|JONATHAN -FROM UK
I would like to share my experience with Cheke tour in Mongolia.
I went to Mongolia in the end of May 2014. I rent a 150cc mustang motorbike and a tent at Cheke tour for 5days. I took enough food for 2 or 3 days 5you can buy more along the road), 5 liters of water and made an awesome 600 or 700km trip by myself.
I started directly from Cheke tour outside Ulaanbaatar (don't drive in UB!) and drove through:
Villages are small but you can usually find petrol and a small market (expect very basic food and past their use by date). I never stayed long in the village. At night I throw my tent close to nomad gerks. They were all very friendly, invited me to share their food and were very happy to learn more about my travel. I helped them to bring back their animals for the night. Even if we did not speak the same language, communication was possible with a simple translation book, pictures and maps. It's a great experience to share nomad lives far away from all this touristy boring and shameful tours.
There is nice National Park were I spend one day riding through. Khustain nuruu NP. I saw przewalski horses, many marmots, steppe eagles, cinerous vultures... I went also to a nature reserve that I forgot the name. Most of the time, roads are simple dirty not sealed roads. Sometimes I even lost completely the track and was driving on small hiking paths. Only one road is actually sealed west of UB in the direction of Lün. I was able to ride 150 or 200km per day depending of the quality of the road.
Riding is simple and not very dangerous but you need to have some previous experience in solo trips in hard conditions. I recommend also good quality personal equipments. During the night, temperatures can drop under zero even in summer. In the spring, a freezing wind coming from the west can rooted you to the spot, and you can easily burn your skin as it was my case even in May. Massive storms happen during summer. They are quick but very intense with winds that can knock you over. Be aware that Mongolia is nothing compare to the western countries. Nobody will come help you if you have a trouble in the middle of nowhere. Don't expect to find people on the road you are using. There is places were to human infrastructures can be seen for dozen of miles. If you are stuck because of the weather or a motorbike problem you have to be resourceful and find a solution by yourself. There is no wood if you want to do a fire to warm you up or to cook. For the water, you can fill it in rivers (not so many!) or buy some in the villages.
Besides all this recommendations, renting a motorbike is probably one of the best way (with the bike and the horse) to explore Mongolia. You will need a compass and a good map of Mongolia. GPS is not really useful, it's relatively easy to find your way in this country and nomads can help you. Language was not a problem, you can do a lot with gesture. I had no trouble with the motorbike, neither with the weather (a few big storms).
It's a huge cultural and environmental experience. I recommend that before going there, people read a few books and documentation on Mongolia as a symbol of respect for this culture and to not look stupid when you first enter in a nomad gerk. I'm a 22 years old student, so everyone can make this kind of trip with some previous experience.
I will be happy to answer if you want more infos or feedback from my trip.
I would like to finish by thanking the people from Cheke tour, they are very friendly,flexible, speak fluent English. Motorbike are very good and they will help you if you have any question on this country.