Riding the Nomadic Trail in Western Mongolia

Ride in the far west of Mongolia, meeting a variety of ethnic groups, exploring Kazakh culture and the snow peaks of the Altai mountains, and camping on the shores of Mongolia’s largest lake. 10 days of comfortable camping with 5 days of horseback riding, and 2 days staying at beautiful borderland lakes.

The horse is the national symbol of Mongolia, and the country’s culture has been based on horses from time immemorial. Through this ride you will appreciate and understand the association between the Mongolian horse, the majestic landscape, and the life of nomadic people.

Our trek first takes us to an exceptional and largely unexplored area within the mountains and valleys surrounding the massive Tsambagarav Mountain in the far west of Mongolia, cushioned between the borders of China and Russia. On horseback, we follow the trail the nomads take when moving from their winter to summer camps, past breathtaking scenery and along high mountain trails. On reaching the spectacular Namarjin Valley a few idyllic days will be spent in the company of nomads.

Then we go on by vehicle to the most western provinces of Mongolia, Bayan Ulgii and Uvs. We visit the Kazakh minority group and their golden eagles, which are used for hunting, continuing on to the beautiful Lake Uureg, Lake Achit and Lake Uvs, which are abundant with waterfowl and an ideal settings for nature lovers.

Day 1             

Arrival in Ulaanbaatar – sightseeing

You will be met at the airport on arrival, and transferred to your 3-star hotel. The day can be spent sightseeing in Ulaanbaatar, including Gandan Monastery and the Bogd Khan Palace, which is a series of beautiful traditional buildings in which the last religious King of Mongolia resided. It is now a museum displaying fascinating artefacts and costumes associated with the King as well as his collection of European furniture and stuffed animals. Visit the NaturalHistory Museum and the Fine Arts Museum. Lunch and dinner will be at local restaurants. Overnight at the hotel.


Day 2             

Fly to Khovd – Buyant River – Namarjin Valley

We will transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Khovd. Khovd City is the capital of Khovd Aimag and lies near Black Water Lake and Jargalant Mountain. You will be met at the airport by our local guides and drivers and taken to Buyant River for lunch. In the afternoon we will drive to Namarjin Valley in the Altai Mountains, about a 5-hour drive. You will be rewarded with the view of this vast wide-open valley filled with grazing herds of goat, sheep, and yaks, and spotted with many gers. Towering over the valley is the impressive snow-capped peak of Tsambagarav Mountain. Because our horsemen’s families live here, you will have a unique opportunity to experience the nomadic way of life. We will stay overnight in a tented camp.


Day 3             

Namarjin Valley – visit nomadic families – horse riding

Spend the morning at leisure in the valley, walking and resting after the journey. The Namarjin is a lush and green valley with a small stream flowing through it, and is surrounded by rocky hills. Many nomadic families chose this place to be their home during the summer months. The Kazakhs, who are Muslims and one of Mongolia’s ethnic minorities, populate this area. After breakfast we will meet the horsemen and saddle up the horses for a short ride so that you can accustom yourself to the horse, tack and to the terrain. In the afternoon we will ride to an adjacent gorge to see a glacier. On the way we will visit a Kazakh family and see their gers and way of life. Their gers are a little larger than the Mongolian ones and are decorated with traditional hand-stitched colourful rugs. Their traditional dress is also slightly different to the Mongols as the men tend to wear large, black dels and small, bright hats. We will return to the camp for the night.


Day 4             

Horse riding – visit Kazakh eagle hunters – Khongor Olon Lake

Today we begin our linear ride, and each day the camp will be moved with the help of our vehicles. While riding to Khongor Olon Lake we will visit the mighty Kazakh eagle hunters. Their eagles are kept near the Kazakh gers in the summer months and then taken out to catch small animals of prey in early winter, when the first snow covers the ground. The eagles are trained from a young age or caught when they are older having already developed the hunting instinct. When they are 15 years of age they are released back into the wild. We will see the birds outside the gers and watch the Kazakh men with them. We will stay overnight in the camp at the edge of the lake.


Day 5-6          

2 days riding to Lake Doroo – Sukhait Mountains

We will continue riding over the Sukhait Mountains to Doroo Lake for the next two days. The landscape changes from high mountains to low grassland and open valleys, which will allow you to gallop freely across the vast plains. We will stay overnight in tents by the side of the lake.


Day 7             

Day of rest at Doroo Lake

After these days of riding, we will spend a day of leisure by the lake: walking, bird watching, visiting nomadic families, and swimming. We will stay overnight at a tented camp.


Day 8             

Ride to Khashaat Valley

Today is the last day of riding. We will ride until we reach Khashaat Valley, where we will have a farewell dinner with our horsemen. You will be served a special Mongolian meal of ‘Khorkhog,’ which is mutton cooked slowly in a huge, metal urn with vegetables, water and hot rocks from a flaming fire. The meat becomes soft and tasty and the water turns into a thick meaty broth. We will camp in Khashaat Valley.


Day 9             

Drive to Achit Nuur, Bayan Ulgii

Today we will travel with vehicles and continue the journey through the westernmost province of Mongolia, Bayan Olgii. We travel to Achit Nuur Lake - an 8-hour drive - passing through Ulgii, the capital of the aimag. Achit Nuur is a large fresh-water lake with an abundance of bird life. We will spend the night in a tented camp by the side of the lake.


Day 10                       

Achit Nuur – Uureg Lake, Uvs

We will spend the morning at Achit Lake and then drive to Uureg Lake in the far north of Uvs Aimag. It is an exhilarating drive of about 4 hours over a rocky, mountainous road. The lake, which nestles between mountains, is small in comparison to Achit, but affords views across to Siberia. Overnight in a tented camp at Uureg Lake.


Day 11                       

Uureg Lake

We will spend a day of leisure at Uureg Lake walking, bird watching, and swimming. We will stay at the previous night’s camp by the lake.


Day 12                       

Uureg Lake – Uvs Lake

We will spend the morning at Uureg Lake and then drive to Uvs Lake, passing through the aimag capital of Uvs, Ulaangom. Uvs Nuur is the largest lake in Mongolia and covers 3500 sq. km. It is surrounded by sand dunes on the eastern side and is a salt-water lake. The bird life includes Arctic tern, sand grouse and rock partridge. They live undisturbed around the shores of the lake due to the absence of animal and human habitation, and the abundance of shrimp living in the lake. We will camp on the shores of the lake.


Day 13                       

Ulaangom – return to Ulaanbaatar

We will drive to Ulaangom for the flight to Ulaanbaatar, departing Ulaangom at 13.00, and arriving in Ulaanbaatar at 16.30. You will be met at the airport and taken to your 3-star hotel. Dinner will be at a local restaurant.


Day 14                       

Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your international departure.

Departure code and date:
NRT-013: 4-17 Sep, 2017

Price per person for a group more than 9 people: USD 3436

Single supplement: USD 190
Prices include the following:

2 domestic flights, transportation within Mongolia, twin accommodation in a 4 star hotel. Single accommodation can be arranged at an additional cost. Tented accommodation while on trek, three meals a day, English-speaking guide,  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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