16 days incl. 7 horse riding days. Ride in the Altai Mountain range in far West of Mongolia. Visit the icy peaks of Tavan Bogd Range, alpine lakes, ride across green valleys and cradle of human history accompanied by proud Tuvan hunters. Meet Muslim Kazakh falconers who hunt using Golden Eagles. This riding tour is moderate in difficulty with plenty of rest days. Tented camping throughout the ride. Safe and comfortable tack.
All accommodation (twin shared), internal transportation, arrival & departure transfers, internal flights, meals as indicated (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner), sightseeing & environmental fees, camping equipment, English speaking guide, expedition chef, horse riding guides, horse hire.
Travel insurance, excess baggage fee on internal flights, departure taxes, gratuities, items of personal nature, meals not indicated.
Day 1: Arrival to Ulaanbaatar
On arrival you will be transferred to a cozy hotel in the center of the city. The remaining morning at leisure. After lunch a guided city tour. We first visit the Natural history museum with its rich collection of dinosaur fossils. The National history with its display of traditional costumes is to follow. You as well will be introduced to the turbulent history of the Mongolian nation here. A unique show of throat or so-called overtone singing and contortion will be followed by a welcome dinner in one of best restaurants of the city. (L,D).
Day 2: Flight to Ulgy, drive to Tavan Bogd National Park
Morning transfer for a 3 hour flight to Western Mongolia with Dutch made Fokker-50. On arrival to Ulgy airstrip meet with your support team: guide, cook and drivers. They will serve you a picnic lunch and the journey begins. We head northwest to the Tavan Bogd range. At the end of 2 hours drive across desert we set up our camp in the green valley of the Deer stream. Here we set up our tented camp. Like nowhere else, western travelers are still watched by local nomads with great deal of curiosity and interest. They literally appear out of nowhere and cautiously approach the camp to exchange greetings. Dinner and overnight. (B,L,D).
Day 3: Gateway of Tavan Bogd National Park
Drive further and reach the "gateway" of the Tavan Bogd NP by early afternoon. Here is the magnificent valley of the glacial green White River overlooked by the Protector mountain, a rich cradle of human history. Hundreds of ancient graves and rock carvings lie around it. We set up our tented camp. The valley is home to Tuvan hunters. Few households of theirs occupy this remotest corner of Mongolia and cope with harsh climate of high mountains. These tough people will accompany you for the riding part of your journey. (B,L,D).
Day 4: Horse Riding to the base camp of Tavan Bogd Peaks
After a solid breakfast a horse will be selected for you to suit your riding experience and we set off to the basecamp of Tavan Bogd Mt. Riding the sturdy Mongolian horses is a style quite different from that of a western horse riding. Broken in at the age of 2 or 3 they listen to a different set of commands and, respond to a different behavior on the side of the rider. This gradual ascent takes us through a high mountain terrain of rocks and wetlands. Not needing luck you will see some of the wildlife that inhabits the area including marmots, hares and a number of birds such us Golden Eagles, Black Vultures and Falcons. Our entire luggage will be transported by camels driven by Tuvan hunters.
Upon completing two thirds’ of the way there open majestic perspectives of Potanin and Alexander glaciers backed by icy peaks of Khuiten (4374m), Nairamdal (4082m), Snowchurch (4071m), Malchin (4050m), and Cradle (4113m). This evening we camp at 2900m. Our camp is a pretty spot overlooking the Potanin Glacier and the above peaks. (B,L,D)
Day 5: Glacier walk or hike to Russain border
This is a leisure day. You may take a walk on the Potanin glacier or climb up on to the neighboring ridge, from where there are superb views north into Russia and all around the Tavan Bogd peaks and the glacier. (B,L,D).
Day 6: Return ride to White River valley
After a relaxed morning we ride back to the White river valley. A delicacy of the Kazakh cuisine - "besbarmak" will be served for dinner. Literally meaning "five fingers" this is a delicious assortment of stewed meat, vegetables and flour eaten with hands. (B,L,D).
Day 7: Linear ride start
Back in saddles and we start our linear ride. Tuvan riding guides will accompany us looking after your safety and tack. Each day we will be covering an average of 30kms riding across 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. Vehicles will drive ahead and move the camp every evening.
Today we ride downstream along the White river. Hundreds of ancient rock carvings and so called "stone men" mark graveyards of warriors of bygone times. We will stop by some of them and have a detailed explanation by our guide. We make camp in the valley of the river after about 6 hours of riding. (B,L,D).
Day 8,9,10,11: Horse riding to the Twin lakes
During these four days we ride to the twin lakes of Khoton and Khurgan. The terrain is perfect for various paces: we gallop across wide grassy valleys surrounded by huge dome shaped mountains, walk across rocky ridges and trot along icy streams. For the most part of our way we will be traveling above 2000 meters; nights can be cool although day time temperatures are most pleasant. (B,L,D).
Day 12: Rest day
Our campsite at Khoton lake is truly idyllic. It has one of the largest petroglyph galleries in Mongolia and some distinctly well preserved ancient burial sites. You may go swimming, explore the surroundings or laze in the camp. We also say good-bye to our riding guides who will go home this morning. (B,L,D).
Day 13: Return drive to Ulgy
Today we take a 6 hour drive back to desert airstrip. We drive along the canyon of mighty Khovd river. Along the way we visit a Kazakh falconer's felt tent. This hospitable people have ancient traditions of falconry. They employ Golden Eagles for hunting foxes, hares and other small animals. Although the hunting is done in winter you will see the proud bird tethered next to its master's house. Tonight we overnight in a local visitor center where you will have a chance to sleep in Kazakh gers/yurts. (B,L,D).
Day 14: Return flight to Ulaanbaatar
Today we catch a return flight to Ulaanbaatar. On arrival, transfer to your hotel. After hot showers and some rest we all gather for a farewell dinner. (B,D).
Day 15: Spare day
Spare or so-called local flight leeway day. We will be happy to recommend you on best shopping and self-exploration points. (B).
Day 16: Departure transfer
You will be transferred to your journey home. (B).
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