Mongol Horsetrails

Khan Khentii Mongolia: (IT-MNRT01)
URL: http://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/mongolia_mongol_horsetrail.aspx

Introduction
Khan Khentii Mongolia
A close encounter with the Mongolian horsemen and their exquisite horse culture!

This horseback journey offers close encounters with Mongolian horsemen, nomadic people who have thus far been able to withstand modern pressures and lifestyles. There is no other
nation in the world that depends on horses to such an extent. Mongolian horsemanship is famous and in many ways different than anywhere else. The herders keep their horses in a semi-wild condition, allowing them to live freely in harem groups. During the harsh winter with extreme subzero temperatures, the horses fend for themselves and protect their foals against predators such as wolves. Fences or stables are virtually unknown.

On this trip we will explore two very different environments on horseback: First, we ride across the vast treeless steppe, summer pastureland of Mongolian herders. Gradually we will come through the very scenic forest steppe and up into the southern taiga zone of the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area. You will experience steppes, wooded meadows, forests and mountains and enjoy camping along winding rivers. We will undertake this horse ride as a "Nomadic Journey", e.g. without vehicle support, in wild terrain. All our luggage will be loaded onto yak carts; even a ger (Mongolian yurt) will be carried to serve as our mobile restaurant.

Combination
In early July this trip can be combined with the world famous Naadaam in Ulaanbataar!  Reserve early! A once in a lifetime experience for those who wish to immerse themselves in the horse culture of Mongolia! 
 

Accomodation

Accommodations
This is a progressive ride, so you will be staying in different locations during the trip.

Description
You will be staying in a hotel for 2 nights, a low-impact ger camp for 2 nights, and tent tipis for 6 nights (changing location every 2 nights), making a total of 5 different locations. All accommodations are based on double occupancy.

Night 1 and 10: Bayangol Hotel
Stay in a 4-star hotel in deluxe rooms with private bathrooms. Laundry is available for an additional cost.
    -Hairdryer, tea and coffee
    -Cable TV, high-speed internet, and WIFI


Night 2-7: Tent Tipis
Temporary camps in spacious tent tipis, with foldable bed-cots. We take along a Mongolian ger (yurt ) to serve as our mobile restaurant, as well as showers and compost toilets housed in traditional Mongolian marquee style tents. Bring your own sleeping bag. During cold spells early and late in season, there is a slight chance of night temperatures below zero centigrade.  Frost is unlikely - but happens - also between June 15th to September 1st.  A four season sleeping bag is definitely necessary early and late in the season.  If you feel cold easy, or your body is small, you should take some care in the selection of  a sleeping bag.   The idea of a sleeping bag is that your own body heat will maintain and keep the warmth inside the bag.  It means that sleeping without clothes is better than having warm clothes on.  And small people should not sleep in a very large sleeping bag as they cannot heat the space with their own body temperatures.
If you have never slept under the stars:  Don’t worry!  You will find it a real pleasure!
Toilets tents with a drop toilet with wooden seat and separate shower tents are on site. We ask our clients to bring bio-degradable toiletries only. 


Night 8 and 9: Low-impact ger camp in Jalman Meadows
Permanent camp. The gers are each equipped with cot beds (including full linen), chairs and a table, and a wood burning stove. Restaurant ger. Showers and compost toilets are also on site. Toilets tents with a drop toilet with wooden seat and separate shower tents are on site. We ask our clients to bring bio-degradable toiletries only. 

Room Occupancy
Triple occupancy is possible.
Single riders listed as 'willing to share' do not have to pay the single supplement cost if we are unable to find another rider to share.


Meals
All meals except lunch in Ulaanbaatar are included in the trip. Our cook will prepare the meals. We pride ourselves in having excellent cooks adept at both western and Mongolian cooking on our trips. We can usually buy fresh milk and yogurt from local herdsmen. Traditional Mongols mostly eat meat and milk products. Mongolians who live in the city have adopted Russian and Western food habits. Although, they still like the traditional foods of the countryside, and frequently also eat these. The cuisine features lamb and mutton, the Kazakhs in western Mongolia prefer goat. We usually boil water all the time, and your water bottle may be filled in the evening. Alcohol is not allowed on this trip. 

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater for vegetarians. Please make sure to advice us in advance of any dietary requirements that you may have.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.

Riding

Mongolia is probably the most equestrian nation in the world. Not only is the Mongol heritage and lifestyle intimately connected with the horse, Mongolia is an exceptionally inviting place for keen horse riders. The absence of fences and the vast expanses of the steppes and forests are ideal for uninterrupted and scenic riding at its best!
On our trip, we emphasize the quality of human contacts and encounters with local people and respect for the horse and local equestrian traditions, from which many lessons can be learnt.

Riding Experience
You should be a competent rider, fit and capable of riding at all paces confidently. Varying terrain, in the saddle for several hours on most days.

Tack
We will provide you Russian saddles, which are more convenient for "western bottoms" than the Mongolian equivalent. We provide a saddle bag if needed.

Staff
A Mongolian English speaking guide will accompany the group at all times. A cook will follow with the yak cart caravan. In addition, the services of local herdsmen will be employed along with their animals. The horsemen follow a traditional lifestyle in the areas where we will be riding. If the group consists of 4 riders or more, we will also have a Mongolian doctor come along as part of the crew. We are supported by a caravan of yak carts and local nomads.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Ulaanbaatar
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Transfer to your hotel. Tour briefing after dinner.

Day 2: To the Steppes
In the morning we visit the Gandan Lamasery, the center for the Buddhist revival in Mongolia, possibly in time to see the prayers. Mongolians follow Lamaism (Tibetan Buddhism), with the Dalai Lama being the supreme theocratical leader. We then drive out of the city, and gradually the wide open Mongolian landscape unfolds before our eyes. We have a picnic lunch on arrival, pitching camp near some nomadic families. Here we will meet the local herders with the yak carts and our horses. We will get to know the horses and go an short trial ride.

Day 3-4: Steppe Ride
All our provisions, camping equipment and luggage will be loaded onto yak carts. Even a ger (yurt) will be brought, and we will learn how to set it up. We ride across open steppe, but also cover hilly terrain with occasional patches of birch forest. Throughout the ride we will have the chance to meet with local herdsmen, often relatives and friends of our local horsetrail guides. On the second day, forests will suddenly start to appear and we are now riding towards the Khentii wilderness area, which includes the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area and Gorkhi Terelj National Park. In Mongolia the Siberian boreal forest meets the Central Asian desert and steppe and will be riding through the transitional zone between grasslands and northern Larch forests.

Day 5-6: To Sharbulag Valley
The horses will now permit us riding through the larch forests, up the slopes of the mountains following the ridges with superb scenery whilst the yak carts will follow the broad river valleys. We will arrive and pitch camp at the Sharbulag Valley. We will spend two nights here, and it will allow for some flexibility in the middle of our ride.

Day 7: To Tuul River
Cross a pass and ride into the upper parts of the Tuul River Valley. We are now near the main ridge of the Khentii Mountains. The horses will help to get up on to the ridges where the panoramic views are extraordinary. It is a partly forested area.

Day 8-9: To Jalman Meadows
We will ride towards the Jalman Meadows famous for its wildflowers and reach our semi-permanent ger camp. It is situated next to a beautiful wooded meadow on the upper parts of the Tuul River. Here we say good bye to the herders and their yak carts caravan. We will stay at Jalman Meadows Ger Camp for two nights, having a superb last day ride in the surrounding area.

Day 10: To Ulaanbaatar
We are picked up by a driver and returned to Ulaanbaatar to check into the hotel. See the capital city on your own. Distances are short. The local guide is standing by to assist where your points of interest are located. Farewell dinner in a local restaurant as well as entertainment.

Day 11: Departure
Transfer back home or on to your next destination.

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Naadam Games Extension (optional for June 30th, 2019 departure) 

July 10th: Ulaanbaatar

Conclusion of horseback riding trip after breakfast. Today, one day before the National Naadam officially begins, we will drive out of the city and attend smaller, more intimate "country-style" Naadam festivals, usually held in three communities some 50-60km away. This failing, the big horse races also start on the Hui Doloon Hudag plains today. In the countryside you have the chance to get up close to the horse races, and also to the wrestling matches. Local people usually wear their finest traditional dresses, adding to the colorful, festive atmosphere. We have a picnic lunch nearby and head back to Ulaanbaatar in the afternoon.

July 11th: Ulaanbaatar
Today Naadam is officially opened by the President of Mongolia. Soldiers on horseback, dressed in warrior regalia, ceremonially bring Genghis Khan's nine white horsetail banners from the parliament, where they are normally displayed, to the stadium. We will attend the impressive opening ceremony, after which the first round of wrestling will immediately follow. In most years 512 wrestlers from all over Mongolia compete, but in some years there are 1024! There are no judges, no time limits and no weight limits. We may try and attend the archery competitions (if not done the previous day) and later make our way out to the steppe area on the fringes of the city, where the horse races take place. We visit the nomadic tented camps that have sprung up, and experience a concentrated version of nomadic Mongolia. Herdsmen have come with their horses and all provisions for the festivities, which of course include airag (koumiss; fermented mares milk) for the merry making. Stroll around the area and you are likely to be invited in somewhere. You may also try your luck at the finals of the horse races, but prior instructions are necessary, since the finishing line of a full horse race of several hundred, is a potentially hazardous environment.

July 12th: Ulaanbaatar
Our services end after breakfast (and transfer to the airport if applicable), as we have covered all aspects and the highlights of Naadam by now. You may of course remain in the city to attend the final rounds of wrestling and the awards, or continue for one of our trips further into the great Mongolian void. You need to be attentive with hotel reservations and advise us early if intending to stay beyond mid-day.
 


Rates and Dates for Mongol Horsetrails

Rates include:

Accommodations: hotels (2n.) gers (2n.) and tent tipis (6n.) in shared double, breakfast in Ulaanbaatar, welcome and farewell dinner, all meals outside Ulaanbaatar, camping equipment and all local transport, English-speaking guide

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    201911 day trip, AP except in Ulanbataar$2200

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2019 Transfers from/to Ulaanbaatar airport included $0
2019 Single room/ tent/ ge supplement $400
2019 No single supplement if willing to share $0
2019 Naadam Games extension July 10-12 $720

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2019 06/15 - 06/25 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 06/30 - 07/10 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Expired
A 2019 07/21 - 07/31 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve
A 2019 08/17 - 08/27 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve
A 2019 08/31 - 09/10 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /10 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities, airport departure tax. Lunch in Ulaanbataar, alcoholic drinks, laundry, visa fees, SOS Medical insurance.
Bring your own sleeping bag, riding helmet and short chaps.

Other Info
Meeting: Ulaanbaatar
Airport: Chinggis Khaan International Airport (ULN)
Transfer: Ulaanbaatar

Climate:
                                                Ulaanbaatar area


Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Average High Temperature (°F)

4

14

30

48

62

72

76

72

61

45

23

7

Average Low Temperature (°F)

-20

-14

3

20

34

46

52

48

34

19

-1

-15

Average High Temperature (°C)

-16

-10

-1

9

17

22

24

22

16

7

-5

-14

Average Low Temperature (°C)

-29

-25

-16

-6

1

8

11

9

1

-7

-18

-26

Average Precipitation (days of rain)

0

0

0

0

1

3

4

3

1

0

0

0

Source: NOAA


Seasons

The mean elevation of Mongolia is about 1400 meters above sea level (5000 ft), which enhances the sharp continental climate. Mongolia has the highest atmospheric pressure in the world and the pronounced elevation as well as the distance from the moderating effects of the oceans, makes Ulaanbaatar the coldest capital city on Earth. This fact does not rule out extreme heat waves in the middle of the summer. In Mongolia the Central Asian desert zones meet with the Siberian taiga, hence, Mongolia is a transition zone with climatic extremes. Most of the year it is very cold, especially at night.

Winter
Precipitation is low and skies are usually clear during the wintertime.

Summer
Summers are very pleasant just as in the US and Europe. There is a short rainy season in July and August during which most of the annual rain will fall. Around 70 percent of all precipitation falls during this period. When raining it tend to be heavier and shorter, if extended it may cause floods locally. Occasional strong winds can come and go quickly. Even if this sounds like a lot of precipitation during the summertime it is just about the same as in Europe at the equivalent time. Mongolia is known as the land of the blue sky and throughout the year there are 278 sunny days and 9-23 cloudy days.

Spring and fall pass very quickly.

What To Bring:
Dress is very informal but Mongolian sensibilities dictate a degree of modesty in the cut of the clothing worn.  Hotel laundry services are available but you will need to bring two or three changes of clothing for the camping portion of the trip. This basic list will be adequate for the demands of our trips. While in Mongolia we will have weather in the 60's and 70's during the day, but nights will be cold. If you are passing through Beijing on the way to or from Mongolia, be aware that Beijing is hot and humid.

Useful items:
Small binoculars, travel alarm clock, earplugs, journal and pen, pocket knife (put in checked luggage, not allowed as carry‑on), lightweight snacks like granola bars, fruit bark, jerky, trail mix, nuts, tea bags that you can't start the day without, vitamins, water purification tablets, Mongolian phrasebook.
Our support structure is free from vehicles. All our provisions, camping equipment, luggage will be loaded on to yak carts. Even a ger (yurt) will be brought, and we will learn how to use it.  

This list is only a guideline for you

 

Travel documents and Voucher
Flight tickets
Passport
Visa (check with your consulate)

 

RIDING GEAR
Comfortable riding jeans or Jodhpurs
Riding boots (well broken in) or ankle-high riding shoes meant for endurance rides or ‘ride & ties’. These work especially well when worn with a pair of ‘half chaps’ (knee-high leather gaitors). They have a riding heel, but are comfortable enough to be used for your city and village footwear too. 
Rubber overboots, especially if your riding boots have leather soles.
Riding gloves
Hat (with chin strip) for sun protection
Good rain gear: parka and rain pants or “duster” (no ponchos)

 

PERSONAL CLOTHING
Pile jacket or down vest
Wool sweater or wool shirt
Warm gloves
wool cap or other warm hat
Comfortable T-Shirts/Shirts
Jeans
Shorts
Underwear and socks
Long underwear for cold nights (polypropelene or capilene)
Women: Jogbra or other suitable sporty support
Pyjama
Bag for dirty clothes
Comfortable footwear for city and village walking (sturdy walking shoes or tennis shoes or lightweight hiking boots well broken in)
Swimsuit
Bandana or scarf
 
For Camping trips:
Sturdy large duffel bag (30x15x14)
Sleeping bag (four‑season)
Ground mattress (supplied)
 
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO BRING
Personal Toiletries
Insect protection
Personal medications
Sore cream (for the emergency)
small towel
Camera and enough extra films and batteries
Belt pack
Sun glasses with strap
Sun tan lotion and lip balm 
Biodegradable campsuds
Minimum 1 liter water bottle (leather bota bags work great for riding)
Flashlight with change of batteries
Toilet paper
Extra baggage tags ("collecting" tags is popular with baggage handlers in Asia)
5 large trash bags to line duffel and sleeping bag stuff sack
6 small & medium zip loc bags for trash disposal
Luggage padlocks
25 feet of nylon parachute cord (useful for tying raingear and saddle bags behind saddle)