One of the great things about the Internet is how much information we have available to us—and this is especially true when it comes to planning our upcoming trips. I’ve always felt that the best advice I’ve received about new places I’m visiting is from friends and family who have already been there. That’s why I’m so happy we have our Travel Forums available for OAT travelers. As soon as you book a trip, you can post questions to your fellow travelers about any concerns you have, packing tips, suggestions on places to go—basically, anything you want to know. Since we’re featuring our newest OAT adventures in this edition of Harriet’s Corner, I wanted to share a question asked by a traveler on our forums about to embark on OAT’s Mongolia & the Gobi Desert adventure:
I’ve booked the Mongolia trip, with the China pre-trip, leaving May 20 for the pre-trip to Yunnan and then meeting the main trip on Day 10. I’m really excited to be able to travel to Mongolia—it looks quite interesting, however with quite spartan accommodations. I didn’t see too much info here on Mongolia. Has anyone been and can you offer any suggestions? Thanks!
—Username charlottet on our OAT forums
Charlotte, I’m so happy you’ve decided to visit one of our new destinations this year, and I completely understand your concerns about the accommodations you’ll be experiencing during your adventure. I’ve reached out to our regional office in China to get more information about the ger tents you’ll be using when you visit more remote areas of Mongolia.
Elaine Yau, OAT’s Regional General Manager in North Asia, shared that OAT’s ger camps are not like a normal hotel. Be prepared for very basic facilities. Each typical ger tent normally holds two beds (some may have three to four beds), with simple furniture like a small table and stool. There is no air-conditioning, but you will have a stove in the center of your tent. Wood is used in the evening to heat the stove if it’s needed (usually in early May and late September). The camp’s staff will help set up your tent’s fire, but you’ll need to refill the wood about every 45 minutes after that. There is also no telephone available.
There is a private toilet in each ger, however no amenities like shampoo or soap are provided. You will need to bring those yourself. Bath and shower facilities are located in the main ger tent (lodge building). Since many of our ger camps use solar energy or a generator, hot water and electricity are available at specific times of the day. There are also toilets available in the main tent, as well as a restaurant where breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served.
I know that these facilities sound pretty basic, Charlotte—probably more so than you’ve been used to on other OAT adventures—but that’s just part of the fun of a new, remote destination. By staying in these traditional ger camps, you’ll be experiencing the real Mongolia.
I hope I’ve helped to answer your question about your accommodations during your trip. And if not, please visit the accommodations page for our Mongolian adventure, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy travels—and have a wonderful adventure!
Letters to Harriet
Since we’re offering several new OAT adventures this year—including Mongolia & the Gobi Desert, Colombia’s Colonial Jewels & Caribbean Coast, and Burma: Land of Golden Temples & Floating Gardens—I wanted to pose a question to our travelers on OAT’s Facebook page about their reactions when they find out destinations or regions are finally opening up to travelers. Here are some of the responses we received:
We’re proud to offer adventures in destinations that most American travelers are unacquainted with—places like Burma and Mongolia. When you learn about a new trip to an unfamiliar (or previously closed-off) country, what is your first reaction?
- April Cummings King: “Let’s go.”
- Cynthia Clampitt: “Nice to know you visit Mongolia now. I do presentations, with slides from my travels there, about Mongolia’s history and culture, and it’s nice to know I can encourage folks who are interested to check out OAT if they want to go themselves.”
- Elizabeth Merrifield: “I wish you had many more new and unusual trips …”
- Linda Myers Harms: “That I want to go there!”
- Brenda Heerdt: “Those are the kinds of trips I like the most—unusual and unexplored. LOVE the adventures that OAT offers. Going on mine on the 5th of April.”
- Edith Treadwell: “YAHOO!”
- Diana Britt: “Love them—it’s great to go someplace before it’s trampled underfoot by millions of tourists!”
- Allison Alexis Lockwood: “I love seeing new trips every year as I never want to run out of OAT trips! How about future new trips to West Africa, Indonesia, the 'Stans,' and second itineraries to different parts of China, Antarctica, and Russia?”
- Eleanor Robien: “Absolutely love it.”
- Sharon Blais: “Oh goodie, new places to visit!”
- Karen Matthews Grabill: “Excitement.”
What great responses! I love visiting the untouched areas of the world … the places that haven’t been taken over by the hustle and bustle of tourism. Please share your thoughts with me on our Facebook page. I love reading them!