Horseback Riding in Mongolia

Karakorum with Naadam Festival


This horseback riding holiday in Mongolia will take you through the Khangai Mountain range in the central region, which is drained by some of Mongolia’s mightiest rivers, including the Orkhon, the most famous of them all.

For thousands of years the Orkhon and its tributaries provided water and shelter to the nomadic peoples and their animals. Today their lifestyle has changed little; they still herd their sheep with horses and yaks, protecting them against the misfortune of the harsh weather and wolves.

On this horseback trek through the land of the Orkhon River in Mongolia, local horsemen will accompany you and share their homeland and secrets of survival. The staff will set up comfortable overnight camps which include a dining tent to shelter you from the sun and provide warmth at in the chilly evenings, comfortable sleeping tents, shower tent and a toilet tent.

Your final days are spent in Ulaanbaatar witnessing the colorful pageantry of the Naadam Festival, a celebration of Mongolia’s three national sports: wrestling, archery and horseback riding.

There are also treks scheduled at times other than in conjunction with the Naadam Festival. That itinerary is the same, except does not include the days at the festival.

The first and last 2 nights will be spent at a hotel in Ulaanbaatar.  The rooms are clean and comfortable, and have all the modern conveniences.  Extra luggage can be left at your hotel while riding.  Once away from Ulaanbaatar, nights will be spent in either western-style tents or gers.  At the permanent ger camp accommodations are in locally constructed gers (felt tents).  The camps include shower facilities, and there are lanterns and candles for light.

In general, the food will be simple and healthy but to ensure a balanced diet. Most of the provisions will be locally produced and the menus will be based on the best possible harvest available. Mongolia is generally a meat-eating country but vegetarian requests can be catered for with plenty of advance notice.

  • Overview:
    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. Mongolian tack generally comprises a head collar (halter) and lead rope, which is never removed from the horse, a bridle with a simple steel snaffle, hobbles and either a Russian steel- framed or an Australian Stock saddle.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Mongolian ponies
  • Trip Pace:
    moderate to fast
  • Tack:
    English trekking and Australian stock
  • Weight limit:
    200 lbs

Non-riders can be accommodated, typically more successfully on bespoke trekking, walking, fishing and camping holidays, which we can arrange on request.

Quick Reference Itinerary: Day 1 Arrive Ulaanbaatar, sightseeing, Day 2 Drive to Ogii Nuur, Days 3-9 Riding, Day 10 Drive to “Piece of Sand”, Day 11 Drive to Ulaanbaatar, Day 12-13 Naadam Festival, Day 14 Depart Mongolia,


Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Arrival at the Chinggis Khaan International Airport. After clearing immigration formalities, meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel. On your way you will pass a large suburban area, where traditional nomadic felt tents can be found next to Western styled family houses. Ulaanbaatar, the energetic capital of Mongolia, is home to more than one million people, nearly half of the Mongolian population. Migration is a tremendous challenge to this fast-growing city. Later, visit 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. Then visit the Narantuul Market well known as “Black Market” great traditional market specially those wanting to pick up a traditional Mongolian clothing, horse-riding gears, traditional boots, shamanic and Buddhist ritual items, and cashmere products. Lunch and dinner included. Overnight in Ulaanbaatar hotel.

Day 2


Today, you will travel overland to the ancient capital of Mongolia, Karakorum. For 30 years the ancient capital of the Mongolian Empire under Genghis Khan, the largest empire the world has ever seen. At its height in 1279 it covered nearly all of Asia and Europe (his grandson Kublai Khan moved the capital to Beijing). This area is part of A UNESCO World Heritage site. There is little left of the former capital these days, but the walls of the massive Erdenezuu Monastery, built in 1586, still stand. Other temples suffered damage under communist purges of the 20th century, as they attempted to eradicate the 60 temples that housed nearly 10,000 Buddhist monks. In the afternoon, visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery which is the most ancient surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It is in Ovorkhangai Province, near the town of Kharkorin and adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorin and part of the World Heritage Site entitled Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. After visiting Karakorum Museum continue drive to Orkhon Valley reach to Nariin Am and meet the local horseman tonight. Overnight in tented camp with kitchen support.

Day 3

Tuvkhun Monastery.

After breakfast the riders are matches to their horses, saddles selected, and the horse tour begins. Today you 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. Continue riding along the river until you reach the overnight camping spot on the river’s banks. Overnight in tented camp with kitchen support.

Day 4

Orkhon Valley, Orkhon Waterfall to Tumurtein Am

Today 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. Camp by the waterfall for the next two nights to singing games – the loser has to consume a whole bowl of  ‘airag,’ (fermented mare’s milk) so beware when visiting local families! Overnight in tented camp with kitchen support.

Day 6

Buureg -Khuis Lake- Shireet lake – Shurangiin Tsohio

Refreshed and relaxed after being at base camp, you are back on the horses today. 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. The riding becomes more challenging as you will ride through more obstacle areas and narrow trails of forested mountains into more remoteness altitude of 2200m above sea level. Nature is pristine and untouched. You will reach the main destination of Eight Lakes. Overnight in the tent on the shore of Lake.

Day 7

Today you can ride between the beautiful lakes, hike, watch birds and find flowers. The Naiman Lake area was formed by volcanic eruption in the late Neogene. You still can see lava rocks in the flat area and barren mountain tops. then ride back where the Nomad family lives, farewell dinner with horseman and meet the support vehicles. Overnight in  tented camp with kitchen and pack animal support.

Day 10

Drive to Khugnu Khan

After a leisurely breakfast the group will drive to Khugnu Khan by Erdene Khamba Monastery is located only 18 km north of Elsen Tasarhai, at the Khogno Khan Uul Mountains (1967 m ASL.) Today there are only the ruins. Erdene Khamba Monastery had two sections: the lower one called the Zaluu Khiid, or the “Novice Temple” and the upper one called the Uvgun Khiid, or the “Elder’s Temple”, which was built on top of the mountain. The monastery was built in a sacred valley, according to Mongolian Buddhist traditions. Overnight in tented camp with kitchen support.

Day 11

Drive to UB city via Hui Doloo Hudag

After breakfast drive to Hui Doloon Khudag which is outskirts of Ulaanbaatar to watch the horse race competition. The tradition is said to date back to the Bronze Age Horse-racing. It’s considered one of the three traditional skills of the Mongolian young men where good horses and skillful horse-riders race one another. Therefore, horse-racing has naturally been a favorite sport’s activity cherished by the herdsmen in Mongolia. The horses are categorized according to age; the distance of the race is determined by the age of the horse and may range between 15 and 35 kilometers. Mongolian horses are short and stocky with robust feet, a large head, and a thick neck. They bare a certain resemblance to the Przewalski’s horse and are said to be largely unchanged since the time of Genghis Khan. Then drive to UB city check in to your hotel. Overnight in local hotel in Ulaanbaatar.

Day 12

Naadam opening ceremony

After a leisurely breakfast you will head to the central stadium to attend the Naadam Festival opening ceremony. Naadam is the biggest and the most widely watched traditional festival in Mongolia, locally also named the “Eriin Gurvan Naadam” – “the three games of men.” Wrestling, horse racing, and archery are practiced during this National Holiday from July 11th to 13th. Women have started to participate in the archery and horse-racing games, but not in the wrestling. Naadam is a formal celebration of the 1921 revolution, when Mongolia declared itself a free country. The Naadam celebration was accredited by the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO in 2010. Later afternoon after this fascinating event drive to Tuul Lodge. An intimate and fully sustainable traditional Mongolian ger camp on the foot of the Bayanzorik Mountain, the beautiful camp’s surrounding invites to be explored and discovered! Your gers are prepared by a dedicated team of people, giving you a warm welcome! Overnight at Tuul Riverside Lodge/gers with ensuite bathrooms.

Day 13

Full Day at the Lodge

After leisurely breakfast the nomadic neighbor will come with his ox and his card will take you on a ride! We will take also the Mongolian arrows and bows with us! Legendary for their prowess with the bow, Mongols perfected this ancient practice with bows constructed from wood, animal sinew, bone, and glue made from fish bladders in a process that could take up to a year. A stone inscription dating from the 13th century claims that one of Genghis Khan’s generals hit a target from a distance of 1/3 of a mile! Late afternoon we will learn Mongolian traditional game using ankle bones like a shooting and horse racing etc. In the evening dine on a traditional Mongolian barbecue food, known as Khorhog – our family’s favorite Mongolian dish by the way – demonstrating what an important ingredient stones can be: mutton will be cooked slowly in a huge, metal urn with vegetables, water, and most importantly hot stones from the flame. The meat becomes soft and tasty, and the water turns into a thick meaty broth… Quite a few Mongolian chefs affirm that they can taste the difference between river and lake stones. The day shall finish with a bon-fire and star gazing, which is unforgettable on a clear night. Overnight at Tuul Riverside Lodge/gers with ensuite bathrooms.

Day 14

International Departure

After a relaxed breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport and depart back home.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and may be modified at the guides' discretion due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

There are other trips with the same itinerary without Naadam.

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
Jun 30, 2024
Jul 13, 2024

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $4,015

    Per person with 2-3 guests

  • Pricing Variation
  • $3,815

    Per person with 4-5 guests

  • $3,460

    Per person with 6-8 guests

  • $2,980

    Per person with 9 guests

  • Single Supplement
  • $360

Additional Pricing Information:
Rice prices vary according to group size. Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.

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Contact Megan Barrett

The 24 year old riding tour leader is just a fantastic young woman.  She also became a good friend.  We all were lucky; our group was just great!

Eva Rauramaa, 2008