Full Itinerary for Mongolia Nomad Horse Riding Adventure
Day 1: Arrive Ulaanbaatar, city tour
After transferring to our hotel we will take a city tour of the capital Ulaanbaatar (Red Warrior) including the incredible Gandantegchinlen Monastery that houses a 26.5-meter-high golden statue of Avalokiteśvara, a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas, before our first group dinner together in the city.
Day 2: Drive to Kharkhorin, and visit Erden Zuu Monastery
Todays destination is Kharkhorin, the site of Genghis Khan’s ancient capital of the Mongol Empire. The 5 hr journey gives us a wonderful introduction to Mongolia’s landscapes (and an opportunity to recover from any travel fatigue!). Once in the town we will take a tour of the stunning temples of the 16th Century Erdene Zuu Buddhist Monastery, surrounded by monumental walls and 108 white stupas, before staying with local families in gers.
Day 3: Horse ride/hike to Tovkhom Monastery, visit Orkhon waterfall
After a drive (2hrs) out into the wild, forested steppe we will ride up to Tovkhom Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, situated atop a small mountain with breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding area. This is where
Zanabazar, the head and founder of Mongolian Buddhism, created his famous art works and also the national script
’soyombo’ in 16thCentury. We continue our trip by car to our ger camp and an excellent meal prepared by our nomad host family. The terrain today is varied and the ride is at a gentle pace so you can get to know your horse and the riding style of Mongolia!
Day 4: Begin our horse ride into Naiman Nuur region
Whilst our hosts prepare our horses and lunch, we take a walk to where Ulaan Tsutgalan (Red Convergence) River meets the Orkhon River and one of the biggest waterfalls in Mongolia. Then begins our journey into the Naiman Nuur mountains: we trek along the Orkhon valley before heading up into the mountain scenery, past numerous gercamps and pasturing livestock. The route takes us over small rivers and through valleys before ascending a forested mountain with a deep gash where a river cuts through it. We will stay with local families who will cook their traditional food for us and can help to bring in the herds of yaks and goats before nightfall when the stars come out in all their brilliance in this remote region. 4-5 hours riding. with opportunities for fast riding from our destination camp.
Day 5: Horse riding in Naiman Nuur
Khuisiin Naiman Nuur means ‘eight lakes of the navel’ and we will see many of these lakes throughout our route. The area was created by volcanic eruptions 8000 years ago and is surrounded by the now extinct volcanoes. Our morning begins with a steep ascent up and over a pass (we will be leading the horses for some of this time) before we make our way through a valley on a gentle incline up to Huis Nuur where we will stay with families who transport their gershere on yaks, with a wide vista of this absolutely stunning area. 4 hours riding plus optional extension ride from the camp to lake Khuis Nuur.
Day 6: Horse riding in Naiman Nuur
After making our way across the valley surrounded by many smaller lakes we again ascend up through more forest until we come to the biggest of the lakes; Naiman Nuur itself. With a long, forested peninsular cutting through its waters and steep mountains rising from its banks, it feels like a Norwegian fjord, and it is a great treat to ride alongside its waters. We head up into the high national park where we will meet back up with our vehicles and stay for the night. Today is a day that just keeps on giving. It I s our longest day in the saddle – around 6 hours. There is the opportunity for some fast riding from the col above Naiman Nuur to the camp.
Day 7: Drive to Bayan Gobi, ride a Bactrian camel in the desert
Today we drive to the desert gercamp of Bayan Gobi, situated on the edge of the Gobi Desert. We will ride enormous woolly Bactrian camels (two humps) across the sand dunes in this windswept, remote and beautiful spot, surrounded by mountains receding into the distance and the fearsome desert stretching for waterless miles upon miles to the south. Those not wishing to ride the camels can do a self guided walk in the local area.
Day 8: Drive to Ulaanbaatar, watch traditional dancing
We head back to the capital for a spot of souvenir shopping at the thriving, so called ‘Black Market’, before attending a cultural performance with traditional Mongolian dancing and music. Our adventure finishes with a delicious final group dinner in the city and exploring UB’s nightlife.
Day 9: Fly out of Ulaanbaatar