From the horse’s mouth
Wonders of Zavkhan
- The region is very remote and still relatively unknown and untouched
- Explore an astounding variety of landscapes, perfect for riders looking for a truly scenic adventure
- The chance to meet with the locals and learn about their culture
Day 1 1: EUROPE - ULAANBAATARFlight 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.
Day 2 2: ULAANBAATAR - No ridingYou are met by our local team at the airport. Transfer to your hotel before the beginning of your trip and lunch at the hotel. In the afternoon, venture into the wondrous and mysterious city, combining influences from the East and the West: Ulaan Baatar is a city in constant mutation, gradually switching from the nomadic life to a more sedentary lifestyle. Visit the National History Museum, followed by a tour of the Gandan Monastery that is still the biggest religious centre in Mongolia. This is your opportunity to learn about the history and the heritage of this fascinating country. In the evening, you will enjoy a show of traditional singing and dancing.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 3: ULAAN BATAAR - ULIASTAI - TELMEN LAKE - No ridingTouristic yurts campAfter a good night’s sleep, you are taken to the airport on time for your domestic flight to Uliastai. You land into the Zavhkan region, still relatively unknown and blessed with an incredible variety of landscapes. You are then taken north to your camp situated on the shores of Telmen Lake (approx. 3-4 hours drive).
Telmen Lake is a sacred lake, where many families come to pray, and you might come across the sacred stone heaps used as altars, called "ovoo". This is a fantastic place to learn about shamanism and animism that are strong in the region.
You meet with nomad families in their yurt: now is your chance to try out the local “cuisine”: specialties include a cured cheese called “aaruul” and the traditional milk tea, the “suutei tsai”.
Night at a yurt camp.
Day 4 4: TELMEN LAKE - 2 BUKH - 4-5 hours ridingCampsite MongoliaAfter your first night in the isolation of the steppe, you ride west, following a vast valley where the Takhilt river runs. The ground alternates between sandy stretches and grassland. Your camp tonight is in a beautiful place, a gorge situated between two rocky spurs called "2 bukh" (2 bulls), where a sand dune stands.
Night at camp.
Day 5 5: 2 BUKH - NURAMT CANYON - 5-6 hours ridingCampsite MongoliaThis morning you keep riding west across a sparsely populated land, although you might spot a few yurts. The area becomes more mountainous as you leave the steppe behind, and trees make their appearance. Dunes also start to appear. You set up your camp for the night in the Nuramt canyon.
Night at camp.
Day 6 6: NURAMT - GOL MOD - 4 - 6 hrs ridingCampsite MongoliaThe trail takes you to the Bor Khyar Erg, that stretches over a distance of 90 km. The Ulaagchin river runs through the dunes, creating beautiful green oases. Following the river, you turn south where sand, river and mountains come together in a flurry of colours and contrasts. The scenery is truly stunning! You make camp at the source of the Ulaagchin river amongst larch trees.
Night at camp.
Day 7 7: GOL MOD - UVUR ULAAGCHIN - 4 - 6 hrs ridingCampsite MongoliaA large valley nestled between the dunes and the steppe is where you ride this morning. The dark mountains that you can see from afar make for an interesting contrast. The yurts start to reappear and dot the green grassland. You follow the river towards your camp for the night.
Night at camp.
Day 8 8: ALONG THE UVUR ULAAGSHIN - 5-6 hours ridingCampsite MongoliaYou keep following the river for another day in the saddle in Mongolia. You will navigate across endless steppe and around dunes to reach your camp for the night.
Day 9 9: UVUR ULAAGCHIN - KHAR NUUR - 4-6 hrs ridingTouristic yurts campAfter crossing the Erg, you finally reach Khar Nuur lake, a beautiful lake famous for its deep blue waters. Nestled between the mountains and the sand dunes, it is a very scenic place, with an impressive display of contrasts. You ride along the shore to take in this stunning scenery before reaching your turistic camp, with lovely views over the lake. Tonight you will have the opportunity for a hot shower at the camp.
Day 10 10: KHAR NUUR - 3 - 4 hrs ridingTouristic yurts campThe morning is dedicated to exploring the area around Khar Nuur. Many families and their livestock spend the summer here. Some in your group might also be brave enough to swim in the cold waters of the lake. In the afternoon, you ride to higher grounds to enjoy beautiful views over the lake.
Day 11 11: KHAR NUUR - SENJIT KHAD - 4 - 6 hrs ridingCampsite MongoliaYou leave the blue lake behind to reach the mountains and the Senjit rock. The geology and erosion in the area has given birth to strange, misshapen shapes. The area is also famous for its marmots and herds of semi-wild horses.
Overnight at camp
Day 12 12: SENJIT KHAD - MUKHART - 4 - 6 hrs ridingCampsite MongoliaRiding back from the mountains, you reach the steppe and vast sandy stretches before you find the Mukhart oasis, a jewel nestled between the dunes. This is a stunning and fertile place, where you will encounter nomads and their herds.
Overnight at camp
Day 13 13: MUKHART - 3 - 4 hrs ridingYour day is spent around the source of the Mukhart river, in the Borkh Els dune. You will follow the river to its source, and enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds you.
In the afternoon, say your goodbyes to the team and horses to be taken to your hotel for the night, close to the Uliastai airport.
Day 14 14: MUKHART - ULIASTAI - ULAANBAATAR - No ridingEarly morning flight. You arrive in Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon, that is spent at your leisure.
Day 15 15: ULAANBAATARToday is a "buffer day": the domestic flights can be unreliable in Mongolia, and we have added this day to be sure you will be back in Ulaanbaatar on time for your flight tomorrow. If your flight from Uliastai was yesterday as planned, you will spend today in Ulaanbaatar. The morning is spent at your leisure. After lunch, you will be taken on a tour of the "Black Market", where you will find a variety of products. You will also stop by a factory that manufactures cashmere clothing. Back to the hotel for dinner and a good night's sleep.
Day 16 16: ULAANBAATAR - LONDONYou 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
- International flights are not included but can be booked for you upon request - please contact us for rates.
- Rates are per person, based on riders sharing tents and yurts, and twin rooms at hotels.
- The group is composed of between 5 and 10 international riders plus guides.
- Please note: the ride will also confirm for 4 riders on payment of a supplement of c. €180/£150 per person in June/September and €185/£160 in July and August. Once the group has reached 5 people, we will remove this supplement from your invoice and refund you if you have already paid it.
- All applicable transfers are included as per the itinerary, at set times. Private transfers can be organised and are around €30/£25 per car.
- If you sign up to the ride as a solo rider and there are no other riders likely to share your room, you will be charged a single room supplement of approx. €120/£105. You will then be reimbursed if a sharer is found for you at a later date.
- Internal flights between Ulaanbaatar and Uliastai are included in the price. Please note that this flight has a luggage limit of 15kg in the hold plus 5kg of hand luggage so please bear this in mind when packing.
- You can arrive on day before in Ulaanbaatar. Please contact us for rates.
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.
Local guide and team leader
Cook and horsemen
1 horse per rider
3 nights in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar, 1 night in a hotel in Uliastai
Traditional show in Ulaanbataar
Price doesn't include
Small group supplement
Minimum riding ability
Minimum riding ability
Weight limit: 85 kgs / 187 lbs / 13,3 st
Tacking ability and participation
Trip conditions and Requested experience
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 Mongolians relate to their horses in a different way to us.
Your belongings are transported by car.
Whilst the stirrup leathers are adjustable, riders who are tall may find that they are short in length and are recommended to take their own pair of leathers.
We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit.
- Nights in touristic yurt camps: 5-6 beds in a yurt, bathroom facilities and hot water.
- Nights in camp: two-man tents. Mattresses are provided but you need to take your own sleeping bag.
Breakfast is usually hearty.
Lunch is often hot when meeting the logistics truck, but sometimes a picnic.
Dinner is a full hot meal (soup, main course, dessert) and may well include lamb/mutton purchased from local nomads.
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.
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. From September you can expect cold nights, sometimes down to 0°C, 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
Please note that there is a weight limit of 15 kg (mainly due to the internal flight limitations). Pack carefully and sensibly: the following guide is here to give you an idea of what to bring. It is possible to bring more than 15kg and pay a supplement at the airport.
Soft bags are preferred as they are easier to fit into the back up vehicle
- 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
- Thermals (long or short sleeved)
- Long sleeved shirts provide protection from the sun and are an extra layer
- 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
- Lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- 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
- Sleeping bag. You need at least a comfort factor down to minus 5°C, but would recommend at least minus 8 or 10°C (especially outside of July/August)
- Sleeping bag liner - silk, cotton or fleece - adds an extra layer
- Pyjamas or tracksuits or thermals for sleeping in
Please remember it can get very cold at night, especially if you are travelling in September: pack accordingly.
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
- 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
- Please don't take a hard sided suitcase. Your luggage should be soft sided with a capacity of 60-80 litres. 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
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.
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.
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
Khan Uul District
Tél. : +1900-18-82 / +976-7
- Ambassade de France en Mongolie
3, avenue de la Paix
quartier 1 - district de Chingeltei PO Box 687
Tél. : +976 (11) 32 45 19
- Ambassade de Mongolie en France
5, avenue Robert-Schuman
Tél. : 01.46.05.28.12
Fax : 01 46 05 30 16
- Ambassade de Mongolie en Belgique
Avenue Besme 18
Tél. : +32 (0) 2 344 69 74
Fax : +32 (0) 2 344 32 15
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.
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.
Budget and money
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.
ATMs are available in Ulaanbaatar and most Mongolian province (aimag) capitals.
Telephone and jetlag
Central and Eastern Standard Time +0800 GMT
Western Standard Time + 0700 GMT
Did you know?
Did you know?
1. The Steppe: It is a
small type of Mongolian horse, but don't let its size fool you!It is also the
fastest type, making it the best one for riding.
2. The Forest: Is the largest and heaviest type of horse from all four. They have great resistance and can be ridden for long hours.
3. The Mountain: They
are mid-sized and have a similar body structure to the Altai Horse.
This Mongolian horse type is very sure-footed and balanced. Perfect for mountain trails with difficult ascents and descents.
4. The Gobbi: The smallest out of the four types. They are desert horses, so they are quite resilient to extreme climate changes and forward-going.
Enjoy riding a Mongolian horse on your horseback vacation in Mongolia.