Mongolia in the Saddle

Mongolia in the Saddle

6 – 20 September 2020
Mongolia

Highlights

  • An exciting 8-day adventure on a horseback
  • Khuvsgul Lake known as the “Mongolian Sea”
  • Mountains, wild nature and unforgettable camps in the taiga
  • Magnificent landscapes of Mongolia and exploration of the great steppe
  • Meetings with nomads, visits to yurts and traditional Mongolian cuisine
  • Historic Buddhist monasteries – Erdene Zuu and Gandan

Overview

Mongolia is a country with a rich culture and thousands of years of impressive history. The most valuable treasure of this country is its nature – unspoiled, virgin and on the contrary to popular belief, extremely diverse. Although the landscape is ruled by the grassy steppe, we will also have a chance to admire high mountains, wild larch taiga and huge desert dunes. The landscape is complemented by crystal lakes and rapid streams.

The Mongolian steppe has not changed much since the times of Genghis Khan. Yurts and huge herds of grazing animals – sheep, goats, horses, yaks and camels – are the inseparable elements of the landscape. The old traditions and customs are still present during festivals as well as in everyday life. Mongols are very happy to invite guests to their yurts.

There is probably nothing as much connected with the impression of the steppe as the hoof beats and sound of the galloping riders. Horses have become the pride of the Mongols and the symbol of their unrestrained freedom on the great steppe. That’s why discovering Mongolia on a horseback is an amazing adventure! During the 7-day horseback riding tour in Mongolia we explore vast mountain valleys, covered with flowery meadows and a beautiful larch taiga. We cross stony passes to reach the unique places around the „Mongolian sea” – the Khuvsgul Lake. After the horse-riding part of the tour, we head towards Ulaanbaatar. We visit the shepherds’ yurts, Buddhist monasteries and small towns, soaking into the exotic atmosphere of Mongolia.

Itinerary

Day 1: Meeting in Ulaanbaatar and first steps in the capital of Mongolia

We meet in the early morning in front of the hotel or at the airport in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. We go through the necessary formalities and go for a typical Mongolian meal. Before the noon we start the drive to the north of Mongolia. Overnight stay in tents on the steppe.

Day 2: Journey through the steppe

We go further to the north to the town of Hatgal, admiring the Mongolian landscapes, the holy mounds of owoo and the everyday life of the steppe inhabitants. On the way, we get a typical Mongolian meal at a roadside restaurant and we do the last shopping before the horseback tour. Overnight stay in yurts.

Days 3-10: 8-day horseback riding tour

We get on the horseback and go ahead! For the first three days, the route leads us through wide valleys of periodic rivers and vast, scenic mountain passes of the Khuvsgul Mountains. We reach the highest pass at our route – 2500 m above sea level, from where there are amazing views at Khuvsgul Lake. Then again we enter the mountain valleys heading towards the Khuvsgul Lake and the next four days we spend moving along its western shore, through the meadows and larch forests.

The Khuvsgul Lake, among the Mongols also known as the „Mongolian Sea”, is the second largest and in the same time the deepest lake in Mongolia. It is located in the northern part of the country, near the border with Russia. Due to many similarities, Khuvsgul is also called the „Little Baikal.” The lake is located at an altitude of 1645 m above sea level, while the surrounding peaks, that we pass during the ride, reach up to 3193 m above sea level. The valleys and mountain slopes are covered with beautiful larch taiga. The region is rich in wild animals – deer, moose, argali sheep, mountain ibexes, wolves and foxes. Whole natural world of this area is under protection as the Khuvsgul National Park and the Khoridol-Saridag Reserve.

The route and character of the tour allow even unexperienced riders to take part in this adventure. This does not mean, however, that we will walk all the time. A group of experienced riders can canter ahead with one of the guides. Less advanced riders initially go along with the second guide and the pack horses and when they feel comfortable enough to move on, they can go faster and faster. The tour is not meant only for the experienced riders, although they will not complain about the lack of emotions. We mount Mongolian horses – one of the oldest domesticated breeds. They are calm and walk well in file. Their size, build, strength and character resemble the well-known Huculs. Every day we spend about 5-7 hours on a horseback, taking a few breaks during the ride. We are accompanied by trusted and experienced local guides, and all our equipment is transported by additional pack horses. For a few days we are far away from the civilization and we commune with nature totally. We listen to the sounds of taiga, smell the steppe, swim in the crystal lake and admire the starry Mongolian sky spending the evenings by the campfire.

We prepare meals together. We start the day having a solid breakfast, we have lunch on the way, and in the evening we prepare a full dinner on the campfire. All the provision is bought in Mongolia and includes also local products, for example delicious dry meat. The menu is also enriched with fresh fish caught in the lake. We sleep in tents and we always camp near the places where we can easily find a stream or a lake to take a bath. On the last day we come back to Hatgal and sleep in yurts.

Day 11: Picturesque landscapes of Arkhangai

We leave Hatgal and we drive to Arkhangai Aimag. We cross over the huge river Selenga and enter the most picturesque region of Mongolia, famous for wonderful pastures and the best kumis. The route leads us along gravel roads through the steppe and high mountains. We cross meandering rivers and watch hundreds of grazing animals. We visit the shepherds’ yurts, where we taste the famous salty milk tea and kumis – a drink made of mare’s milk, homemade cheese, traditional archi vodka and other delicacies of Mongolian cuisine. Overnight stay in tents on the steppe.

Day 12: Relax in hot springs

In the afternoon we drive through the larger city of Cecerleg. Then we turn off to thermal springs Tsenger peacefully located among larch forests in the picturesque mountain valley. Overnight stay in yurts.

Day 13: Harhorin, and the oldest Buddhist monastery

We move to Harhorin, where we visit the Erdene Zuu monastery. This is the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, erected at the end of the 16th century in the place of Karakorum – the former capital of the Genghis Khan’s empire. The monastery complex, which consists of temples in Chinese and Tibetan style, is surrounded by a high wall with 108 stupas. The monastery still is a place of prayer and meditation for monks. There is also a museum inside the monastery. In the afternoon, we set off to the dunes of Mongol Els. Overnight stay in tents on the steppe.

Day 14: Mongol Els dunes

In the morning we try riding Bactrian camels – camels with two humps on its back living in Central Asia. Then we leave for the capital of the country. We stop in a hostel in the city centre. Overnight stay at the hostel.

Day 15: Gandan Monastery and attractions of the capital

In the morning, we visit the Gandan Monastery. This is the most important Buddhist centre in the country famous for the 26 meters high statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. In the afternoon we visit the National Museum of Mongolia. It presents the culture, art and life of Mongols over hundreds of years. We will see rich collections of traditional clothes, weapons, religious and everyday items. We will take a walk to the Genghis Khan Square, where the State Great Khural – the house of the Mongolian authorities – is located nearby. In the evening we will meet at a farewell dinner at the restaurant. Overnight stay at the hostel.

Important information

  • The participant should be familiar with current passport, visa and sanitary regulations as well as health requirements including recommended vaccinations, available on the website of the embassy or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of his / her country of residence.
  • The participant should have at least a basic level of horseback riding skills (walk and trot, recreational trail trips).
  • The expedition is not available to people with reduced mobility.
  • The participant should have at least a basic knowledge of English.

Required equipment

  • Large backpack or travel bag (60-80l)
  • Small hand-luggage backpack (to the airplane, for sightseeing, etc.)
  • Warm sleeping bag (optimum about minus 5 degrees)
  • Double-layer sleeping mat or a sleeping mat plus a space blanket
  • Obligatory riding helmet, riding boots and another pair of light shoes
  • Riding pants or comfortable long trousers
  • Gaiters, riding gloves, optionally safety vest for horse riding
  • Small saddle bags for necessary items during horse riding (water, snacks, cape, camera)
  • Warm fleece or wool sweater, down jacket or Primaloft
  • Light sweatshirt or shirt, light long pants
  • Wind protection hooded jacket (e.g. softshell), cape or poncho
  • Warm gloves and hat
  • Underwear (preferably thermoactive, including leggins and a long-sleeved shirt), socks and additional warm socks
  • Thin headgear (bandana of buff), optionally light shorts
  • Sandals or flip-flops, swimsuit, quick-drying towel
  • Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Large plastic bags (3)
  • Mess-tin, cup and cutlery (including touristic knife), vacuum flask
  • Mobile phone, charger, powerbank
  • Hygiene utensils, wet wipes, optionally dry shampoo
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses, additionally mosquito and tick repellent
  • Effervescent tablets dissolving in water (e.g. Isostar)
  • Passport and money (protected against moisture) + photocopy of passport (pages with photo and data)
  • Basic personal medications and dressings (aspirin, painkillers, stomach medication, band-aids, elastic bandage, alcohol gauze pads, sterile gauze pads)

Map

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Khuvsgul Nuur

Khuvsgul Lake, Mongolia

Hatgal

Hatgal, Mongolia

Harhorin

Harhorin, Mongolia


  • Horseback riding

  • Wildlife

  • Tents sleeping

  • Cooking on the campfire
Mongolia
6 – 20 September 2020
15 days
5 - 10 people

Expedition costs

1200 eur
check details

Includes:

  • organization of the Expedition and support of the Leader
  • hire of the tourist equipment (2-person tents, transportation bags, camping gear)
  • medical insurance and personal accident insurance
  • Touristic Guarantee Found fee
+ 1100 usd
check details

Includes:

  • local transfers in rented 4wd cars
  • rental of horses and pack horses with the necessary equipment
  • hire of local guides
  • full board from day 1 till 14 of the Expedition (breakfast, lunch and dinner based on local gastronomy; during the horseback riding trip – meals prepared together in camping conditions)
  • accommodation (14 nights) in tents (2-person), yurts (dormitory) and hostel (double, triple and dorm rooms) according to the Itinerary
  • entrance fees to national parks and visited places

Supplements

details

200 EUR advance payment at the registration.
Self-organized flight to Ulaanbaatar.

Map

Ulaanbaatar

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Khuvsgul Nuur

Khuvsgul Lake, Mongolia

Hatgal

Hatgal, Mongolia

Harhorin

Harhorin, Mongolia