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Travel Buddies

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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
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About Travel Buddies
Travel Buddies is a trusted local agency, based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. We are a all-season personalized tour operator specially focused on tailor-made experiences just for you and your group visit. Since 2009, hundreds of happy guests returned from our trips. We offer all-season adventure tour packages including cultural, discovery, horseback riding, trekking, winter, festivals and tailor-made photography tours. The accommodation we use and our driver, guide and cook are carefully selected with care to make sure your travel experience is memorable. We are looking forward to travelling with you through Mongolia !
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RobB wrote a review Jul 2020
1 contribution
Had a great 10 day tour, taking in parts of UB and surrounds, then a long trip taking in the major sights of the Gobi. Our tour guide Bilguun was excellent. Really well spoken, knowledgable about the history and culture of the places we visited, thoughtful (she even planned a surprise party for one of us - pretty hard to do in the desert!), and great sense of humour. The driver Tumruu was also really good - polite, courteous, and always kept the car in immaculate condition. Travel Buddies seems to have good contacts throughout Mongolia - they arranged a night with a Mongolian herding family, which was really special, and wherever there was a choice of ger camps always picked the more authentic camp. Will definitely use them again on a return visit!
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Date of experience: September 2019
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alexiaYYC wrote a review Oct 2019
15 contributions3 helpful votes
+1
I highly recommend Travel Buddies. We had a 10 Day private tour, which I arranged via email/website in July 2019. My husband and I are 29 and 28 respectively and live in western Canada. For booking, the Travel Buddies team was clear, quick to respond and a pleasure to work with. They took the time to fully customize our tour based on what we wanted to see and do. Our guide was Billy and our driver was Jay. They deserve praise for their awesome job. They were such fun travel companions and made every effort to ensure our trip went smoothly. We traveled from October 14th to October 25th and mostly wanted a cultural and nature visit. Although there was quite a bit of traveling, we were informed of the travel times before booking, and it was quite understandable given the locations we were driving to. We went at the beginning of the off-season, which was great because we were really the only tourists. We are Canadians, so the cold (ranged from +10 to -15 Celcius) was never an issue. We added an additional day at the beginning, where a private driver picked us up and brought us to a few places in the capital, Ulaanbaatar. We were greeted at the airport by the director of the company, who made sure that we were set up for the day and the rest of our trip, which we sincerely appreciated. She helped us exchange our money at the airport. The largest bill is equivalent to $10 Canadian, and at the time the exchange was about 2000 togrog to $1. We visited the black market and were given many warnings for pickpockets. I do seriously warn others to listen to their advice but my husband I never felt unsafe. All the vendors were very kind, and we walked away with many beautiful items like horse/sheep boots, fox fur hat and wool items like socks and gloves. The next day we began our private tour into the country. I will not recount every single thing we did (as that would be extensive) but we were very happy with everything. The guide was great, she spoke English very well and was happy to translate the entire trip (as almost no one speaks English). She was always very courteous, making sure we were happy and always doing her best to make sure we were happy and comfortable. Our driver did a superb job of navigating some complicated terrain. We traveled through rivers, over mountains and rugged land. He was also very helpful with the families, maintained our vehicle and attended to the animals for some of our adventures. Most night we stayed in gers, some times with nomadic families and other times at tourist camps near parks or historic areas. We went during a colder time and the company was prepared with 2 sleeping bags and one bag liner for each person. There are also stoves in the middle, but we didn't normally get up at night to refuel. Two recommendations are: bring a pillow for your trip and a lighter to manage the fire if it burns out at night and you want to relight it. I did not mind the beds and always got a good sleep, but full warning they are very soft. We also stayed in a guesthouse 2 nights, which was a nice change of pace. There is no water very available with the nomadic families, but our guide and driver always made sure we traveled with a substantial amount, so it was not an issue. There were also no washrooms out in the country, so remember to pack plenty of toilet paper. Showers were available at the ger camps and guesthouse. I suggest a lightweight, quick dry towel for your trip. The food mostly consisted of potato, carrots, onion (some wild!), mutton and noddles/rice/dumplings. The meals were made into a noddle stir fry (Mongolian spaghetti), different types of dumplings or soups. I can honestly say I loved the food! I found it quite delicious and never went hungry. At the camps and sometimes for lunch we had more of a typical meal with meat, rice, sauce, and vegetables. By far my favorite was breakfast as we had a yak cream, which was typically very fresh and super delicious. We also had the opportunity to try homemade vodka, which was very smooth and airag (fermented mares milk). Our last night we all had Hot Pot together, and that was a nice way to finish the trip. At least half of the traveling was done off paved roads throughout the country. We had a great Land Cruiser, outfitted for such travel with a snorkel. It was kept very clean and did a great job of getting us anywhere. I can get car sick, but I would just take an anti-nausea before leaving and never had an issue. Our guide and driver were always happy to stop for us if we wanted to take a picture, break or use the 'washroom'. For the activities, we stayed with families, visited temples, explored parks to view animals, rode camels and horses and hiked. The nomadic families were all so different - yet every single family we met, whether we stayed with them or just said hi, were just wonderful. They are all so giving and welcoming and it was such a pleasure to be with such amazing people. It's such a beautiful culture and the people were so appreciative and interesting. We made food with them, played games, helped herd the animals and learned about their lives as nomads. We were exceptionally lucky, as a family nearby had a haircutting ceremony. This is the largest celebration in a child's life and marks the first hair cut. At night there is a huge party in the families ger with meats, drinks, singing, and fun. we also brought gifts to the families including pencils, sharpeners, notebooks, and Canadian items. we mostly brought gifts for the children, which they were very appreciative of, but other items like soap and basic necessities are also nice gifts. The temples ranged from 16th century to only a few decades old, with some ruins from the 10th century. My husband and I have spent quite a lot of time in Asia (and he lived in Indonesia) and we found the Mongolian temples stunning. Definitely worth your time! The monastery (Erdene Zuu) outside of the old capital (Ghengis Khan's Karakorum) was amazing and by far the largest. Don't let that stop you from going to the more remote monasteries as they generally had an amazing landscape view and interesting history. We hiked many of the mountains around us which is great for viewing the wide landscape, catching a sunrise, or viewing the wildlife. On our trip, we saw many different birds including vultures, eagles, and a fox. We also went for a camel ride in the mini-gobi, which was very fun as the camels we quite big. We went on several horseback rides, which all went well. They are not like North American horses as they are smaller, quite fuzzy and still a little wild. Please make sure that you are confident riding horses and calm, as they can be spoked and other animals/noises may frighten them. We did pass two guard dogs that came sprinting towards us and were quite vicious, but we remained calm and in control, and the horses (for the most part) ignored them. But please, be safe and aware and do not ride the horses if you don't feel confident. They are not for petting and are working animals. We went to a few national parks, but by far the most prominent was the Hustai National Park with the Przewalski's horse, the only truly wild horse left in the wild (mustangs are actually feral horses, not wild). This was an awesome adventure and we were fortunate enough to see two groups of horses. We also saw some sheep (like bighorn) and deer, which are quite large. Overall, a once in a lifetime experience, and very well prepared by Travel Buddies. We got exactly what we wanted, and were so happy with our trip. On our last day, we asked to do a few extras in the city and they were happy to oblige and accommodate our needs. I would love to come back and explore more of the Western region with the larger mountains, eagle hunters and the Eagle Hunting Festival. Billy and Jay (guide and driver) were outstanding, and I hope that you get the pleasure to meet them. I can't thank Travel Buddies enough for their tremendous job in organizing and executing our trip.
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Date of experience: October 2019
2 Helpful votes
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BostonBostonGirl wrote a review Oct 2019
boston2,856 contributions240 helpful votes
+1
This is the best travel agency i have ever used: the owner, Zol gives personalized attention to every guest as if they were her best friend. She is genuine, hard working, organized, warm, fun, KNOWLEDGEABLE, able to custom any wishes . She took a group of 13 of my friends on a one week customized trip to see the eagle hunting festival. Dont look anywhere else- i bumped into many other unhappy tourists who had booked with other agencies that were disappointed - Zol as owner of this agency runs the best trips i have had in my 40 years of travel
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Date of experience: October 2019
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Cece C wrote a review Sep 2019
1 contribution1 helpful vote
This tour group was recommended to me by a friend and at first I was a little unsure of actually doing a tour because I was only in Mongolia for a few days but I'm so glad I booked with Travel Buddies. I went through Central Mongolia and loved every second of it, my guide and driver were very friendly and helpful and I definitely know and saw more of Mongolia than I would have had I not done the tour. The best thing though, was definitely the range of experiences they offered as I pretty much did a new activity every day of my trip.
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Date of experience: August 2019
1 Helpful vote
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Mel wrote a review Sep 2019
Singapore, Singapore7 contributions2 helpful votes
We did a private tour for 6 pax. Zoloo was very responsive to my requests and adjusted the itinerary based on our needs. I had my initial hesitancy on the payment transfer, as I wasn’t familiar with Payoneer, but it went well. We had a great time with our guide, Telmunn (TK), and the drivers. They took care of us and there were a lot of first-time experiences - climbing sand dunes, riding on horses. Mongolia is a very beautiful country and we love to go back again!
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Date of experience: July 2019
1 Helpful vote
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