I wanted to make this post to help any other fellow travelers who might find themselves in the same situation as me. Mongolia is an amazing country that I highly suggest visiting, but sometimes being a tourist can be a bit hard because of the limited infrastructure... but that also makes for more of an adventure too :)
My boyfriend and I recently traveled to western mongolia, namely Ulgii, in October for the Golden Eagle Festival. When researching for this trip I found it a bit hard to find much information online. Even the LP didn't provide too much help... namely it was hard to find a recommended tour operator that offered fair prices. Thankfully I found a recommendation for Bek Travel on the websitehttp://www.mongolia-travel-advice.com/western-mongolia.html also a very helpful resource for the region in general
Bek Travel is run by a man named Bek and it is a family run operation. I have nothing but praise for our entire experience and trip with them.
Firstly, Bek offered to drive our party from UB to Ulgii for the festival when all the flights were booked solid because of the eagle festival. This meant we got to avoid the terrible 50hr bus ride which was the only other option to get to Ulgii. This also meant we spent 2.5 days with Bek in a car, so we had a chance to get to know the man. He is welcoming, very knowledgeable and passionate about bayan-ulgii and always considerate of our needs.
Next, we stayed in Bek's Ger Camp outside of Ulgii during the eagle festival for four nights. We got our own private ger, access to a kitchen and western style toilets (a luxury in that area). During the winter the outdoor showers aren't so nice, but instead Bek organized for us an evening at the bath house in town, so cool! We were tended to by the couple Aika and Bellau that run the ger camp, and although they don't speak much English, they were incredible hosts. I won't forget their kindness. Also during our stay, Bek's staff drove us into town and two and from the festival, whenever we needed. Unreal service. Bek even accompanied us into town on one occassion to help us book our flight back to UB, which we would not have been able to do ourselves because of the language barrier with the staff at the office.
After the eagle festival, we did a 8 day tour of western mongolia with Bek Travel. Our tour guide and driver was Japar. Japar spoke English very well and was a laid back guide who had a great relationship with all the local families we visited and stayed with. Even when a part of our tour itinerary had to change because of snow (!!) And othere factors, Japar worked very hard to ensure we got to see and do everything we wanted. We had an amazing tour and some of the best travel experiences of my life.
After the tour was finished, Bek let us stay an extra night in his ger camp and drove us to the airport the next morning at no extra cost.
My boyfriend and I are in our twenties and are on a tight backpackers budget, but this was affordable to us, especially since many other tours we looked at in the area were not!
If you're thinking of visiting western mongolia and doing tours in the