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Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Mongolia Tanago Railfan tours

The Transmongol in the snow

2. - 9. March 2019

Mongolia: The Transmongol in the snow

Take photos or videos along the Transmongolian Railway: we will visit running sheds and repairshops, spend days along the best spots along the line, and will enjoy the raw power of the former Soviet diesel engines (ok, a few Americans work there as well).

The Mongolian railway "Mongolyn Tömör Dsam (MTZ)" offers a pure diesel-operated network with dominantly Soviet-style locomotives. Nearly all trains are at least doubleheaded. Heavy freight trains and up to 20 coaches on passenger trains represent a still "classic" railway operation. Lots of mountain passes and steep gradients!

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No. of participants Max. 12
Duration 10 days
Meals halfboard
Price from 1.780 Euro
open for bookings Sold out.
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Your itinerary:

20. September 2018, thursday:
All participants meet at the Ulaan Bataar international airport at 12:00.
After arrival we will visit the diesel depot and repairshop. If time permits, we will motor to a horseshoe-curve near the capital.
Overnight at a good 3-star tourist class hotel in Ulaanbataar.
Meals: dinner.

21. September 2018, friday - 29. September 2018, saturday
The mostly single tracked Trans-Mongolian Railway follows an ancient tea-caravan route from China to Russia and connects Ulan-Ude, on the Trans-Baikal (Trans-Siberian) railway in Russia, with the Chinese city of Jining, by way of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia. The gauge is 1.520 mm (4 ft 11). It carries heavy intermodular traffic between China and Russia, as well as local goods trains and some international and domestic passenger trains.

Most trains have 2 heavy diesel locomotives in front, either classes 2M62 and their modifications, built in Ukraina and Russia, plus some US-imported DASH-7.

We will use former Russian UAZ 4x4 - really strong cars that master every hill - and ii necessary also the dirt and mud roads easily. Each morning we will receive the updated timetable information from the central controll office at Ulaan Bataar and will be at the right time at the right place.

Some of our photo locations: the famous Omega-loop, the Khoolt- and Bayan mountain passes, near Schatan und along the Thunk-mountains. We also strive for some night photo outings along the line!

1 night is booked at a typical Mongolian yurt near the railway line. A very basic but traditional place for the nomads with their herds. You need to be able to survive with mobile coverage for a day or so...
Overnight at a good 3-star tourist class hotel in Ulaanbataar, 1 night at a yurt (this night no single room accommodation can be offered!).
Meals: breakfast, dinner.

30. September 2018, Saturday:
The tour ends with the airport transfer after breakfast.

Tour price:
(land-only, per person):

1.780 Euro sharing a double room if booked before 28. February 2018
1.860 Euro sharing a double room if booked on/after 1. March 2018
220 Euro single room surcharge

What you get:

  • 8 days linesiding along the Transmongolian Railways;
  • Visits of MTZ repairshop and shed;
  • Excursion to the Gorkhi Terelj national park;
  • Fully licensed SUV;
  • Night photo shoots wherever possible;
  • All necessary transfers, entry fees and permits;
  • Hotels of 3* tourist class level (rooms with enclosed bathroom);
  • All meals as outlined in the itinerary;
  • Tanago tour brochure;
  • Experienced and knowledgeable Tanago tour guide (German + English speaking) plus local guides.

The tour price does not inlcude: tips, all expenses of private nature, international flights, visa.

This tour will be charged to us in foreign currencies. As currency fluctuations are common and we do not want to built in too many financial buffers, we reserve the right to adapt the tour price accordingly if upturns in the exchange rate valid on 1. September 2017 are becoming too extreme.

If you book a shared double room we will do our best to find a matching travel buddy. If this is not possible, we will put the single room surcharge on your invoice.

This tour will be operated by Tanago. The maximum (!) number of participants for this tour is 10. Please book early to avoid disappointments, latest by 31. March 2018.

Mongolia is more than just the home of the Mongols and the great Genghis Khan. On this trip we will not only explore the Transmongolian Railways but also? get off the beaten track and explore a fascinating land. Inaccessibility and political isolation contributed to it&apo;s status as a mythical far off land, but in recent years the transition to democracy has opened the country to the outside world, and discovery of untapped natural mineral resources has seen the country&apo;s economy prosper. Mongolia today is a dichotomy of ancient and modern -and time will tell if the country can retain and nurture the positive qualities of both these attributes.

But still Mongolia is a poor country and lots of buildings and even some political and economical structures remind us of Soviet times. During our time in the country we will also see the traditional nomadic life on the countryside: white yurts with lots of yaks, goats, and sheep, nestled in the rolling hills under a blue sky. The perfect setting for trains of the Transmongolian Railways!

Unfortunately some prices have adapted a Western level: hotel rooms are more expensive than in Beijing, and Ulaanbataar is not as cheap as one my think. Please note that road conditions are not as good as you might be used to at home.

Climate & Technical stuff:
Mongolia sees a continental climate with hot summers and very cold winters. It can be windy for days and weather conditions can change completely from one day to the next. But be prepared for hot summer days in general. We expect temperatures ranging from +15°C and +25°C. The sky is mostly clear and sunny.

Mongols use a Western European style 2-pin power plug, you may need an adapter. Mobile phone coverage is good at the capital but virtually non-existent in the remote areas outside Ulaanbataar. Please take care about your health, Mongolia is free of Malaria.

For most nationalities a visa is required to enter the country. Some nationalities (like Germans) are exempted from obtaining a visa and can enter the country for a 30-days-tourist stay with just a at least 6 months valid passport. Please check the immigration rules for your nationality.

We thank our friend Temuulen for his beautiful pictures of the Transmongolian Railways. Most of his pictures were shot in autumn and give you a wonderful idea what you will see during our tour.