TransMongolia Trail riding holiday in Mongolia - Far and Ride
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TransMongolia Trail, Mongolia




Programme


• TransMongolia Trail

 

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.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

Lake Khuvsgul is situated in the north of Mongolia near the border with Russia and is the second largest lake in the country. It is 136km long and 36km wide and has permanently cold water - in fact it is frozen for four months of the year (January to April). It is a deep, large lake and represents 2% of global freshwater supplies and has particularly pure water. Located in an area which is prone to drought, Lake Khuvsgul is considered sacred by local people, particularly the Tsaatans (reindeer herders who live in remote areas of the region). There are 96 rivers flowing into Lake Khuvsgul but only one flowing out - the Egiin Gol river.

The vast area around the lake has been designated a National Park since 1992 and stretches to 838,000 hectares. This pristine wilderness is the destination on this epic trail ride which journeys north through Arkhangai. Around Lake Khuvsgul you are supported by pack horses as the area is not suitable for vehicles, but whilst riding through Arkhangai your belongings and camp are transferred by 4x4.

There are many highlights to mention on this amazing three week adventure. Ride camels in the Bayan Gobi desert and discover the traditional lifestyle of Mongolian nomads. Ride across ancient lava fields and through canyons carved by volcanic lava rivers; and ride through forested mountains where some of the trees are more than 300 years old. Discover the White Lake (Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur) and Lake Dzuun Nuur. Each night of the riding trail will be spent at a new location and many nights are spent camping, so this is a trail for adventurous riders who want to go far off the beaten track and discover areas few tourists visit.

Your spirit of adventure should not be dampened by the logistics of getting to these remote areas - roads are no more than tracks and can make journeys slow; internal flights can be delayed or cancelled because of bad weather. Immerse yourself in the landscape and hospitality of your hosts and let this holiday just unfold before you.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Traditional Mongolian accommodation on the steppes are yurts or gers - circular structures with a lattice framework which contain 2-5 beds. Nomadic families live in these gers which can be dismantled and moved on yak carts.

During the trail you will spend a few nights in yurts - either touristic camps which are set up specifically for visitors, or staying with nomadic families.

On the other nights you will camp in 1 or 2 person tents. These are more rustic but you can camp in some very remote locations away from other groups.

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 the trails are predominantly riding tours and non-riders cannot be accepted.

 

Further Details

Languages: English

Health requirements: You should be fit and in good health as these rides are in remote locations and far from medical aid.

Tuition: No

Included: Accommodation; riding; transfers; full board from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 20 except for two dinners

Not included: Flights; two dinners in Ulaanbaatar; 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)

 

Programme


TransMongolia Trail



From Central Mongolia to the border with Siberia, the TransMongolia is aptly named and offers an unparalleled discovery of Mongolia on horseback. Discover the steppes and volcanoes of Arkhangai before exploring the forests around Lake Khovsgol. This epic trail is a full three week adventure in Mongolia.

Day One:

You will be met at Ulaanbaatar airport at 11:30 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 - Khogno Khan

After breakfast at your hotel you are transferred by road to Khogno Khan and the Bayan Gobi national park. You will arrive at the ger camp in time for lunch and will experience a camel ride through the Bayan Gobi in the afternoon. There is also time to visit the Ovgon Khiid Monastery which is set amidst dramatic scenery.

Dinner and overnight is in the ger camp, where each yurt sleeps 2-4 people, and there are showers available in a separate building.

Day Three: Khogno Khan - Arkhangai

After breakfast you set off north by vehicle to reach the starting point of your horseback trail in Arkhangai. A picnic lunch is taken en-route as you cross the Khangai mountains. In the afternoon you will arrive at the yurts of the nomadic family who will guide you and have bred the horses you will ride. The exact arrival time will depend on the road conditions and so the afternoon is left free for you to discover the traditional lifestyle of Mongolian nomads. You can involve yourself in their daily activities and talk to family members.

Tonight you sleep in a guest yurt close to the family yurts - these yurts are more simple and there are no showers, but you experience the true Mongolian way of life.

Day Four: Arkhangai

After breakfast with the family, your riding adventure begins. Over the next eight days you will journey northwards through the Arkhangai region until reaching Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake). Each night will be spent in tents as you sleep in a different location each day. The Arkhangai is a very wild region which is covered by forest - the valleys are narrower than in the Orkhon Valley and the steppes gradually give way to larch forests. The rivers and valleys are aligned perpendicular to your direction of travel and so you will cross many rivers and mountains over the coming days.

Your first day of riding follows the banks of the Tamir river, which is mighty during the spring and summer. The Tamir valley is very green and wooded, with some of the poplar trees being more than 300 years old.

Days Five and Six: Arkhangai

Continue riding across densely forested mountain ranges which are virtually uninhabited. You are immersed in a very wild Mongolia which is very different to the steppes of the Orkhon Valley.

Days Seven and Eight: Arkhangai

Your ride continues and the landscape opens up onto grasslands where you may meet many yurts and herds belonging to the nomads. These open spaces offer many opportunities to canter.

Days Nine and Ten: Arkhangai - Chuluut Canyon

These two days are particularly beautiful as you ride along the Chuluut Canyon which was formed the lava flow from Khorgo volcano. The basalt canyon is 100 miles long and offers spectacular scenery.

Day Eleven: Arkhangai - Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur

On your final day of riding within Arkhangai you climb Khorgo Volcano and traverse ancient lava flows en-route to Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (the White Lake). You arrive at the lake in the afternoon and say goodbye to your horses and nomadic guides. After 8 nights in tents you will appreciate the ger camp which is situated close to the lake and offers showers in a separate building and single beds within the yurts (2-4 riders per yurt).

Day Twelve: Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur - Lake Dzuun Nuur

After breakfast you hit the road - or rather the dirt track - to journey north. It will take two days to reach Lake Kovsgol as you have to cross several mountain ranges and some of the tracks are difficult. This is a very wild area and you will cross passes, rivers and valleys. A picnic lunch is taken en-route and you camp close to Lake Dzuun Nuur.

Day Thirteen: Lake Dzuun Nuur - Lake Khovsgol

After breakfast you continue your journey north to Lake Khovsgol with another picnic lunch en-route. You will cross Khatgal, a touristic village on the southern edge of the lake and head to the east bank which is much wilder and more remote.

Your yurt camp is by the lake shore in a beautiful setting with breathtaking views of the blue lake surrounded by the towering mountains of the western shore. Dinner and overnight in the camp with 2-4 riders per yurt and showers in a separate building.

Days Fourteen - Seventeen: Lake Khovsgol

For the next four days you ride deep into the wild forests which border the eastern shore of Lake Khovsgol. This side of the lake has almost no tracks which are accessible to vehicles and so you are accompanied by pack horses who carry your belongings and camping equipment. This is a really wild and pristine environment and it's a privilege to ride through the forests and hills with the blue reflections of the lake in the background.

After three nights of wilderness camping you return to the yurt camp where you started this portion of the ride.

Day Eighteen: Lake Khovsgol - Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast you are driven to Moron airport where you take a flight back to Ulaanbaatar. Depending on the flight schedule you will have lunch before or after your flight. On arrival in the city you are transferred to your 2 star hotel (Dream hotel or similar). The rest of the day is to spend at your leisure. No dinner is included tonight so that you can choose from the many options on offer. The hotel is situated 200m from Peace Avenue between Sukhbaatar Square and the State Department Store which offers you a large choice of restaurants and shopping opportunities.

Day Nineteen: Ulaanbaatar

After breakfast at your hotel you are taken to visit some of the city sights. Visit the Choijin Lama Temple and Museum whose traditional architecture contrasts against the modern Blue Sky glass tower! Also visit the Bogd Jhan Winter Palace - Bogd Jhan had many palaces but the others were destroyed by the Russians. The palace consists of six traditional buildings which contain many objects reflecting the magnificence of court life at that time.

After lunch downtown, the rest of the afternoon is free for you to do some shopping for traditional clothing or souvenirs. In the late afternoon you are taken to a show with traditional dances, music and songs, including the amazing Khoomei.

No dinner is included this evening so you can choose from the many restaurants close by. Overnight in the Dream hotel or similar.

(NB. It is not possible to miss this day - it has been included as a buffer in case of flight delays from Lake Khovsgul).

Day Twenty:

After breakfast you are transferred to the airport for your flight home (which must depart after 8am).



Accommodation: 11 nights camping (one or two person tents with inflatable sleeping mats)
4 nights in a yurt camp (2-4 people per tent and showers available in separate building)
1 night in a yurt with a nomadic family (rustic and no showers, but authentic)
3 nights in a 2 star hotel in Ulaanbaatar (twin or triple rooms with private bathrooms)
Minimum group size: 2
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: You should be an experienced rider who is competent in all paces across varied terrain. There are technical sections which are slow paced as well as open sections which invite long canters. You need to be fit for many days of riding with few creature comforts.
Type of ride: Trail
Total riding time: 20 days / 19 nights / 12 days riding
Departure dates: 2017:
1-20, 8-27 July; 15 July-3 August; 22 July-10 August; 29 July-17 August; 5-24, 12-31 August; 19 August-7 September; 26 August-14 September; 2-21, 9-28 September.

2018:
5-24, 12-31 May; 19 May-7 June; 26 May-14 June; 2-21, 9-28 June; 16 June-5 July; 23 June-12 July; 30 June-19 July; 7-26 July; 14 July-2 August; 21 July-9 August; 28 July-16 August; 4-23, 11-30 August; 18 Aug-6 Sept; 25 Aug-13 Sept; 1-20, 8-27 September.
 
Pricing: 2017:

£2035 per person sharing

There is a small group supplement of £270 per person if there are only 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 £81 for those who request a single room - there is no supplement if willing to share.

2018:

£2111 per person sharing

There is a small group supplement of £270 per person if there are only 2/3 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 £81 for those who request a single room - there is no supplement if willing to share.