In far west of Mongolia there lie a land of snow-capped mountains, clear lakes, vast deserts and green pasturelands. The region has always been a frontier land populated by various ethnic peoples: Durvut, Torgut, Bayad, Uriankhai, Zakhchin, Myangad and Uuld. Each of them owns a rich cultural heritage. Apart from them stand the Kazakhs, the only Muslims of Mongolia and the largest national minority. Their culture is unique and exceptionally authentic. On this tour you will ride side by side with local nomads and get a firsthand experience of their ways of life, of their culture and routines.
All accommodation (twin shared), all transfers including arrival & departure, internal flights, indicated meals (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner), visits & national park fees, camping equipment, English speaking guide, expedition cook with an assistant, riding guides, horse hire
Travel insurance, excess baggage fee on internal flights, meals not indicated, sleeping bags and pads, drinks, gratuities
Day 1: Arrival to Ulaanbaatar
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital of Mongolia and transfer to a centrally located 4 star hotel. Afternoon guided city tour will introduce you to the highlights of the city: the Gandan Temple - city's main Buddhist center, the central city square with a grand statue of Genghis Khan and the Zaisan Memorial, an elevated hill on the city's edge providing a panoramic view of UB. Then choose to visit one or two museums from the following: Museum of National History introducing Mongolia's history from early humans to modern era, Natural History Museum with a unique collection of dinosaur fossils, Choijin Lama or State Oracle Residence-museum displaying best samples of Buddhist artwork and religious masks. The Winter palace of Bogd Khan showcasing rare statues of Buddhist deities and items of personal use of this last theocratic ruler of Mongolia is also worth considering. A show of traditional music, throat singing and contortion at 6PM will be followed by a welcome dinner. (hotel/D)
Day 2: Flight to Khovd, drive to Namarjin valley, base of Tsambagarav Mt.
Early morning transfer for a 3 hour flight to Khovd town in western Mongolia. Upon arrival meet with the support team of guide(s), cook(s) and driver(s). Picnic lunch and drive north to Tsambagarav Mt. In about 4 hours of driving across desert steppe dotted with white yurts of herding locals and their large flocks of goats and sheep, arrive to Namarjin valley. Towering above the valley stands the snow-capped massif of Tsambagarav Mountain. Local riding guides will visit us at the camp i n the evening to say “hello”. These local men will accompany you throughout the riding tour and share secrets of their survival. (B,L,D).
Day 3: Acclimatization ride in Namarjin valley
After breakfast a horse will be selected for you to suit your riding experience. Riding the sturdy Mongolian horses is a style quite different from that of a western horse riding. Broken in at the age of 2 or 3 they listen to a different set of commands and, respond to a different behavior on the side of the rider.
Day 4: Horse Riding to Sukhait Mountain
Today we ride to 3900m Sukhait Mt. Each day the support team will drive ahead and serve lunch at an agreed spot and then carry on to prepare your camp and dinner. The scenery is comprised of green pasturelands and clear lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains. (B,L,D).
Day 5: Horse Riding to Duruu lake
Ride further south to reach Duruu lake. After a short descend we will see the lake glowing with blue and green next to 3700m high Mara range. Down in the camp you will be served a delicacy of the Kazakh cuisine - "besbarmak". Literally meaning "five fingers" this is a delicious assortment of stewed meat, vegetables and flour eaten with hands. Water temperature allowing you may dip in the Duruu lake. (B,L,D).
Days 6,7,8: Horse Riding to Holly Eagle Mountain
For 3 days we ride horses along the 4000m Blue Goat mountain range. Wide river valleys dotted with yurts are to be traversed. Nomadic yurt is a simple but reliable dwelling, perfect in extreme weather conditions and suitable for frequent moves from one place to another. Its present design has changed little for the last 2500 years. These western frontiers with China are populated by various ethnic tribes who had freely roamed across boundaries of China, Russia and Mongolia until 1920-ies when official border lines between the 3 countries were demarcated.
Days 9,10,11: Horse Riding to Buyant river
Back in the saddle and we enter the Eagle river valley. Many nomads chose the banks of this swift mountain river as their summer camp for the abundance of grazing and water. 2 over 3000m passes are to be crossed and for some part of the route we ride on canyon floors with over 100 meter high cliff walls. Finally we leave mountains behind and reach vast arid plains. (B,L,D).
Day 12: Last riding day
Our last horse riding day and we gallop across the plains surrounding the Khovd town to reach a visitor camp located just outside of the town. After saying “good bye” to our riding guides we enjoy hot showers and take a well deserved rest. Tonight is your chance to sleep in a Mongolian ger. (B,L,D).
Day 13: Return flight to Ulaanbaatar
We will fly to Ulaanbaatar from the Khovd airport. On arrival transfer to your hotel. After hot showers and some rest we gather for a farewell dinner. (B,D).
Day 14: Leisure day in Ulaanbaatar
A spare day for shopping and self-exploration around the town. You may refer to recommendations of our team in order to make most out of it. (B).
Day 15: Departure
Transfer to airport for your return flight home. (B).
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