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Info for Travelers

Part 1 - General Information

So you’ve decided to visit the TCVC? This section will provide you with critical information to make your trip a success. Here you’ll find information about permits, costs, cultural dos and don’ts, logistics, safety, and more. Please be sure to read through this section fully, as all the information contained here is vital for travelers. Also be sure to visit this site after your trip to provide feedback and complete a visitor evaluation form.

The following information and much more is included in the TCVC Visitors’ Handbook. Please download the handbook here and print out a copy before your trip.

Border Permits

It is absolutely vital (and required by law) that you have a border permit when traveling in the Tsagaan Nuur area and visiting the taiga, as these areas are situated on the Mongolian-Russian border. Border permit inspections happen regularly, sometimes up to five times a day, so do not expect to slip by without one. Be sure that your documents, including passport and border permit are easily accessible and on your person at all times during your trip. By the time you arrive at the TCVC you should already have your permit. If you do not have a permit, unfortunately you must return to Murun or you will face heavy fines and possible arrest or deportation. Permits cannot be obtained at the TCVC or in Tsagaan Nuur. To obtain a permit, you must apply in person at the Mongolian Border Protection Authority either in Ulaanbaatar or Murun. You will need photocopies of all travelers’ passports and visas, a request letter (from a tour company, guest house, embassy, or other organization), and a map of where you intend to travel. Permits can be issued during business hours on weekdays and may require between three hours and three days for processing. Even with this permit, you must still check-in with the Border Post in Murun AND Tsagaan Nuur to register your trip with the local authorities. Border permits are free. If you are asked to pay fees at any step in the process, alert the authorities. However, if you do not have a valid permit, you will be fined. Fines can be enormous and are not worth the risk.

Photography/Film

Professional photographers and film makers are subject to special regulations, including the requirement as stated by the Human Rights Commission of Mongolia to form a written contract with the Tsaatan community prior to production activities. Requests to film and photograph the community or taiga for professional/commercial purposes should be made in advance of your trip and contracts developed before you arrive in the taiga. Even if you are not a professional photographer, there are things the community asks you to do if you plan to bring a camera to the taiga. Before taking out your camera, you are asked to introduce yourself and ask permission to take pictures. It is considered very rude to see a tourist riding into camp with their camera out, snapping pictures of people and reindeer as though the camp is a museum exhibit. After you have introduced yourself, you still must ask permission from individuals when taking their picture or pictures of their herd. Please respect people’s requests if they refuse to have their picture taken, particularly with regards to sensitive subject matter such as shaman in ritual dress or private household activities. To really ensure that your picture taking is positively perceived and enjoyable for the community, you may want to consider mailing prints back to the TCVC to share with the community. Please do not make promises to send back pictures if you do not intend to do so.

Fishing/Hunting

Permits are required for all fishing and hunting. You must check with the Ministry of Nature and Environment, local authorities, and community members before engaging in these activities.

Translators

You are STRONGLY URGED to take a translator if you do not have a strong knowledge of Mongolian. Relying on phrasebooks puts an inappropriate burden on your hosts to struggle to understand you. You are traveling to a distant and special part of the world, make the effort and incur the expense to ensure you can truly communicate. This is a matter of courtesy and of safety.

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