on August 29, 2010
I read these reviews before going to Ulanbator and had talked to Bernard through many many emails stating what we were wanting to get out of our Mongolia trip. My wife and I only had a few days in the country and wanted to do a family stay in a Ger Tent. We specifically asked and requested of Bernard that we did NOT want to stay in Ger Camp. We did not want to do the tourist thing and wanted to be out alone with one nomadic family in the mountains of the Terelj Park. In his emails, he said he understood and said that we would be living with a family and eating with the family in a Non-Tourist area. The price of Happy Camel was really expensive and he warned us of other companies offering the same thing with hidden costs. Turns out we think staying in a cheaper tourist Ger Camp would have been the better option for us. When we arrived to our "Non-Tourist Ger Tent with a Nomadic Family", we were surprised and disappointed to find out that we were in fact staying in a Ger Camp and NOT with the family. I'm sure Bernard could argue that our location is not a Ger Camp but rather a Ger "Village" but it was still more tourist than what he said it would be. We were given our own Ger Tent right beside about 50 other Ger Tents and other Tourists. We found out they were tourist by simply talking to them. Interestingly enough, they were staying at this same Ger Camp as us for a cheaper price.We were extremely unhappy with Happy Camel. We felt lied to. We didn't even get to spend time with a family. The only time we saw "nomadic" people was when they served us food and even with that... the family refused to eat with us. We even asked them to and they would just put the food on the table and walk out. The only positive things I can say about Happy Camel is that the food at Chez Bernard Cafe was excellent. The lady who we met on the first day to settle up with was nice. She helped us find a place to stay in the city for our last day in Ulanbator. In fact, in doing so, we bailed on them 1 day early from our original agreement and they would have lost one day in money they expected from us. The Taxi driver was probably the best most helpful part of the trip and he didn't even speak english!I would not recommend Happy Camel. What Bernard promised to deliver via email verses what we actually experienced were two different things. Happy camel is WAY overpriced for what they deliver on.
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