cantering across mongolian plains
riding with nomads in Mongolia
crossing rivers on horseback in Mongolia
exploring Mongolia on horseback
fast riding in Mongolia
spending time with nomads in Mongolia
Gandantegchinlen Monastery on horseriding holiday in Mongolia
experience nomadic culture in Mongolia
scenery on horse riding holiday in Mongolia
camping in Mongolia
tents on transmongolia horse trek
ger camp on transmongolian horse trek

This is an epic adventure trail over 20 days in central Mongolia, passing through some of the wildest and most remote scenery, progressing through areas that are unreachable by road. Each night the group will set up camp somewhere new, allowing riders to experience Mongolia in the traditional nomadic way and reach places that are rarely seen by other travellers.

The trek passes through the Arkhangai region to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nur (the ‘White Lake’) and on to Lake Khovsgol in the north of Mongolia. Ride over mountains and through narrow valleys covered in forests and criss-crossed with rivers, and canter across the open plains. Some of the areas travelled are completely wild and uninhabited, while others will be playing host to nomads and their herds. Most of the paths are inaccessible by vehicle so this is truly the best way to explore the heart of Mongolia.

This holiday also includes a visit to the Bayan Gobi desert with camel riding, a day touring the sites of Ulan Bator and a day spent with a nomad family. This is a fantastic chance to be a part of the traditional Mongolian culture, and you can spend the day getting involved with the day to day activities of a nomadic herdsman. Accommodation is in yurts and tented camps, with equipment carried in the back-up vehicles. The horses used on this trip are owned by the local herdsmen and are sure-footed and willing. The opportunity for galloping in the wide-open Steppe make this a great trail for adventurous, experienced riders.

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Day 1
Welcome to Mongolia! You will be met in Arrivals at Ulan Bator airport at 11:30 by an English-speaking translator and taken to your hotel. In the afternoon visit Gandantegchinlen Monastery, a Chinese-style Tibetan Buddhist monastery whose name translates as ‘The Great Place of Complete Joy’, and the National Museum of Mongolian History. Dinner and overnight at Dream Hotel or similar (lunch not included today).

Day 2
After breakfast we drive to Khogno Khan Park in the Bayan (Rich) Gobi Desert. Here, the grasslands meet sandy dunes before the harshness of the desert takes over. Lunch at a gercamp. We have the opportunity to ride camels in the dunes, which is an experience in itself, before a visit to the Ovgon Khiid Monastery. Dinner and overnight in a yurt camp (2 to 4 riders per yurt).

Days 3 to 7
After breakfast, we start the first part of this epic horse riding adventure in Mongolia! For the next 5 days, we will ride between cliffs and dunes, along the Khogno Tarna Sacred Mountain. This region is visited by very few tourists, as they stay in the southern part of the Bayan Gobi Desert, where the road and gercamps makes it easy for travellers to stop. We are heading north, keeping the cliffs of the mysterious Khogno Tarna Mountain on our right. This mountain is full of historic legends, as it hosted the large Ovgon Khiid Buddhist monastery, which was destroyed and all the monks killed by the troops of Galdan Boshigt Khan in 1640. The temple was rebuilt later, but destroyed once again totally during the communist regime in 1937. At the end of the communist period, in the mid-1990's, the temple has been rebuilt again, and we will have the opportunity to visit it on our first day on horseback. We will also enjoy another riding experience with a Camel ride in the dunes of Bayan Gobi. These 5 days in the saddle are full of variety, as different ecosystems meet here: steppe, taiga, desert, rivers and the impressive granite formations of the mountain. So we can find a fauna and a flora that are characteristic of these ecosystems, as well as wonderful landscapes. This part of the ride ends (eventually after a short road transfer depending on the local conditions) close to Ugii Lake, famous for its migratory birds. We spend nights in tents. Shower tent to share avaiable.

Day 8
After breakfast, we drive East to reach the departure point of the second part of our horse riding tour in Arkhangai region. We will enjoy a Picnic lunch en route. We cross the Khangai mountains and arrive at the yurts of the nomads who will guide us during this tour and who breed the horses we will ride. This night, we will sleep in a "guest-yurt" close to our nomad family's yurts.

Days 9 to 17
After breakfast with our nomadic family, we start our horse riding adventure in Mongolia.During the next 9 days, we will ride in the Arkhangai region, following a Northwest direction to Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, the "White Lake", the Chuluut and Suman rivers canyons, Khorgo Volcano ...This ride is a real horseback adventure as we will reach a different place every day. On the first days, we ride along the banks of the Tamir river, which is very mighty during spring and summertime. The Tamir Valley is very green and wooded. Some of the poplars in the region are older than 300 years. We cross densely forested mountain ranges, virtually uninhabited. We immerge in wild Mongolia, very different for the steppes of the Orkhon Valley. The ride goes on in more open spaces, offering many opportunities for nice canters. We meet many yurts and herds belonging to nomads. We also ride along the Chuluut canyon, dug by the river in the lava from Khorgo volcano. The basalt canyon is a hundred miles long and forms a spectacular scenery. We spend all nights in tents.

Day 18
After breakfast, road transfer to Karakorum, the ancient capital of Mongolian Empire. Here we will visit of Erdene Zuu Monastery. Dinner and night at a yurt camp (2 to 4 riders per yurt, with single beds, showers in a separate building).

Day 19
After breakfast, we start a long day on the road (6 - 7 hours) to return to Ulan Bator. In the late afternoon, you will attend a show with traditional dances, music and songs from Mongolia, especially the amazing Khoomei. Transfer to our 2* hotel in the city center. This hotel is perfectly located 200 m from Peace Avenue between Sukhbaatar Square and the State Department Store, which gives you a large choice of restaurants and the opportunity of last minute shopping at the department store which remains open late. No dinner included, to let you choose among the varied dining opportunities offered by Ulan Bator. Night at Dream hotel or similar (2* - twin or triple room).

Day 20
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport for flights departing after 07:00.

 

Transfers: Airport transfers included in the price are from Ulan Bator airport at 11.30 (please book a flight arriving before 11:05) on Day 1 of the package and to the airport for flights leaving after 08.00 on day 20. Transfers at other times or from other locations must be arranged and paid for separately, to arrive at Dream Hotel for 14.00 on Day 1. Please check your flight schedule with us before booking your tickets.

 

 

Single Supplements
Single rooms are only available for 3 nights on this ride, at the hotel in Ulan Bator on nights 1, 18 and 19. The single supplement charge is payable if you are unwilling to share a room on these nights with anyone else.

 

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

The Mongolian horse is small, with particularly developed forequarters and a short and massive neck. Compared to its size, the Mongolian horse is very strong and very tough. The horses are almost never shod, except in winter in the Lake Khovsgol region, in order to fix spikes to horses that pull the sleigh on the frozen lake. Almost all colours are possible, including those with very old signs such as zebra stripes. Mongolian nomads do not have a name for their horses, they call them by their colour and they have dozens of different terms to describe the subtleties of possible colours of their horses.

The Mongolian horse has a docile temper, despite spending months of freedom in the steppe it shows very quiet behaviour as soon as its owner catches it for the ride.

The traditional Mongolian saddle has a short base and high pommel and cantle. They are ridden very differently to the Western style, you do not kick to increase speed, simply use voice commands. Reins are held in one hand and the ponies are steered by neck-reining. In trot and canter riders should stand in their stirrups as much as possible.

Rider requirements

Riders must be confident in walk, trot and canter. This is an adventurous ride and riders will be required to participate in horse care and tacking up. Riders must be fit enough for long hours in the saddle. The minimum age for this ride is 12 years.

We strongly recommend that you wear a riding helmet in compliance with the standards in force in Europe or in your country of origin, as the practice of riding in Mongolia presents specific risks in addition to those related to the usual practice of riding as you know it.
We would like to draw your attention to the following points:
- This ride takes place in remote areas, where the rescue teams - even organized by your repatriation assistance company - can need several hours to reach you.
- There are very few hospitals outside Ulan Bator, and they lack efficient equipment.
- The low level of road infrastructure considerably extends any time of transport to a hospital.
- Mongolian horses live free and even if they are trained, they may have surprising reactions compared to the horses to which you are accustomed because of their strong instincts.
- The saddles used are adapted to the characteristics of the Mongolian horse and are therefore different from the ones you are accustomed to, requiring a period of adaptation during which the risk of fall is higher.
A limited selection of hats are available but MUST be requested before departure as these are not kept at the ride start point.

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

On this holiday you will spend 3 nights in a hotel, 1 night in a guest yurt, 4 nights in yurt camps and 11 nights camping in tents.


Guest-yurts by nomadic families: This accommodation is a unique opportunity to share and discover the traditional way of life of the nomadic herders in Mongolia. 2 or 3 guest-yurts are set close to the the family's yurt, surrounded by the free-roaming horses, yacks, sheep and goats. A guest-yurt will contain 4 or 5 single beds heated with a traditional stove and meals are served either in the family's yurt or outside, weather permitting. Your host will prepare traditional Mongolian dishes and it can be interesting to see how women cook only with the central stove of the yurt. For your comfort, a shower tent is provided close to the yurts where water can be heated on the stove, however please be aware that a shower yurt is not always available. Dry toilets are also at your disposal. You will be offered some tea mixed with milk and salt. You will soon get used to it, but you will also find "Lipton" tea in the yurt (ger) camps.


Yurt camps (Ger camps): These are the most comfortable accommodation in Mongolian countryside. You will sleep in traditional yurts (called gers in Mongolia), furnished with single beds (from 2 to 5 beds / yurt), small tables and a stove. It is very difficult - or impossible - to have single yurts in most of the camps, so be ready to share your yurt with other travellers from the group. Some camps offer yurts with double beds, but it can not be guaranteed. You can find showers, washbasins and toilets in a separate building and a restaurant provides breakfast and meals. Yurt camps are the most comfortable accommodation available in Mongolia, but don't expect luxury: hot water in the showers is often unpredictable, electrical standards are "unique" and food at the restaurants rely on good supply conditions due to their remote situation. Yurt camps offer simple international food, adapted to their different clients: Mongolian people and tourists from European, American and other Asian countries (China, Korea, Japan).


Camping: Recent camping equipment, complying with Western standards of safety and quality, are used for your comfort. All of the camping and riding gear is carefully maintained and checked after each trip, and renewed as necessary. French Decathlon tents are used for 1 or 2 people and single tents can be booked at no extra charge to anyone who registers alone (on request before departure and subject to availability). The tents include a self-inflating mattress or good foam mattress which are especially thick for your comfort. There is a large communal tent which is used for hosting - there are table and chairs for meals and socialising. The logistics vehicle also brings the table and the chairs for the picnic lunches (except in very remote regions, where pack yaks are used). A "shower tent" is also provided. The shower water can be heated on demand on the campfire.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.

General information:

All British and European passport holders must have a Mongolian visa. A Mongolian visa (for up to 30 days stay) is normally valid for six months from the date of issue and should be obtained from your nearest Mongolian Embassy before travelling. Your passport must be valid for more than six months after the date you intend to enter Mongolia.

Mongolian embassy in the UK can be contacted at:
Address: 7 Kensington Court, London W8 5DL, Telephone: (020) 7937 0150, Email: office@embassyofmongolia.co.uk Website: http://www.embassyofmongolia.co.uk/

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives travel advice on 0207 008 0232/0233 or at www.fco.gov.uk.

The British Embassy in Mongolia can be found at: 30 Enkh Taivny Gudamzh, (P O Box 703), Ulaanbaatar 13, Mongolia
Telephone: (976) (11) 458133
Email: britemb@mongol.net
Office Hours Local Time:
Mon-Thurs: 0830-1300 & 1400-1700, Fri: 0830-1330
Website: www.britishembassy.gov.uk/mongolia

Climate Summary

Ulan Bator (Ulaanbaatar) has a continental climate with dry winters and short cool summers.

Climate Chart
Health

For up to date information on specific health concerns please contact the Medical Advisors For Travellers Abroad. Their website can be found at www.masta.org. You should also consult your G.P.

Health (ride specific)

For most nationalities, vaccinations are not mandatory. We recommend, however, to be up to date for usual vaccinations (tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis ...).

Drink only bottled water and avoid raw fruits and vegetables.

It is important to be physically fit to undertake a trip to Mongolia, because some areas are very remote.

Always take your usual medications in sufficient quantities and place them in your hand luggage to be sure to have them in case of lost luggage.

Electricity

Electricity is 220 volts (U.K is 230) and most appliances can be plugged in with appropriate adaptors.
Your hosts now have an invertor which runs off the vehicle battery and produces 230V, into which any UK mains electric appliance can be plugged (good for charging camera, ipod etc). There is also a battery charger, which can charge ordinary rechargeable AA and AAA batteries.

Film and Camera Equipment

Most yurt camps have electricity and you can charge phones and cameras in the evening. There will be no electricity in the camping section so bring spare batteries and a solar charger to keep you powered up.

Packing List

Summer in Central Asia is hot during the day but cold at night, so you must be ready to face any situation!
Dress comfortably and relaxed, but be careful not to offend the sensibilities of your local hosts.
We recommend you bring the following equipment (in a big soft travel bag, please avoid hard suitcases):

Riding breeches,
Paddock boots or hiking boots with half-chaps or full-chaps. Avoid plastic riding boots as you have to be comfortable if you need to walk,
Riding hat or helmet STRONGLY ADVISED,
Riding gloves,
Sweatshirt,
Shirts or t-shirts (long sleeves protect better from sun and mosquitoes),
Pullover, fleece sweaters or fleece jacket,
Warm coat and windbreaker,
Raincoat,
Rain trousers,
Comfortable trousers,
Shorts,
Warm underwear for the night,
Quick-drying socks,
Comfortable shoes for non-riding activities,
Hat or cap,
Warm hat,
Swimming-suit,
Scarf (against the dust and wind…),
Personal toilet bag,
Towel,
High protection sun screen and lipstick,
Soothing drops for the eyes,
Mosquito repellent,
Tissue/toilet paper and wipes,
Personal medication (muscular ache, diarrhoea, sunburn…),
Soap and shampoo (biodegradable if possible),
Antibacterial product for hands,
Sleeping bag (comfort temperature -5°C),
Sleeping bag liner,
Pocket knife and lighter,
Headlamp,
Good sunglasses,
Camera + batteries + powerbank,
Binoculars,
Ear plugs,
Electric adaptor if needed,
Passport + visa (if needed),
Insurance documents,
Photocopies of important documents,
Small backpack for day visits,
Glasses/contact lenses as necessary (spares are advisable),
Large rubbish bag for dirty clothes.

As weather in Mongolia can change very quickly during the day, and is always a bit chilly at night because of the altitude, we suggest that you take clothes according to the “layering system”.
1.Base layer - Worn next to the skin, creating a thin layer of warm air against the body, helps to wick moisture/sweat vapor from the skin to regulate body temperature. Can be worn alone in warm conditions.
2.Midlayer - Worn over the base layer to help trap in body heat (usually polar fleece jumper).
3.Outer layer - Protects you against wind and rain.
Layering your clothing will help you to keep warm, dry and comfortable through varying conditions, allowing you to add or remove
layers depending on how you feel and the conditions you’re in.
Keep in mind that your clothes have to be large: the air between the layers will keep you warm, so don’t take too small sizes.

Programmes

This is a 20 day/19 night programme with set departures departing every Saturday between May and September.

Departure Dates

2020: Runs every Monday from May 4 to 7 Sept (subject to availability, please speak to your travel advisor)
Confirmed departures: June 1

Pricing
No single supplement payable if willing to share with someone of same sex. Should you wish to book a single room, please see supplement price below.


Single rooms are only available for 3 nights on this ride, at the hotel in Ulan Bator on nights 1, 18 and 19. The single supplement charge is payable if you are unwilling to share a room on these nights with anyone else.


No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description £
201920d/19n11double pp2,129
201920d/19n11supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders265
201920d/19n11single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator105
202020d/19n13double pp2,179
202020d/19n13supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders265
202020d/19n13single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator71
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description
201920d/19n11double pp2,479
201920d/19n11supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders299
201920d/19n11single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator119
202020d/19n13double pp2,479
202020d/19n13supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders299
202020d/19n13single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator80
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description $
201920d/19n11double pp2,935
201920d/19n11supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders345
201920d/19n11single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator145
202020d/19n13double pp2,825
202020d/19n13supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders345
202020d/19n13single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator92
No of   
days/nights
Riding days Product item description SEK
201920d/19n11double pp27,275
201920d/19n11supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders3,299
201920d/19n11single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator1,319
202020d/19n13double pp27,275
202020d/19n13supplement per person for a group of 2-3 riders3,299
202020d/19n13single supplement pp for 3 nights hotel in Ulan Bator879
Other Information

How to establish contact with a nomadic family

Simple tips will help you, especially with the children;
- Be creative, do not stay in a role of simple spectator, get involved: for example, if you take some paper and coloured pencils, do not distribute them to the children as a Santa Claus, sit with them and draw too. You'll be guaranteed some giggles when you will compare your drawings! You can also try origami which will amaze the children and their and parents.

- Learn simple magic tricks before leaving, your success is guaranteed, in the evening around the stove!

- Ask your guide to teach you how to play jacks and other traditional games for the evenings in the yurt with your nomadic friends.

- Dare to sing, the Mongols adore it and the evening can end in a crazy karaoke!!!

- Ask the women if you can help them to milk animals, to prepare the meal...

- Ask the men if you can help them with the herds...

Above all, be curious and open minded, try as much as possible to be an actor instead of a spectator, so that this journey turns into a real human adventure for you, reinventing the simplicity and the happiness to be together...

Other Country Information

Mongolia is a huge landlocked country, more than six times the size of the UK, sandwiched between Russia and China. It is also one of the highest countries in the world, with an average elevation of 1580m. Mongolia can be divided into six distinct zones including desert, steppe, mountain and taiga. The southern third of Mongolia is dominated by the Gobi Desert.

The name 'Mongolia' has always stirred up visions of the untamed - Genghis Khan, camels wandering the Gobi Desert and wild horses galloping across the steppes. Even today, outside of Ulaan Baatar you may get the feeling you've stepped into another century rather than another country.

Mongolia is seven or eight hours ahead of GMT depending on which part of the country you are in. They use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

The major religion is Tibetan Buddhism.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Ulan Bator
Transfer:
2020: included from Ulan Bator airport at 10:30, or local hotel at 14:00. Return transfers included for flights departing after 07:00
Flight Guide:
Ulan Bator (ULN)
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