We plan to go to Mongolia (rough itinerary: Ulaanbaatar, northern Mongolia (lake Khovsgol etc), Karakorum and Gobi desert) in mid-August for 10-14 days. The main issue that we are facing is the choice of the tour operator. I have read the forum and it seems like there are plenty of operators but hardly any of them is 100% reliable. In the end, based on the reviews we have chosen two operators: Travel Gobi Mongolia (TGM) and Nomadic Expeditions (NE). Based on several positive reviews (all recent) and one bad review (2011), I have mixed feelings about TGM. It looks like the company is tightly run by one guy (Ganzorig) who is also the owner. He does his best to attract a client but it does not necessarily mean that you will get an experienced tour guide (in the negative review the group was given a student guide who did not really know the visited places and moreover created a lot of issues) and what is more important there can be unexpected changes in the schedule due to careless planning of the trip. As regards NE, I have seen only positive reviews saying that it is one of the oldest (if not the oldest) tour operation in Mongolia and it is very professional with good cars, own infrastructure etc; however, the issue may be with the cost (I do not know what it is as I am still waiting for NE to come back with their proposal).
We are three people (my wife, my wife's friend and myself), TGM's tour is going to cost US$1900 per person, i.e. US$5700 in total, it is a sizeable amount and we think we can have a perfect holiday for this money.
We would be very grateful for any thoughts, ideas and recommendations.