Nights in Ulaanbaatar are in a comfortable 3* hotel (Wi-Fi available)
Nights in yurts with the nomads: 5-6 beds in a yurt, basic outdoor toilet facilities, bucket shower.
Nights in yurt camps: 5-6 beds in a yurt, bathroom facilities and hot water.
Nights in camp: two-man tents. Mattresses are provided..
The food is simple and often freshly made, prepared by a cook or the local nomads. Meals are served on small camping tables with stools, except for some picnics at noon.
Breakfast: Occidental and/or Mongolian.
Lunch: a cook often provides a hot meal if the logistic vehicle is available at that phase of the journey, if not a picnic lunch will be available.
Dinner: full hot meal (soup, main, dessert). It is likely a sheep will be bought from a local shepherd - dinner straight from the source!
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.
Mongolia enjoys around 260 days of sun per year!! The majority of the country receives very little rainfall, however the north receives considerably more rain than the south. The country is located in the middle of a system of high-pressure fronts (anticyclone), which means that the skies are often completely clear of clouds. Because of the constant blue sky Mongolia has received the label 'blue sky country'.
On the other hand, the country is also blessed with a continental climate of extremes due to the country's geographical profile: vast semi-desert plateaus at an average altitude of over 1500 metres.
Winters are tough and long (from October to April), with temperatures dropping to surprisingly - 30° or -40°C in January and February. Snowfalls are not unusual to be present in the Gobi desert up until April, even some lakes remain frozen up until June; you will start to see the end of winter around the last days of September.
Summers in Mongolia are inaugurated by a short rainy season, from mid-July to September,the rain is usually light and brief but and generally take place at the end of the day. Temperatures are mild in the north of the country and extremely hot in the Gobi desert in the south. Due to the high altitude, the evenings are cool, even during the summer.
Violent winds happen often, especially during the short spring, where they also bring with them sand storms. On top of this, the changes in weather can be vast and sudden. From spring and autumn temperatures can pass from - 5°C at the beginning of the day to + 30°C at noon.
The country also experiences dzud or zud, a Mongolian term for a severe winter; a white dzud signals heavy snowfall which impedes access to the grazing pastures for the livestock and a black dzud means that a lack of snowfall and freezing temperatures create a drought and the livestock suffer from dehydration.
Depending on the region of Mongolia you are choosing to visit, the best time to travel there is between May and the end of September.
Guide and local team
Your guide will be a local English speaker, which will allow you to easily communicate and exchange with him and the nomadic families.
The team is usually composed of:
- At least 2 horsemen (locals) who accompany you through your entire ride.
- A cook who will be cooking delicious meals on the trail, when in yurts the meals will be prepared by nomadic families.
- A driver.
Tipping is well received when you are happy with the service from your local guides and/or drivers. For Mongolia you could consider a tip around £40 however, tipping remains completely at your discretion.
Important: For your riding holiday please make sure your luggage does not exceed 15kg. The cabin baggage limit is 5kgs.
You are in a mountainous area and temperatures can be cold, especially at night. Consider layered equipment and clothes that will allow you to adapt to each temperature you will face during your ride.
- A riding helmet is strongly recommended and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet manufacturers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable.
- Sunhat for when not riding - Essential
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun.
- Sunglasses with high UV protection
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth (quick dry fabric)
- T-shirts (quick dry fabric)
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Warm polar fleece or equivalent (plus a spare in case one gets wet)
- Waterproof jacket - rain can be difficult to predict and it's better to be prepared. In the mountains the weather can change quickly
- 2 pairs of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers, jeans or chaps - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Waterproof over trousers
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- Thermal trousers for cold days or for sleeping in
- A swimming costume may be useful for impromptu dips in the lake.
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear
Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps but you may wish to take long chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite long leather boots in case they get damaged
- One pair of waterproof shoes or boots (in case of rain and also for around the camp in the morning when the ground can often be damp)
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding
Horse riding extras
- 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, lip balm etc)
- A soothing cream may be useful to treat areas irritated by long hours in the saddle
- Backpacks are not permitted whilst riding
- For riders measuring over 1m 90 (6ft 2in) we recommend that you bring your own pair of adjustable stirrups as the local stirrups, while adjustable, are often limited in terms of length
- Sleeping bag with a comfort level of -5° min, -8° or -10° would also be beneficial. We also recommend you bring with you a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth.
- For more comfort, you can take a self-inflating mattress.
Other useful items
- Travel bag, preferably a soft bag 60-80ltrs (front opening or backpack)
- Water-purification tablets
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent) + water treatment tablets
- Head torch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries (biodegradable wipes to replace water)
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Cord to hold your glasses.
- Backpack of 25-30ltrs
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) are clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrheal medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Hand wash gel
- We recommend taking any valuables, such as your camera, ipod, ipad, medicines and glasses etc. in your hand luggage. Travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes is highly recommended - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- Throughout the ride, we ask you not to exceed 15kg of luggage per person to not overcharge the yaks and logistics team responsible for carrying your luggage throughout the trip
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals
- If, in wishing to 'travel light', you plan to wash your clothes throughout the trip, please ensure you bring biodegradable laundry products with which to do your washing
- Ensure you bring something for your chemical waste (batteries, aerosol cans, cream tubes, plastic wrapping), in order to take it back to Europe where recycling and waste disposal is done well and effectively. We advise to, wherever possible, avoid altogether bringing wrapped products to Mongolia. If you do, ensure you take them back to Europe with you
- Respect and image: Before taking picture of a person, always ask for permission. In a more general way, it is a question of establishing a pleasant a respectful relationship, of always putting oneself in the place of the others.
- We suggest taking with you some postcards of your hometown or photos of your family to show to your guides and team. You may also like to take out a present/ token for your hosts, Mongolians enjoy playing UNO, with foam balls, skipping ropes, pencil crayons, colouring books for the children and sample tubes of different creams.