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Mongolia - riding safaris

Central Asia, Mongolia
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    Mongolian riding safaris summary

    For those seeking a real adventure, riding in Mongolia will not disappoint. This is a vast and untamed landscape populated by nomads whom live and move with their livestock according to the seasons. We work with our partners in Ulaan Bataar to design bespoke riding itineraries that explore the furthest flung regions of this remote country, including the snow capped Altai Mountains, magnificent golden sand dunes, rolling steppes, the forested north, and the arid Gobi desert in the South. You will experience the legendary hospitality and fascinating lifestyle of the nomads, whilst riding their hardy horses beneath clear blue skies through a wild and unexplored country. According to the time of year, you may be able to join the minority Kazakh tribe hunting foxes with golden eagles in the mountains, or ride with the reindeer herders in the forested northwest.

    Local people supply the horses, and accompany us on the rides. The three biggest misconceptions about Mongolia are climate, horses and food. You will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of all three – in summer hot sunny days are normal, the horses may be small, but they are not lacking in spirit or agility, and we pride ourselves on the variety and quality of food served in the heated mess tent. However the infrastructure of this vast country is fragile and un-developed, and you can expect to spend time travelling long distance between different geographical regions. All our rides are supported by two or three vehicles, which carry all the tents, tack and supplies required for the duration of the ride.

    We offer 3 riding itineraries in Mongolia: The Classic Tour, Riding in the Cradle of Nomadic Civilization and the Western Mongolian ride. Please see the relevant tabs for more information. Wild and Exotic recommend the Western Mongolian ride for greatest diversity, and have refined our original programme to incorporate the very best of sand dunes, steppes and mountains. Please contact us for further information and sample itineraries for the Gobi Desert and northern Mongolia. A slightly different version of the Classic Tour is also run each year to coincide with the Naadam festival, which is held during the first half of July. Please contact Wild and Exotic for details.


    Wild and Exotic Mongolian Classic Tour sample itinerary

    Marvel at the contrast between the ice gorge and sand dunes of the Gobi Desert, visit dinosaur excavation sites, and stay in gers, the traditional Mongolian circular, felt tents. Ride on horseback through the stunning Khentii Mountain Range, and visit the country’s most significant Buddhist temples. This trip combines the ancient traditions of Buddhism with a visit to Mongolia’s famous Gobi Desert and to the beautiful Khentii Mountains. Mongolia’s Gobi Desert holds a wealth of natural wonders. Here, you will have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the paleontologists who discovered dinosaur remains by the Flaming Cliffs; to walk through the ice gorge at Eagle Valley; and to climb the sand dunes of the southern Gobi.

    Mongolia is a Buddhist country, with ornate temples and active monasteries. On this trip, you will visit two monasteries: Gandantegchilin and Gunjiin Soum or the Princess’ Monastery. Gandantegchilin Monastery is the largest functioning monastery and it was built in 1840, it is the most important monastery in Mongolia. It is easily seen north west of the city centre. In the past it was one of the main Buddhist centres in Asia having two dozens of chapels and famous for its library collection of religious documents and the typography.

    Long before the arrival of Buddhism in Mongolia, the Mongolians had a powerful connection to their land, and its spirits – a connection still celebrated today. This is nowhere more evident than in the area of Gunjiin Monastery, nestled in the Khentii Mountains, amidst pine and birch forests. Otherwise called ‘Princess Monastery’ these ruins hold a beautiful story of a young princess who loved her people and country.

    In the summer you will see an abundance of wild flowers, and as the months get colder and autumn begins the leaves create a spectacular glow of warm colours. We will spend several days in these mountains, walking in its valleys and visiting its nomadic families.

    Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar – sightseeing – evening entertainment. On arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to Ulaanbaatar Hotel. There will be a visit to Gandan Monastery, the Bogd Khan Winter Palace (home to the last religious king of Mongolia), and the Fine Arts Museum. Lunch will be at the hotel and dinner at a ger restaurant with traditional Mongolian food and entertainment.

    Day 2: Flight to Dalanzadgad, South Gobi. Today we will take the flight to the South Gobi Aimag, either in the morning or in the afternoon depending on domestic schedule. The flight from Ulaanbaatar to the capital of the South Gobi Aimag takes one and a half hours, and you will be accompanied by your guide. On arrival at the airstrip in the Gobi you will be met by a driver and jeep and taken to the ger camp close to Bayanzag, which means ‘rich in saxaul shrubs.’ This area, also called the ‘Flaming Cliffs,’ was first excavated in 1922 by the paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews. It is a place of atmospheric beauty famous worldwide for the number of dinosaur bones and eggs having been found here. We will then visit Moltseg Els (sand dunes). Overnight at Three Camel Lodge.

    Day 3: Khongor Sand Dunes. Today we drive west along the Altai Mountain Range until we reach Khongoriin Els. Reaching heights of 800m, these are Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. Locally they are called the ‘singing dunes’, because of the tons of sand, which shift in the wind, making a strange sound similar to that of distant aircraft. The drive is about 4 hours long. During this stay in the Gobi we will have the opportunity to use a different type of transport. We will be riding on camels today to explore these massive sand dunes. The two-humped camels are very comfortable to ride, as they walk slowly and gently and we will be well supported by the humps, sitting comfortably between them. Our camel man will take us to the sand dunes. We will stay overnight in a ger camp close to the dunes.

    Day 4: Gobi – Yolyn Am. After relaxed breakfast we will drive towards Yolyn Am, or Eagle Valley. This is about 220 km from your ger camp. The valley is about 10 km long and is completely shaded from the sun in some parts by the high cliff walls. It is possible to walk through the valley and out the other side. You may be lucky enough to spot wild sheep and goats grazing high on the cliff walls. The valley is also full of soaring eagles hunting for prey. At the opening of the valley is a local Natural History Museum displaying interesting information about the animals of the area. The best time spotting wildlife is at dawn or dusk – you may discuss with your guide which hours you prefer.

    Day 5: Return to Ulaanbaatar – Natural History Museum. You may have enjoyed this morning an early hike through the Eagle Valley or you relaxed at the camp. The return flight is scheduled late in the afternoon. At Ulaanbaatar, you may take your well-deserved shower and enjoy your dinner with the group at a local restaurant.

    Days 6-10: 5 days in the Khentii Mountains – horse riding, hiking, visiting nomads. We will depart on the morning of the 6th day for the Khentii Mountains. En route, we will see nomadic families and their gers, and we will go through the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park where we will meet up with our local horsemen. After lunch, our journey will continue, either on horseback or on a yak cart, into the Baga Khentii Mountains, the smaller sisters of the Khentii Mountains to the north. We will spend four nights in tents moving from place to place in the mountains. We will have a dining tent for meals and social time in the evenings. In the daytime, our activities will include horse riding, yak cart riding, hiking and visiting the ruins of Gunjin Monastery. The river, which flows past our camp, is deep enough for a dip in the cool water, or you can try your hand at fishing with the locals. If you like wildlife, this area is perfect. There are musk deer, moose, brown bears, roe and elk. Birds spotted in the area include whooper swans, spoonbills, great white egrets and a variety of birds of prey. On our last day, we will visit the ger of our local horseman and sample some traditional Mongolian food. We will return to Ulaanbaatar by vehicle. Tonight we will have a farewell dinner at a local restaurant and stay overnight at Ulaanbaatar Hotel.(Bosgiin Guur – Zuugiin Tsagaan Khotol -Dund Bayan (muddy area) – Gyalalzakh – Gunjiin Soum – Tuul Tereljiin Belcher)

    Day 11: After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure.

    Notes:

    This itinerary can also include the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar.  This festival is held throughout the country during midsummer and is locally termed “erin gurvan naadam” which means the “three games of men”: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery.  The biggest festival is held in Ulaanbaatar during the National holiday, 11-13 July in the National Sports stadium.  Naadam begins with an elaborate introductory ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians.  After the ceremony, the competitions begin, most of which are on horseback.  Naadam is the most widely watched festival among Mongols, and is believed to have existed for centuries in one fashion or another. Now it formally commemorates the 1921 revolution when Mongolia declared itself a free country.  Please look at availability for the dates and price of this ride, or contact Wild and Exotic for more details.

    The price of this itinerary is based on 6 – 8 people travelling. An additional ‘single supplement’ price is given with all our prices. This refers to single room accommodation in hotels only. Upon request single supplement in the countryside can be provided at an additional cost.

    Prices include the following: Domestic flights, transportation within Mongolia, twin accommodation in a 3 star hotel. Single accommodation can be arranged at an additional cost. Tented accommodation while on trek, three meals a day, English-speaking guide, all sightseeing costs, transfers, camel or horse hire where specified, support staff including drivers, horse/camel men and camp assistants.

    Prices do not include: International transportation, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, items of personal nature. A single supplement does apply.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Please contact Wild and Exotic for latest prices and availability by email to info@wildandexotic.co.uk or by telephone to 01439 748401


    Wild and Exotic Reindeer Herders ride sample itinerary

    This ride visits the Tsaatans, the only reindeer herding people of Mongolia and a tribe which consists of approximately 300 hundred people. You will ride through the picturesque Khuvsgul Province, and camp for 2 days on the shores of the tranquil Khuvsgul Lake, before returning to Ulaanbaatar to explore the sights of Mongolia’s capital city. This trip takes you to Lake Khuvsgul, the most beautiful lake in Mongolia. The surrounding area, which belongs to the Lake Khuvsgul National Park is comprised of high mountains, dense taiga forest and clear rivers. In order to meet the Tsaatans you will take a daring ride through Taiga. These enigmatic people herd reindeer, not only for their antlers, a lucrative medicine but also for their milk and meat. Reindeer are the best beasts of burden for the forested mountains of the area. This is your chance to drink reindeer milk and go for a reindeer ride!

    Day 1: On arrival into Ulaanbaatar you will be met and transferred to a 3 star hotel. A welcome dinner will be held at a local restaurant, including local music, food, and entertainment. Overnight stay at the hotel.

    Day 2: Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Moron, which departs at 07:20hrs (please note flight times may change). On arrival in Moron at 09:00hrs you will be met at the airport by our staff and transferred by road towards Darkhad Valley to the west of Lake Khuvsgul. This evening you will camp near a small village called Toom.

    Day 3: Today you will be driven to the small village of Soyot near which your base camp will be set up next to the Khog River. You might want to try the wild berries, which grow in profusion nearby and are made into a delicious jam by the locals. You will also meet the local horsemen who will accompany us on our journey.

    Days 4 – 7: Depending on your level of experience, an appropriate horse will be selected for you by our expert horsemen. When you watch the packhorses being loaded, you will be amazed about how much these small, sturdy horses can carry. Nevertheless, we recommend that you take as little as possible with you on this part of the trip. Remember, the horses will carry your tents and food as well as your luggage. Essentials are, however, rain gear and a waterproof pack. You can leave extra baggage at the base camp. The ride itself takes you through spectacularly beautiful and remote country sides. En route, you will spend some time with the Tsaatan (west taiga) people at one of their mountain camps. We ask you to remember that when you visit these people, you are guests in their homes, so it is appropriate to offer them small gifts in return for their hospitality. You might want to discuss this with your guide. You will be camping overnight in tents.

    Day 8: Today you will have a well-earned rest at the base camp. You will meet some of the locals who live in gers nearby and see how they live. In the evening, you will have the traditional Mongolian meal of ‘Khorkhog’. Khorkhog is large chunks of meat and vegetables ‘pressure cooked’ using hot rocks. Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat the rocks but you might be interested to see what is done with them after the meal is cooked!

    Days 9- 12: Refreshed, after a day relaxing at base camp, today is another riding day. This time you are on a linear route to Lake Khuvsgul. At first the terrain will be wide-open valleys, then rocky mountain slopes, and will finally take you down a forested mountain path to the crystal-clear blue waters of the lake. Overnight in tents.

    Days 13 – 14: Spend two days of leisure around the lake at our base camp. You can just relax, or if you still have some energy left, you can swim, fish or hike. Overnight in ger camps.

    Day 15: This morning, after camp has been packed up you will be transferred by road and head south to Moron – a six hour drive with a stop on the way for lunch. You will reach Moron in time for the late-afternoon flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival in Ulaanbaatar, you will be transferred to your hotel, where you will stay overnight. Dinner is served at a local restaurant.

    Day 16: Today you will visit the Gandan Tegchilen Monastery and the Bogd Khan Winter Palace, the home of the last religious king of Mongolia. You will also go to the Natural History and the Fine Arts Museum and have plenty of time for shopping. Lunch and dinner will be in local restaurants and you will  spend the night at the hotel.

    Day 17: Today you will be transferred from your hotel to the airport for your international departure.

    Notes:

    The price of this itinerary is based on 6 – 8 people joining the ride, based on two people sharing accommodation and is inclusive of 2 domestic flights, transportation within Mongolia, tented accommodation whilst on ride, three meals a day, English-speaking guide, all sightseeing costs, transfers, camel or horse hire where specified, support staff including drivers, horse/camel men and camp assistants. A single supplement may apply to anyone who does not wish to share accommodation.

    The price does not include international flights, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, items of personal nature.

    Please note that it is the responsibility of the client to ensure they obtain the correct visa prior to travel. Wild and Exotic will assist with visa applications if instructed but cannot be held responsible for a client’s failure to obtain a visa for whatever reason.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.


    Wild and Exotic riding in the Cradle of Nomadic Civilization sample itinerary

    The Khangai Mountain Range in central Mongolia is drained by some of Mongolia’s mightiest rivers. The Orkhon River is the most famous of them. For tens of thousands of years the Orkhon and its feeding rivers gave water and shelter to the nomadic peoples and their animals. Even today their lifestyle has changed very little – they still herd their sheep using horses and yaks, in order to protect them against the misfortune of the harsh weather and wolves. Local horsemen will accompany you and take you to their homeland and secrets of survival. Our staff will set up the overnight camps, which will be both adequate and comfortable. There will be good food, prepared by a professional cook, a dining tent to shelter you from the sun and give you warmth at night, comfortable sleeping tents, shower tent and a toilet tent. Vehicles will accompany the journey as an option for those who do not want to ride the entire distance.

    Day 1: You will be met at the airport and transferred to your 3-star hotel. After lunch at the hotel, there will be sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, including the National History Museum and the Bogd Khan Palace, a series of beautiful traditional buildings where the last religious king of Mongolia resided. The Palace is now a museum displaying fascinating artifacts and costumes associated with the king, as well as his collection of European furniture and stuffed animals. There will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant, before heading back to the hotel for the night.

    Day 2: After breakfast at the hotel we will head out to the west of Ulaanbaatar. The scenery is wide-open steppe with rolling hills in the background. We will stop for lunch along the way. Overnight will be spent in tents next to the Ugii Nuur.

    Day 3: We begin our linear ride today. The camp will be moved each day with the aid of the vehicles. Today we will visit Khoshoo Tsaidam and see ruins from the time of the Turkish Empire.

    Day 4: Today we will ride towards Karakorum, setting up camp at a place called Five Trees, not far from Karakorum.

    Day 5: Today we will ride on to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolia from where Chinggis Khan launched his cavalry. There is a small township here now. On arrival the first and most obvious landmark is the massive wall of Erdenezuu Monastery. The monastery was built in 1586 and is surrounded by a vast 400m x 400m wall. Not a single nail was used in the construction of the ornate temples, of which only a few remain standing after the communist purges. In previous times the grounds held over 60 temples with 10,000 monks using them for their daily worship. We will visit this monastery and then ride along the Orkhan River, where we will set up camp. (Total distance 40 km).

    Day 6: We will continue riding until we reach Nariin today, on the way to Tovkhon Monastery. We will set up our camp in the valley for the night.

    Day 7: Today we will visit the monastery, which is situated at the top of Tuvshin Mountain, and where the first religious King of Mongolia – the Ondor Gegeen Zanabazar – worked and lived. We will continue riding along the river until we reach our overnight camping spot on the river’s shores.

    Day 8: Today we will continue to ride to Orkhon Waterfall. The waterfall is situated in the Orkhon Valley. This valley is known as the cradle of Mongolian civilization as many of Mongolia’s ancient monuments lie within its borders. We will camp by the waterfall for the next two nights.

    Day 9: After many days in the saddle you might want to spend a day of leisure by the waterfall. If not, you can ride in this picturesque area. The area surrounding the waterfall is green and forested and you can spend the day walking through it. This region of Mongolia is well known for producing the best ‘airag,’ or fermented mares’ milk in the country. Many locals love to challenge you to singing games – the loser has to consume a whole bowl of ‘airag,’ so beware when visiting local families!

    Day 10: Today we will drive until we reach a place called “Piece of Sand” – it is about a 5-hour drive from the waterfall. This stretch of sand is a long strip that originates in the Gobi and stretches all the way into the central aimag of Mongolia. On arrival we will make our camp in the foothills of the Khogno Khan Mountain. This mountain is perfect for some afternoon hiking and there are some remains of an ancient monastery that should be explored.

    Day 11: After breakfast we will return to Ulaanbaatar in the vehicles – about a 6-hour drive, mainly on paved roads. On arrival in the capital you will be taken to your 3-star hotel, where you can rest before attending a performance of traditional song and dance, followed by dinner.

    Day 12: After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure.

    Notes:

    This itinerary can also include the Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar.  This festival is held throughout the country during midsummer and is locally termed “erin gurvan naadam” which means the “three games of men”: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery.  The biggest festival is held in Ulaanbaatar during the National holiday, 11-13 July in the National Sports stadium.  Naadam begins with an elaborate introductory ceremony featuring dancers, athletes, horse riders and musicians.  After the ceremony, the competitions begin, most of which are on horseback.  Naadam is the most widely watched festival among Mongols, and is believed to have existed for centuries in one fashion or another. Now it formally commemorates the 1921 revolution when Mongolia declared itself a free country.  Please look at availability for the dates and price of this ride, or contact Wild and Exotic for more details.

    The price of this itinerary is based on 6 – 8 people joining the ride and is inclusive of the following: Transportation within Mongolia, twin accommodation in a 3 star hotel. Single accommodation can be arranged at an additional cost. Tented accommodation while on the ride, three meals a day, English-speaking guide, all sightseeing costs, transfers, camel or horse hire where specified, support staff including drivers, horse /camel men and camp assistants.

    Prices do not include: International transportation, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, items of personal nature.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.


    Wild & Exotic Western Mongolia riding sample itinerary

    The west of Mongolia is a remote and unique geographical area with a population of nomadic people as fascinating and diverse as the country they inhabit. The landscape includes high glacial mountain peaks, large lake basins, and steppe grassland and desert sand dunes. One of the groups you will visit is the Kazakh minority, which has inhabited the province of Bayan Olgii since the mid-1800s. Maintaining their traditional customs and traditions, they live in large felt gers and hunt foxes with majestic golden eagles. On this adventure you will ride through golden sand dunes, grassy steppes and into the spectacular peaks of the Altai Mountains. The three different components of the ride are hundreds of miles apart, and the journey between them is by vehicle – negotiating Mongolia’s roads and tracks is as challenging as crossing the country on horseback, and almost as exciting.

    Day 1: Arrival in morning and transfer to the Bayangol Hotel. After lunch there will be an optional tour of Ulaanbaatar, including a visit to the National History Museum and the Bogd Khan Palace, a series of beautiful traditional buildings where the last religious king of Mongolia resided. The Palace is now a museum displaying fascinating artifacts and costumes associated with the king, as well as his collection of European furniture and stuffed animals. There will be a welcome dinner in a local restaurant before heading back to the Bayangol hotel for the night.

    Day 2: You will be transferred to the airport for the flight to Uliastai, either morning or afternoon depending on the domestic flight schedule. On arrival you will be met and driven 105km to Khar Nuur, a picturesque lake surrounded by huge sand dunes and mountains. The lake is up to 8km wide, 25km long, 57m deep and is 1980m above sea level. There are two beautiful islands in the centre of the lake, named Big and Small Avgash, which in early summer are covered in a thick carpet of  wild flowers. Dinner and overnight in tents at the lakeshore.

    Day 3: Today is given over to exploring this beautiful landscape on horses supplied by the local people. Overnight at the same lakeside campsite as previous evening.

    Day 4: After breakfast begin the ride to Mukhart River heading straight into the sand dunes and riding all day through an extraordinary golden landscape. Campsite besides the infant river is reached later in the afternoon, after a ride of some twenty kilometres through the rolling dunes. Dinner and overnight in a tents.

    Day 5: Today is spent relaxing and exploring this fascinatiing area by horseback and on foot. Options include a ride to discover the source of the Murkhart River, and a climbing the mountain that towers protectively above the sheltered campsite. The Mukhart river is one of the  most interesting rivers in Mongolian semi desert areas, and is born from springs bubbling up beneath a towering wall of sand a mile upstream from campsite before flowing downstream on a sandy bed.

    Day 6: Today you will ride down the riverbed where the shallow waters span a wide valley and hurry downstream in a hundred shimmering wet ribbons, to meet the support vehicles and begin the long drive to Khyargas Lake. The route first follows the Murkhart River downstream, and a three-course lunch is served from the mobile kitchen besides a crystal clear pool. Khyargas Lake is reached in the evening, and accommodation for the next two nights is in a traditional ger camp on the Khetsuu Khad shoreline, with views across the azure blue waters to a spectacular sunset.

    Day 7: Today is given over to exploring this area on horseback, or fishing, swimming and relaxing. Overnight in traditional ger camp.

    Day 8: Today there is a 320 km drive into the Kharkhiraa and Turgen Mountain range, where snow and glaciers linger throughout the year. Camp and dinner in a remote and wild setting besides the Uureg Lake, less than twenty miles from Mongolia’s northern border with Russia.

    Days 9 – 10: Two full days of riding down the mountain valley towards Yamaat. Each day you will ride up to twenty-five kilometers exploring these rugged and beautiful steppes.

    NB: If traveling from mid August onwards the nomads will have already headed south for autumn, in which case you will ride for two days around the shoreline of Lake Achil. This lake is located approximately two hours drive south from Ureg Lake.

    Day 11: Drive to Bayannuur soum via Ulgii town, stopping for lunch besides the which passes through a steep and dramatic gorge before you reach the town. In the evening you will visit a Kazakh eagle hunting family. Their golden eagles are trained from a young age and taken out to hunt foxes and hares after the arrival of the first snows in October. At the age of 15 they are released back into the wild. Overnight in tents close besides an eagle hunter’s ger.

    Days 12 – 13: Two full days of riding with eagles around the snow-capped Tsambagarav Mountain, learning about the eagle hunter’s lifestyle and possibly witnessing their magnificent birds in action. You may spend these two nights at the same campsite, or alternatively ride to a new location accompanied by the eagle hunters – the itinerary is kept as flexible as possible, and the decision to move on or stay put at one campsite is yours.

    NB: If traveling from mid August onwards the Kazakh eagle hunters may have moved from their summer quarters in the mountains to warmer climes, very likely besides the upper reaches of the Khovd River, but still in a landscape dominated on all sides by snow capped peaks.

    Day 14: Today you will travel down the Khovd River by raft, meeting the support vehicles for lunch on the riverbank. Anyone wishing to travel by vehicle can choose that option, however the river trip provides an exciting and memorable finale to the adventure. In the evening you will meet up again with the vehicles and transfer to a hotel in Khovd, which is the capital of Khovd aimag, and lies near Black Water Lake and the Jargalant Mountain.

    Day 15: Fly back Ulaanbaatar from Khovd. On arrival transfer to the Bayangol hotel for farewell dinner and your last night in Mongolia.

    Day 16: This morning depart Ulaanbaatar for the flight home.

    Notes:

    This itinerary has been refined following Wild and Exotic’s previous Mongolian ride, and can be organized for individuals, couples or small groups during the months of June to September inclusive. The price depends on the size of your group, and will include domestic flights within Mongolia, twin or double accommodation in Ulaanbaatar and Khovd, single or double tented accommodation and food on the trek, English speaking guide, sightseeing costs, transfers, horses, support staff, including drivers, cooks, horsemen and camp assistance. The price excludes international flights, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, gratuities and alcoholic drinks.  Single accommodation can be arranged at an additional cost.

    Please note that we use local horses belonging to nomads that move according to the season. The itinerary shown is for the summer season. By the end of August many of the horsemen will have already moved to their autumn camps, necessitating a modified, but no less adventurous, itinerary. Wild and Exotic will advise the detail of these amendments once we have your preferred dates of travel.

    Please note that this is a sample itinerary only, and can be modified, shortened or lengthened according to your requirements. For example the itinerary can be shortened to 13 days by omitting the Ureg Lake component close to the Russian border on days 8, 9 and 10.

    Please note that whilst you will be able to ride out with the Kazakh eagle hunters, and have the possibility of hunting a live quarry, the real season for this type of hunting does not begin until October, when the weather is much colder. If eagle hunting is your priority, Wild and Exotic can arrange a tailor made itinerary revolving around this fascinating and ancient sport, and suggest either a visit to the eagle hunting festival in early October, or a stay with a hunting family during November.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.


    Altai Mountains ride sample itinerary

    Enjoy the tranquillity of riding on horseback and walking at a leisurely pace through on the lakes, rivers and through the valleys and snow-capped peaks of the Altai Mountain Range. Observe the traditions of the eagle hunter Kazakhs. Camp under the endless blue Mongolian skies by the crystal-clear water of the mountain lakes.

    The great expanse of Central Asia can be seen most clearly from the height of the Altai Mountains. The clear blue sky stretches on forever, and the land seems empty of any sign of life. Silence surrounds you. Yet within this vast space are fertile, green lands, and a wide diversity of ethnic minority groups.

    This journey traverses the Altai Mountains from the foothills of the mighty Tsambagarav to the base of the five glorious peaks of Tavan Bogd, the highest in Mongolia. We will pass through green pastures and lush meadows, camping next to crystal-clear mountain lakes and amongst valleys filled with wild flowers. The journey will be by foot and on horseback, but always at a leisurely pace. On the way we will meet nomadic people who maintain one of the world’s most ancient and sustainable ways of life. This journey will give you a fresh perspective on life and a renewed sense of well-being.

    Day 1:  On arrival in Ulaanbaatar you will be collected and transferred to your hotel. After lunch you will have a sightseeing program in Ulaanbaatar including the Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace, and the Fine Arts Museum. There will be time for shopping. Dinner will be at local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

    Day 2:  In the morning you will be transferred to the airport for a 12.00 AM flight to Ulgii, the center of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag, situated in the far west of the country. This aimag is populated by the Kazakh minority of Mongolia and the people are Muslims. The flight takes about 4 hours, including a stopover for refueling. Our guide will accompany you on the flight. On arrival at the local airport our staff will meet you and drive you out of town for lunch. Then we will drive 35 km to the west, across Sagsai River, where we will set up our tented camp.

    Day 3:  Today we will drive to Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain, at the foot of the majestic Five Kings Mountains – our destination for the day. From here we can view the peaks of the Altai Mountains and the Potanin’s Glacier. Horsemen with horses and camels will come to meet us in the evening. We will set up base camp here.

    Day 4-5:  As the mountainous terrain doesn’t allow vehicles to drive any further, we will pack our food and equipments on camels and ride to Tavan Bogd or the ‘5 Kings Mountains.’ These consist of five snow-capped peaks and a long glacier – Potanin – glistening in front of them. This morning we will saddle up the horses and take a short ride to so that you can accustom yourself to the horse and tack, and to the terrain. Shortly afterwards we will start riding for the day. On arrival at Tavan Bogd we will set up our camp at the edge of Potanin’s Glacier. The highest peak is Huiten and is at an elevation of 4370 m. Our camp will be pitched at about 2900 m above sea level. This afternoon and the following morning we will spend a glorious time hiking in the mountains exploring the glacier and foothills of the 5 Kings Mountains. In the afternoon of the fifth day we return to the base camp at Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain.

    Day 6:  Today we will have a well-earned rest at the camp.  The Kazakh minority people populate this area, and are the only Muslim people in Mongolia.  Their gers are a little larger than those of Mongols and are decorated with traditional hand-stitched, colourful rugs.  Their traditional dress is also slightly different to that of the Mongols as the men wear large, black dels and small, bright hats.  We will visit a Kazakh family and experience their way of life.

    Day 7-10:  Today we start our linear horse ride to Khoton & Khurgan lakes, which are connected by a river. Many rivers and streams originating in the Altai Mountains feed the lakes with icy, crystal-clear water. The ride will take 4 days, covering an average daily distance of about 20-25 kms. While riding we will pass landscapes of snow-capped mountains, open valleys, lakes and rivers, and cross terrain varying from wide-open grassy valleys to rocky outcrops amongst the lower peaks. Our local horsemen and translator/guide will accompany you throughout the ride. The vehicles will drive ahead and move the camp every evening until we reach a place called Tsookhor Khargai at Khoton Lake’s shore.

    (Day 7 – Zagast Lake; Day 8 – Khagiin Lake; Day 9 – Mogoin Gol Valley; Day 10 – Tsookhor Khargai).

    Day 11:  Today we will drive along the edge of Khoton Lake, where we will camp for the night.  The rest of the day you can swim, hike, or just relax sitting on the shore.

    Day 12:  A day of rest. Dinner is today’s highlight – you will be served a special Mongolian meal of ‘Khorkhog’ as a farewell. The meal is mutton cooked slowly in a huge, metal urn with vegetables, water and hot rocks on a flaming fire. The meat becomes soft and tasty and the water turns into a thick meaty broth.

    Day 13:  Today we will drive from Sagasai soum towards Ulgii, which is divided by the Khargantiin River.  Our destination for the day is Shar Lake ger camp.

    Day 14:  Drive into the township of Olgii and fly back to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival you will be transferred to your 4-star hotel for dinner and overnight.

    Day 15:  Today will be a full day of guided sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, including Gandan Monastery, the National History Museum, and the Toy Museum. There will be some time for shopping before you experience on evening program consisting of a performance of traditional Mongolian folk song and dance. Lunch will be at the hotel and dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

    Day 16: You will be tansferred to the airport for your international departures.

    Notes:

    The price of this itinerary is based on 6 – 8 people joining the ride, based on two people sharing accommodation and is inclusive of 2 domestic flights, transportation within Mongolia, tented accommodation whilst on ride, three meals a day, English-speaking guide, all sightseeing costs, transfers, camel or horse hire where specified, support staff including drivers, horse/camel men and camp assistants. A single supplement may apply to anyone who does not wish to share accommodation.

    The price does not include international flights, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, items of personal nature.

    Please note that it is the responsibility of the client to ensure they obtain the correct visa prior to travel. Wild and Exotic will assist with visa applications if instructed but cannot be held responsible for a client’s failure to obtain a visa for whatever reason.

    Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.

    Wild and Exotic fact sheet for riding safaris in Mongolia

    For those seeking a real adventure, riding in Mongolia will not disappoint. This is a vast and untamed landscape populated by nomads whom live and move with their livestock according to the seasons. We work with our partners in Ulaan Bataar to design bespoke itineraries that explore the furthest flung regions of this remote country, including the snow capped Altai Mountains, magnificent golden sand dunes, rolling steppes, the forested north, and the arid Gobi desert in the South. You will experience the legendary hospitality and fascinating lifestyle of the nomads, whilst riding their hardy horses beneath clear blue skies through a wild and unexplored country. According to the time of year, you may be able to join the minority Kazakh tribe hunting foxes with golden eagles in the mountains, or ride with the reindeer herders in the forested northwest.

    Local people supply the horses, and accompany us on the rides. The three biggest misconceptions about Mongolia are climate, horses and food. You will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of all three – in summer hot sunny days are normal, the horses may be small, but they are not lacking in spirit or agility, and we pride ourselves on the variety and quality of food served in the heated mess tent. However the infrastructure of this vast country is fragile and un-developed, and you can expect to spend time travelling long distance between different geographical regions. All our rides are supported by two or three vehicles, which carry all the tents, tack and supplies required for the duration of the ride.

    Wild and Exotic can arrange riding or walking itineraries in any part of Mongolia, but recommend the west for greatest diversity. Following our group ride through this region in September 2004, we have refined our original programme to incorporate the very best of sand dunes, steppes and mountains. Please read the suggested itinerary further down this page for details and photographs. This itinerary can be varied according to your requirements. Please contact us for further information and sample itineraries for the Gobi Desert and northern Mongolia.

    Accommodation: on our rides is in tents, with the option of sharing or having a tent to yourself for no extra charge. Camp staff put up all tents, and we also provide sleeping mats and sleeping bags if requested. There is a mess tent at every campsite, which is heated by a warm stove and serves as a focus point for drinks and meals. All campsites are equipped with a long drop loo and shower. Sometimes our itineraries include one or more nights in a traditional ger, with heated stove, comfortable beds and traditional furniture and decor. Accommodation in Ulaan Bataar is normally at the celebrated Bayangol hotel, and at the best available hotels in other towns when necessary.

    Activities: Nearly all of our camps are pitched besides river or lakes, and there are endless opportunities for fishing, swimming and relaxation besides the water. Many guests also enjoy walking and climbing when not riding, as well as the opportunity to visit the local nomads in their traditional ger homes. At certain times of year it is also possible to accompany the Kazakh eagle hunters as they pursue foxes and other game in the western Bayan Olgii province with magnificent golden eagles.

    Cash: The official currency of Mongolia is the togrog, $1 is worth approximately 1120 togrogs. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the airport on arrival or in Ulaanbaatar at the Bayangol Hotel, local banks or at the State Department Store in the town centre. We recommend carrying a certain amount of US dollar cash and local currency for the purchase of local crafts during your journey. Many hotels, restaurants and tourist shops now accept international credit cards and $US, but local shops and bazaars still only accept only togrigs.

    Children: We will accept children on our Mongolian riding itineraries, but they must be competent riders. There are no discounts for children.

    Clothing: Clothing list will be sent on request. A free laundry service may be provided when time and weather conditions permit.

    Drinks: Alcohol is not included in the price, however Wild and Exotic can order whatever supplies you require in advance, typically cases of quality red and white wine, local vodka and Chinggis beer. We recommend that you purchase other spirits from duty free prior to arrival. In the gers in the countryside you may be offered either milky, salty tea or black tea, and possibly ‘airag’ or fermented mare’s milk (which does more damage to your stomach than head if taken in large quantities) or vodka.

    Horses: The horses used are supplied by local nomad horseman, and although small are tough and responsive. They are adept at negotiating sand dunes, open steppes and rocky mountains. Their owners have no objection to impromptu races, and you will be surprised at the speed and agility of these tough little horses. Mongolian horses are usually unshod except in very rocky areas of the country

    How to Get There: The simplest and least expensive way to reach Ulaan Bataar from the UK is to fly with Aeroflot from Heathrow via Moscow, currently available three times a week. Alternatives include flying via Beijing in China. Wild and Exotic can book your return fares with all major airlines as ATOL license holders # 6445. Your guide will meet you on arrival at Ulaan Bataar airport, and transfer you to the Bayangol hotel.

    Insurance: Whilst we carry public liability insurance and take all possible care, you must also have full medical and holiday insurance. Wild & Exotic Ltd can arrange this if instructed.

    Length of Rides: 4 – 6 hours in the saddle, with break for picnic lunch.

    Meals: Breakfast comprises tea, coffee, fruit juice, hot porridge and an egg dish, such as an omelette or pancakes. Lunch is either a sandwich & chocolate bar carried on the ride, or three courses served by the kitchen truck – typically soup or salad, hot main course and pudding. Dinners are always three courses, and often include a traditional Mongolian dish. A chef and assistant accompany all rides, and food is prepared to a very high standard inside the portable kitchen carried on the back of a large truck. Do not expect a monotonous diet of meat and dairy produce – although you will doubtless be offered such dishes when visiting local nomadic people’s gers, the food on our rides is interesting and varied.

    Medical and safety: All our guides are trained in first aid, and emergency evaluation procedures are in place. As an additional security and safety measure we can arrange to rent a satellite telephone for your group at an extra charge. A medical kit is on hand in camp.

    Non-Riders: We can take non-riders but this should be discussed with Wild and Exotic Ltd first. We can also tailor bespoke trekking, walking, fishing and camping holidays in Mongolia on request.

    Riding ability: You should be reasonably fit, and a competent, but not necessarily experienced, rider.

    Single Supplement: Is only charged for accommodation in hotels and ger camps. Guests can choose between sharing a tent and having a tent to themselves for no extra charge.

    Size of the Rides: Maximum of 12 guests.

    Staff: A fluent English-speaking guide and translator will accompany you for the duration of your holiday. Your guide will meet your group on arrival at Ulaan Bataar, and look after your every need until departure at the finish of the adventure. Depending on the size of your group, support staff will also include drivers, chef, assistant chef, and fixer, whose job is to travel in advance of the group and arrange horses and campsites.

    Tack: Mongolian tack generally comprises of a head collar and lead rope, a bridle with a simple steel snaffle, hobbles and either a Russian steel framed or wooden Mongolian saddle, however we use comfortable western style saddles for our Mongolian rides.

    Terrain: Mongolia is a large land-locked country about three times the size of France and situated in the north of the central Asia covering over 1.5 million square km of territory, with an average elevation of 1580 meters above sea level. There is a fascinating variety of landscape to explore, and our itineraries will incorporate as much diversity as possible, according to your time and budget. Within a two-week time frame it is possible to ride across vast sand dunes, rolling grassy steppes, and above the snowline of rugged mountains. In the north there are three main mountain ranges, the tallest being the Altai Mountains rising to 4500m above sea level with permanent snow peaks and glaciers. The Gobi Desert dominates the southern third of the country. The eastern part of the country is known as the Dornodiin Steppe, and the River Selenge flows northwards through this territory into Russia’s Lake Baikal.

    Types of ride: We organise rides throughout Mongolia, but recommend the west for greatest diversity. In order to experience the different landscapes it may be necessary to travel long distances between destinations. Guests normally spend three or four days in a given area, then a full day travelling to reach a different geographical region, and fresh horses. Vehicle support depends upon the size of your group, but normally includes a large customised truck for guests, kitchen /supply lorry, and a smaller vehicle to scout on ahead and transport baggage.

    Visas:   All visitors from the UK must obtain a valid visa prior to travel to Mongolia, which can be applied for up to 3 months prior to travel from the Mongolian embassy in the UK: http://embassyofmongolia.co.uk/ The cost of a 30-day visa to Mongolia is currently £40 (January 2011).

    Weather:  We run our rides during the warm summer months between mid May and mid September. Average temperatures at this time range from 13 – 17c reaching 35-40c in July and August. There is a short rainy season from July to September with a maximum rainfall around 76mm in July. Summer days are generally warm with bright sunshine, and the nights cool. Mongolia has been described as the land of the big blue skies, and enjoys a continental climate.

    Weight Limit: Maximum weight is 200 lb.


    Mongolia general information and map

    Capital: Ulaan Bataar

    Getting there: The simplest and least expensive way to reach Ulaan Bataar from the UK is to fly with Aeroflot from Heathrow via Moscow. Alternatives include flying with Air China or British Airways via Beijing or Frankfurt.

    Time: GMT plus 8 hours.

    Try not to miss: The snow capped Altai Mountains, golden sand dunes and open rolling steppe sprinkled with deep blue lakes in western Mongolia, the far north where mighty taimen swim up cold mountain rivers to spawn, and reindeer herders eek a living from the taiga forest, and the arid Gobi desert in the South.

    Visas: Visitors from the UK require a valid visa in order to enter Mongolia. Wild and Exotic can assist with the process if required.

    Why Mongolia: For the legendary hospitality and fascinating lifestyle of the nomadic herders riding hardy horses beneath clear blue skies through a wild and remote country. Visit the Naadam festival in July where the locals compete against one another in the manly sports of archery, horse racing and wrestling. In the north we can organise fishing expeditions for massive taimen, which attack flies imitating small rodents with unbelievable ferocity. According to the time of year, you may also be able to accompany the Kazakh people hunting foxes with golden eagles in the western mountains, or ride with mysterious reindeer herders in the northern taiga forests.

    mongolia-map_tn285x1000-33491


    “Had a great time and the two of us were looked after perfectly.”  Ken Snowdon, September 2011 Mongolia (Mongolian Riding Safaris)

    Ken Snowdon, Mongolian riding safaris, September 2011


    MONGOLIA RIDES

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