Gobi and Grasslands Ride riding holiday in Mongolia - Far and Ride
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Gobi and Grasslands Ride, Mongolia





Horses



Type of horses:

Mongolian

Nature of horses:

Strong, tough, docile. All are unshod and live wild on the plains.

Height of horses:

12 - 14 hh

Weight limit:

95kg / 15st / 209lbs

Tack type:

A hybrid of a Russian treed saddle which has been adapted for visitors. English/Western saddles are too long for the horses short backs. These saddles have a deep seat and a comfortable cushion strapped to the top. They are simple but functional.

 

Travel Advice



Please ensure you read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice before you travel.
 

Ride Description

The Bayan Gobi (rich desert or mini Gobi) is officially called the Khogno Khan Park and is located 280km from the capital of Mongolia. The landscape consists of large rock formations and cliffs shaped by erosion, which overlook vast semi-desert plains which are reminiscent of the sandstone citadels of the Wadi Rum in Jordan. The park is also home to huge sand dunes which contrast against the green grasslands on the border.

Amongst this spectacular setting sits the Ovgon Khiid monastery which was built in the 17th century.

In stark contrast, the Orkhon Valley is a lush grassland flanked by mountains where nomadic herders gather in the summer for their livestock to graze. With the Orkhon river flowing through the valley, this is a beautiful and green garden of eden which will amaze you after the barren desert.

Experience both of these spectacular locations on this trail which includes horse-riding in both parks. Each night you camp in a new location and as Mongolia is one of the few places where you can still camp wherever you like, you can be assured of wilderness. A couple of nights offer the opportunity to stay in traditional ger camps and experience the life of a nomadic herder.

The trails end at Karakorum, the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire which was founded in 1235 by Ogodei, Genghis Khan's son. The capital was transferred to Ulaanbaatar in 1250 by Kublai Khan and in 1388 Karakorum was destroyed by troops of the Ming Dynasty. Only the turtle statues which guard the entrance to the city walls remain. In 1585, Erdene Zuu monastery was built outside the city using stones from the ruins of Karakorum and despite being damaged and rebuilt, the monastery is still active today.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Traditional Mongolian accommodation on the vast steppes/grasslands are the yurts or gers - circular structures with a central stove and containing up to five single beds. There are tourist ger camps which are specially set up in popular locations, and also some nomadic families have guest gers for visitors. You spend three nights in yurts on this trail and must be prepared to share.

When truly off the beaten track you camp in one or two person tents. Showers are a rarity but water can be boiled over the fire for washing. Comfortable sleeping mats are provided. This trail include 7 nights of camping.

Your first and last night are in a two star hotel in Ulaanbaatar, in twin or triple rooms with private bathrooms.

Mongolian food is essentially based on animal products - meat (red food) and dairy (white food). Traditionally these are eaten at different times of year with summer months being dedicated to white food and winter months the red food. During the summer months the females are breeding and therefore lactating, producing milk for cheese, butter, yoghurt etc. The nomads' energy requirements are lower during the summer months as well, as the temperatures are stable. During the winter months they consume a lot of meat as they require much larger quantities of calories to bear the extreme cold.

On these trails the traditional Mongolian diet has been adapted to accommodate western tastes.

 

Activities

There are some non-riding visits included, such as to monastery's and special sites, but this is predominantly a riding tour and non-riders cannot be accepted.

All of the rides include lots of cultural interactions with nomadic families which delight both riders and non-riders.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: You must be in good health and with good physical fitness.

Age limit: 16+ recommended.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation; riding; all meals except for one dinner, from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 13; tours as described

Not included: Flights; dinner on one day; drinks except water, tea and coffee; travel insurance; visa

 

Travel Information

There is a choice of airlines flying to Mongolia but none are direct. Popular choices include Air China (through Beijing) and Turkish Airlines (through Istanbul) and we recommend the Turkish Airlines flight simply because the airport transfers are set to coincide with this flight. However, if you wish to arrive early/stay longer, then any flights are ok.

Airport transfers are included provided to arrive/depart at set times:
Arrival: You must arrive by 10:05am for the transfer which departs at 10:30am
Departure: Your flight must depart after 07:00am to allow time for the transfer (everyone is transferred together so if you book a late flight you will have a long wait).

Airport: Genghis Khan International Airport (Ulaanbaatar)

 

Programmes


Dunes and Steppes Ride



You don't have to choose between the desert or the steppes on this Mongolian trail which combines riding in both the Gobi and the Orkhon Valley. Experience the dunes of the Bayan Gobi contrasting with the lush grasslands of the Orkhon Valley.

Day One:

You will be met at Ulaanbaatar airport at 10:30 and transferred to your 2 star hotel in the city (Dream hotel or similar). Lunch is to your own account today. 

During the afternoon you will be taken to visit the Gandantegchinlin Monastery and the National Museum of Mongolian History. Dinner with the group in the evening will be taken downtown before overnighting at your hotel.

Day Two: Ulaanbaatar - Bayan Gobi desert

After breakfast you are transferred by 4x4 vehicle to the Bayan Gobi desert - the "rich Gobi". A picnic lunch is taken en-route.

On arrival you meet the nomadic herder who will be your guide for the next three days of riding in the wilderness of the Bayan Gobi.

Set up camp in a sparsely populated area on the southern edge of the desert. Each rider erects his/her own tent (single tents are available if requested in advance). A shower tent and large dining/meal preparation tent is also erected.

Days Three and Four: Bayan Gobi desert

Set off riding on your trail through the typical landscape of the Gobi desert. There are no horses in the southern Gobi and so this is your only chance to experience the desert landscapes. This area is Mongolia's true geographical centre and is the junction of three major ecosystems: the main mountain ranges of the country - Khangai and Khentii - and the northern edge of the Gobi desert. Mount Batkhan overlooks the area and gives rise to several rivers and springs which mix with the sand dunes of Elsentasarkhai forming the "sand break" - an ever changing and spectacular landscape.

Each night, after riding between dunes, rivers and steppes you set up camp in a new location.

Day Five: Khogno Khan

Continue riding through the beautiful Gobi landscapes until reaching the Khogno Khan cliffs where you visit the Ovgon Khiid monastery which is set amidst dramatic scenery.

Dinner and overnight in a yurt camp which is nestled at the base of the cliffs (2-4 riders per yurt in single beds). Showers and toilets are available in a separate building.

Day Six: Bayan Gobi - Orkhon Valley

After breakfast you are transferred c. 4-5 hours to the famous Orkhon Valley. The change in environment is striking: leaving behind the desert and sandy expanses of the Bayan Gobi you enter a mountainous region with a maze of green valleys and forested slopes.

Meet your nomadic herders and guides and enjoy lunch before setting off on your first ride. Heading upstream in the Orkhon Valley you enter the larch covered slopes of the Naiman Nuur park. Set up camp in the wilderness.

Days Seven, Eight, Nine and Ten: Orkhon Valley

Each day you ride through the beautiful grasslands of the Orkhon Valley, discovering the Orkhon Falls, Tovkhon monastery and Khangai mountains which form the northern part of the valley. On three nights you will set up camp in remote wilderness locations but on one night you will stay in a guest yurt close to a nomadic family - due to the nomadic nature of these families, who move their herds according to the grasslands, the exact night will be decided nearer the time, depending on their location.

Day Eleven: Karakorum

Your riding journey through the Orkhon Valley continues until you reach Karakorum, the ancient capital of the Mongolian Empire. Here you visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery.

Spend the night in a touristic yurt camp close to Karakorum - 2-4 people share each yurt and there are showers in a separate building.

Day Twelve: Ulaanbaatar

After an early breakfast you depart for Ulaanbaatar by vehicle, stopping en-route for lunch and arriving in the afternoon. There should be time for shopping in the downtown stores or the Narantuul market where you can find traditional clothing and artefacts.

In the late afternoon you are taken to a show featuring traditional dances, music and songs, including the amazing Khoomei.

Dinner is not included tonight so that you can choose from the many options on offer. Overnight in the Dream hotel or similar (2 star).

Day Thirteen:

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight, which must depart after 7 am.



Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be a competent rider who is confident and capable at all paces across varied terrain. The open steppes provide plenty of opportunities for fast riding.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 13 days / 12 nights / 8 days riding
Departure dates: 2018:
5-17, 12-24, 19-31 May; 26 May-7 June; 2-14, 9-21, 16-28 June; 23 June-5 July; 30 June-12 July; 7-19, 14-26 July; 21 July-2 August; 28 July-9 August; 4-16, 11-23, 18-30 August; 25 Aug-6 Sept; 1-13, 8-20, 15-27 September.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1411 per person sharing

There is a small group supplement of £221 per person if there are only 2 or 3 riders in the group. This is removed/refunded when the group reaches 4 riders.

Single rooms are possible in Ulaanbaatar only and the single supplement is £53 for those who request a single room - there is no supplement if willing to share.



Mongolia Express Trail



This 8 day/7 night tour offers the perfect taste of Mongolian life for those who are limited on time or want to include this as part of a longer stay in the country.

Day One:

You will be met at Ulaanbaatar airport at 11:30 and transferred directly to the start of the start point of the ride. This is a fairly short two-hour drive which takes you out to the endless plains of the Mongolian steppe, dotted with the home ger of the nomadic herders. You'll be able to spot the first herds of horses, roaming free across the road in front of your vehicle. Dinner and overnight in a tourist ger camp.

Days Two to Six:

You will spend the next five days on horseback, exploring through Central Mongolia. Guided by a nomadic herder and with the help of your English speaking translator, you will ride through the amazing steppes, hills and valleys of this area, over small mountains and through sparse larch forest.

Many nomadic Mongolian families inhabit this region, with their herds of horses, cattle, goats and sheep grazing close by. This tour will give you the chance to discover and their traditional way of life and the unique opportunity to experience it all for yourself. You will camp with a host family for at least one night during the ride and be able to help with their day to day tasks, including gathering the herds in each evening and milking at mares and yaks come day-break.

You will spend 5 night in campsites which are chosen carefully, perhaps one night in the middle of nowhere in the steppes; another close to a river and maybe a night in the forest where steppe wolves can often be heard calling late into the night.

Day Seven:

After breakfast this day you will be able to enjoy a final morning ride and picnic lunch on the steppe. Then, with a fond goodbye to your guides and horses, you will transfer back to Ulaanbaatar.

In the late afternoon, you will attend a show in the city with traditional dances, music and songs from Mongolia, including the amazing Khoomei. Overnight in a hotel. Dinner is to your own account this evening.

Day Eight:

After breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your flight, which must depart after 7 am.



Accommodation: 1 night in a guest yurt camp,
5 nights camping,
1 night in a hotel in Ulaanbaatar.
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be a competent rider who is confident and capable at all paces across varied terrain. The open steppes provide plenty of opportunities for fast riding.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 8 days / 7 nights / 5,5 days riding
Departure dates: 2018:
12-19 May, 19-26 May, 2-9 June, 9-16 June, 16-23 June, 23-30 June (CONFIRMED), 30 June-7 July (CONFIRMED), 7-14 July, 14-21 July (CONFIRMED), 28 July - 4 August, 4-11 August (CONFIRMED), 11-18 August, 18-25 August, 25 August - 1 September, 1-8 September, 8-15 September, 15-22 September.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£876 per person sharing

There is a small group supplement of £159 per person if there are only 2 or 3 riders in the group. This is removed/refunded when the group reaches 4 riders.

Single rooms are possible in Ulaanbaatar only and the single supplement is £27 for those who request a single room - there is no supplement if willing to share.