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Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Mongolia Tanago Railfan tours

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

3 - 15 September 2023

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

Since 2016 we have been visiting Mongolia with its railway and its breathtaking routes at least once a year. For September 2023 we offer a 3-part Mongolia tour, starting with the branch lines, the standard tour and a subsequent visit to the Gobi desert, where only "Wummen-operated" trains are on the road. All parts can be booked individually or as a complete tour. On request, we will be happy to arrange the flights to the tour for you.

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No. of participants min. 6 - max. 12
Duration see program
Meals halfboard
Price from 980 Euro
open for bookings 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 to Ulan Bator on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We will be happy to arrange flights to the tour for you on request.

Part 1: branch lines (3 - 6 September 2023)

3 September 2023, Sunday
Arrival with MIAT (the Mongolian airline) in Ulan Bator in the morning (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 mixed train takes care of the public passenger traffic, additionally 1-2 goods trains run.
Most of the time, 2M62s are used, but as the line is very demanding, even the M62 double locomotives can only handle a maximum of 18 loaded coal wagons on the gradients towards Darkhan.
We will also visit the coal loading site in Sharin Gol and, with our modern SUVs, we are able to drive to photo spots that are really off the beaten track!
Overnight in a hotel in Darkhan.
Meals: Dinner.

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

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

5 September 2023; Tuesday
Darkhan - Shariyn Gol branch line, mixed trains as well as the main line north of Darkhan on the Orkhon River.

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

6 September 2023; Wednesday
Branch 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.

End of Part 1 and Start of Part 2 Standard Tour (7 - 12 September 2023)

7 September 2023, Thursday
Morning arrival of the participants of the standard tour and joint drive to Bayan and Khoolt Pass.
Overnight stay in a yurt at the Yurt Camp (this means we are closer to the route and save an hour's drive in the morning and evening rush hour in Ulan Bator). The yurts are clean but basic.

Meals: Breakfast (possibly packed), dinner.

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

Meals: Breakfast (possibly packed), dinner.

9 September 2023, Saturday
After breakfast we experience the sunrise at the Honhor Loop before we start the transfer to the northern part of the route, to the Shatan Mountains with their unique landscape formations. The route winds through the alpine landscape of Mongolia.

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

10 and 11 September 2023, Sunday and Monday
The Shatan Mountains offer countless photo opportunities along the river and in and with the mountains. Therefore, we take advantage of this magnificent landscape and spend two days along the route.

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

12 September 2023, Tuesday
Along the Trans-Mongolian Railway we drive back to Ulan Bator, where we will arrive in the evening.

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

End of Part 2 and Start of Part 3 Gobi Desert (13 - 15 September 2023)

13 September 2023, Wednesday
With our 4WD vehicles we will drive about 4 to 5 hours to Sainshand, where we will explore the route Sainshand - Ulaan Uul.

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

14 September 2023, Thursday
After breakfast we 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 railways, 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 railway ever!

Nevertheless, the Mongolian railway sets up most of the goods 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 cope with 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 railway has only recently ordered new units, everything that is more or less suitable for the desert is used.

We concentrate on the outstanding motifs along the mountain passages in the southern section of the line. Here, the heavy goods 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.

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

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

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

Meals: Breakfast (possibly packed).

End of part 3 and end of tour.

Travel prices

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

Part 1: branch lines; 3 - 6 September 2023

980 Euro in half double room
260 Euro single supplement

Part 2: standard tour, 7 - 12 September 2023

1.680 Euro in half double room
   120 Euro single supplement

Part 3: Gobi desert, 13 - 15 September 2023

980 Euro in half double room
120 Euro single supplement

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

3.640 Euro in half double room
   500 Euro single supplement

Our services (for all parts of the journey)

  • Depot visits 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 room" basis;
  • Single room at extra charge;
  • Meals as per programme;
  • Water bottles in the car (1 bottle per participant / day);
  • Tanago information material;
  • 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 tour is charged in foreign currencies. As the exchange rate of foreign currencies to the Euro (our invoicing currency) has become very unpredictable and we do not wish to charge the tour price with fictitious currency reserves, the published price represents the exchange rate as of 1.10.2023. We therefore expressly reserve the right to price deviations due to international currency fluctuations and any unforeseen performance deviations on the part of our partners.

You can also book a "half" double room as a single traveller; we will endeavour to allocate you another "half double room booker". If, contrary to expectations, this is not possible, 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 carried out with a small group supplement.

This tour is organised and operated by Tanago. Please book early, the earlier we can confirm, the cheaper the flights will be, but no later than 31 March 2023.


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.