Truly Connect With Land, Culture, and Self
Along the Northern Border of Mongolia you will find a people and a culture that live in intimate communion with the natural world. The Tsaatan people move with the rhythm of the seasons, always in tune with the pulse of the Earth. Discover these amazing people and get in touch with their ancient traditions. Adventure, connection, and transformation are waiting for you at the top of Mongolia.
This experience allows for ample time to connect with the Tsaatan people and experience first hand their life and history. You will learn about the generations of reindeer herders and how their practices help sustain them in this harsh environment. You will ride horse back across the taiga, rounding up stray reindeer and drinking in the wild landscape. The Tsaatan will welcome you into their homes and teach you about their way of life. Learn to cook traditional meals and dive deep into their spiritual connections with the land and ancestors.
There are so few places left in the world that are truly wild and remote. This is one of them. Prepare yourself to get lost in the far North of Mongolia.
Experience The Tsaatan Way Of Life
The Tsaatan people are reindeer herders and live in northern Khövsgöl Aimag of Mongolia. Originally from across the border in what is now the Tuva Republic of Russia, the Tsaatan are one of the last groups of nomadic reindeer herders in the world. They survived for thousands of years inhabiting the remotest subarctic Ulaan taïga, moving between 5 and 10 times a year. The reindeer and the Tsaatan people are dependent on one another. Some Tsaatan say that if the reindeer disappear, so too will their culture. Reindeer provide them with milk, cheese, meat, and transportation. They also sew their clothes with reindeer hair, reindeer dung fuels their stoves and antlers are used to make tools.
As the reindeer populations shrink, only about 40 families continue the tradition today. Their existence is threatened by the dwindling number of their domesticated reindeer. Many have swapped their nomadic life for urban areas. At Travel Life Adventures part of our mission is to diversify the tourism industry in all the places we travel so that the economic benefit can be spread out to more people, allowing them to continue the way of life they choose without being forced to abandon it. In Mongolia this is no different. We work closely with local partners who have established close relationships with these communities so that we can ensure that not only is the tourism doing no harm, but it is actively positively benefiting the people.
Ulaanbaatar: A Modern City In The Arctic North
Ulaanbaatar is the capital and largest city of Mongolia. The city is not part of any province and its population as of 2014 was over 1.3 million, almost half of the country's total population. The municipality is in north central Mongolia at an elevation of about 4,300 ft in a valley on the Tuul River. It is the country's cultural, industrial and financial heart, the center of Mongolia's road network, and connected by rail to both the Trans-Siberian Railway in Russia and the Chinese railway system.
The city was founded in 1639 as a nomadic Buddhist monastic center. It settled permanently at its present location, the junction of the Tuul and Selbe rivers, in 1778.
The modern history of Ulaanbaatar has been as varied and dynamic as it's people. This bustling city is now growing into a center of culture, finance, and international policy for the region. This city has restaurants from all over the world, a national ballet company and symphony, and is very walkable and easy to navigate. You will have the chance to explore this amazing place on your own and with your guides as well.
The city also faces some challenges. The population is booming and this is causing some issues, especially with air quality and climate issues. This is an ongoing battle and while in the city you will learn what is being done to combat this. Our local partners are involved heavily and trying to clean up the air and support more sustainable and climate friendly measures.
In the city you will stay in Hotel 9 in downtown Ulaanbaatar. This hotel is close to everything, has a restaurant and bar, and boasts great city views and comfortable beds. Everything you will need you can find within a few blocks of the this hotel.
As you make your way toward the Tsaatan community you will stay along the way in simple guest houses. Typically these are comfortable but basic, with soft beds and running hot water. You will find fresh, local food and friendly staff to give you reccomendations of things to see and do.
During your time in the village you will be staying with a local family. This means you will be sleeping in traditional tipee style dwellings. This will be comfortable camping and the family will make sure you have what you need.