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13 Day Horse Riding Adventure Holiday in the Legendary Orkhon Valley, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Spectacular Horse Riding Tour in Mongolia

The Orkhon Valley was inscribed by the UNESCO in the World Heritage List due to its great Nomadic History. Many great Nomadic Empires had their base and even their capital in this valley, influencing world history from the nomadic steppes. Now, imagine riding through this valley where hundreds and thousands of years before you, the armies of the Uyghur Empire rode. Even the great Genghis Khan camped in the Orkhon Valley with his forces. Nomadic & Nature Travel Mongolia's partner NGO the "National Nature Wildlife Conservation Society" works since 2013 on a Joint Project to establish the "Mongolian Nature and Wildlife Photography and Filming Archive". Therefore, they make donations from travel revenue showing social responsibility. By booking your Mongolian tour with them, you will contribute to the protection and conservation of the Mongolian nature and wildlife for future generations, raise awareness and improve education.

Key information

  • Rider weight limit: not more than 95 kilograms / 209 pounds
  • Tack type: Mongolian
  • Horse breed: Mongolian Short Horse

Meet the instructors

Dembereldorj & Bayarjavkhlan
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Highlights

  • Boating in Ugii Lake for birdwatching
  • Watch wild horses in Hustai National Park
  • 7 days with horse riding activity exploring the legendary Orkhon Valley
  • Visit Khugnu Khan Mountains - a historic mountain in Mongolia
  • Ulaanbaatar city and Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue tours
  • Transportation in Russian minivans or Japanese jeeps
  • Full board meals and water provided
  • 12 nights accommodation

Styles


12 days with instruction in English
The organizer also speaks: German, Mongolian
Group size: Minimum of 2 participants
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Accommodation

When in Ulaanbaatar, you will stay in hotels. Hotels in Mongolia are star-rated by international standard, from one star to five stars. A 4-star hotel is just like any typical same standard hotels in Europe, or better: private bathrooms with tubs, TV, central air conditioning, direct long-distance calls, restaurants service meals around-the-clock, post, shops, sauna, fitness, commercial center and beauty parlor are also available.

While on the tour, you will be staying in tourist camps. It is nice to stay in said camps after hours on the gravel “highways” of the countryside. Most of the tourist camps are equipped with the Mongolian traditional dwelling “Ger” for the guest’s accommodation. The ger is a very convenient dwelling since it is simple to build and easy to dismantle as well. The dome-shaped housing is constructed with a wooden skeleton a felt cover and fabric on the outside. The Gers are heated by a stove and furnished with traditional wooden beds (with full-sized mattresses 137x190 centimeters) or hotel standard size beds with clean sheets, comforters, pillows, and blankets.

Normally, two to three beds are in one Ger. If the client prefers to stay alone in a Ger, there will be additional charges. The camp provides a restaurant/bar, toilets like you know from home and washing facilities such as a shower. The numbers of low-impact eco Ger camps are increasing. Since 2014, many camp owners started to turn their camps into environmentally friendly concepts. Nomadic & Nature Travel Mongolia prefers cooperating with Ger camps that follow these core responsibilities and are able to provide the best services for their clients.

Program

Why this tour?

An advantage of this trip is that you can travel through different zones while enjoying the vast open spaces with multiple natural contrasts within several days. It will approximately take 4-7 hours driving from one destination to the next. If requested, you will stop on the way and you will be granted enough time for photographs or just a small pause. 4WD vehicles, mostly Russian minivans or Japanese jeeps will be used to take you through the infinite steps.

Normally, 2-3 people will be in one jeep with their luggage. 7 people fit in the minivan with their luggage. Self-evidently, all of the vehicles are insured and well prepared for the long trip. In the case of any damages on the vehicle, the drivers will prove their excellent mechanical knowledge, based on many years of experience, and do the repairs.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar

Check in at the hotel. Unpacking and getting rested. After lunch, visit the Natural History Museum and Gandantegchinlen Monastery. Back to the hotel.

Day 2: Drive to Ugii lake

Ugii lake is a freshwater lake in central Mongolia. The lake, designated as a Ramsar Site of International Importance, is known for its fish and for birdlife. It is a stopover point for migrating waterbirds of the family Anatidae. Almost half the lake is less than three meters deep. Ger camp and rent a boat.

Day 3: Horse trekking to KhushuuTsaidam

Horse riding day and ger camp. The Orkhon inscriptions are two memorial installations erected by the Gokturks written in Old Turkic alphabet in the early 8th century in the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia. They were erected in the honor of two Turkic princes, Kul Tigin and his brother Bilge Khagan.

The inscriptions, in both Chinese and Old Turkic, relate the legendary origins of the Turks, the golden age of their history, their subjugation by the Chinese, and their liberation by Bilge Khagan. In fact, according to one source, the inscriptions contain "rhythmic and parallelistic passages" that resemble that of epics.

Day 4: Ancient Capital Kharkhorin, ErdeneZuu Monastery, Kharkhorin Museum

Drive to ancient capital Kharkhorin and ger camp. Kharkhorin is located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon River which is included within UNESCO's World Heritage Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The location marks the easternmost foothills of the Khangai Mountains, where they meet the rolling steppe of central Mongolia.

Nearby are the ruins of the ancient town of Karakorum (also known as Kharkhorum or Qara Qorum) which, for a short time, served as the capital of the Mongol Empire under Ogedei Khan. Another Kharkhorin landmark isErdene Zuu monastery and its famous phallic rock.

The Erdene Zuu Monastery is probably the earliest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. Approximately 2 km north-east from the center of Kharkhorin and adjacent to the ancient city of Karakorum.

Abtai Sain Khan, the ruler of the Khalkh Mongols and grandfather of Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, ordered the construction of the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585 after his meeting with the 3rd Dalai Lama and the declaration of Tibetan Buddhism as the state religion of Mongolia. Stones from the nearby ruins of the ancient Mongol capital of Karakorum were used in its construction. Planners attempted to create a surrounding wall that resembled a Tibetan Buddhist rosary featuring 108 stupas. The monastery's temple walls were painted, and the Chinese-style roof covered with green tiles.

Day 5-9: Horse trekking to Shankh Monastery - Tuvkhun Monastery - UlaanTsutgalan waterfall

Horse trekking days. Day 5-6. Shankh Monastery located in Ovorkhangai Province, Central Mongolia, 25 kilometers southeast of Kharkhorin city, is one of Mongolia’s oldest and most historically significant monasteries originally founded in 1647 by Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, or spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism for the Khalkha in Outer Mongolia.

The monastery belongs to the Gelupa, or Yellow Hat Sect, school of Tibetan Buddhism. Its main temple is famous for its seven Kalachakra Mandalas which portray all 722 Kalachakra deities, the only ones of their kind in Mongolia. Overnight at a Ger camp.

Horse trekking days. Day 7-8. The first reincarnation in Mongolian Buddhism, Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, chose this area as a place for meditation because of its uniqueness in 1648 when he was just 10 years old. He ordered the construction of a small, stone house on a 30-meter tall rock hill. In that house, he created his sculptures and paintings. This place was forgotten about during the war but was restored in 1773 as Tuvkhun monastery. Overnight at a Ger camp.

Horse trekking days Day 8-9. The Orkhon Waterfall flows for remarkable 1120 km to the North and lies in the historically significant Orkhon Valley, UNESCO World Heritage site. The waterfall was formed by a combination of volcanic eruption and earthquakes almost 20000 years ago. The cascades run down from a height of 27 meters. Overnight at a Ger camp.

Day 10: Khugnu Khan Mountains Natural Resort

Drive to Khugnu Khan Mountains Natural Resort. Khugnu Khan Mountain is a 470 square-kilometer nature reserve, in Gurvanbulag sum of the Bulgan province, and is one of the legendary mountains in the history of Mongolia. There, are the remains of the "Khugnu Tarni" monastery in the Khugnu Khan Mountain, which was built in the 17th century. The mountain is rich in flora and fauna and was the venue for many historical events. The area is a beautiful combination of sand, steppe, and mountains.

Day 11: Hustai National Park - Przewalski Takhi horse - Ulaanbaatar

Back in Ulaanbaatar via Khustai National Park. Hike two to three hours at Khustai National Park (HNP) and watch wild horse. The Hustai National Park is a Specially Protected Area since 1993. The HNP extends through the Khentii Mountains and includes the western edge of the Mongolian steppe. The park is about 100 kilometers west of the capital city Ulaanbaatar.

The HNP covers 50,600 hectares land and is home to 459 species of vascular plants, 85 species of lichens, 90 species of moss and 33 species of mushrooms. There are 44 species of mammals have, 217 species of birds, 16 species of fish, 2 species of amphibians, and 385 species of insects have been recorded. In 2002, the Man and the Biosphere Reserves organization of UNESCO certified the HNP as a member of the world biosphere network of natural reserves. The HNPT was enrolled as a member of IUCN in 2007. Overnight at a hotel.

Day 12: Visit Tsonjin Boldog a day trip and come back to UB

Drive to the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue, part of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex is a 40-meter tall statue of Genghis Khan on horseback, on the bank of the Tuul River at Tsonjin Boldog (54 kilometers east of the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar), where he according to legend, found a golden whip. The statue is symbolically pointed east towards his birthplace. It is on top of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex, a visitor center, with 36 columns representing the 36 khans from Genghis to Ligdan Khan.

Visitors walk to the head of the horse through its chest and neck of the horse, from where they can have a panoramic view. The main statue area will be surrounded by 200 Ger, yurt camps, designed and arranged like the pattern of the horse brand marks that were used by the 13th-century Mongol tribes. The attached museum has exhibitions relating to the Bronze Age and Xiongnu archaeological cultures in Mongolia, which show everyday utensils, belt buckles, knives, sacred animals, etc. and a second exhibition on the Great Khan period in the 13 and 14th centuries which has ancient tools, goldsmith subjects and some Nestorian crosses and rosaries. Next to the museum, there is a tourist and a recreational center.

Before dinner, you will watch a traditional Folklore concert. Overnight at a hotel.

Day 13: Airport and departure

Drive to the airport and help during check-in at airlines.

Instructors

Dembereldorj Tuvshintur

Bayarjavkhlan Otgonbayar

Location

Central Mongolia

Central Mongolia was the heart of the Great Mongol Empire. The vast grasslands of Central Mongolia are where the first official capital, Karakorum, was founded in the 13th century. This place was home to ancient people who engraved rocks and deer stones to document their lifestyle.

Natural heritage of humanity - Orkhon Valley

A must-see place for those who want to walk the trails of the Mongolian Empire’s glory and fall is the Orkhon Valley Protected area. The Ulaan Tsutgalan Waterfall, ruins of the Karakorum built in 1220 by Chinggis Khaan, Erdenezuu monastery and its 108 stupas, and Tuvkhun monastery on top of a mountain (you’ll need to hike 600 meters to reach it!) - are all located along the Orkhon river. The valley is 360 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar.

For thousands of years, this area was the center of powerful empires. A stone statue with inscriptions dedicated to Bilge Khan of the Turkic Empire is the oldest remaining relic that proves their history. Once you’re in the soum center, you can visit the Karakorum Museum that contains excellent artifacts such as the king’s crown, gold, and silver crafts found in this area.

Ulaanbataar

All travel to the birthplace of steppe nomads starts in Ulaanbaatar. Originally called Urguu it was founded 375 years ago on the shores of Shireet lake in Central Mongolia. Since then the city has moved several times before settling where it is today. The city, nicknamed UB, will surprise you when you compare it with those settled thousands of years ago. However, once you learn about the nomadic lifestyle and culture of Mongols, you will have a better understanding of these surprises. This is the hospitable and friendly city of Ulaanbaatar, capital of authentic nomads.

Ulaanbaatar is a rapidly developing, fast-changing city with an exciting folk, classical and modern cultural life. Theaters, museums, galleries, shops, clubs, parks are favorite places for the city’s guests and youth, and the cuisine choices will remind you that Ulaanbaatar is a truly an intersection of East and West.

Food

Full board meals are included in the price.

In Ulaanbaatar, there are a variety of Mongolian, Western, Asian cuisine restaurants available. In the countryside, all tourist camps provide western style buffet with juice, milk, eggs, sausages, cereals, and Mongolian traditional and organic milk products for breakfasts. Lunch and dinner are Mongolian traditional meat meals and European popular food.

Nomadic & Nature Travel Mongolia will supply mineral water during your trip. Tap water is not drinkable except in some of the hotels. All hotel rooms and camps are supplied with a thermos of boiled water, to make tea or drink as you wish. Bottled water is recommended. It can be purchased for about 0.25 USD to 0.75 USD per bottle everywhere.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 12 nights accommodation in hotels, ger camps, and tented camps
  • Guiding and interpreting service
  • Full board meals
  • Transportation in a vehicle 4x4 or minivan
  • Entrance fees to protected areas and national parks
  • Museums and cultural performance
  • Horses and camping equipment

What's not included

  • International airfare
  • Personal equipments
  • Optional activity cost, excess baggage charges
  • Sleeping bag
  • Single room supplement
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Travel Insurance

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN). All direct flights come into Ulaanbaatar-most of them from Berlin, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, Istanbul or Beijing, provided by MIAT (Mongolian Airline), Aeroflot, Korean Airlines and Turkish Airlines.

Arrival by train

The famous Trans-Siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing via Ulaanbaatar is also particularly exhilarating way into the country.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 14% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 28 days before arrival.
13 days / 12 nights
from --
Availability

This tour runs from June 1 to September 25 every year. Please select your arrival date below.

Minimum group size

This trip requires a minimum of 2 participants

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