12 days including 7 horse riding days. Overnights in tented camps and in gers (Mongolian felt covered tent). Safe and comfortable tack. In mere 50 km east of the capital Ulaanbaatar there is a land of evergreen taiga forest, clear streams and lush grasslands. Deer, wild boar, squirrel, beaver, otter, sable and wolf inhabit the area. There lie mountains, lakes and rivers which gave shelter and refuge to the legendary Khan of Mongols, Genghis during his early days when he faced a harsh rivalry from enemies of his deceased farther. These lands as well witnessed his rising glory. At the Khukh (Blue) Lake he was enthroned as the Khan of All Mongols in 1189. Later in 1206 seating on a white felt carpet on the shore of the lake, he was bestowed the title of Khan of The Great Mongol Empire. Precisely these auspicious places lie on our riding route.
All accommodation (twin shared), all transfers including arrival & departure, indicated meals (B-breakfast, L-lunch, D-dinner), visits & national park fees, camping equipment, English speaking guide, expedition cook with an assistant, riding guides, horse hire
Travel insurance, meals not indicated, sleeping bags and pads, drinks, gratuities
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar, guided city tour
Arrival in Ulaanbaatar (UB), the capital of Mongolia and transfer to a centrally located 4 star hotel. Afternoon guided city tour will introduce you to the highlights of the city: the Gandan Temple - city's main Buddhist center, the central city square with a grand statue of Genghis Khan and the Zaisan Memorial, an elevated hill on the city's edge providing a panoramic view of UB. Then choose to visit one or two museums from the following: Museum of National History introducing Mongolia's history from early humans to modern era, Natural History Museum with a unique collection of dinosaur fossils, Choijin Lama or State Oracle Residence-museum displaying best samples of Buddhist artwork and religious masks. The Winter palace of Bogd Khan showcasing rare statues of Buddhist deities and items of personal use of this last theocratic ruler of Mongolia is also worth considering. A show of traditional music, throat singing and contortion at 6PM will be followed by a welcome dinner. (hotel/D)
Day 2: Drive to Zuun Bayan valley
After breakfast meet our team: drivers, cook and the guide. Load the jeeps and drive eastwards to the Khan Khenty NP. The drive takes you through landscape of mountains covered in larch, birch and cedar. After 2 hr driving tarmac ends and we continue across lush meadows dotted with white yurts (known as Gers in Mongolian) of local herding families at work and get a glimpse of a way of life which has seemingly not changed for centuries. In the mid afternoon arrive to the Zuun Bayan valley gateway and set up tented camp. Here we meet our riding guides who will show up in the evening with a herd of sturdy Mongolian horses. Dinner and tented camp overnight. (tent/B,L,D)
Days 3-9: Horse riding to Bayangol valley via the Kherlen river
After breakfast a horse will be selected to suit your riding experience. 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. Your riding guides will teach these techniques before we set off further to the east. Each day the support team will drive ahead and serve lunch at an agreed spot and then carry on to prepare your camp and dinner.
During these 6 days we cover every type of landscape of the Khan Khenty range: lush meadows, wooded hills, grassy river valleys and rugged mountains. The guides will ride next to you and look after your safety and peace of mind. For the most part the region is sparsely populated so each encounter with local people is potentially an authentic cultural exchange. There is always someone to come across and greet us.
On day 5 in the evening we arrive at Kherlen river, the longest in Eastern Mongolia. The basin of Kherlen river was the traditional grazing and hunting ground of of Genghis Khan's tribesmen.
Inevitably, sooner or later you will be invited to a herding family yurt. Yurt is easily collapsible yet warm and stable, perfectly suitable for Central Asian extreme climate and fierce winds. Simple life and wild nature have shaped tough but extremely friendly type of people. Their knowledge of nature is unparalleled.
On day 7 we camp at the shore of the Khukh lake. Here Temujin was conferred the title "Genghis Khan" meaning 'the oceanly great king'. On day 8 night we spend the night in a designated visitor camp. This is a chance to sleep in Mongolian gers. A separate building is equipped with showers and conventional bathrooms. (tents/ger/B,L,D)
Day 10: Ride to Khangal lake via the Bereeven monastery
Last riding day. Our destination is the Bereeven Monastery site initiated in late 18th century. With over 3000 monks residing in its vicinity it became the main Buddhist center of Eastern Mongolia till the 1930-ies before being leveled during the anti-religion campaigns. Today it is being slowly restored by dedicated believers. After lunch we ride for 2 more hours and camp by the Khangal lake. Celebratory dinner: khorkhog or chunks of meat pressure cooked in a container with hot rocks will be served with various salads. (tent/B,L,D)
Day 11: Return to Ulaanbaatar
Day 12: Departure
Transfer to airport for your journey home. (B)
Hello, Batsuren and J. Now that I am back home in Arizona, I can reflect on my experience in Mongolia. The horseback adventure was beyond beautiful! The serene country, the lovely Mongolian people, the endless vista devoid of fences or utility poles and electricity lines, and the Mongolian horses themselves combined to make a lifetime memory. Individually, I commend JAY for his insight and explanation of culture and human and natural history. He’s a great guide and translator who gives the journey a deeper meaning. His skill in using the English language is strong --- enough so that he offers and understands humor in this second language (humor is the characteristic of the deepest understanding of a foreign language).
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