The Five Kings of the Altai

Enjoy the tranquility of riding on horseback and walking at a leisurely pace through the lakes, rivers, valleys and snow-capped peaks of the Altai Mountain range. Observe the traditions of the eagle hunter Kazakhs. Camp under the endless blue Mongolian skies by the crystal-clear waters of mountain lakes.

The great expanse of Central Asia can be seen most clearly from the height of the Altai Mountains. The clear blue sky stretches on forever, and the land seems empty of any sign of life. Silence surrounds you. Yet within this vast space are fertile, green lands, and a wide diversity of ethnic minority groups.
This journey traverses the Altai Mountains from the foothills of the mighty Tsambagarav to the base of the five glorious peaks of Tavan Bogd, the highest in Mongolia. We will pass through green pastures and lush meadows, camping next to crystal-clear mountain lakes and amongst valleys filled with wild flowers. The journey will be on foot and by horseback, but always at a leisurely pace. On the way we will meet nomadic people who maintain one of the world’s most ancient and sustainable ways of life. This journey will give you a fresh perspective on life and a renewed sense of well-being.

Day 1             

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar

Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. You will be picked up from the airport and transferred to a 4 star hotel. After lunch you will have a sightseeing program in Ulaanbaatar including the Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace, and the Fine Arts Museum. There will be time for shopping. Dinner will be at local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 2             

Flight to Ulgii – drive to Sagsai River

In the morning you will be transferred to the airport for a 12.00 AM flight to Ulgii, the center of Bayan-Ulgii Aimag, situated in the far west of the country. This aimag is populated by the Kazakh minority of Mongolia and the people are Muslims. The flight takes about 4 hours, including a stopover for refueling. Our guide will accompany you on the flight. On arrival at the local airport our staff will meet you and drive you out of town for lunch. Then we will drive 35 km to the west, across Sagsai River, where we will set up our tented camp.

Day 3             

Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain

Today we will drive to Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain, at the foot of the majestic Five Kings Mountains – our destination for the day. From here we can view the peaks of the Altai Mountains and the Potanin’s Glacier. Horsemen with horses and camels will come to meet us in the evening. We will set up base camp here.

Day 4-5          

2 days riding and hiking through the Tavan Bogd Mountains

As the mountainous terrain doesn’t allow vehicles to drive any further, we will pack our food and equipments on camels and ride to Tavan Bogd or the ‘5 Kings Mountains.’ These consist of five snow-capped peaks and a long glacier – Potanin - glistening in front of them. This morning we will saddle up the horses and take a short ride to so that you can accustom yourself to the horse and tack, and to the terrain. Shortly afterwards we will start riding for the day. On arrival at Tavan Bogd we will set up our camp at the edge of Potanin’s Glacier. The highest peak is Huiten and is at an elevation of 4370 m. Our camp will be pitched at about 2900 m above sea level. This afternoon and the following morning we will spend a glorious time hiking in the mountains exploring the glacier and foothills of the 5 Kings Mountains. In the afternoon of the fifth day we return to the base camp at Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain.

Day 6             

Visit Kazakh families

Today we will have a well-earned rest at the camp. The Kazakh minority people populate this area, and are the only Muslim people in Mongolia. Their gers are a little larger than those of Mongols and are decorated with traditional hand-stitched, colorful rugs. Their traditional dress is also slightly different to that of the Mongols as the men wear large, black dels and small, bright hats. We will visit a Kazakh family and experience their way of life.

Day 7-10        

4-day horse ride to Khoton and Khurgan lakes

Today we start our linear horse ride to Khoton & Khurgan lakes, which are connected by a river. Many rivers and streams originating in the Altai Mountains feed the lakes with icy, crystal-clear water. The ride will take 4 days, covering an average daily distance of about 20-25 kms. While riding we will pass landscapes of snow-capped mountains, open valleys, lakes and rivers, and cross terrain varying from wide-open grassy valleys to rocky outcrops amongst the lower peaks. Our local horsemen and translator/guide will accompany you throughout the ride. The vehicles will drive ahead and move the camp every evening until we reach a place called Tsookhor Khargai at Khoton Lake’s shore.

(Day 7 – Zagast Lake; Day 8 – Khagiin Lake; Day 9 – Mogoin Gol Valley; Day 10 – Tsookhor Khargai)

Day 11                       

Khoton Lake

Today we will drive along the edge of Khoton Lake, where we will camp for the night. The rest of the day you can swim, hike, or just relax sitting on the shore.

Day 12                       

Khoton Lake

A day of rest. Dinner is today’s highlight - you will be served a special Mongolian meal of ‘Khorkhog’ as a farewell. The meal is mutton cooked slowly in a huge, metal urn with vegetables, water and hot rocks on a flaming fire. The meat becomes soft and tasty and the water turns into a thick meaty broth.

Day 13                       

Khargantiin River 

Today we will drive from Sagsai soum towards Ulgii, which is divided by the Khargantiin River. We'll camp shore of the Khargantiin River. 

Day 14           

Return to Ulaanbaatar

Drive into the township of Olgii and fly back to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival you will be transferred to your 3-star hotel for dinner and overnight.

Day 15                       

Ulaanbaatar - sightseeing & shopping – evening cultural program

Today will be a full day of guided sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, including Gandan Monastery, the National History Museum, and the Toy Museum. There will be some time for shopping before you experience on evening program consisting of a performance of traditional Mongolian folk song and dance. Lunch will be at the hotel and dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.


Day 16                       


Transfer to the airport for your international departures.


Departure code and date:
NRT-012, 18 Aug-2Sep, 2018

Price per person for a group more than 9 people: USD 3936

Single Supplement: USD 230
Prices include the following:

2 domestic flights, transportation within Mongolia, twin accommodation in 4 star hotel. Single accommodation can be arranged at an additional cost. Tented accommodation while on trek, three meals a day, English-speaking guide, all sightseeing costs, transfers, camel or horse hire where specified, support staff including drivers, horse/camel men and camp assistants.

Prices do not include:

International transportation, travel insurance, visas, departure tax, alcoholic drinks, gratuities, items of a personal nature.

It is the responsibility of the client to be fully covered with travel and medical insurance while traveling in Mongolia.

Please note:

Upon request, single supplement in the countryside can be provided at the additional cost. In case single accommodation in ger camps was not provided the amount would be calculated based on the missing nights and reimbursed.

Nomads cannot be held responsible for over bookings, as long as the company can prove with sufficient documentation that overbooking has been the error of the third party.

Should circumstances beyond our control, such as the imposition of quarantine restrictions, any changes of domestic flight or train schedules, require a change of itinerary, we will inform your agent and propose an equivalent itinerary. Again, Nomads cannot take over the responsibility for the Airlines or the National Train Company. The traveler is responsible for having proper travel documents, such as a valid passport, proper visa and the necessary passport pictures.

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