This tour travels through some very remote regions, many of which have barely been touched by the presence of humans, and we strongly believe in maintaining their pristine nature. The nature of this trip means that many nights are spent camping. We strive to ensure that we leave these areas as we find them and our team have been trained in strict no litter policies, meaning that we take all refuse to either be recycled or properly disposed of in nearby towns. We use gas for cooking, but on occasions may use firewood – but only where this does not deplete natural resources and deprive local communities from using this themselves. Washing of dishes is carried out well away from any water sources so as not to contaminate them.
We visit the Khokhserkhiin Nuruu Protected Area on this trip which provides a habitat for rare and endangered species such as the argali sheep and snow leopard. We are careful to use tracks (where they exist) to avoid disturbing the flora and fauna of the region. Travelers are briefed on appropriate behaviour within the park and other areas.
In conjunction with our local team we work with the ger camps and hotels to help them to implement best practice in terms of environmental issues, from energy conservation to waste disposal.
As with many of the trips that we offer, this tour has a strong focus on local culture and different ethnic groups. Where possible we try to ensure that local people benefit from our presence. This includes staying with local families – for example we stay with the family of a Kazakh eagle hunter. We pay a fair amount to host families – not so much that it distorts local conditions, but a fair recompense for board and lodging. We buy our supplies locally where we can, which can include buying meat and milk from nomadic families, who rarely have an opportunity to earn cash.
We meet many different ethnic groups on this trip, all with their particular sets of customs, including Tuvan, Uriankhai, Kazakh and Altai people. We are careful to ensure that we do not break any local taboos, and travelers are briefed on appropriate behaviour when visiting such groups.
We also visit a number of historic and spiritual sites on this trip. Where entrance fees exist, the inclusion of these within our tour price helps to maintain them, not just for other western travelers but for local people for whom they hold far greater significance. We also use local guides in such places – again where available – which helps to ensure that remote communities can gain from tourism, however small this may be in the grand scheme of things.