Deutsch English
Deutsch English


+49 (0)151 27 588 064

Wed. & Fr. 15-19

Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Mongolia Tanago Railfan tours

The Transmongolian Railway in summer

22. - 31. May 2020

Mongolia: The Transmongolian Railway in summer

By popular request, we take our "Standard Mongolia Tour" also in May 2020 back in the Tanago tour program. Experience with us a week along the Transmongolian Railway: we visit the railway depots, take route photos, experience the country and its people, and enjoy the unadulterated roar of Russian diesel engines. Tanago is slowly developing into a Mongolian specialist, which will be the 8th tour there within only 3 years!

The Mongolian state railway Mongolyn Tömör Dsam (MTZ) offers a pure diesel operation with predominantly Soviet locomotives, either as opening credits, double traction, or double locomotives. Heavy freight trains belong to the repertoire as well as long distance passenger trains with up to 27 cars. The low mountain ranges require top performance from the diesel locomotives at the many passes. On the previous tours we were able to photograph between 14 - 18 trains every day, the number of sighted and photographed "Wummen" has surprised and delighted us again and again.

Railfan Tours Icon
No. of participants Max. 12
Duration 9 days
Meals halfboard
Price from 1.580 €
Open for bookings Sold out.
Book this tour now


Your itinerary:

May 23, 2020, Saturday:
The Mongolian capital Ulaan Bataar does not offer too many possibilities of a direct journey, we have chosen a connection with Aeroflot via Moscow as base for our tour. Aeroflot flies with modern western aircraft and a good service from many German and European airports via Moscow to Ulaan Bataar.

Alternatively, Turkish Airlines via Istanbul or Air China via Beijing can be used. These airlines may require an additional overnight stay in Ulaan Bataar to meet the group.

Departure from Germany on 22 May in the afternoon, arrival in Ulaan Bataar in the early morning of 23 May 2020.

Alternatively, you can book the classic train journey from Germany via Moscow and the Trans-Siberian Railway to Ulaan Bataar. For the train journey to Moscow and the transit there, plus the journey on the Transsib via Irkutsk you must plan at least 9 days. We have taken two days transit in Moscow as a basis, but you can also get off at any other place on the Transsib, almost every hotel and sightseeing program along the route can be booked for this. For a journey with the Transsib we will work out the best option for you!

After arrival in Ulaan Bataar we drive to the first photo points south of the capital, where we also want to spend the first two nights in a yurt camp. From there it is not far to the Omega-Loops, which we also want to use for sunrise and night shots!
Overnight stay in a yurt camp (max. 2 participants per big yurt), south of Ulan Bator.
Meals: Dinner.

24 May 2020, Sunday - 30 May 2020, Saturday:
The main line of the Mongolian railway, built in Russian broad gauge of 1,520mm, is mainly used for transit between Russia and China, only a few branch lines open up the mostly deserted country. On the main line there are practically everything that a classic railway has to offer, from local transfer trains, mixed trains to heavy container trains. In addition, there are international and local passenger trains with passenger coaches in the equally classic Soviet style.

The locomotives used are the 2M62 series and their relatives, which were built in Luhansk, Ukraine, as well as Russian series. A single DASH-7 locomotive imported from the USA is still operational. In addition, we expect to see the following series in service: the converted 2ZAGAL locomotives from the M62 and TE10 series, various variants of the 2TE116, as well as the very latest 2TE25KM from Russian production. Also from Russia comes the only rail bus of the state railway, a vehicle of the series RA-2, which runs one round north of Ulan Bataars.

We travel north and south of the capital with modern, all-terrain vehicles. Every morning we receive the current train movements of the day from the central dispatcher and can thus be at the right place at exactly the right time. We are also connected to the stations along the route by telephone and listen to the train radio. In front of most trains we will see at least 2 heavy diesel locomotives, heavy freight trains are often pushed.

We take pictures at the famous Omega-Loop, an almost circular horseshoe curve, at the Khoolt and Bayan passes, at Schatan and along the Thunk Mountains. All the sites offer outstanding photo opportunities at any time of the day, especially in spring when the hills are bathed in the first green! Wherever possible, we will also take night shots!

On the basis of our 2018 summer tour experience we have extended our stay in the Schatan Mountains by 1 day to now 3 days: this is certainly one of the most scenic areas of Mongolia, arrival and departure are not easy, and therefore a longer stay is definitely worth it! We will spend several nights near the gorge through the Schatan Mountains in a typical Mongolian yurt. Since the nomadic cattle herders will also be on their way in summer, we hope to be able to unite herdsmen, cattle and railway on one photo! We spend another night in an accommodation near Thunk.
Accommodation during the tour: 4 nights in a yurt camp with 2 participants sharing a large yurt, 1 night in wooden houses near Thunk (shared rooms) and 3 nights in Ulan Bator in a hotel (there are enough single rooms available). On the last day we also visit the local repair and maintenance depot of the state railway.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

May 31, 2020, Sunday:
After breakfast the tour ends with a transfer to the airport.

Travel prices:

(land program only, per person):

1.580 Euro in half double room for booking until 30 October 2019
1.750 Euro in half double room if booked from 1 October 2019 200 Euro single room supplement (where available)

Our services:

  • 8 full days of track shots;
  • Bw and Aw sightseeing;
  • Off-road, air-conditioned vehicles (4x4);
  • Night shots wherever possible;
  • All necessary transfers;
  • Visitor and photo permits, transfers, entrance and visit fees;
  • 3 nights in a tourist class hotel in Ulaan Bataar (room with shower/WC);
  • 4 nights in a Mongolian yurt (2 participants share one big yurt);
  • 1 overnight stay in a wooden house (no single room possible);
  • Meals according to program;
  • Tanago information material;
  • Expert and experienced Tanago tour guide (German + English speaking) plus local tour guide.
  • Tips, personal expenses, flights are not included in the tour price.

This trip will be charged in foreign currencies. Since the exchange rate of foreign currencies to the Euro (our invoice currency) has become very unpredictable, and we do not want to burden the tour price with fictitious currency reserves, the published price represents the exchange rate as of 1.8.2018. We therefore expressly reserve the right to price deviations due to international currency fluctuations and any unforeseen performance deviations of our partners.

If you are travelling alone, you can also book a "half" double room, we will do our best to allocate you another "half" double room booker. However, if this is not possible, we will charge you the single supplement.

This trip is organised and carried out by Tanago. The maximum number of participants is 12, so we travel in a small, manageable group. Please book by 28 February 2020 at the latest! If we do not reach the minimum number of participants, we will conduct the tour without a German-speaking tour guide only with a local English-speaking tour guide in a small group. Possibly a small group surcharge must be calculated.


Mongolia tried to establish an independent economic and social order after the end of the Soviet Union. This has not always been successful, many things are still reminiscent of Soviet times. The country is still poor, and due to its very sparse population only the capital is actually a little more western and modern.

Above all, the country's originality, which has been preserved over centuries, is unique. On a trip across the country, you will always meet nomads who live in their round tents as they did a long time ago. The white yurts of the nomads, who roam with their flocks of sheep and goats, but also with camels and yaks in the barren grasslands and highlands, can be seen from afar.
Endless, lonely expanses with gentle hills and the deep blue sky give the best background for our railway photography.
Unfortunately, prices in the country have adapted to Western levels: a hotel room in Ulaan Bataar is more expensive than in Beijing, and flights to the country are not really cheap due to a lack of competition.

Please note that the country's infrastructure cannot be compared to Central Europe. Buses and road conditions are not up to standard in Western Europe. Our vehicles during your stay in Mongolia are SUVs of South Korean/Japanese production. With these vehicles we really get almost everywhere (and through). Steep hills, raging fords, or mud and slopes do not matter at all.
The Yurten-Camp and the wooden house, in which we will spend 2 nights in the Schatan Mountains, is off the beaten track and can only be reached via a very exciting cross-country entrance over hills and through valleys.
There's water and even electricity. A separate house with Asian toilets and a separate restaurant house serve the most important needs. There are no showers with running water.

From the solitude of the valleys to the hectic pace of the capital Ulan Bataar, there is a huge difference. Perhaps the most annoying element of modern times in Ulan Bataar is the daily traffic jam on the city's main roads. On all main roads! Also we have to go through there especially in the evening 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 drivers of the city are still in their pens.

Temperatures & Technology:
Mongolia is a rather windy country, even in summer. The weather can change completely on a daily basis: from warm in summer to really cold. Expect temperatures between 20 and 30°C. Due to the precipitation in the previous months, the landscape is green. The sky is mostly blue and sunny, it hardly rains. But the sun shines much more intensely than here.
For Mongolia you need a world circular plug (adapter). Read the health information about the country on the homepage of the Tropical Institute.

Entry requirements:
Germans have the possibility to enter Germany without a visa for 30 days for purely tourist purposes. A passport valid for at least 6 months with at least 1 free page is required in any case! All data apply to German citizens. Members of other nationalities should contact the embassy responsible for them.