Mongolia – Kharkhiraa Turgen Valley Trek

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170
  • Duration: 10 Days
  • Grading: 1B
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Kharkhiraa Turgen Mountains region is named after the prominent twin peaks of Kharkhiraa (4037m) and Turgen (3965m, also known as Deglii Tsagaan). The twin peaks, separated by a valley, is part of the Altai Mountain Range. Located in Uvs Aimag, in the north-western province of Mongolia, bordered to the north by Russia (100km), Kharkhiraa Turgen Mountain region is a spectacular area of alpine lakes, swift mountain streams, towering snow peaks and vast glaciers. From mountain ridges and passes, there are open magnificent panoramas of glaciers, desert landscapes, large lake basins and expansive grasslands. The area accounts for 20 per cent of the glaciated area of Mongolia and offers an excellent combination of unspoiled trekking possibilities and a glimpse into the traditional Mongolian nomadic life of the Ethnic Durvud people.

Apart from seeing the vast tracts of unspoiled nature and undisturbed wild life, it is also an opportunity to contemplate and connect with mother nature. Ethnic Durvud people who inhabit the area will accompany you carrying your camp and food on 2 humped Bactrian camels. Living off large herds of domesticated yaks, sheep, goats and horses, they lead a lifestyle that has seemingly not changed for a few hundred years.

About The Trek

The domestic flight from Ulaanbaatar to Ulaangom (north-western Mongolia) takes about 3hrs. Upon arrival, meet with a support team of driver(s), cook(s) and head towards the starting point of the trek in Uliastai valley where the first night’s camp is set up. Here, meet the local herders whose camels and horses will carry and transport your home for the next few days.

The trek starts with an ascend over the Uliastai pass (2410m) where Blue Lake comes into view. Camp along its shores. On Day 2 of the trek, continue along its curve and trek over some meadows to the Kharkhiraa river valley. One of the highlights of this trek is the opportunity to cross some mountain rivers and streams along the trek everyday. Across the deeper and faster ones, you will be shuttled on horseback assisted by the herders. Day 3 continue along the river on rocky but well-established trail that steadily climbs up, bringing more snow-capped peaks into sight. If luck has it, you may be able to visit one of the local herding families that graze their large flocks of sheep, goats and horses on the abundant alpine pastures. Day 4 is another day-long ascent, tracing the river to its source, getting closer to the snow-capped peaks. Day 5 of the trek is the most challenging and yet most rewarding, starting with a steep ascent on rocky path to the 2944m Kharkhiraa pass, which is a small plateau surrounded by glaciers. Cross the plateau with magnificent views of the Turgen and Kharkhiraa peaks, and descend into the valley of lakes. The last day of trek takes you over undulating ridges, hopping over peat bog and exploring lakes big and small. Meet the vehicle(s) for a 4 hour drive to the town of Ulgii, where you will stay the night in a hotel. 

Experience Required

Experience in multi-day treks & sleeping in tents are an advantage though not necessary. Anyone with a good level of fitness can complete this trek. This trek does not go beyond 3000m hence is well suited for those who are prone to altitude sickness. You will be trekking for 6 days with an average distance of 14km daily with a 5-6kg backpack load.

Equipment and Gear

You can wear a lightweight base layer or a quick dry t-shirt and long trekking pants for the trek. An outer shell is essential to protect from the weather elements. When at camp after sundown, a base layer of thermal and fleece jacket are needed to keep warm.

A packing list will be provided for all our participants. Please refer to our Resource Centre page to read about the layering system to be better prepared and choose the right gear/equipment for your trek.

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DAY DESCRIPTION MEALS
1

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Afternoon city tour. Welcome dinner.

Overnight: Ulaanbaatar hotel (1350m)

-/-/D
2

Flight to Ulaangom. Transfer to Uliastai Valley.

Overnight: Tent (1820m)

B/L/D
3-8

Trek the Kharkhiraa Turgen valley. Day 8 drive to Ulgii.

Overnight: Tents at Blue Lake (1795m), Turgen riverbank (1860m), Kharkhiraa riverbank (2330), Kharkhiraa river source (2660m), Khukh Salaa Lake (2688m), Ulgii hotel (1710m)

B/L/D
9

Flight to Ulaanbaatar.

Overnight: Ulaanbaatar hotel (1350m)

B/L/D
10 Depart Ulaanbaatar. B/-/-
DATES PRICE
14 – 23 Jun 2021 $2,940.00 (SGD) / person
25 June – 04 July 2021 $2,940.00 (SGD) / person
16 – 25 Jul 2021 $2,940.00 (SGD) / person
4 – 13 Aug 2021 $2,940.00 (SGD) / person
  • Dates listed are for open international group
  • Package fee is based on a group size of 11-12 people

Other group size package fee:

2 people: $4,050 (SGD) / person

3-4 people: $3,650 (SGD) / person

5-6 people: $3,195 (SGD) / person

7-8 people: $3,065 (SGD) / person

9-10 people: $3,000 (SGD) / person

You can also form a private group for this trek. For enquiry, send an email to us at contact@aceadventure.com.sg.

Inclusions
  • Return airport transfers in Ulaanbaatar (UB) / Ulaangom / Ulgii
  • Return domestic airfare UB-Ulaangom and Ulgii-UB & airline taxes & fuel surcharge (maximum 15kg luggage allowance / pax)
  • All land transfers as indicated in itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary
  • Boiled water during trek
  • Accommodation: Local 3-star hotel in Ulaanbaatar and Ulgii (twin/triple sharing); tent (twin sharing) during trek
  • Camping equipment: Sleeping tent, dining tent, shower & toilet tent
  • Trek support: Trekking guide(s), kitchen crew, and porterage services by camels
  • Permits & fees: Conservation, National Park fees, trek permit
  • Satellite phone for emergencies
Exclusions
  • International air tickets, airline taxes and fuel surcharge
  • Excess luggage on domestic flight (if exceeding 15kg)
  • Visa fee (if any)
  • Single supplement
  • Meals not indicated in itinerary
  • All tipping
  • Personal porters
  • Personal travel insurance (mandatory to cover travel agent insolvency and trekking up to 3000m)
  • Personal expenses like shopping, laundry, etc.
  • Personal travel & trekking gear – warm clothing, shoes, backpacks, sleeping bag/mat, etc
  • Compensation for damaged or lost of personal items (eg: climbing/trekking gear and equipment, cameras and any valuable items, etc.)
  • Emergency evacuation and medical expenses
  • Any expenses including accommodation, meals & transfer outside the stipulated trek/climb itinerary – i.e. any person leaving the group for personal travel, illness/injury or any form of extension of stay
Pre-trip support:

1. Trip briefing and information kit
2. Gear list and gear discount from selected Singapore outdoor outfitters
3. Training guideline kit
4. Rope skill workshop (For climbs that require rope up and/or fixed rope skill)

Our Local Trek Operator

We carefully select and establish strong working relationship with our local trek operator to ensure safe participation by everyone.

Our local trekking guides have extensive experience in guiding treks in all regions in Mongolia, possess intimate knowledge of the local surroundings, conditions and culture. They carry a comprehensive first aid kit for emergency purpose.

Visa

Holders of ordinary passports issued by the following countries do not need a visa to enter Mongolia as long as their trip does not last longer than the visa-free period listed below.

Duration

Countries

90 days

Argentina, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macau, Serbia, Ukraine, United States of America

30 days

Canada, Cuba, Germany, Israel, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay

Others

Philippines – 21 days; Hong Kong – 14 days

Citizens of the following countries can apply for a visa on arrival for 30 days validity: Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Arab Emirates.

All other nationals will need to apply for a visa at a Mongolian diplomatic mission in your country of residence.

For latest updates and details of visa application, please visit http://consul.mn/eng.

Money

Currency exchange services are available at hotels, banks and moneychangers in Ulaanbaatar. Banks and moneychangers accept most major currencies like USD, EUR and GBP. The most efficient and reliable moneychanger is at the State Department Store in Ulaanbaatar. Outside of the capital, banks and moneychangers are scarcer so make sure you carry enough cash.

Credit cards are becoming more widely accepted in upmarket hotels, travel agencies and shops. They can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs of the major local banks with branches in Ulaanbaatar and the countryside.

Electricity

Mongolia’s electricity is 220V and 50HZ. The plugs used are the two narrow round pins Types C, E and/or F, which are commonly used in Europe.

Language

The official language, Mongolian, is spoken and understood throughout the country. Russian is the other major language used. However, other foreign languages, primarily English and Chinese, are becoming more popular especially in Ulaanbaatar.

Drinking Water

Tap water is not safe to drink. Buy bottled water to drink when in the city, or boil water in the hotel.

It is recommended that you bring a water purification method such as purifying tablets or a bottle with an inbuilt filter, as these are more environmentally friendly options than buying bottled water if you are not able to get boiled water, which is available at the camps during the treks/climb.

Tipping

Tipping is not customary except at restaurants in Ulaanbaatar, where waiters expect a tip, especially from tourists, or hotel bellhops.

We suggest tipping drivers as much as guides since with the distances and terrain involved in Mongolia, they often work as hard, if not harder than the guides.

General Etiquette / Culture

The ger is the home and a ‘sacred’ place to the Mongolians especially the nomads. It is a great experience to visit a family in their ger, and understanding and respecting their customs allow a more enriching experience.

Do’s & Don’ts in a Mongolia Ger

  • When Mongolians arrive at a ger, they yell, “Catch your dog!”, or simply enter. This is because every ger is protected by one or more guard dogs. Do not approach to near a ger until the owners or your guide confirm the dogs are ok.
  • Do not attempt to pet Mongolian herders’ dogs; they are not pets but guardians.
  • Mongolians do not speak to each other across the threshold of the door, or stand on the threshold of the door.
  • When you enter a ger, do not step on the threshold. Usually, guests move in a clockwise direction when entering a ger, first to the west and then north (ger doors always face south). The east side of the ger (on your right as you enter) is normally where the family will sit and the west side (on your left as you enter) is for guests. Food and cooking implements are stored on the right side, or women’s side of the ger, saddles, bridles, and things associated with men’s work on the left or men’s side.
  • Do not walk between the central supports of a ger, or pass something between them to another person.
  • Do not lean against the central supports of the ger, the walls, or the furniture.
  • Sitting on the beds in the ger is not considered rude, these double as seats, sometimes even if someone is sleeping in them.
  • Hats should always be placed with the open end down. A man’s hat and belt should never be placed on the floor, and should not touch other hats or belts.
  • Do not whistle inside gers or any kind of building.
  • Avoid standing up when drinking tea or other beverages.
  • If food or other items are placed out when a group sits together, they become communal property. Cigarettes, for example, placed on a table belong to the group.
  • Guests are often offered tea with milk and salt (depending on the region) in a bowl, and a plate with various cheeses and bread or cookies. Visitors are expected to take at least one small piece or a sip of what is offered to you.
  • Do not throw any trash or litter into the fire. This is disrespectful to the fire. Put the trash into the fuel bin or the metal pan in front of the stove. It will be saved to start the next fire. ‘Trash’ is transformed into ‘fuel’ by this brief stop in the fuel bin.
 
Travel Safety Advice

With evolving world situations that may occur unexpectedly due to natural disasters, pandemics/epidemics, conflicts and unrests, it is best to read up and keep tabs on news and developments at your destination country and region before the trip. Check on the country’s official website and/or your own foreign ministry website for any travel advisory or safety precautions to be taken while abroad.

As with traveling in anywhere in the world, regardless of the local crime rate, stay vigilant and take care of personal safety. Good to read up on any possible exposure in the country prior to departure.

It is a good practice to register with your respective foreign ministry if there is such a service provided to citizens, to contact you in order to make sure that you are safe and, if need be, assist you should an emergency (e.g. natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.) occur when you are overseas.

For Singaporeans, this is the link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ eRegister:
https://eregister.mfa.gov.sg/eregisterportal/common/preLoginEregisterView.action.

 

Travel Insurance

It is highly recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance(s), upon payment of your trip, to cover adverse situations that may occur while you are overseas or even before departure. Ensure that the coverage is suitable for your destination and the activities that you are participating in. Be familiar with the terms and conditions before purchasing and travelling abroad.

 
Travel Immunization Advice 

There is no compulsory vaccine to be taken to enter Mongolia. You should, however, be up to date on routine vaccinations, especially vaccines against water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (examples: hepatitis, typhoid and tuberculosis) while traveling to any destination. You are encouraged to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition.

Recommended routine vaccinations for travellers in general:

Hepatitis A

Spread through consuming contaminated food and water or person to person through the faecal-oral route. Risk is higher where personal hygiene and sanitation are poor.

Hepatitis B

Spread through infected blood and blood products, contaminated needles and medical instruments and sexual intercourse. Risk is higher for those at occupational risk, long stays or frequent travel, children (exposed through cuts and scratches) and individuals who may need, or request, surgical procedures abroad.

Rabies

 

Spread through the saliva of an infected animal, usually through a bite, scratch or lick on broken skin. Particularly dogs and related species, but also bats. Risk is higher for those going to remote areas (who may not be able to promptly access appropriate treatment in the event of a bite), long stays, those at higher risk of contact with animals and bats, and children. Even when pre-exposure vaccine has been received, urgent medical advice should be sought after any animal or bat bite.

Tetanus

 

Spread through contamination of cuts, burns and wounds with tetanus spores. Spores are found in soil worldwide. A primary series of 5 doses of tetanus vaccine is recommended for life. Boosters are usually recommended in a country or situation where the correct treatment of an injury may not be readily available.

Typhoid Fever

Spread mainly through consumption of contaminated food and drink. Risk is higher where access to adequate sanitation and safe water is limited.

Influenza

A vaccine specific for a given year to protect against the highly variable influenza virus.

For more information and professional advice on travel vaccinations, please consult your doctor or travel clinic.

For people residing in Singapore, you may visit The Travellers’ Health and Vaccination Clinic (THVC) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital:

Travellers’ Health & Vaccination Clinic
Address: Level 4, Clinic 4B, Tan Tock Seng Hospital Medical Centre
Contact number: 6357 2222
Website : https://www.ttsh.com.sg/Patients-and-Visitors/Medical-Services/Travellers-Health-and-Vaccination-Clinic/Pages/default.aspx.