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Photo Tours &
Railfan Tours

Mongolia Tanago Railfan tours

The Transmongolian Railway in summer

1 - 11 june 2022

Mongolia: The Transmongolian Railway in summer

By popular demand, we are adding our "Standard Mongolia Tour" to the Tanago tour program again in June 2022. 

This will be our 8th tour there and we have put a lot of experience from past tours and new photo locations into this gate, so that this trip is worthwhile for repeaters. And especially for "Wummen-Fans".

Experience with us one week along the Transmongolian Railway: we visit the depots, take pictures of the tracks, experience the country and its people, and enjoy the pure roar of Russian diesel engines from morning to night.

The Mongolian state railroad Mongolyn Tömör Dsam (MTZ) offers a pure diesel operation with mainly Soviet locomotives, either as lead, double traction or double locomotive. Heavy freight trains are just as much a part of its repertoire as long long-distance passenger trains with up to 27 cars. The low mountain range landscapes require top performance of 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 "Wummen" seen and photographed surprised and delighted us again and again.


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No. of participants Max. 12
Duration 10 days
Meals halfboard
Price from 2.100 €
2 seats left Sold out.
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Your itinerary:

June 1, 2022, Wednesday:
The Mongolian capital Ulaan Bataar does not offer too many possibilities for a direct arrival. We have chosen a connection with Aeroflot via Moscow as a base for our tour. Aeroflot flies with modern western aircraft and 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 considered. An additional overnight stay in Ulaan Bataar may be necessary with these airlines to meet the group.

Departure from Germany or any european airport is on June 3, 2022 in the afternoon, arrival in Ulaan Bataar in the early morning of June 4, 2022.

Alternatively, you can book the classic arrival by train 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 allow 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, for this purpose almost every hotel and sightseeing program along the route can be booked. If you want to travel with the Transsib, we will gladly work out the best option for you!

After arrival in Ulaan Bataar we will drive to the first photo spots south of the capital, where we will spend the first two nights in a yurt camp. From there it is not far to the Omega Loop, 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.

2 June 2022, Thursday - 11 June 2022, Saturday:
The main line of the Mongolian railroad, built in Russian broad gauge of 1,520mm, is mainly used for transit between Russia and China. Only a few branch lines connect the mostly deserted country. On the main line, practically everything that a classic railroad has to offer, from local transfer trains, mixed trains, to heavy container trains, runs. In addition there are international and local passenger trains with passenger cars in the likewise classic Soviet style.

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

We move north and south of the capital with modern, off-road vehicles. Every morning we receive the current train movements of the day from the central dispatcher and can therefore be at the right place at the right time. We are also connected by telephone to the stations along the route 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 behind.

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

Based on our 2018 summer tour experience, we have extended our stay in the Shatan 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, so a longer stay is definitely worthwhile! We will spend several nights near the gorge through the Shatan Mountains in a typical Mongolian yurt. Since in summer also the nomadic cattle herders will be on the way, we hope to be able to unite herdsmen, cattle and railroad on one photo! We spend another night in an accommodation near Thunk.
Accommodation during the tour: 4 nights in a yurt camp, where 2 participants share a big 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 will also visit the local repair and maintenance depot of the state railroad.
Meals: Breakfast, dinner.

11 June 2022, Saturday:
After breakfast the tour ends with the transfer to the airport.

travel prices:

(only land program, per person):

2.100 Euro in half double room
   200 Euro single room supplement (where available)

Our services:

  • 9 full days of track recordings;
  • depot and shed-sightseeings;
  • Off-road, air-conditioned vehicles (4x4);
  • Night shots wherever possible;
  • All necessary transfers;
  • Visiting and photo permits, transfers, entrance and visit fees;
  • 3 nights in a tourist class hotel in Ulaan Bataar (rooms with shower/WC);
  • 4 overnight stays in a Mongolian yurt (2 participants share a large yurt)
  • 1 overnight stay in a wooden house (no single room possible);
  • Meals according to program;
  • Tanago information material;
  • Professional and experienced Tanago tour guide (German + English speaking) plus local guide.

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

This trip will be charged in foreign currencies. Since the exchange rate of foreign currencies to the Euro (our invoicing currency) has become very unpredictable and we do not want to burden the travel price with fictitious currency reserves, the published price represents the exchange rate as of 1.7.2020. We therefore expressly reserve the right to price deviations due to international currency fluctuations and any unforeseen performance deviations of our partners.

Even if you are travelling alone, you can book a "half" double room, we will try to allocate you another "half double room booker". However, if this is not possible, we will charge you the single room surcharge.

This trip is organized and run by Tanago. The maximum number of participants is 12, so we will travel in a small, manageable group. Please book by February 28, 2022 at the latest ! If we do not reach the minimum number of participants, we will conduct the trip without a German-speaking tour guide only with a local, English-speaking professional tour guide in a small group. A small group surcharge may then have to be charged.


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.