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  • 10

    "Under new management" - made for a fantastic trip

    We had read the reviews and we were prepared to be hungry, exhausted, tired and wet, however our desire to see Mongolia was so great we signed up anyway. Well, as it turns out, we need not have worried. Upon meeting the crew we learnt that Exodus have appointed a new team / organisation to manage this trip and the result was excellent. Great bikes, great tents, flexible itineraries, informative &amp; safety orientated leadership, showers, sit down pit loos, magnificent food and impeccable service. With the "housekeeping" all in order due to the great set up (4 vehicles to support the journey), it enabled us to really relax into the adventure and the gorgeous surroundings of Mongolia. The cycling was challenging, we believe definitely worthy of more than a 3!! The terrain varied; of the 564km we cycled only 51km was asphalt. The support team were always nearby and the day of cycling was broken up with coffee &amp; snack beaks, sit down lunches and other strategically located stops where we could get off our bikes to enjoy the views. We were incredibly fortunate on this particular trip (July departure) as we got to enjoy the Naadam festival first hand. If you are thinking about going in 2017, we strongly recommend picking the trip over this time of year.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    This is difficult to say, as every time we got to a new pass, the views on the other side were just incredibly beautiful. It was certainly rewarding arriving at our destination knowing that we had just cycled 564km over 11 days and over that time, there was never a moment to be bored. Every day was interesting - every 10-15 minutes you would be cycling past another ger which was accompanied by people working, horses and their livestock. For a country that is one of the most sparsely populated on earth, there was always something interesting to look at.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Samba was a fantastic guide - very considered, knowledgeable, attentive and safety orientated. We had a support team of 9 in total; Samba, assistant guide, 4 drivers and 3 in the cooking &amp; support team. The camp ran exceptionally well - we would arrive into camp to find the kitchen, our "mess tent" and two sit down pit loos already set up. Once we enjoyed our afternoon tea and snack, the 2 showers (cold) would be set up and ready for us to clean up after a day of enjoyable riding. Samba had this team ticking like clockwork. Every night after dinner Samba would come in to check up on us, answer copious questions and prepare us for the next day. Samba shared a lot of personal stories with us - we felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience Mongolia with such a gracious and honest host!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Our research indicated that it rains (on average) every second day in July. True to form, for our trip, it rained every second day (on average). Sometimes the rain was short and light ... ... however, toward the end of our trip it rained heavily for 3 days. Be prepared for rain and river crossings - our cycling shoes were wet for about 5 days in a row!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We took the opportunity to arrive in Mongolia before the group and then travel down to the Gobi afterward. The cycling trip certainly provides a fantastic experience in one area of Mongolia, however we felt the decision to spend a little more time in "UB" and then in the Gobi really rounded off our Mongolia adventure. Mongolia's history and culture is so incredibly interesting; it is difficult to get enough.

  • 8

    A Great Way to See the Wilds of Mongolia

    This holiday was certainly a unique experience. Nothing will quite prepare you for the scale of the scenery and the experience of cycling alongside galloping horses or grazing yaks every day which is hard to beat! Apart from the city tour at the beginning and a little bit of time at the end in museums, there was not much chance to do anything other than cycling. We were a little bit disappointed that there weren't many opportunities to interact with the local people, although we did visit one nomad family to sample their dried curd and fermented mare's milk! However I can highly recommend taking balloons with you as the few local kids we met loved them! As a mountain biking novice, the cycling was quite tricky at times so you need to like a challenge but because of this I found it very rewarding. The equipment was good quality and the bikes were cleaned and serviced every night. We were really well looked after for the whole trip. Nothing was too much trouble for the crew and the food was extremely varied and tasty, as well as there being lots of it!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Reaching the summit of the largest mountain pass on the trip to see the spectacular view of meadow, forest and steppe the other side. It made all the effort worthwhile! The sleeper train was also a big highlight. A great experience even if we didn't get much sleep!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Samba was an excellent group leader. He was very knowledgeable about the culture and was always willing to answer our endless questions. When we were cycling he took our safety very seriously and always kept us informed about what was coming up.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware that the cycling on this trip was a lot harder than the grade 3 in the brochure suggests. The surfaces we cycled over were very varied and included, thick mud, sand, bog, long grass, big rocks and some sizeable river crossings with some of the hardest terrain on uphill sections. As someone without mountain biking experience I found this a challenge and other members of the group found parts of the route impossible to cycle. You really do need at least some mountain biking experience to make the most of this trip and you need a good level of fitness as some of the hills are pretty steep! Also sample the local dairy products at your peril, they can have interesting effects on the digestive system, which in my case lasted for about a week after I came home!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 10

    Amazing Mongolia By Mountain Bike

    For me this has been without doubt the most amazing cycling trip I have done. Mongolia is unlike anywhere else. Wide open rolling countryside and skies. Truly felt away from 'it all.'

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I took my bivvy bag and took the opportunity to sleep under the stars, I'd open my eyes at night to be in awe of the night sky - I've not seen the milky way for years. The variety of the landscape took my breath away and I never tired of riding through the grasslands and forests.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was kind, courteous, knowledgeable and kept us all safe.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be aware this includes wild camping and that means pit loos, lots of bugs especially grasshoppers and crickets. If you are offered fermented mares milk - try it as it's an original. Particularly good if you like picked cabbage. Expect a lack of washing although cold showers are available some nights. Be prepared for all sorts of weather - we had hot and sunny with mornings you could see your breath and rainy days and when it rains it really does rain and maybe for a few days at a time which in turn means think before you enter you tent! Get strong insect repellent unless you don't mind being eaten by horse flies. Mongolian vodka is tasty. Altitude takes a few days to get used to as this is riding at 1600 plus metres above sea level. Gers get very home when the fire is lit. Burning horse poo really does keep the flies away. Don't do this holiday unless you are prepared to eat alot - you need it. Go with an open mind/heart and soul and embrace.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was my 50th Birthday Present to myself (February) and timed my trip to co-inside with my husbands 52nd Birthday and the team gave a surprise cake to my husband, this really touched both of us. This trip really blew my socks off (despite wearing the same pair for the trip). The countryside was wide-sweeping along with the endless skies. The people hospitable especially the herders we met, we felt welcomed. Mongolia is unique with it's history and culture which is worn as a warm knowing smile that they will gently share with you. I really don't think this trip could have been bettered and the echo of which will live with me for many many years and I am extremely grateful to Samba and his team for giving me such a gift.

  • 8

    Ms

    A wonderful adventure and exploration of Mongolia, rather than a cycle trip. Leader was flexible when the weather was wet, and we needed to find accommodation. Staff very helpful

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    To be cycling in the the wide open spaces of this wild country, visiting the friendly nomads, and really being able to experience some of their ways of life.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Very keen to give us a good experience, worked hard to iron out difficulties. Helpful and considerate, especially to me as the oldest member of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bear in mind the extreme changes of weather, and be prepared with layers of warm clothing. Read the small print carefully so as to expect the nature of the camping experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 10

    The best way to see this beautiful country

    I had a wonderful time on this amazing trip. It was truly an adventure full of beautiful landscapes, fun cycling (some slightly challenging cycling, some easy, but always fun), crazy weather, and wonderful people.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the days when we had good weather you could truly enjoy the amazing cycling. Most of the time we were on packed dirt tracks which are comfortable to ride on, occasionally more bumpy or rocky terrain kept us on our toes, and on a couple days we had stretches of paved road but that was rare. The beautiful rolling green hills stretch for miles and for days on end we were cycling across this landscape with nothing but horses, cows, sheep, goats, yacks, gers, and local herders. Getting to cycle day after day in this beautiful country and occasionally stop to meet the local people and learn about their lives was the best of the trip for me and made me feel really lucky to get to experience a land and people that most folks will never get to see.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guides were all amazing. That includes the guides, bike mechanic, the cooks, and the drivers. Everyone was fun and knowledgeable and we felt very well taken care of. They were very flexible given the unpredictability of the weather and made sure we were safe at all times, well fed, and got to see and experience as much of Mongolia as possible. There was a ton of food at all the meals. Breakfast was usually toast, cereal, yoghurt, and something hot usually porridge, eggs, or sausage. Lunches were sometimes sandwiches and sometimes cooked meals with salads. Dinners were always three courses--a salad followed by soup followed by a meal usually meat and veggies. Given the limited access to fruit and vegetables in Mongolia I thought our cooks did an amazing job and I was always over-fed. One highlight was learning to make Mongolian dumplings! Yummy and fun to learn how to do it ourselves. The drivers really know the countryside and always made sure we knew where we were going, had help crossing rivers, and scouted out the best routes for us to take each day. We always had one guide biking with us at the front of the group and one at the back. They made sure people could go at their own pace but that we stayed together as a group. They were great handling the fact that we were a big group with varying abilities and tried to make sure no one felt held back or left behind.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for any kind of weather. We had all 4 seasons in just 2 weeks. Hot hot sunny days require light layers and loads of sunblock--the sun there is very powerful. We had some very rainy days where it got quite cold so be prepared for hot rain riding and cold rain riding. I wish I had brought more appropriate cold-weather rain gear for cycling. You may not be able to get dry after cycling in the rain all day so you want to ensure you're at least not cold. You'll also want to make sure you have water-proof camping gear--especially a sleeping bag. The tents can get very wet so you will need to have ways to keep your clothes, bag, and sleeping bag dry. We also had a snow storm and temperatures that were near freezing. Full-finger gloves, a wool hat, and lots of layers for warmth were essential. Lastly, be prepared to be dirty. There are a few campsites near rivers or lakes where you can wash out your clothes and your body and towards the end of the trip you'll stay at a couple ger camps that have camp showers -- but the ability to wash up is limited, so you just have to enjoy being dirty for a few weeks. That said, the guides did an amazing job making sure we had what we needed, finding water for us to wash with, and even occasionally providing a "wash tent" so we had some privacy!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The parts of Mongolia you explore on this trip are places most people never see. It's a very beautiful place with wonderfully interesting, hospitable people. I can't imagine a better way to see this part of the world than by bike. In fact I'm not sure there are many other ways to even get around this part of the country! If you enjoy adventure, are willing to go with the flow when the weather throws some kinks in your plans, and love cycling day after day after day -- then I think this trip would be for you.

  • 8

    An amazing way to experience Mongolia

    This was an amazing way to experience Mongolia -- the landscapes, countryside, the people. From scaling mountain passes, coasting through the Mongolian Steppe, camping by picturesque rivers and lakes, to visiting ancient ruins, seeing enough goats, sheep, yaks and horses to last a lifetime, and experiencing the hospitality and generosity of the Mongolian herders in their gers, this is a great way to spend a holiday.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most inspirational moment of the trip was visiting the various herders in the countryside. Rolling up to an unsuspecting ger with 14 dirty, often cold and muddy western tourists didn't phase the generous nomads in the wilds of Mongolia. They opened up their homes, offered us food and drink and really showed us the heart of Mongolia. Experiencing the culture and traditions of the Mongolian people was incredible.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leaders were exceptional. They were knowledgable, friendly, fun and flexible. Due to some extreme weather on the trip, they went out of their way to ensure we had warm dry places to eat lunch and dinner as well as rest our weary heads. The drivers, cooks and staff in general were remarkable -- cooking delicious and filling food in the worst of conditions, driving us safely through mud, sleet, snow and more, and making up routes on the fly when we got off course. They became more than just group leaders, but felt also like fellow travelers and friends by the end of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't expect high quality equipment on this trip. The bikes are old and need new parts and lots of love -- I went through 2 different bikes on this trip and three seats -- due to gears breaking and slipping, brakes malfunctioning and seat posts braking in half. The bike mechanic on the trip was amazing -- worked hard every night and morning to fix the bikes as best he could, but the real problem is that the bikes are too old and worn and need to be replaces. The tents are also in need of a serious upgrade. Most of them were threadbare in spots and leaked horribly during rain storms (which are inevitable in August in Mongolia). Our tents were unusable for two nights of the trip, as they filled up with inches of water due to bad patches and threadbare spots. The trip needs to invest in new tents if they expect people to camp during the rainy season in Mongolia. If you're really into mountain biking, I suggest you skip the bike hire option and bring your own bike on this trip. If they'll let you bring your own tent, I highly recommend you do that as well.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was amazing. But it's expensive, and I expected better quality bikes and tents for the price I paid. I know that Mongolia is a developing country and is still recovering from years of oppression under Communist rule and it is hard to get high quality equipment into the country, but Exodus needs to do what it can to support the companies it contracts out for the tents and bikes. They were in such bad disrepair that it really affected the enjoyment of the trip and ended up costing the group time and extra money (working on the bikes to get them ridable every morning, and finding and paying for sketchy hotel rooms in small towns in the middle of nowhere when the tents were so soaked they were inhabitable). The state of my bike for some days of the trip actually caused me concern for my safety at times. The terrain is challenging and can be pretty unstable, and having a bike that constantly skips gears or seizes up is a liability for Exodus. It really affected the enjoyment of the trip for me. Also, the difficulty rating for this trip should be adjusted -- it is more challenging than moderate, and many people on the trip felt that the difficulty level was undersold a bit.

  • 10

    Grass. Sky. Yak. Horse. Goat. Bike.

    Non-technical off road cycling in an amazing country. Fast hard packed dirt tracks most of the time. The trip was much more about exploring Mongolia than about biking - the pace was very relaxed but the days cycling were quite long as a result. Washing in half a bowl of cold water hidden behind the van was tricky. The group was great - local team were always smiling and helpful. Food was plentiful (four course evening meal) and Erdene did his best to accommodate our suggestions.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the sun go down from a peak above the campsite as local children bought herds of sheep and goats down to the valley.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erdene was a quietly knowledgable leader. He was calmly organised throughout.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a bottle cage and bottle. You only need water for a short time as the trip is fully supported - I didn't bother with a camelbak and could ride without a bag until the bottle cage broke! (Some bikes didn't have one in the first place) Fermented mares milk is better than it sounds as is the vodka they make from milk. Try everything - it's polite.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • 8

    Hunger biking

    An amazing country, "Big Sky" steppe, and excellent mt biking on mostly super smooth dirt with just enough steep and rocky and stream crossings to keep one on ones toes but the logistics needs some upgrades

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Nadaam festival and the countless herds of horses

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Quentin did a great job and the crew was alway super helpful

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring a headnet -- the flies can be really bad

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food needs to be upgraded in quantity and quality. About 2000 calories/day (not including the candy on the trail) isnt enough and protein was sparse. Porridge and a small yoghurt for breakfast doesnt cut it. Add a significant snack upon arrival in camp and expand dinner portions. That said the cooks did some very tasty local specialties. I lost weight on a pretty lean frame. Upgrade camping with sunshowers vice busket and camp chairs with backs vice stools.

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    A brilliant trip involving reasonably challenging cycling through what must be some of the most beautiful and untouched country in the world - truly the way it was in the days of Genghis Khan (if a little safer!).

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The top moment was having a herd of horses galloping past us in the middle of a thunderstorm that we had seen brewing and then sweeping across the valley before the van could get to us to offer us shelter. We saw this scene (minus the thunderstorm) many times and it never ceased to send a tingle up the spine.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gana, our group leader was professional and effective. He was very efficient in arranging the evacuation of one of our party who came off his bike and broke his leg and the whole trip was very well organised (GREAT campsites!). Only slight negative is that he is a reserved individual so you had draw him out to get to tell you about Mongolia, it's history, our route etc. Tommy, the assistant guide was much more outgoing so there was some balance.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely do this trip. We've done over 10 cycle trips with groups or self guided and this is right up the top of the list. September was a great time to go, a bit cold but we had the place to ourselves.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had an observer from Exodus on our trip. It was good to see that Exodus take their quality control seriously..and it's effective.

  • 8

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    Beautiful countryside, fantastic cycling and wild horses galore!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    there is nothing quite like waking up to the sound of wild horses galloping past your tent.  A sound I hope I never forget.  Second only to seeing them gallop past our bikes/toilets/campsite!  looking up... day and night! some of the most beautiful stars I have ever seen... and some of the biggest blue skys!   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gana ran a tight ship, everything worked as it should.  He wasn't quite as fit as I thought he would be, and didn't volunteer as much information about the local area/wildlife as I would have liked.   I couldn't speak more highly off all of the other staff, really fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure you are fit when you go, it will make the trip so much more enjoyable. (although the support bus is there if you need it).  The bikes were great, and I didn't used an additional gel seat, but if you have a favourite saddle- its worth taking! Down jacket and sleeping bag are a must for the September departure- we had lows of minus 5 at night.    The atmosphere is quite dry out there, I was very glad I took a few luxury moisturisers!   

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip was the perfect combination if physical challenge, wilderness and luxury for me.   The cycling was fantastic, not too technical (if you are used to cycling off road), the distances just enough to make you feel that you had earnt your dinner.. and talking of food.. YUMM! Mongolia has so much to offer- especially when you get out of the towns.  Loved it.  

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    Mongolia - land of wide open spaces and fabulous hats!A land of great natural beauty with an amazing history.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling alongside herds of galloping horses. Suddenly the herd leader would lengthen its stride and cut across the track in front of us. The rest would follow. Mongolian horses are small, primitive looking and very wild. To see them running free across the steppe was wonderful. As a city dweller, I loved the wild camping, the night skies with no light pollution, the feeling of space and being part of the natural world. The 360 degree vast open landscape as we cycled off-road with the occasional altercation with a marmot hole or muddy puddle while listening to hardcore drum 'n bass on my ipod.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leaders had a thorough knowledge of the culture and areas we visited. Always cheerful, they made our trip special and made us feel special. We felt free to enjoy ourselves, secure in the fact that they would look after us and they did. 

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Gel inners for your shorts and/or a gel saddle cover, plenty of base layers and waterproof gear and factor 50 sun block. Yes the climate is surprising! Leave some space in your luggage to bring back some of the excellent vodka and cashmere (or interesting hats).

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A couple of the best weeks I've ever experienced. Just go - you'll see what I mean.

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    Not the hardest, not the most technical and not offering the most to see, but this is the best Exodus cycling trip yet for me - purely because of the sheer FUN in cycling in such a remote terrain in wide wild landscapes shared with large herds of wild horses, camels and goats.  We had pure blue skies every day ............and the circling eagles were breathtaking.............how could it not be the best!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling along side and through herds of stampeding horses was the most exhilirating moment.  Stalking eagles perched on hillsides got us some of our best photos.  It is possible to cycle out of camp or climb a local hill and see no modern infrastructure whatsoever - in a 360 deg panorama of 15 miles radius............the remoteness is tangible. 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gan was my cup of tea - a local guide, knows his country and its people with a no nonsense attitude.  He was more distant than most guides and completely free of gratuitous bonhomie that you get from most guides - this meant when he was in the mood to share his experiences, they were far more revealing, personal and enjoyable.  Gan was very well travelled in Russia and the former eastern block - even been to an 'Old Firm' football match!  A safe pair of hands - well received by the local herders/families we met - and respected by his support team of drivers and cooks.  Thank you Gan.  

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We stopped off in Seoul for several days on the way out - it breaks up the long flight to Mongolia which is punishing with a lengthy stopover.  On the way back again another lengthy stopover was broken by prebooking a room in the Airport Terminal Hotel at Seoul at a cost of £100 - well worth the money. Camping in September means very cold nights - a good sleeping bag and liner are essential and layers of warm clothes for early morning and early evenings at camp.  Limited opportunties for buying treats - take your own from home. The bikes were not well maintained or serviced - take a can of oil and use liberally.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Ulaan Baatar is a bit of a frontier town............it might have a few designer shops and some western restaurants, but it is largely a higglety pigglety city with over 1million people with little sense of city planning or achitecture...........all traffic and building sites!  What Mongolia offers is not in UB but well well outside its confines.

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    This was a wonderful experience, full of wide open spaces, lots of sky and great company. The support team were attentive to our every need and the feeling of rushing through the seemingly endless landscape on the bike lingers beyond the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Gliding on a bike through the wide open spaces, accompanied by galloping horses on one side and friends on the other.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Quentin: a passionate cyclist, with a quiet and calm demeanour. Michelle: Mongolian warrior princess!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take kit for all seasons: for the extreme hot, wet and cold. Wet wipes come in handy. Chinggis black is the best vodka. Bring some money for Cashmere.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do not hesitate if you yearn for space, air and companionship. Mongolia is a surprising country of contrasts. And aeroflot wasn't so bad...

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    It was a real adventure holiday and did what the brochure said and more. Terrific fun , scenery was amazing and organisation excellent.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    BIking along with horses galloping along side me. Waking to ice on the tent and later in the day 28c of hot sunshine!  Th great comradeship in th group which kept us going even when it was tough. Also sitting on a Yak, When you are cold and it is lovely and warm. Seeing the locals and even staying in a local school (extra due to weather). Getting to learn how life was like out there.  Also staying in a Ger.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two leaders both excellent in their field and knowledge of the area.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for 4 seasons in a day. In other words layers of clothing. It can get very cold and hot. Take thick padded shorts for the bumpy tracks. Practice off road biking for the down hills, bits can be technical. Rocky and sandy. But great fun. Finally look at alternative flights if you have a long stop in Seoul or stop over for a few days there like we did and have a great time.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just don't hesitate  book it before UB changes and the tracks in the country change to tarmac roads as this wouldn't have been nearly so much fun if it had been on roads all the time.  It is a wilderness still and needs to be appreciated before it changes.

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    A unique holiday in a unique country. Cycling gives the opportunity to really immerse in the landscape and interact with local herders.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One day we followed a river valley and herd after herd of horses would gallop beside and across our path - watching their behaviour up close was fantastic. Returning home I cannot help but feel sorry for horses isolated in tiny paddocks and stables here. Having the opportunity to ride a Mongolian horse and finding how responsive it was to me (a beginner) was also great.  I always love to discover the lifestyle of people in other countries and in Mongolia I was not disappointed - visiting two ger families, watching horses being milked, yaks being lassooed and children at play and school. Lodging at a boarding school overnight due to bad weather really enabled us to explore the small town and interact with the local people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Erdene is a very caring individual taking great care of all of us, and from the start helping us quickly become a functional team. Daily briefings were very useful. Misheel, his assistant, has a more outgoing personality and added to the trip with her obvious pride in and passion for her country.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared for the cold. Even on sunny days the early mornings and nights will be very cold. Warm hat, gloves, coat and a good quality sleeping bag are ESSENTIAL. Do not forget lip protection - several people had very sore lips by the end. Good cycling glasses advised - my eyes suffered with the wind. Prepare for cycling day after day without many rest or 1/2 days. It was my first cycling holiday but others in the group commented that possibly the grading should be higher as the off road nature makes it quite tough compared to other 'moderate' grade holidays. Some of the downhills were quite difficult due to sand, gravel and ruts. The vans could not seat us all so you could not 'hop on and off' easily. I loved the holiday but be prepared for basic camping and, even at the ger camps, showers may not work. Plenty of wipes advised!! Inhibitions about toileting during the day are soon lost - there are very few bushes for us ladies to hide behind!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was fantastic throughout the trip and a highlight was watching our driver slaughter a sheep the traditional way and butcher it expertly to provide meat for the second half of the trip. 'Can kill a sheep in minutes' was heard many times when referring to him afterwards! Vegetarians were well catered for too. The habit of a mid-morning mars bar was hard to break when the cycling ended and energy requirements dropped! Twitchers among you take a bird book as being unable to name the many birds of prey seen became frustrating. Demoiselle cranes calling while flying overhead as we toiled uphill is another unforgettable memory.   

  • 10

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    i think that mongolia is one hell of incredable place although it is a really long journey to get there but well worth it when you get there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    there where to many to mention firstly the weather one minute it can be red hot then it be really cold frosty in the morning,also it did snow.The guides eddie and michelle were the best i have ever had made you feel really welcome from start to finish,the drivers cooks where wonderful people,and the cycling but this trip isnt for the faint hearted beware it can be quite tough.Staying in a local boarding school was also a highlight it made me realize how lucky us in the west are .Finally everyone in the group was very easy to get along with and by the end we where like a small family that memory will also stay with me forever

    What did you think of your group leader?

    in one word Fantastic eddie and michelle and all the support team did us proud in my words the best leaders i have had on a cycling trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Dont let the travelling put you off,also if i was to vist again i would pack lots more warm clothes as it can drop below zero at night

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    yes i think exodus should look at a more direct route to UB as we flew over mongolia to get to seoul,then had to wait 6 hours to get another flight back into UB to me this doesnt make much sense, also maybe you could spent a few more nights in ger camps as having a fire at night was very welcome maybe 7 nights camping and a few more ger camps please.

  • 8

    CYCLING THE EMPIRE OF GENGHIS KHAN

    Once I arrived in UB the trip was very good apart from the last day. I could make nothing but praise for the staff who are the local based company that run this trip on behalf of Exodus

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The endless wide open spaces and big skies

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ganer was excellent, just the right balance between letting you find out for yourself but willing to answer any questions that you had.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I chose to rent a bike from exodus supposedly had front suspension.  My bike only had 1" of travel so was pretty much like no suspension. I Took my own saddle and pedals of which I was glad. Biking was easy smooth technically  not too demanding and 100% ridable. I found the food good and plentiful and the trip staff (cook, driver and guide )very good. There is not that much to do beside shopping and drinking in UB.  The local kids love balloons - take some to give to them. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If the Exodus staff in the UK were as good as the staff in Mongoila I would have no problems, but they are very variable in reliability.  I rang quite a few times with queries and on some occasion I was told people would ring back, but they did not. Once I made a complaint, as one guy did not even pass on the message.  Later I was told that no record of my complaint was made. The quality control there is clearly an issue. Exodus booked us flights via Soeul. S Korea- this was a 12 hour flight. On the way out We then had to wait 6 hours for a connecting flight back to Mongolia (which we had flown over on the way. However there was another flight to UB with the same airline that left 2 hours  before our flight.  We finished cycling on Thursday, and drove back to UB on Friday arriving at 4 p.m. then off to see a local cultural show which was good. Our flight was booked for Saturday at 23-50. So we had a whole day to do nothing in UB. We all felt that getting the flight friday night would have been better. OR sometime later on Saturday, since we then had a 10 hour wait to get our flight back to the UK.OR do another day cycling so there is not a dead day at the end of the trip. Presumably Exodus do some sort of deal with Korean airlines to get cheap  flight tickets. Their priority should be to minimise transfer time and maximise cycling time. The first two days of the trip is now on road as the tracks were tarmac tarmac-ed 2 years ago. teh loacl guys say they have told Exodus- but the trip notes have not been changed. The trip notes say 'overnight is a comfortable  sleeping compartments on a train. Dinner is taken on the train - the train trip is awful - to be endured not enjoyed. No-one got any sleep and dinner was a sandwich!! - This should be deleted from the trip and travel by road instead.  There were only 4 people on my trip. A couple a lady and myself. I rang up four weeks before the trip to get add a single supplement- instead of informing me  it would not be needed as there were only 4 on the they happily took my money. So I suggest to make the best of the trip expect exodus to cause you a few problems, Book your own flight to minimise the transfer times and likely contact the local company direct to avoid wasting a day at the end of the trip. Apart from that you will have a fab time.

  • 10

    Big skies and teeming herds

    A great trip in stunning landscape. A good mix of easy riding with time to enjoy the views and more challenging ups and downs. It is quite something to see herds of horses running beside you while you ride, to watch eagles soaring above you as you camp by a pristine stream. If you are happy on a bike and in a tent I can think of no better way to see Mongolia than this.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick just one, but all these are great memories: watching the sunset over lake from our camp site, running herds, herdsmen on horseback, the "performance of contortion by springy girls" in Ulan Baatar.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our trip leader was young but very good, with excellent communication skills, thoughtful and engaging. This was his first trip as leader, though he had assisted on many more. The rest of the support team were clearly experienced and very good at keeping the trip on track, both on the road and at the overnight stops.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Compared with our only previous Exodus cycling trip (Myanmar in 2014, level 3) this trip had much more cycling and less sightseeing. When we booked it was level 3 but has since been re-graded from level 3 to 4. We found the trip notes were pretty accurate, but beware the short days - less distance but plenty of height gain. The trails were generally pretty good, but variable surface conditions (slippery mud, sand, rocky descents) added an extra element of challenge in places, and a strong headwind made for slow progress at times. Expect wet feet - there are lots of river crossings. The general description of "undulating with a few short steep climbs" is fair, but before the short steep climbs there is often a long not-so-gentle climb. The tents and bikes were very good, both in terms of specification and condition. We were happy to see that, having read about issues with bikes and tents in a review of an earlier trip. The support team checked all our group's bikes over regularly, most if not every evening. The sleeping mats provided were OK but not fantastic. If you have a good one that you trust, then bring it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Bugs were not a major problem in the evenings but bug spray is essential, and we found a solar charger handy for keeping our cameras, etc. in service.

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