When people talk about a holiday “getting away from it all” they probably aren’t thinking along the same lines as those who opt for a holiday travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway. This is as far away from it all as you get!
You won’t see the real Mongolia by staying in its Soviet-built capital – you have to get out into the countryside. Elstei Ger Camp offers a super location away from the city – it’s surrounded by rewarding countryside for walking or relaxing all around, with a choice of different landscapes according to which direction you set off.
Gers are Mongolia’s traditional wooden-framed tents – insulated with a thick layer of camel- or horse-hair felt, then covered with a waterproof decorated canvas outer. Inside the traditional accommodation is far from spartan – there are real beds (traditional Mongolian ones), and the ever-present solid-fuel hearth at the ger’s physical and spiritual centre. All the accommodation at Elstei is in these gers, with space for 3-5 people in each.
Walk, hike, or just relax and contemplate the enormity and emptiness of the Mongolian Steppes? There are also some activities available – including traditional Mongolian sports like wrestling or archery. If you want to ride the Steppes, nomads call by the camp with horses – you settle-up with them afterwards, it helps their finances a bit. If a horse isn’t your thing – how about a camel?
Elstei’s cafe serves both traditional Mongolian style meals (ie mutton), or a European-style alternative – there are veggie options too. Warm showers and “conventional” toilets in summer – but when the temperature drops below freezing, there’s a drop-toilet alternative.
Not many holidays give you the chance to try out a whole new way of life – this holiday does.