I recently had the pleasure of embarking on an extraordinary 12-day photo excursion through western Mongolia led by Oliver Klink (the photographer lead) and Tilyek as guide. This is probably the fourth year they've arranged this and it's obvious that they've learned from previous trips and fine-tuned the process. Remember that Mongolia is a developing nation, and that the western regions in particular are dominated by nomadic tribes in an unforgiving environment and far-flung communities with no easy access to certain types of infrastructure. Nevertheless, Tilyek had a thorough understanding of what western tourists are used to and delivered as much western comfort and convenience as humanly possible while being smack-dab in the middle of the steppe. As a VP of operations, I recognize and appreciate solid, dependable people who are resourceful, quick on their feet, and are proactive. To me, what proves a person's capabilities is not when everything goes right, but what they do when things go wrong. While Tilyek and Oliver had already done a fantastic job putting in buffers against the more predictable of problems, there were inevitable hiccups in such a long and logistically difficult trip. I was always impressed that Tilyek fielded all the scattered questions and requests from a dozen tour guests and his own staff with equanimity and never forgot what was asked of him and regularly followed up. His network of connections, from the Kazakhs to Ulaanbaatar, was extraordinary. When two of our five drivers had to suddenly depart due to a family death (they were brothers), Tilyek found us new drivers with the same quality vehicles within the hour. He found eagle hunters for an impromptu photo shoot with just an evening's notice. Heck, I asked if I could ride a camel and he arranged it within an hour or two! He actively solicited feedback from guests on the staff and how they were doing - he wanted people who not just did their job, but also went the extra mile. He understands what constitutes good service, and he tries to only hire like-minded people, and regularly replaces those who don't perform to the same standard. There were dozens of instances in which I was grateful that Tilyek was our guide and logistics manager. There were some points I thought could use improvement, but they were minor by comparison and he accepted feedback gracefully. And his talents go beyond simply operations management - he's a font of historical and cultural knowledge, with not just an insider's perspective but a true passion for the country and people that he's a part of. He wrote the first comprehensive dictionary for Kazakh-Mongolian, one that is recognized even by Kazakhstan and is now used in schools and other institutions. One can tell from his comments and commentary that he not only appreciates the history of both Kazakhs and Mongolians but would like to continue to help enrich them in knowledge and capabilities. In conclusion, yes, there are many tour guides out there that can give you access to some extraordinary experiences, but what I feel makes Tilyek special is that he is PART of the experience, and not just a guide TO the experience. Take the time to talk with him, trust him to take care of your needs, and your trip will be all the richer for it.
The best trip I have ever been on! Unforgettable, amazing people and nature! Thank you very much for the WESTMONGOL Team for showing me their country , culture and tradition!
WESTMONGOL TEAM was a great TEAM. The guide speaks English very well, knows a lot about the people and the history of Mongolia, and is extremely caring of his guests. The administrator is also a very prompt communicator which helped as we were organizing the trip. Overall WESTMONGOL is a great host and would highly recommend him for a trip in Mongolia. One of the best tours we’ve ever been on.