About the challenge
Mongolia stirs up visions of wide open landscapes, wild horses galloping across the steppes and a nomadic life little changed since the times of Genghis Khan. As we ride we witness the traditional herding lifestyle of the Khalkh Mongols. We follow tracks through valleys and mountains, crossing rivers and passing round felt gers before finishing our journey 200kms later at Kharkhorin, the historic centre of Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire. This is a rare opportunity to experience the beautiful, untouristed landscapes of the ‘land of blue sky’.
Day 1: Depart London
Day 2: Arrive Ulan Bataar
Arrive in Mongolia’s capital city of Ulan Bataar, transfer to hotel.
Day 3: Transfer to start of trip
Drive approx 11-12 hours
After breakfast we meet our transport and travel out into the countryside. We camp at a scenic ger camp set in a grove at the base of the mountains. Overnight ger camp.
Day 4: Camp - Bogooch
Ride approx 6 – 7 hours
We pass by traditional white ‘ger’ dwellings of nomadic families and their herds of yaks and cashmere goats, then ride up to Bogooch Pass at an altitude of 1800m. After crossing the pass we descend into the wide valley of the Tseterleg River. There are many families living in this fertile valley. We camp by the river on the far side of the cliffs. Overnight camp.
Day 5: Camp –Ultiin Davaa Pass
Ride approx 5 – 6 hours
We follow the Tseterleg River for a while, and then bear right towards the pass. We follow a muddy track through pine forest to reach Ultiin Davaa pass (2200m). Riding down the other side, we pass an area where gold is being mined from the mountains. We cross a wide river and set up our camp near the local yak herders. Overnight camp.
Day 6: Camp – Orkhon Waterfall
Ride approx 6 hours
We ride along the beautiful valley bottom, with steep rocky cliffs towering to one side and forested hills on the other. Many river crossings await us as the Orkhon river zig-zags its way along the valley. We may see ground squirrels darting about as we approach and brightly-coloured ruddy shelduck on the river. The scenery becomes more dramatic as we pass through an area that was once actively volcanic. We camp near the Orkhon waterfall. Overnight camp.
Day 7: Orkhom Waterfall -Batulzii
Ride approx 6 hours
From the waterfall we turn northwards and ride through the rolling hills, following the general path of the Orkhon River. In the distance we can see the village of Batulzii, one of the few signs of permanent habitation that we encounter on our trip. Our riverside camp is in a beautiful spot renowned for good fishing. Overnight camp.
Day 8: Batulzii – Orkhom River
Ride approx 6 hours
We continue riding through the hills, where nomadic families herd their animals, mainly horses and cattle. The scenery is beautiful and we see few other signs of present or past habitation other than an old cemetery. We set up camp on the open plain beside the River Orkhon. Overnight camp.
Day 9: Orkhon River - Kharkhorin
Ride approx 6 hours
We continue across the open steppe, following the river, until we reach Kharkhorin, the site of Genghis Khan’s capital in the thirteenth century. If time allows we will visit the famous Erdene Zuu monastery. The monastery was the first centre of Buddhism in Mongolia, built on the site where the great Khan’s palace once stood. We stay the night in a ger camp on the edge of the small town. Overnight ger camp.
Day 10: Kharkhorin - Ulan Bataar
Drive approx 6-8 hours
Leaving our horses and camp behind us, we leave early for the drive back to Ulan Bataar. We will have time to look around the city before our celebration meal and head to the airport for our flight home. (Dinner not included).
Day 11: Fly Ulan Bataar - London
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
The cost includes scheduled flights London – Ulan Bataar – London, 3* hotel in Ulan Bataar, all camping equipment except sleeping bag and sleeping mat, and all food other than two meals. There is full support with local guides and cooks as well as Discover Adventure leaders.
The cost does not include personal travel insurance, airline fuel supplement charged by the airline (capped at £200 by Discover Adventure), two meals, tips for local crew, Mongolian entry visa and any entrance feees to optional sites or attractions. A maximum of £100.00 is recommended for personal expenses.
Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights for you), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.
We camp in two-man tents when on the ride; in the ger camps we sleep in gers which generally accommodate 2-4 people. The ger camps have good facilities with hot water. The 3* hotel in Ulan Bataar is twin-share with ensuite facilities.
All food and accommodation is included other than two meals as specified in the itinerary. The food is good and there is plenty of it.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s leading the trek, looking after camp or making your lunch! At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Vehicles take the group to the start of the horse trek and meet us at the end. Our luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by support vehicles to camp. It is essential that your luggage is carried in either a soft expedition-style kit bag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. In addition you should bring a small daypack for items needed during the day, as there will be no access to your main luggage until camp each night.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
The horses will be the responsibility of the Mongolian horsemen that travel with the group, but you can get involved with the upkeep and care as much or as little as you want. The horsemen will also tack up the horses for you and take care of them in the evenings. You can involve yourself or just take it easy. You will be riding western style on Mongolian or Russian saddles. You should have a good level of confidence in the saddle and around horses. You do not need to be an accomplished rider but some experience is essential. You will be spending hours in the saddle each day so we recommend your muscles are accustomed to riding!
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through remote mountain landscapes and could be exposed to bad weather at any time. The information below gives you an idea of the climate, but be prepared for all weathers and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
Enjoy the Experience!
For most people, the main attraction of travelling to a different country is to see new sights and enjoy new experiences. Sometimes those new experiences can make life harder or more inconvenient than you may like, such as toilet hygiene or different food, or simply a different attitude to solving problems. This is all part of the challenge you are signing up for! We can guarantee that coming face-to-face with experiences outside your normal ‘comfort zone’ will help you bond with your fellow companions and provide you with plenty of things to laugh about! A sense of humour and sense of adventure are two of the most important things to bring with you!
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through. AITO, our Trade Association has recognised the work we do in this area and has awarded us 5 stars as a Responsible Tour Operator.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up. Please see our website for more details.
We actively encourage all our customers to offset any emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them. Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.