Horseback Riding in Mongolia

Mongolian Classic Trek

Overview

This horse riding trek in Mongolia combines the austere landscape of the Gobi Desert and the lush beauty of the Blue Khentii Mountain.

The mountains of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park are breathtaking; lush green forests, crystal-clear lakes, mountain streams, waterfalls and spectacular mountain scenery. The wild flowers, which carpet the meadows and hillsides in profusion are quite beautiful and occasionally one glimpses elusive wildlife including mountain elk, wildcat, bears, Argali sheep, foxes and wolves.

First though you fly south to explore the historical, cultural and natural sights of the Gobi Desert which are enthralling but rarely visited. This dramatic and varied landscape has attracted several generations of explorers and adventurers from around the world.

There is a Mongolian Classic with Naadam Festival scheduled in conjunction with the Naadam Festival in early July. The itinerary is the same at the mountain camp and in the Gobi Desert, with additional days in Ulaanbaatar for the festival.

Accommodations range from a 4 star hotel in the city, standard twin-share ger accommodations in countryside, tented accommodation while on riding.

In general, the food will be simple and healthy 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.

  • 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 horses
  • Trip Pace:
    Leisurely
  • Tack:
    English, Mongolian, Russian
  • 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 for itinerary without the Naadam festival: Day 1 Arrive Ulaanbaatar, sightseeing. Day 2 Fly to Gobi. Day 3 Khongor sand dunes. Day 4 Gobi – Yolyn Am. Day 5 Eagle Valley, Return to Ulaanbaatar. Days 6-10 Riding in the Khentii Mountains. Day 11 Depart Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival

On arrival you will be met at the airport and transferred to your 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 and dinner will be at local restaurants.

Day 2

Fly to South Gobi

Today you will be take 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 takes one and 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. After lunch you will visit Yolyn Am, or Eagle Valley. This is about 40 km from your ger camp and approximately a one-hour drive. The valley is about 10km 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 there is a local Natural History Museum displaying interesting information about the animals of the area. Return to you ger camp for dinner and overnight.

Day 3

Khongor Sand Dune

Today you drive west along the Altai Mountain range until you reach Khongoriin Els. Reaching heights of 800m, these are Mongolia’s largest sand dunes. The drive is about 4 hours long. 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. Though largely inhospitable to human settlement, the Great Gobi does support a remarkable variety of flora and fauna: more than 400 plant species, 150 bird species, and nearly 50 mammal species, some unique to this Central Asian habitat, including Gobi bears and Bactrian camels.   During this stay in the Gobi you will have the opportunity to use a different type of transport. You 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 you will be well supported by the humps, sitting comfortably between them.  The camel man will take you to the sand dunes. Overnight in a ger camp close to the dunes.

Day 4

Bayanzag

Today you will drive to UNESCO Biosphere Reserve to Bayanzag, with its striking Flaming Cliffs, the red-rock bluff reminiscent of areas in the American West. Internationally renowned as the place where celebrated explorer and naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews first discovered dinosaur eggs on his ground-breaking expedition in the 1920s, Bayanzag boasts a treasure-trove of important fossils that you will be able to see all over the rocks.

Day 5

Back to UB / Terelj National Park

After breakfast you will be driven to the desert airstrip with your guide for your return flight to UB and then be driven to the Khentii Mountains. The drive will take you into the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and past the small township of Terelj. You will cross the Terelj River, past nomadic families’ gers to meet our local horsemen.
After a light lunch, the journey will continue, either on horseback or yak cart, into the Baga Khentii Mountains, the smaller sisters of the Khentii Mountains to the north. Overnight in tented camp with kitchen support.

Day 6

You will spend 3 more nights in tents moving location in the mountains, accompanied by local horsemen, your guide, and cooking staff. There will be a tent for meals and social time in the evenings.  In the daytime your activities include horse riding, yak cart riding, hiking and visiting the ruins of Gunjin Monastery.  The river which flows past your camp is deep enough for a dip in the cool waters, 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.

Day 9

Tuul Lodge

Spend tonight at Tuul Riverside 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

Day 10

At Tuul Lodge / back to UB

Please feel free to channel your inner discoverer and explore the beautiful surroundings of the Tuul Riverside Lodge camp! Try archery using traditional bow ancient, styled 13th century made of animal horn, wood, and sinew or do some botanical hiking. After lunch transfer back to UB city. Depending on the river water level transfers will be arranged by airboat or by people carrier truck over the mountain pass. There will be an evening program of traditional song and dance, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 11

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport in time for departure.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and changes may occur at the guides' discretion due to unforeseen circumstances. Flight schedules are subject to alteration with little or no advance notice. The guide will make every effort to provide the itinerary as presented, but your patience and understanding are appreciated if the itinerary should change.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

The NAADAM FESTIVAL takes place on a separate itinerary that runs from JULY 5-17.

Departure Dates

Trip Starts
Trip Ends
May 16, 2024
May 26, 2024
Aug 9, 2024
Aug 19, 2024

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $4,245

    Per person for 2-3 guests

  • Pricing Variation
  • $3,485

    Per person for 4-5 guests

  • $3,390

    Per person for 6 guests

  • Single Supplement
  • $315

Additional Pricing Information:
Deposit amount is $1,300 for this ride. Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.


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Contact Megan Barrett

The guide was outstanding.  Excellent presentation of meals.  There were comfortable long trots and canters on wonderful little horses.

Marjorie Julian, 2008