed all our own routes and know the track, scenery, river crossings or bridges, climbs or technical sections, and camping places for each trip. The combined use of jeeps and bikes allows us to see a substantial part of Mongolia, with its wild and varied scenery.
Our mountain biking trails offer unrivaled off-road experiences. Some of the trips are demanding, designed to test experienced mountain bikers, whilst other routes will prove an exhilarating journey possible for those with little off-road experience. Usually we cycle on rough jeep tracks or along horse trails.
Each cycling tour is graded based upon the daily riding distance, technical difficulty and elevation. All the trails are challenging, but can be achieved by anyone in good physical condition, provided they have trained beforehand. All our groups are accompanied by support vehicles, so you can put your bike on top and sit in the vehicle for a while if you are finding the going too tough.
If you are hiring one of our mountain bikes, but prefer to use your own SPD pedals or seat, you are welcome to do so, but please tell us in advance. We have ordinary pedals and SPD pedals for our hire bikes.
If you prefer to bring your own bike for a mountain bike tour, please do so. If you are a good rider with a good bicycle, you will enjoy the trip more on your own bike.
International airlines vary on their baggage allowance and excess charges. Often they are lenient when it comes to bicycles, but you should check beforehand with the airline and be prepared to pay the full cost. For domestic flights the baggage allowance is 10kg and excess charges are US$ 3 - 5 per kilogram.
On mountain bike tours we normally ride between 45 - 100km per day depending on the terrain. This might sound like a great difference, but sometimes the route is tough with long slow uphill's or some difficult stone river valleys. At other times the track is quite flat, smooth and easy.
We have "SPECIALIZED" and "SCHWINN" mountain bikes available to hire. The "Specialized" mountain bike frames are sizes 19" to 21" which suits most tall and bigger riders. The "Schwinn" mountain bikes are 15" to 17" frame size, suitable for women.
It is such a wonderful experience to ride a horse in Mongolia, especially to trek a long distance over several days. In this way, one can truly experience Mongolia as the local people do - enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and the weather in all their raw beauty.
Most areas of Mongolia are suitable for riding, but we have chosen the province of Arkhangai where we have worked with some families for many years and know them to be reliable, providing healthy and good-tempered horses and friendly, hard working horsemen.
Horse riding tours are usually around 25 kilometers per day.
The saddle will be Russian style which is like a leather cushion with a metal frame.
The local horsemen who travel with us will look after the horses at lunchtime and at night.
If you tell us beforehand what kind of horse you want - a gentle one or a strong one, for example, we will do our best to provide it for you.
You can bring your own helmet if you prefer, or you can rent on of ours.
You will be riding for 4 - 7 hours a day, so you need to be happy with that. Although we do not usually ride faster than a trot, you must be confident and able to handle your horse. Also, the routes we go on are far from good medical facilities, so we want to minimise the risk of accidents by not accepting beginners with little experience.