Horse & Rider in Mongolia, Asia
Mongolia

Across the Orkhon Valley

This fabulous trail ride in Mongolia will take you right through the historical Orkhon Valley. From Karakarorum, ride across vast steppes, experiencing the warm and friendly welcome of the locals. Discover the Orkhon valley on horseback, explore the Ulaan Tusutgalan falls and the beautiful 8 Lakes nature reserve. A wonderful opportunity to take in the stunning landscapes of Mongolia on horseback, with plenty of opportunities for unforgettable gallops in the wilds of Central Asia.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Trail Riding
13 days / 8 days riding
From £1,215
Open to non-riders
  • Mongol horses in Mongolia
    Mongol horses at Camp
  • Mongolia riding holiday
    Milking yak in Mongolia
  • Riding and yurts in Mongolia
    A yurt camp in Mongolia
  • Breeder herding goats on horseback in Mongolia
    Breeding livestock is a traditional activity in Mongolia
  • Riding in the Orkhon valley in Mongolia
    The Orkhon valley - vast plains and hilly landscapes
  • Orkhon valley on horseback
    Riding in the Orkhon valley
  • Yurt camp in Mongolia after a day in the saddle
    Yurt camps in Mongolia, home to the locals
  • Ulaan Tsutgalan falls in the summer
    Ulaan Tsutgalan falls in the Orkhon valley

Itinerary

Highlights

- A short itinerary to discover the Orkhon valley, in central Mongolia - ideal for a first-time riding holiday in Mongolia.
- Easy going Mongol horses, the native horse breed of Mongolia well-known for their incredible stamina.
- Many opportunities to meet the locals and learn about the fascinating nomadic culture.
- The beautiful views of the Orkhon valley and the 8 Lakes Nature Reserve.
  • Day 1 1: EUROPE - ULAANBAATAR

    Flight from Europe to Ulaanbaatar - it is likely that you will have to change planes at least once. Flights are not included but can be booked upon request, please contact us.
  • Day 2 2: ULAAN BATAAR

    Your English-speaking translator will meet you at Chinggis Khan airport. You will be taken to your hotel to drop off your bags and, depending on your arrival time, you may have time for a quick nap. At lunchtime, you will meet your guide in the lobby and head out for lunch. In the afternoon, you will visit Gandantegchinlin Monastery and the National Museum of Mongolian History.

    Dinner (not included) and night at a hotel (2* – twin or triple room).
  • Day 3 3: Ulaanbaatar – Orkhon Valley - 8-9h drive

    Early morning start. After breakfast, you will start the long drive to the very end of the Orkhon valley, where your nomadic family is waiting for you. The Orkhon Valley can be considered the “cradle” of the Mongol people and is a UNESCO world heritage site. The area is well-known for the incredible variety of its landscapes and its sumptuous colours. It is also one of most densely populated regions of Mongolia, as the fair weather still attracts many families who make their living from breeding livestock.

    Dinner and stay overnight in a yurt (separate from the nomadic family).
  • Day 4 4: Orkhon Valley – NaimanNuur Park - 4-6hrs riding

    Today marks the start of your adventures on horseback. Riding across the Orkhon Valley, you head towards NaimanNuur Park. Ancient lava flows colliding with the Orkhon River make the entire valley astonishingly beautiful: they are a testament to the volcanic history that shook the valley many aeons ago.

    At lunchtime, the logistics vehicles will meet you to bring you your picnic lunch en route. In the late afternoon, you will set up your camp near the NaimanNuur Park entrance. Your yak guides will join you here.

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 5 5: NaimanNuur Park - 4-6 hrs riding

    You are entering the NaimanNuur Park. No vehicles are allowed in the park, which means that all the equipment and your personal items will have to be loaded on pack yaks. Wide open spaces give way to wild and remote landscapes, somewhat slowing you down today.

    You will meet your next nomadic family, which are yak breeders. You will stay there for 2 nights in separate yurts (4-5 persons per yurt).
    Lunch and dinner with the family. Overnight in yurts.
  • Day 6 6: NaimanNuur Park - 4-6 hrs riding

    Today marks the beginning of a new adventure as you head towards the 8 Lakes Nature Reserve. The lakes are located inside the immense crater of a dormant volcano: the crystal-clear lakes are sure to astound you. The reserve lies in the Khangai mountains (Mongolia second largest range) and is not easily reached unless if you are travelling on horseback or hiking. This a tranquil and peaceful place, where nature is still untouched.

    Dinner and stay overnight in yurts
  • Day 7 7: NaimanNuur Park - Orkhon Valley - 4-6 hrs riding

    Goodbyes to your host family. You head back to the Orkhon Valley leaving NaimanNuur Park via a steep mountain road. After a day in the saddle, you will set up camp near the forest which is located in between the NaimanNuur Park and Orkhon Valley.

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 8 8: Orkhon Valley - Orkhon Falls - 4 to 6 hrs riding

    In the early morning light you ride out towards the Ulaan Tsutgalan falls, born 20 000 years ago from an earthquake and volcanic eruption. The Ulaan Tustgalan reaches the Orkhon and spills into the river, forming the impressive falls that you will see today – late July and August are the best times to see the falls, after the seasonal rains.

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 9 9: Tuvkhun Monastery - 4 to 6 hrs riding

    Today you ride to the Tuvkhun Monastery and enjoy a visit of this sacred place. There will be time to watch the Buddhist monks at work and learn about their heritage. The history of this temple is a long and fascinating one: first established in 1648, it was destroyed just 40 years later by Oirat Mongols during a military campaign against Eastern Mongols. After its restoration, it suffered severe damage during the Stalinist purges before it was made a UNESCO world cultural site in 1996. The Monastery stands at 2400m and dominates the surrounding valley: you will encounter many small temples, the most ancient dating back to the 17th century, as well as two stupas (a structure containing relics and used for meditation).

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 10 10: Orkhon Valley - 4 to 6 hrs riding

    Another day of your trail ride, riding further into the wilderness of Mongolia. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of the local fauna: deer and wild boar abound, and you might see some wolf tracks. The ride deeper into the Khangai Mountains.

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 11 11: Orkhon Valley – Karakorum - 3-4hrs riding

    On horseback, you reach Karakorum, capital of the Mongol Empire, at the crossroads of the Silk Road in the 13th century. It was also the legendary city of Gengis-Khan, erected in 1220.

    After setting up camp in the afternoon, you will have the opportunity to visit the ErdeneZuu monastery, built at the end of the 16th century and thought to be one of the finest monasteries in the whole country.

    Dinner and overnight at camp.
  • Day 12 12: Karakorum – Ulaanbaatar - No riding

    Departure for UlaanBataar: after a few days in the wilderness, it can be a bit of a shock to get back to civilization and the busy streets of the capital! You arrive in the afternoon, and after a last picnic lunch you will be offered to go shopping (cashmere and souvenir) with a guide for the rest of the afternoon.

    Dinner not included. You can choose from the wide range of choices of Ulaanbaatar cuisine.
    Night at a hotel (2* – twin or triple room).
  • Day 13 13: Ulaanbaatar - Europe

    You will be transferred to Ulaanbaatar airport for your flight back to the UK. You may arrive home this evening, or early tomorrow, depending on your flight routing.

Dates & prices

Price details

- International flights are not included but we can add this your quotation upon request.

- Groups are made up of 4 to 10 riders max.

- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 3 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €250/£225 per person. Once the group has reached 4 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.

- Single supplement for hotels in Ulaanbaatar, if not willing to share: €60/£55.

- This ride is open to young riders aged 14+ as long as they are confident riders and accompanied by an adult.

- A visa is required and is your own responsibility

- Please note that there is a weight limit of 100 kilos / 15.7 st / 220 lbs
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support Team

1 English speaking tour leader
1 local interpreter

Logistic

1 vehicle and driver
Cook and horsemen
1 horse per rider

Inland transports

Transfers mentioned in the itinerary
Airport transfers

Accommodation

9 nights in yurts or tents
2 nights at an hotel in UlaanBataar

Meals

Full board with picnic lunches and hot dinners from breakfast on day 3 to lunch on day 12

Extra

Museum and temple fees in Ulaanbataar
Traditional show in Ulaanbataar

Price doesn't include

Meals

Beverage and personal extra
Meals in UB on day 2, Dinner on the last day

Transports

International flights bookable on request

Extra

Tips to local team at your discretion
Visa fees
Small group supplement - see above for the details

Insurance

Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.
  • May - June 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    06/06/2020 18/06/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    13/06/2020 25/06/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    20/06/2020 02/07/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    27/06/2020 09/07/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
  • July - August 2020

    Departure Return Price without flights Price including flights Status
    04/07/2020 16/07/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    11/07/2020 23/07/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    18/07/2020 30/07/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    25/07/2020 06/08/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    01/08/2020 13/08/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    08/08/2020 20/08/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    15/08/2020 27/08/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    22/08/2020 03/09/2020 £1,215 Open Book now
    29/08/2020 10/09/2020 £1,215 Open Book now

Equestrian info

Horses

The Mongolian horse is legendary. They are small, energetic and tough but gentle and perfect for trail riding on all types of terrain. The horses are sociable and live happily in a herd. They are not difficult to ride but some will be more spirited than others.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You need to be a rider of at least an intermediate level who is used to riding outdoors across varied terrain for several hours.

Please note that there is a weight limit of 100 kilos / 15.7 st / 220 lbs

Pace

The main paces are the walk and the trot, with opportunities for unforgettable gallops across the steppe. The horses are not especially difficult, athough some can be more spirited than others.

Tacking ability and participation

Your horse will be tacked and untacked for you by your Mongolian team. You may be asked to assist with camp tasks such as erecting and dismantling tents.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

Previous experience of riding a trail for several days is an advantage but is not required. Riders who do not ride regularly are requested to get riding fit before the holiday.

When riding in NaimanNuur Park, a team of yaks will follow the ride as no vehicles are allowed inside the park.

Visiting a new country offers the opportunity to meet other cultures with different mentalities, therefore it is important to accept these differences and respect the local way of life. Be prepared to adapt to a different style of riding and accept that Mongols relate to their horses in a different way to us.

Equestrian equipment

Kazakh/Russian saddles.
Tall riders may want to bring their own stirrup leathers.
You may also want to bring a seat saver.

Helmets are mandatory and not provided.

Travel info

Comfort

- In Ulaanbaatar (first and last night) you stay in a hotel with private bathrooms and wifi
- Nights in yurts with the nomads: 5-6 beds in a yurt, basic toilet facilities outside, bucket shower.
- Nights at camp: two-man tents. Mattresses are provided but you need to take your own sleeping bag.

Meals

The food is simple, abundant and based on fresh products prepared by a local cook and adapted to western tastes. Meals are served on small camping tables with stools, except for some picnic lunches.
Breakfast is usually hearty.
Picnic lunch.
Dinner is a full hot meal (soup, main course, dessert) and may well include lamb/mutton purchased from local nomads.

Water:
Do not to drink water from unknown sources. The cook will boil water each day for you to fill up your water bottles but you should also bring water-purification tablets such as Micropur.

Climate

Mongolia has over 260 days of sunshine a year! Generally there is very little rain - the annual average in the north is 200-350mm and this decreases in the south. Mongolia is located in the heart of a high pressure system which leads to clear skies and Mongolia is sometimes known as the "Land of Blue Skies".
Winters are long and cold (October - April) and so rides run during the summers months of May - September. There is a short rainy season during mid-July - September but rainfall is usually short and scanty in the late afternoon. Temperatures are mild in the north and hotter in the south. Because of the altitude, nights can be cold even in summer.
Winds can be strong, particularly in spring and autumn and the weather can change quickly, so take layers and be prepared!

Guide and local team

You will be accompanied by local horse guides. There will also be a cook to prepare meals and a vehicle driver.

Tips

If you are happy with the service you receive from your local guides and driver then you may wish to leave a tip. In order to remain consistent with their standard of living, we would recommend something in the region of £50-55.

Packing list

When packing please remember that the region can be cold and it would be wise to bring layers!

Head
- Equus Journeys strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet and that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. There are many lightweight options available nowadays
- Sunhat for when not riding
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana
- Warm hat for cold nights when camping

Upper body
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- T-shirts
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm fleece or jumper (and a spare in case one gets wet)
- Warm and waterproof jacket - it can rain at any time of year and the evenings can be particularly cold

Legs
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Thermals
- Casual trousers for the evenings, such as jeans or tracksuit bottoms
- Waterproof over trousers

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps as an extra layer against inclement weather. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- Waterproof shoes/boots can be useful for abundant dew in the mornings or when it rains
- Trainers or equivalent light shoes for moving around the camp in the evenings
- Several pairs of warm, thick socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, cold or rain whilst riding. Waterproof gloves can be particularly useful

Nightwear
- Sleeping bag. You need at least a comfort factor down to minus 5 celsius, but would recommend at least minus 8 or 10 celsius.
- Sleeping bag liner - silk, cotton or fleece - adds an extra layer
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in

Other useful items
- Water-purification tablets
- Swimsuit - for swimming/bathing in rivers
- Towels - camping ones will both dry and pack more easily
- Small backpack for accessing items required during the day (carried by support crew)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- Bumbag for carrying your camera and small items whilst riding
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around camp at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Water bottle (2 litres or 2 x 1 litre)
- Wet Wipes or equivalent (for when washing facilities aren't available)
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it with
- Small plastic bags for rubbish
- Ear plugs (for light sleepers)
- Spare batteries (there will be no electricity)

In your hold luggage
- Any liquids, such as shampoo, moisturiser, deodorant unless they are less than 100ml and all bottles can fit in a small, clear, plastic ziplock bag. We recommend biodegradable washing products where possible.
- Swiss army knife (or equivalent)

In your hand luggage
- Any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad etc.
- Your riding hat

Medical kit
- Micropur tabs
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent, preferably containing deet
- Any medication you regularly take
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc...
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Eye drops
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhoea medication
- Re-hydration sachets
- Water purification tablets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. We recommend taking a backpack or similar. The luggage limit on the ride is 15kg per person.
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lipbalm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Tall riders may benefit from taking a pair of long stirrup leathers with them (the local stirrups are adjustable but are sometimes limited in length)
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- Please take your rubbish home with you. There are no recycling facilities in Mongolia, so take your used batteries, aerosols etc back home and dispose of them appropriately. Try to leave excess packaging material at home before travelling
- You may wish to take some photographs or postcards of your home with you to show your hosts. You may also wish to take some crayons, colouring books etc for the children

Visa & Health

Formalities

To travel to Mongolia, a passport valid for at least six months is required by all nationals of Australia, Canada, USA, UK and other EU countries.

Visas:
To visit Mongolia, you will need to organise a visa. A Mongolian visit visa is usually valid for a stay of up to 30 days within six months from the date of issue. You can find more information by following the link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mongolia/entry-requirements

Nationals of the USA do not require a visa if entering Mongolia as a tourist for stays of up to 90 days.

When travelling to Russia or China from Mongolia, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises you to get visas before travelling - seek advice from the Chinese and Russian Embassies in London BEFORE travelling. There have been issues with getting Russian visas in Ulaanbaatar.

Types and cost:
Single-entry transit visa: £35; double-entry transit visa: £55; single-entry tourist/business visa: £40;
double-entry visa: £55;
multiple-entry visa: £70.

Validity:
Single-entry visa: 30 days within three months of issue;
double-entry visa: 30 days within three months of issue;
multiple-entry visa: six or 12 months.

Online visa:
As of 1 May 2019, companies and individuals who are inviting foreign citizens to Mongolia can request entry permissions online for visa on arrival. This is for single or multiple entry visas for tourism (J) and business visit (B) categories only.
You should remember that at the entry point, the immigration authority might interview you and they can refuse your entry to Mongolia. It is important for the inviting individual or company to provide full and true information about the person.

More information: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mongolia/entry-requirements

Addresses of consulates

  • Agence de l'immigration, de la naturalisation et des etrangers
    Buyant Ukhaa
    Khan Uul District
    Oulan-Bator
    Tél. : +1900-18-82 / +976-7
    Fax :
  • Ambassade de France en Mongolie
    3, avenue de la Paix
    quartier 1 - district de Chingeltei PO Box 687
    Oulan Bator
    Tél. : +976 (11) 32 45 19
    Fax :
    contact@ambafrance-mn.org
  • Ambassade de Mongolie en France
    5, avenue Robert-Schuman
    92100 Boulogne-Billancourt
    Tél. : 01.46.05.28.12
    Fax : 01 46 05 30 16
    info@ambassademongolie.fr
  • Ambassade de Mongolie en Belgique
    Avenue Besme 18
    Foret
    1190 Bruxelles
    Tél. : +32 (0) 2 344 69 74
    Fax : +32 (0) 2 344 32 15
    brussels@embmongolie.be

Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Mongolia. It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Mongolia. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and when travelling longer than 2 weeks also typhoid.
If you are staying longer than 3 months or have a particular risk (travelling by bike, handling of animals and visits to caves) you might consider a rabies vaccination. Vaccination against Tuberculosis as well as hepatitis B is also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months. It is also recommended to have a vaccination against tick borne encephalitis when you go hiking and/or camping for several days or more in the north of the country in the period of March to November. A vaccination against meningitis is recommended when travelling for more than 6 months, in combination with close contact with the local people.

Insurance

It is a condition of your booking with Equus Journeys that you have travel insurance which covers you for the riding activities to be undertaken. Your travel insurance should cover you for medical expenses and repatriation. Your guides will require your travel insurance details before they allow you to ride and may refuse to let you ride if you cannot provide them. You should take your insurance documents with you.

Our recommendation:
Cancellation and travel insurances are not included. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend to take out an insurance policy as soon as your travel is booked in case of cancellation.

Voltage

220 volts AC, 50Hz. Round two-pin plugs are used

Budget and money

Tugrik (MNT; symbol ₮). Notes are in denominations of ₮20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1. Coins are in denominations of ₮500, 200, 100, 50 and 20, but are not widely used.
Credit cards:
Accepted by main commercial banks, large hotels and a few shops and restaurants in Ulaanbaatar. ATMs are available in Ulaanbaatar and most Mongolian province (aimag) capitals. Both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted.
ATM:
ATMs are available in Ulaanbaatar and most Mongolian province (aimag) capitals.

Telephone and jetlag

Mongolia Country Code 976

Central and Eastern Standard Time +0800 GMT
Western Standard Time + 0700 GMT