- Discover the immense steppes and plateaus of the Khentij massif by riding along ridges overlooking sweeping valley floors and through larch wood forests home to rare wildlife
- Spend 2 days at a camping ground offering whitewater rafting, a library full of books on Mongolian culture and a sauna
- Delve further into this wild region with a change of camp every 2 days and sleep in comfortable yurts warmed every evening by wood-burning stoves
- Experience the nomadic lifestyle led by the people in the region by travelling with a caravan of yaks transporting your camp from site to site
- Visit the country's capital city, monasteries and museums and learn about Mongolia's cultural heritage and the history of Genghis Khan
- Enjoy traditional and hearty Mongolian cuisine
Day 1 1 : EUROPE - ULAANBAATARFly out to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia; most flights from Europe go via Istanbul or Moscow. This is an overnight flight: depart today to arrive in the morning of Day 2.
Flights are not included in the cost but we can help booking these.
Day 2 2 : ULAANBAATARYou will arrive in Ulaanbaatar early in the morning and get settled in to your hotel - a 3* hotel with a double room and private bathroom. For your first lunch, you will be able to go out and explore Mongolia's capital and try one of the local cafés or restaurants. With its Soviet style architecture, atmosphere and wide main roads, Ulaanbaatar, once Urga, hides numerous cultural riches and exceptional museums. We recommend taking the time to visit the museum of national history which will allow you an insight into the rich and, oft, violent past of this fascinating, proud and strong country; the museum covers the prehistoric era of this Soviet region, including the exploits and conquests of Genghis Khan.
In the evening, you will have dinner at your hotel and receive a briefing from your interpreter on how your expedition will unfold.
Day 3 3 : ULAANBAATAR - TUUL RIVÈR - BOSOG PRAIRIETouristic yurts campYour day will begin with a visit to the Buddhist monastery of Gandan where the monks come together to pray every morning - it is one of the largest active monasteries in Mongolia. Mongolians primarily practise Tibetan Buddhism with the Dalai Lama as the spiritual head of their religion.
You will then head out for the steppes, a high plateau grassland plains, and the start point of your ride. The last vestiges of civiliastion will recede, little by little, as you delve into the vast untouched countryside, home only to nomadic families and their livestock. You will stop for a picnic lunch on the Hadan Hoshuu plain and have a chance to pause and absorb the wild empty beauty of the scrublands. The path you take will wind its way through the forest pass of Zamtiin in the high valley of the Tuul River.
On your arrival on the Bosog prairie, you will meet your team, the yaks and the horses you will be riding throughout your trip; it is here, on the banks of a bubbling and rushing stream, that you will spend your next 2 nights. Your yurts will have already been set up and warmed - each yurt sleeps 2 to 4 people and comes equipped with camp beds and a central wood-burning stove for the cool nights on the plains.
Day 4 4 : BOSOG PRAIRIE - BARUUNBAYAN STREAM - BOSOG PRAIRIE - 5-6 hours ridingTouristic yurts campAfter a comfortable night spent in your yurt, the Mongolian team will then attribute the horses and you will prepare to set off on your adventure through the sacred region of Khan Khentii. The Mongolian guide accompanying you is both warm and knowledgeable and, with the aid of your English speaking interpreter, will introduce you to the nomadic families you meet along the route.
Setting out on horseback, you will ride out beyond the Bosog prairie, towards the south of the Tuul River, there, where the Siberian forest marks the transition into the lush grasslands. Riding through the undulating valleys and forests up to high ridges where the landscape will open out before you, you will enjoy stunning panoramas. You will ride on to meet up with the yak caravan and continue downstream along the Baruunbayan until you reach a wide prairie close to the River Tuul. In the afternoon, you will ford the river on horseback and explore the area whilst the yak and logistics team continue onwards towards the Bosog meadows and your camping ground. You will enjoy a traditional Mongolian dinner in the mess yurt and then head back to your comfortable yurt for the night.
Day 5 5 : BOSOG PRAIRIE - BARUUNBAYAN VALLEY - 5-6 hours ridingTouristic yurts campThe yurt camps will be displaced in its entirety today, and thus begins your first taste of the true nomadic lifestyle lived throughout the Khan Khentii massif. The yurts will be dismantled, folded and loaded onto the carts which in turn are yoked to the yaks. After a breakfast out in the fresh plateau air, you will add your baggage and provisions to the carts and head off for the day's ride.
Riding out north towards the mountain chain of Khentii across a ridge covered with scattered forests, you will break away from the caravan in order to make the most of the fantastic views and glorious atmosphere on the plains. The logistics team and yaks will head to the camping ground in the Barrunbayan Valley where they will set up your camp for the next 2 nights.
Day 6 6 : BARUUNBAYAN VALLEY - GUNJIN SUM MONASTERY - BARUUNBAYAN - 5-6 hours ridingTouristic yurts campToday's ride will take you up to the Gunjin Sum monastery, a temple built for a Manchu princess, the ruins of which are hidden within the forest. At the end of the afternoon, you will make your way back down to the yurts next to the Baruunbayan Valley where you will enjoy more traditional Mongolian cuisine and retire to your cosy yurt!
Day 7 7 : BARUUNBAYAN VALLEY - ZUUNBAYAN VALLEY - 5-6 hours ridingTouristic yurts campOnce more the camp will be packed up and loaded on the carts to be relocated further into the grassy scrublands. While the caravan heads through the valley, riders will head out on one of the most beautiful routes of the expedition; the trail will take you along the wooded crests and ridges looking out over the valley floor. The larch forests, with the occasional pine making itself seen, which pervade in the region are the refuge of rare species of birds, most commonly the black grouse and the black-billed grouse.
Your camp for the evening will have been set up close to the Zunnbayan River, a tributary of the Tuul River, where you will spend the following 2 nights.
Day 8 8 : ZUUNBAYAN VALLEY - KHENTII MOUNTAINS - ZUUNBAYAN VALLEY - 5-6 hours ridingTouristic yurts campYou will spend the day on horseback exploring the wooded Khentii mountains up to the sparse upper forest limits with backdrops and views that, wherever you look, will take your breath away. You will spend your last evening in the camp by the river enjoying a beautiful sunset with the horses grazing behind you and, if you wish, taking a refreshing dip in the river!
Day 9 9 : ZUUNBAYAN VALLEY - JALMAN PRAIRIE - 5-6 hours ridingYurt camp Jalman MeadowsAs the horsemen load the carts and direct the caravan of yaks off towards your next stop for the night, you will ride out to explore. You will set out, on horseback, in the direction of the Sharbulag Valley, crossing the source of the river Tuul and enjoying the tranquil and immense wilderness. Mid-afternoon, you will ride to the yurt community of Jalman Meadows.
Set amongst a scenic backdrop of flowered grasslands and wooded hills, this eco-camp for yurts is entirely dismantled at the end of the tourist season and completely embodies the ideas of sustainable and fair-trade tourism championed in Mongolia.
Day 10 10 : JALMAN PRAIRIEYurt camp Jalman MeadowsThe day's programme will be of your making, you will spend the day in and around the Jalman Meadows' ground with a variety of activities to choose from.
You may decide to explore the countryside surrounding the camp on either a full-day or half-day ride, or relax around the yurts and, from the camp's yurt-library, borrow one of the fascinating books on topics such as the epic reign of Genghis Khan, contemporary Mongolian culture or equestrian culture in Mongolia. You may be tempted to head down to the river and try your hand at whitewater rafting (tyres are loaded onto the carts for you and are taken to the river by yaks), whilst others may prefer to unwind in the sauna before plunging into the cooling river.
Whatever you choose, you will head back in the evening to the mess-yurt and enjoy your final alfresco dinner high up on the plains before retiring to your comfortable yurt for the night.
Day 11 11 : JALMAN MEADOWS - ULAANBAATARAfter breakfast, you will say your goodbyes to your team and the horses and be driven to Ulaanbaatar (around a 4 hour drive). Free time in the city. For your evening meal, you will be able to choose a local restaurant and enjoy a different style of local cuisine. You will spend the night in a 3* hotel in the centre of Mongolia's capital.
Day 12 12 : ULAANBAATAR - EUROPEIn the morning, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back home, usually via Moscow or Istanbul. If you wish to fly via Seoul, the flight leaves the evening of the day before or the end of day 12 - in this case lunch and dinner on this day will not be included in the trip price and there may be a supplementary charge for you to have access to your hotel room throughout the day.
Dates & prices
- Rates are per person, based on two riders sharing a twin or double room (UlaanBaatar)/tent during the ride.
- Groups are made up of between 2-6 international riders and an English-speaking guide
- There is no single supplement if you are willing to share a room/tent with another guest of the same sex. To guarantee your own room/tent there is a single supplement of $2000/€1880/£1630 per person. It is possible to request single rooms in Ulaanbaatar and Jalman Meadows but choose to share a yurt during the ride.
- For most citizenships, a visa is required to enter Mongolia and this is your responsibility.
- There is a 90 kg / 14.1 stone / 200 lbs rider weight limit on this trail.
NAADAM FESTIVAL EXTENSION
One of the July trips is longer and includes a Nadaam extension. The extension is mandatory and you will experience the festival of Nadaam at Oulan Bator - a festival which includes horse racing, archery competitions and Mongolian fighting. This is already calculated in cost the holiday as outlined above.
TRAVEL IN A PRIVATE GROUP
If you wish to travel as a couple or with a group of friends and wish to do so without other riders, you can pay a supplement of $600/€560/£500, per trip to privatise your experience. For groups of over 4 riders no supplement will be charged.
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 doesn't include
Beverages and personal extra (bottled water provided throughout the ride IS included in the price)
Individual hotel room at the hotel in Ulaanbaatar (2 nights)
Individual yurt at Jalman Meadows (2 nights)
You will ride with a caravan that includes horses in reserve so that you can change mount during the long days of riding.
Guide & local team
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
For this ride, there is a maximum rider weight of 90kg/ 14st 2lbs/ 198 lbs. If you weigh more than this and wish to ride, please contact us and we will advise on a case-by-case basis.
The horses will not provide any particular challenges, although certain are more energetic than others. You must pay close attention to how you use your saddlebags and change into your waterproofs - never getting dressed in the saddle, as the horses are not used to it and may be spooked.
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
The ride does not rely on any motor vehicle support. They utilise wooden carts pulled by yaks, for a minimum impact on the environment and the most authentic nomadic experience.
You must also be aware that you will be riding in isolated areas of the country, the nearest medical centre will be at least a 1/2 day journey by car.
Previous experience of a horse riding trip over several days is undoubtedly a plus; however, it is not obligatory. Riders who do not mount regularly must get riding fit before the trip's departure.
You must be ready and open to a different style of riding and to understand that Mongolians have a very different relationship with their horses than we do in the UK. Travelling to a country where you will encounter a completely different culture and mentality means agreeing to accept these difference and also to respect them.
Arriving for the ride in good physical condition is the first step in ensuring a respectful exchange with the local population: your well-being speaks volumes, and much like a smile, can break down barriers right from the word go!
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
While at the Jalman Meadows camping ground, you will stay in 2-4 person yurts equipped with individual full bedding and a wood-burning stove. You will share a bathroom/ shower room - hot water is usually available. You will have your meals in a mess yurt on the campground. The camp also has a large library of books on Mongolian culture available to all visitors.
In Oulan Bator, you will stay in a 3* standard hotel in a double room with a private bathroom.
Vegetarian diets can be accommodated with advance notice.
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.
On the other hand, the country also plays host to 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 harsh and long (from October to April), with temperatures dropping to - 30° or -40°C in January and February. In the Gobi desert, it is not unusual to see snowfall up until April, and certain lakes remain frozen up until June; you will start to see the first signs of winter at around the end of September.
Summers in Mongolia are marked by a short rainy season, from mid-July to September, characterised by rain spells that are light and brief 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 in the summer months.
Winds are often strong, 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. The temperature differences between day and night are often significant; it is not unheard of, in spring and autumn, to 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.
- Sunhat for when not riding
- 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, wind or rain
- Warm hat for cold evenings/days
- Waterproof hood or cagoul
- Thermals in case of cold weather
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun or extra warmth
- Down jacket or gilet for cold evenings
- 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 or jodhpurs - 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 and washing in the river
- 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 warm 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
- Warm pyjamas
- No need to bring a sleeping bag but we recommend you bring a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth.
Other useful items
- Water-purification tablets
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Head torch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Toilet paper and a lighter to burn it after use
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for you rubbish
- 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) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea 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
- Throughout the ride, we ask you not to exceed 15kg of luggage per person so as not to over charge the yaks and logistics team responsible for carrying your luggage throughout the trip
- 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!
- 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 the UK 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 the UK with you
- Medical kit
- 1 pair of medium saddlebags
- Yurt for 2 or 3 people with individual beds
- Full bedding
- Yurt mess tent
- Bathroom tent with a WC and a shower with hot water
- Bottled water
- 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.
- Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
- Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
- Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
- Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
- Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
- Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.
Did you know?
Did you know?
The yurt is a traditional type of accommodation in Mongolia. Nomadic Mongolian people have been living in yurts for more than 5,000 years, and that is also where you will be living during this horse trek. Yurts are easily set up and taken down. They are extremely light and can easily be moved from one camp to another, transported by camels or yaks, still a very common mode of transportation to this day.