phone
 

Mongolia Birding and Culture Tour

Mongolia Birding Adventure and Culture Tour

If you are interested in Mongolia Birding and Culture Tour, come and join us at Kaiyote Tours!

Siberian Taiga Forest, Rolling Steppes & Rocky Mountains

This fascinating birding trip offers the best way to experience Mongolia with great birding and wildlife viewing.  We will visit genuinely fantastic wildlife habitats throughout this trip, from Siberian taiga forest to the freshwater/salty lakes and rolling steppes in Mongolia. Lodging is in traditional ger camps where you will meet nomadic herders and learn from the age-old nomadic lifestyle. Mongolia is about the same size as Alaska and with only 3.2 million people, most of the country is uninhabited pristine wilderness. Our local Mongolian team leaders provide excellent guide service, transport and lodging for this adventure. 

Printable Bird List
(Checklist of birds that we have seen on this trip)

  • 2025
  • Birding tour: July 14 - 24, 2025, spots left = 6  The itinerary as described below.
  • Mountain Biking and Hiking:  September 10 - 21, 2025, spots left = 8,
  • The travel route for the mountain biking tour is nearly the same as listed below, except we will not be visiting the boreal forests of Gorkhi-Terelj. Instead we will spend 2-nights at Ugii Lake. We will be driving to each lodging location and biking the area around the lodging location.  This will allow for hiking and birding if you are not a mountain biker.  The biking tour requests a non-refundable $1,200 deposit to sign-up.  final payment is due March 10, 2025. Please contact us for more details about this special tour.  
  • 2026
  • Fishing tour September 1 - 12, 2026, spots left = 6
  • Group Size:  6 - 8 travelers 
  • Trip Length: 12 days
  • Rates: Rate per person = $5,140 (based on double occupancy, $900 extra for single occupancy). Please contact us for fishing itinerary and pricing. 
  • Rates include: Domestic transfers, lodging, breakfast, lunch, dinner, scheduled group tours, park entrance fees and basic travel insurance.
  • Not included: International airfare, customs & immigration fees and visas, alcohol, trip cancellation insurance.
  • Adventure level:  Moderate - Adventurous, please check "Welcome" page for definition

Fishing:  The largest trout in the world is the Siberian Taimen (Hucho taimen), which can be up to 4-feet long and 60 pounds. This fish is in the Salmon family and lives in freshwater rivers.  We have a very special fishing trip planned.  Please contact us for details and itinerary.  This will be a camping trip along several different areas of the river where the Taimen can be found. The camping gear, cooking gear, food, and fishing gear will be supplied. You will need to bring a sleeping bag.  In September the nights can be chilly, but it will not go below freezing. This trip will also be a birding and hiking trip for those who are interested as well. Please contact us for fishing itinerary and pricing. 

Special offer:  Included with your trip (one per room) is a copy of the field guide “Birds of Mongolia (Princeton Field Guides) by Gombobaatar "Gomboo" Sundev and Christopher W. Leahy.  You will receive this when you reserve your trip so you will have time to study and know the beautiful birds of Mongolia.

Animals we have seen on this trip:  Mongolian Gazelle, Red Deer, Siberian Chipmunk, Mongolian Marmot, Corsak Fox, Przewalski's Horse, Tolai Hare, Mongolian Gerbil, Brandt's Vole, Mongolian Toad, Long-tailed Ground Squirrel, Red Squirrel, Korean Field Mouse. 

Map of the travel route here:  Mongolia Map (opens a new page)

Basic Itinerary for Birding Tour

Here are a few things you need to know about the birding tour in Mongolia:

1) We stay in traditional "gers" (pronounced "gare" or "gear").  It is a great experience.  These lodging areas are called tourist camps. There are photos of the interior and exterior of the some of the gers below in the photo gallery.  The gers are comfortable and cozy. They do not have bathrooms.  The bathrooms are in a separate building.  There are no hairdryers.  If you require a hairdryer, you will need to purchase a 2-prong type in Ulaanbaatar. 

2)  The electric outlets are 2-prong European types.  There is only one electric outlet in the ger for charging your phone and other simple electronic devices.  One of the places we stay at does not have overnight electricity. You will need to bring a headlamp or flashlight.  

3) Most of the roads we travel on are dirt and can be rough.  Be prepared for a bouncy ride in the van. 

4)  The restaurants at the tourist camps provide either a buffet or a set menu and they can accommodate vegetarians.  The food is very good.  Sometimes we eat at local restaurants. 

5)  Credit cards are accepted everywhere, even at the tourist camps. 

6)  Most of the tourist camps do not have wi-fi, but most will have cell service.  There is one tourist camp without cell service. 

7)  The luggage space in the van is limited, so please pack lightly.  The climate is arid and warm.  Clothes will dry quickly.  

To view a photo album from a photographer who was on this tour, click here:  

Ersten Imaoka’s Photo Album (opens new page)

Day 1:  Arrival Ulaanbaatar
Depending on your departure city, it will be 2- 3 flights to get to the Ulaanbaatar to the Chinggis Khaan International Airport (UBN) and with arrival the next day.  Your flight should be scheduled to arrive on “Day One” of the tour. You will be greeted at the airport and shuttled to the hotel.  Activities for the day will depend on your arrival time. 

Day 2:  Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar is the capitol of Mongolia and has a very long history dating back more than 3 million years ago to early Hominids.  Today the city has a population of 1.5 million (nearly half of the entire Mongolian population) and the city is located at about 4,300 feet. We will have a full day tour of Ulaanbaatar to learn about the history and culture. 

Day 3:  Khustai National Park
From Ulaanbaatar it is a 3-hour drive to Khustai National Park; land of the Takhi and Przewalski’s Wild Horse. Thanks to the good conservation management, the species which was on the brink of extinction has now exceeded well over 300 individuals. Along with other interesting mammals such as Red Deer, Mongolian Marmot, and Long-tailed Ground Squirrel, watch the fascinating bird life including Daurian Partridge, Cinereous & Himalayan Vultures, Golden & Steppe Eagles, Upland Buzzard, Saker & Amur Falcons, Mongolian and Asian Short-toed Larks, Northern, Isabelline & Pied Wheatears, Brown Shrike and Meadow Bunting. Overnight in a tourist ger camp.

Day 4:  Ugii Lake
We will visit Tsagaan Lake which is a shallow salty lake with big amount of reedbed. The lake provides the preferable habitat for many interesting bird species such as Red-crested Pochard, Eastern Marsh Harrier, White-naped, Common and Demoiselle Cranes, Asian Dowitcher, Marsh Sandpiper, Richard Pipit, Eastern Yellow and Citrine Wagtails, Oriental Reed, Paddyfield and Pallas’s Grasshopper Warblers, Bearded Reedling, and Pallas’s and Common Reed Buntings. The shoreline of the Ugii Lake and surrounding pools are a paradise of wetland birds during both migration and breeding periods. Considering its importance for wetland birds, the lake has been designated as Ramsar Site of International Importance. The lake is a home to many waterfowls including Pintail, Garganey, Common and Red-crested Pochards, Ruddy and Common Shelducks etc. Highest opportunity for White-tailed and Pallas’s Fish Eagles and Pallas’s Gulls. The passerines include Citrine, White and Yellow Wagtails, Rock Sparrow, Small Snowfinch and Pallas’s Bunting.  Overnight in a tourist ger camp.

Day 5:  Khugnu-Tarna National Park
Drive to Khugnu Khan mountain via Kharkhorin town, where the ancient Mongol capital Kharakhorum once flourished. The second son of Chinggis Khan founded the capital in the early 13th century before it was destroyed by the Chinese Ming Dynasty in the late 14th century. Today, the main attraction here is the Erdene Zuu monastery center, established in 1585 as the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism as Mongolia’s main religion by a Mongol Khan.  Lunch at Kharakhorum and then continue drive to Khugnu Khan mountain as known as Elsen Tasarkhai, which is an area with a stretch of sand dunes located in the middle of the grasslands.  This location hosts wonderful contrasting scenery of sand dune, wetland, and rocky mountain. If you are interested, you have a chance to ride a well-trained Bactrian camel on the sand dune. A pair of White-naped Cranes breeds at the wetland every year, symbolizing the ever-lasting life of the place, which yields a long list of lifers for many birders from around the world. The top birds include Lammergeier, Bar-headed Swan Geese, Eastern Marsh Harrier, Chinese Spot-billed Duck, Black-throated Loon, Asian Dowitcher, Pallas’s Grasshopper and Oriental Reed Warblers, Citrine and Eastern Yellow Wagtails. Overnight in a tourist ger camp.

Day 6:  Khugnu-Tarna National Park
A second day to explore and bird the national park.  The sand dunes and wetlands in this area are prime birding and walking areas. It is a beautiful area, especially for photography. 

Day 7:  Gorkhi - Terelj National Park (Siberian boreal forest)
Gorkhi-Terelj NP is a southern end of the Siberian boreal forest (or taiga) where you find picturesque mountain with mixed forest trenched by beautiful valleys. Following arrival in the national park, we will check in our tourist ger camp near birding site. Afternoon we will do light walking near the campsite and see some interesting birds including Olive-backed Pipit, Siberian Rubythroat, Willow Tit, Taiga Flycatcher, Common Rosefinch, Yellow- browed Warbler, Chinese Bush Warbler, and Pine Bunting, and probably Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Have dinner at the restaurant of the ger camp.

Day 8: Gorkhi - Terelj National Park (Siberian boreal forest)
Next morning will drive down to riparian forest, where we will find old and big popular trees and find Oriental and Common Cuckoos, Eurasian Hoopoe, Great Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers, Great and Willow Tits, Red-throated Thrush, Siberian Rubythroat, Dusky, Greenish and Yellow-browed Warblers, Taiga and Asian Brown Flycatchers, Eastern Buzzard (B. b. japonicus) and Pine Bunting. Afternoon we will do birding near campsite for Blyth’s and Richard’s Pipits, Isabelline and Northern Wheatears, Daurian Jackdaw and Red billed Chough. Overnight in a tourist ger camp near the birding site.

Day 9:  Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve
Upon arrival at the nature reserve, we will check-in to our tourist ger camp located near the birding site. On the way to the nature reserve, we will check two steppe lakes for common ducks, White-naped crane and some migrants.  After lunch we will drive to ponds for breeding White-naped cranes and to the mountains for Argali sheep. Dinner is at the restaurant of the ger camp.

Day 10:  Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve
Our camp is in the heart of a large and stunning river valley.  We will have two days of birding and viewing wildlife in this area.  Our camp is situated along the river. The Nature Reserve is a complex of high mountains, steppes, rivers, lakes, and wetlands that are kept in their original condition. Visitors to Gun-Galuut see vast steppes seeming to meet the sky.  Here you will find imposing mountains and natural lakes which are a paradise for birds. Kherlen, the longest river of Mongolia, and the Tsengiin Bird wetland, can be visited here. Ikh Gun and Ayaga lakes are home to swans, gulls, ducks, geese, cranes, storks. Siberian Cranes and Hooded Crane inhabit in the Lake Ayaga of the Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve.

Day 11:  Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast we will drive back to the mountain to view Argali sheep and do some birding around the area. After lunch, we will drive back to the Ulaanbaatar. There will be last minute shopping at one of the best souvenir stores ever and a Farewell dinner together.

Day 12:  Fly Home 
There will be a shuttle to the airport for flights back home.

Meet our local guide for Kaiyote Tours

Gomboo

Our local Mongolian guide is none other than Gombobaatar "Gomboo" Sundev (PhD), the man who wrote the book on Mongolian birds.  He shares all his knowledge and image database for research and conservation activities. Besides his busy duty at the University and Society in Ulaanbaatar, he leads birding and wildlife tours and expeditions. Gomboo was born and grew up in the Onon and Balj River valleys in the east which is an area with rich avian diversity. The place is known as Chinggis Khaan’s birthplace. He started to identify bird species during his childhood only for ‘play’ with them. His dad’s binoculars were the best toy for his childhood. Since he graduated from University, he has been working on bird research and conservation in Mongolia. He is one of the best mentors and educators of the new generation of ornithologists in Mongolia. Most of the professional bird guides and bird researchers in Mongolia were mentored and supervised by him. His numerous publications show his experience and knowledge on birds in Mongolia. He owns one of the largest bird image databases for Mongolian birds. Gomboo is really keen to share his knowledge with everybody.

cancel