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Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Mongolia Tanago Railfan tours

Mongolia in Autumn:
branch lines, Gobi desert
and our standard tour 

3 - 15 September 2023

Mongolia in Autumn: branch lines, Gobi desert and our standard tour

Already since 2016 we visit Mongolia with its railroad and its breathtaking routes at least once a year. For September 2023 we offer a 2-part Mongolia tour, starting with the branch lines, a subsequent visit to the Gobi Desert, where only Wummen-operated trains are on the road. Finally our standard tour. All parts can be booked separately or as a complete tour. 


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No. of participants min. 6 max. 12
Duration see program
Meals halfboard
Price from 1.850 Euro
tour is confirmed Sold out.
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Based on the flight schedule of the Mongolian airline MIAT we have planned our Mongolia tour 2023. MIAT flies from Frankfurt/Main to Ulan Bator on Saturdays and from Ulan Bator to Frankfurt on Saturdays or Sunday mornings, so that you will be back in Frankfurt/Main at 1 pm on the same day. If you wish we can arrange the flights to the tour for you.

New: on special request of some participants we have divided the tour into 2 parts and put side routes and Gobi desert at the beginning of the tour.

Part 1: Branch lines and Gobi Desert (September 3 - 9, 2023)

Currently (as of 21.1.2023) the MIAT flight in economy class costs 691 Euro. Departure in Ffm on 2.9.2023 at 14:30, arrival in Ulan Bator the next morning at 05:20. Return flight then on Sunday, September 10 from Ulan Bator at 9:40 am, arriving the same day in Ffm at 1 pm.

Part 2: Standard tour (September 10 - 15, 2023)

Currently (as of Jan 21, 2023) the MIAT flight for the standard tour in economy class costs 754 Euro. Departure in Ffm on Saturday, 9. 9.2023 at 14:30, arrival in Ulan Bator the next morning at 05:20. Return flight on Saturday, 9/16/2023 at 09:40 in Ulan Bator and arrival in Ffm on the same day at 13:00.

It is recommended to book as soon as possible so that we can confirm the tour as soon as possible and you can enjoy the currently still favorable flight prices.

Part 1: Branch lines and Gobi Desert (September 3 - 9, 2023)

September 3, 2023, Sunday
Departure already on Samsatg, September 2, 2023 with MIAT from Frankfurt / Main to Ulan Bator. Arrival with MIAT (the Mongolian airline) in the morning of 3.9.2023 in Ulan Bator (flights not included in the tour price). Transfer directly to the branch line to Shariyn Gol, where we will explore the route to Darkhan. The branch line to Sharin Gol is mainly used to transport coal from the mines near Sharin Gol. A daily GmP takes care of the public passenger traffic, additionally 1-2 freight trains run.
Most of the time, 2M62s are used, but since the route is very demanding, even the M62 double locomotives can only handle a maximum of 18 loaded coal cars on the gradients towards Darkhan.
We will also pay a visit to the coal loading at Sharin Gol and with our modern SUVs we are able to drive to really off-road photo spots!
Overnight in a simple hotel in Darkhan.
Meals: Dinner.

September 4, 2023, Monday
Another day on the Darkhan - Shariyn Gol route, GmP.

Overnight stay in a hotel in Darkhan.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 5, 2023; Tuesday
Secondary route Darkhan - Shariyn Gol, GmP as well as the main route north of Darkhan on the Orkhon River.

Overnight in a hotel in Darkhan.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 6, 2023; Wednesday
Secondary line Erdenet - Salkhit and main line Darkhan - Salhit. Onward journey to Ulan Bator.

Overnight in a good tourist class hotel in Ulan Bator.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 7, 2023, Thursday
By our 4WD vehicles we will drive about 4 to 5 hours to Sainshand, where we will then explore the Sainshand - Ulaan Uul line.

Overnight stay at the Ulaan Uul Railway Motel.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 8, 2023, Friday
After breakfast we will explore the Cagaan Khad Pass. The main route of the Transmongol from Europe via Russia to China passes through the Gobi Desert. For the Mongolian railroads, this section in particular represents the greatest challenge for people and machines. Temperatures of -20°C in winter, blistering heat of well over 45°C in summer, plus sandstorms, sudden temperature changes - and the steepest section of the Mongolian railroad ever!

Nevertheless, the Mongolian railroad builds most of the freight trains on this section with marginal loads in order to haul off as much tonnage as possible at once. It is understandable that not every locomotive engine can handle this without complaint. For us, this means a wide variety of equipment: from old M62s and 2M62s to the new 2TE116UDs or 2TE25KMs, of which the state railroad has recently ordered new units, we use everything that is more or less suitable for the desert.

We concentrate on the outstanding motifs along the mountain passages in the southern section of the line. Here, the heavy freight trains have to pass through a spectacular low mountain landscape on a winding and steep track. 

Overnight at the Ulaan Uul Railway Motel.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 9, 2023, Saturday
During the day we photograph and film at Sumanzoo Pass before returning to Ulan Bator around noon.

Overnight in Ulaanbaatar in a good tourist class hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

10 September 2023, Sunday
In the morning transfer to the airport and flight home to Frankfurt, where you will land the same day at 1pm.

End of Part 1 and Start of Part 2 Standard Tour (September 10 - 15, 2023)

September 10, 2023, Sunday
Arrival of the participants of the standard tour in the morning and joint drive to Bayan and Khoolt Pass.
Overnight stay two at a time in a yurt at Yurt Camp (this will put us closer to the route and save us an hour drive each morning and evening in the rush hour traffic of Ulan Bator. The yurts are clean but basic. 

Meals: Breakfast (possibly packaged), dinner.

September 11, 2023, Monday
Directly from our yurt today we explore the Honhor Loop and Bumbat Pass. In the evening we stay again at the Yurt Camp where we spent the night before. 

Meals: Breakfast (possibly packed), dinner.

September 12, 2023, Tuesday
After breakfast we will experience the sunrise at Honhor Loop before starting the transfer to the northern part of the route, to the Shatan Mountains with its unique landscape formations. The route here winds through the alpine landscape of Mongolia.

Overnight two at a time in a yurt at the Shatan Yurt Camp. 
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 13 and 14, 2023, Wednesday and Thursday
The Shatan Mountains offer countless photo opportunities along the river and in and with the mountains. Therefore, we will take advantage of this magnificent landscape and spend two days along the route.                                                                                                     

Overnight two at a time in a yurt at the Shatan Yurt Camp. 
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 15, 2023, Friday
Along the Trans-Mongolian Railway we will drive back to Ulan Bator, where we will arrive around evening. 

Overnight in a good tourist hotel in Ulan Bator. 
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

September 16, 2023, Saturday
Morning transfer to the airport in Ulan Bator and flight home to Frankfurt, where we will land at 1pm.

Meals: Breakfast (possibly packed).

End of part 2 and tour end.


Travel prices

Travel prices (valid until 28. 2. 2023 - early booking price)

regular land program only, per person (on request we will be happy to arrange the necessary flights to and from Ulan Bator):

Part 1: Branch lines and Gobi desert September 3 - 9, 2023

2.160 Euro in half double room
   380 Euro single supplement

Part 2: Standard tour, September 10 - 15, 2023

1.850 Euro in half double room
   120 Euro single supplement

Total trip: all 3 parts, September 3 - 15, 2023

3.860 Euro in half double room
   500 Euro single supplement

Our services (for all parts of the trip)

  • Depot sightseeing wherever possible;
  • off-road vehicles (4 x 4);
  • all necessary transfers;
  • Visitor and photo permits, entrance and visitor fees;
  • Hotel rooms with shower/WC on a "half double" basis;
  • Single room at extra charge;
  • Meals as per program;
  • Water bottles in the car (1 bottle per participant / day);
  • Tanago information material;
  • Professional and experienced Tanago tour guide (German and English speaking), plus local tour guide.
  • The minimum number of participants is 6; the maximum number of participants is 12.

Not included in the tour price are tips, personal expenses, flights.

This trip is charged to us in foreign currencies. Since the exchange rate of foreign currencies to the Euro (our billing currency) has become very unaccountable, and we do not want to charge the tour price with fictitious currency reserves, the published price represents the exchange rate as of 10/1/2023. We therefore expressly reserve the right to price deviations due to international currency fluctuations and any unforeseen performance deviations of our partners.

Even as a single traveler you can book a "half" double room, we will do our best to allocate you another "half double room booker". However, if contrary to expectations this does not succeed, we will charge you the single room supplement. If, contrary to expectations, we do not reach the minimum number of participants, the trip can still be made with a small group supplement.

This trip is organized and operated by Tanago. Please book early, the earlier we can confirm, the cheaper the flights, but no later than February 28, 2023, as long as the early bird rate is also valid.


Above all, the pristine nature of the country, which has been preserved for centuries, is unique in Mongolia. Even though more and more people and companies are settling outside the capital, the impression of total desertedness and unbelievable vastness remains. Especially in the Gobi desert we will hardly meet any settlements.

Please note that the infrastructure of the country cannot be compared to Central Europe. Buses and road conditions are not up to the standard in Western Europe. Our vehicles during our stay in Mongolia are off-road SUVs from South Korean/Japanese production. With these vehicles we really get almost everywhere (and through). Steep hills, rutting fords, or mud and sloping terrain don't bother us at all. Many motifs are off the beaten track and can only be reached by driving cross-country.

Away from the capital, our accommodation is on a very basic level. The yurts are clean, but occasionally do not have electricity or running water. Our hotel in Ulan Bator is a good tourist class house with large rooms and well-functioning free wifi.

It's a huge difference from the solitude of the countryside to the hustle and bustle of the capital Ulan Bator. Perhaps the most annoying element of modern times in Ulan Bator is the daily traffic jam on the city's main roads. On all the main roads! We also have to go through it especially in the evenings after our photo excursions, it sometimes takes 1-2 hours from the city limits to our hotel... In the morning we will usually leave so early that the city's motorists are still in their springs.

Temperatures & Technology
Mongolia is quite a windy country at any time of the year. The weather can change completely on a daily basis: from summery warm to really cold. Expect temperatures between 10° and 25°C. Outside the Gobi Desert, we hope to enjoy the golden autumn foliage, and depending on the amount of summer rain, perhaps the odd green. In the Gobi there is only sand, scree and rocks. The sky is mostly blue and sunny, it hardly rains. But the sun shines much more intensively than here.

For Mongolia you need a world travel plug (adapter). Read the health information about the country on the homepage of the Tropical Institute.

Entry requirements
Germans can enter Mongolia without a visa for 30 days for purely tourist purposes. In any case, a passport valid for at least 6 months with at least 1 free page is required! Members of other nationalities should enquire at the embassy responsible for them.