Steppe Nomads Ride

Steppe Mongolia: (IT-MNRT03)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/mongolia_steppe_nomads_ride.aspx

Introduction
Steppe Mongolia
Horseback Journey into the Gobi Steppe and experience the strength of Mongolian horses. You will be accommodated in a Mongolian yurt (ger) during this trip.

This is a horse riding tour across the Mongolian Gobi Desert sand dunes and steppe lands, hosted by the Steppe Nomads themselves- the largest remaining pastoralist people. We will saddle up and load all our gear onto a caravan of camel carts and head out across the steppes on to the Gobi grasslands. This is an experience not available anywhere else on Earth. Steppe ha­bitants once made up 25 percent of the global land area. Today the Pampas, the Puszta, the Prairies, and the Ukrainian steppes have largely been developed for agricultural output and only the Mongolian steppes have survived. The high elevation of Mongolia creates unusually clear air and starry nights all year round. It is an overwhelming visual experience of emptiness and vastness to ride into the great Mongolian void. The silent, treeless steppe, is completely devoid of any fences and stretches away into the distance with no trace of human activity except for the pastoralists and their herds. This Mongolian horse ride covers surprisingly contrasting habitat as it has patchy water sources, giving room for wildlife. Wolves may be heard vocalizing at any time in the summer but usually they are not seen. On this Mongolian horse ride you won’t have to squeeze yourself into a sleeping bag or a tent. The maximum group size is half of that of our regular horse riding tour, giving you a more personalized and intimate experience. All riders sleep in Mongolian yurt (ger), which are being moved by camel cart caravan to a new location every two days. This allows us to explore deeper into the nomadic lands. For the outdoor camping you will be able to stay in the basic comforts of a bed (sturdy cot) with full linens and a ger heated by a stove, ensuring a good night's rest from long riding days. This is a ride like no other that promises experiences and memories you will never forget!

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 ger outings for 6 nights (changing location every 2 nights), making a total of 5 different locations. All accommodations are based on double occupancy. Private bathrooms are only available for nights spent in Ulaanbaatar. On all other nights, facilities are shared.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Bayangol Hotel in Ulaanbaatar
Night 2-7: Ger outing
Night 8 and 9: Low-impact ger camp in Arburd Sands
Night 10: Bayangol Hotel in Ulaanbaatar

Bayangol Hotel in Ulaanbaatar
Ideally located in the city center, this hotel offers elegant and comfortable ensuite bedrooms. Each room is equipped with air conditioning, a TV, free Wi-Fi access and tea and coffee making facilities. Laundry is available for an additional cost.


Ger Outing

On most nights, we sleep in temporary camps in 1 to 3 gers set up. The gers are each equipped with cot beds (including full linen), chairs and a table, and a wood burning stove. We take along a Mongolian ger (yurt) to serve as our mobile restaurant. 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 Arburd Sands

This is a permanent camp with 16 gers (capacity of 34 people). The gers are each equipped with cot beds (including full linen), chairs and a table, and a wood burning stove. Restaurant ger. 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.

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 camel 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.
All our luggage will be loaded onto camel carts.

Itinerary

Sample Itinerary- subject to changes

Day 1:  Ulaanbaatar
Arrive at the Mongolian capital and transfer to your hotel. There will be a tour briefing and a welcome dinner.

Day 2: To The Grasslands
Before leaving the city we will visit the Gandan Monastery, which is the center for the Buddhist revival in Mongolia. We will drive south and enjoy a picnic en route. Our small mobile Luxury Wilderness Camp of gers has been set up in the vast pastoralist landscape near a water source at Tseel. The steppe nomads will be hosting us along this journey. They have brought their horses and camel carts and if we arrive on time, we can saddle up and try the horses.

Day 3: To Hoyd Önjuul
Today we have our first full day ride to the rather high mountains of Hoyd Önjuul, which can be seen in the distance to the west. It is a wilderness area with vertical rock faces, hills, and mountains up to an elevation of about 1800 meters above sea level. Nomads do not come here much due to the lack of water sources. For this reason, the area harbors some 400 red deer and argali sheep (Ovis Ammon)- the world’s largest wild bighorn sheep. We have now reached the edge of the Gobi. After exploring the area on horseback we ride back over the grasslands to our camp.

Day 4: To Ikh Zorgol Hairkhan Mountains
Today we break up camp. All gers, provisions, and luggage will be loaded on to the camel carts. While the camel caravan will move straight on to our next destination at the sacred mountains of Zorgol Hairkhan, we will ride a detour easterly across the fantastic grasslands to Bayan Mountain, home to Gobi high altitude fauna like Siberian ibex (Capra Sibirica) and ar­gali sheep. They take shelter in the hills and rocks and may be seen this day. Small herds of gazelle might be seen on the steppe and if we are extremely lucky, perhaps some wolves. We will pitch camp at Zorgol Hairkhan and remain here for two nights.

Day 5: Ikh Zorgol Hairkhan Mountains
The landscape is quite diverse here since we are in the transition zone of the Gobi. There is true steppe, semi-arid steppe, and also giant rock formations. For the full day we will explore the Zorgol Hairkhan massif on horseback and ride around and through rock formations several hundred meters high, which is a striking feature in the middle of the flat steppe. Zorgol Hairkhan is men­tioned in the Secret History of the Mongols, the oldest surviving Mongolian-language literary work, which chronicles the life and genealogy of Genghis Khan. The Khan himself is said to have wintered here while in conflict with a competing leader. There is a breeding population of cinereous vulture (Aegypius Monachus), the largest of the Eurasian vultures, it’s size on par with the Condor of the Americas. Their nests are quite low on rocks and in small trees and very visible. We can also visit Khuh Sudliin Am, the valley of Great Burnet (Sanguisorba Officinalis). Mongolians use this circumpolar medicinal plant in tra­ditional medicine for stomach problems by making a tea from its red pod-like flower.

Day 6: To Saikhan Ovoo
Again we break camp and the camel caravan starts moving in a straight line to our next destina­tion at Saikhan, skirting Baga Zorgol Hairkhan Uul. Baga means “small”, referring it as the smaller ver­sion of Ikh “big” Sacred Zorgol. Here we will probably encounter quite a few nomadic families as we head for Hariin Nuur (Remote Lake), a steppe lake useful for the steppe nomads. The lake usually attracts different species of birds. Our private camp has been set up already at Saikhan Ovoo.

Day 7: Uushig
A full day ride takes us across the steppe to Uushig, which again is an uninhabited area, featur­ing a small spring and some spectacular rock formations. Here it is even more likely to spot argali sheep, cinereous vultures, saker falcons (Falco Cherrug), and other wildlife. We will also be able to see some of the petroglyphs, for which Mongolia is so famous. We ride back to Saikhan Ovoo for the night.

Day 8: To Arburd Sands
Today our camp is broken for the last time and we ride for half a day across the Gobi grass­lands to Arburd Sands. These are the northernmost sand dunes of Mongolia. Here we find a seasonal and fully collapsible low-impact ger camp. Instead of picnic lunch we will enjoy a hot lunch at camp. In the afternoon we will ride a short way to some seasonal steppe lakes, which are kept in place by the underlying permafrost. We can visit nomads with large herds of cattle, especially cashmere goats. We return to Arburd Sands Ger Camp for the night.

Day 9: Arburd Sands
On our last day on the grasslands we will make a loop with the horses, riding across the 20 km long Arburd Sands, which are a hideout for wolves. You may also relax back at camp. Today we bid farewell to our steppe nomads horsemen.

Day 10: To Ulaanbaatar
We return to Ulaanbaatar and check into the hotel. See the capital city on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can by reached by foot. Your guide is standing by to assist you in your shopping or sightseeing activities. We will have a farewell dinner in local restaurant and entertainment.

Day 11: Departure
Transfer to the airport, railway station, or your next Mongolian destination.

Reversal of Trip: Riding tours may be done in the reverse for operational reasons.

---------------------------------------

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 Steppe Nomads Ride

Rates include:

Accommodations: hotels (2n.) semi-permanent gers (2n.) and ger outings (6n.) in shared double, All meals outside Ulaanbaatar. Welcome and farewell dinner and all breakfasts in Ulaanbaatar. Camping equipment and all local transport. English-speaking guide. 7.5 riding days

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    202011 day trip, AP except in Ulanbataar$3600
  • B
    202011 day trip, AP incl. Naadam Games$4320

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2020 Transfers included from Chinggis Khaan International Airport $0
2020 No single supplement if willing to share $0
2020 Single supplement in hotel and ger camp (4 nights) $160
2020 Single supplement ger outing (6 nights) $1,500
2020 Private trip supplement (2-3 pax), per trip
This is a "Group Rate"
$500
2020 Private trip supplement (4+ pax) - no extra charge $0

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2020 06/19 - 06/29 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /6 Reserve
B 2020 06/30 - 07/10 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP incl. Naada... 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 08/06 - 08/16 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /6 Reserve
A 2020 09/07 - 09/17 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /6 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 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)
 
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)
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)