Eastern Gobi Ride

Gobi Steppe Mongolia: (IT-MNRT12)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/mongolia_east_gobi_ride.aspx

Introduction
Gobi Steppe Mongolia
On this riding holiday, we explore the rich and unique landscapes of the Eastern Gobi on horseback.

This is the closest you will get to a safari experience in Mongolia. As we ride through the arid steppes and through a labyrinth of maze-like granite rock formations, we will come across game such as Argali Sheep (Ovis ammon - the world’s largest wild sheep with impressive horns), Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica) and sometimes Mongolian (Procapra gutturosa) and Goitred Gazelles (Gazella subguttorosa). We might also see a fox every now and then. The area also abounds in prehistoric burial sites, petroglyphs and ruins of Buddhist monasteries, representing all layers of Mongolian archaeology. 

This horseback journey also offers close encounters with Mongolian horsemen (Steppe Nomads), nomadic people who have thus far been able to withstand modern pressures and lifestyles, the largest remaining pastoralist people on Earth. An experience not available anywhere else on Earth.
Steppe habitats 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. Only the Mongolian steppes have survived. The high elevation of Mongolia creates unusually clear air and starry nights year round. It is an overwhelming visual experience of emptiness and vastness to ride into the great Mongolian void. The silent, treeless steppe, completely devoid of any fences. Stretching away into the distance: no trace of human activity except for the pastoralists themselves and their herds.

We will undertake this horse ride without vehicle support, in wild terrain. All our luggage will be loaded onto Bactrian two-humped camels, well adapted to the winter climate in Mongolia. Even a ger (Mongolian yurt) will be carried to serve as our mobile restaurant. 

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, tented camps for 6 nights, and ger camp for 2 nights. 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: Adaatsyn Hudag Camp
Night 3: Zuun Khöndlön Camp
Night 4: Baruun Khöndlön Camp
Night 5: Engeryn Tsohio Camp
Night 6: Engeryn Bulag Camp
Night 7: Tögrök Lake Camp
Night 8 and 9: IkhNart Rocks Ger Camp
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.



Camps
You we will stay in spacious tent-tipis, with foldable bed-cots (bring your own sleeping bag). 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.



Ikhnart Rocks low-impact ger camp 
You will sleep in double-occupancy gers, also known as yurts. Showers are provided in two separate yurts. The shower yurt has a fire stove and there are compost toilets. There is no wifi or mobile coverage at the camp (emergency landline available).

Room Occupancy
A single supplement fee applies for riders willing to have their own tent and own hotel room.



Meals
All meals are included in the trip except for lunch in Ulaanbaatar on day 10.

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.

Alcoholic drinks are not included in this package but you are welcome to bring your own.

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



On this tour, apart from the short drive to the starting point of our horse riding adventure and back to the city we will not rely on any motor vehicle support. Instead we utilize traditional wooden carts, that Mongolian families still use to move from one pasture to another. We will travel with camel carts and horses

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 four riders or more, we will also have a Mongolian doctor come along as part of the crew.

Itinerary
 

Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Day 1: Arrival
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar. Transfer to your hotel. Tour briefing, followed by dinner.
Meals included: Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Ulaanbaatar


Day 2: To Ikh Nart
After breakfast, we pick you up from your hotel in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to IkhNart Rocks Ger Camp by vehicle. It takes about 6 hours by car to travel over the grassland, which gradually turns into a more arid Gobi steppe. Picnic lunch on route.
We will pitch camp at Adaatsyn Hudag, one of the many Gobi wells, about 1 hours drive away. Here we will meet the local herders with the camel carts and our horses. We will get to know the horses and go an short ride.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Adaatsyn Hudag Camp


Day 3: To Zuun Khöndlön
This morning, the entire camp, including the ger, is packed up and loaded onto the caravan of camel carts. We will head out in a long loop eastwards, while the camel carts will take a straight route to Zuun Khöndlön,
only 8km away. Along our way we pass by some ponds and tiny lakes with rocks with fossilized trees from prehistoric times. Actually one of the longest surviving animals on the planet are the Desert Tadpole Shrimps, which are living fossils, having survived and changed little since the early dinosaur era. If it is arid there is no water, and no shrimps, but be sure to have a look if you find any small puddles.
We also see some burial sites and tombs dating back to the 13th century, i.e. from the times of the Mongol Empire was ruled by Genghis Khan and his sons and grandsons.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Zuun Khöndlön Camp


Day 4: To Baruun Khöndlön
Today, we ride towards Baruun Khöndlön. Early in the morning, we start riding around the Ovoot Mountain to spot some wildlife which might include Mongolian Gazelles (Procapra gutturosa) and some waterfowl near a lake. This area is strewn with basalt stones from ancient volcanoes and many small lakes and ponds sometimes appear between the rocks.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Baruun Khöndlön Camp


Day 5: To Engeryn Tsohio
Today we ride over the vast plain to the south to reach the Ikh Khad area. Ikh Khad means “many rocks” in Mongolian as this place has many interestingly shaped and colored rocks. Along the way we have a fair chance of seeing Argali Sheep, Siberian Ibex and Mongolian Gazelles.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Engeryn Tsohio Camp


Day 6: To Engeryn Bulag
After breakfast we ride to the southwest, where many raptors like eagles, falcons and vultures are often spotted. Mongolia has an unusual large diversity of rodents, which explains the numerous raptors everywhere. The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) is the largest of all Eurasian raptors, and rivals the Condor of the Americas in wing span and weight. This vulture builds huge nests made of twigs on rocks and in small trees.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Engeryn Bulag Camp


Day 7: To Tögrök Lake
We pack up and ride to the southwest, along the plain, until we reach a rocky and sandy area, where many 13th century burials and tombs of local kings and lords can be found. There is also a burial site of Buddhist lamas dating to the 1700s to 1800s. There are also many petroglyphs and Tibetan writings on the rock faces. Tögrög Lake is tiny and does not always hold water. Ground water however comes up and there are very tall grasses surrounding it. It is located in very a scenic area of rock granite formations.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at Tögrök Lake Camp


Day 8: To Ikh Nart
In the morning we ride to the IkhNart Rocks Ger Camp. We start riding north, to Red Rock Valley, on of the the spring-fed green plains, with elms and poplars. Wildlife come here for water and so do small birds on migration such as warblers. In May, sometimes one can see Japanese Sparrowhawks on feeding frenzy targeting warblers. We then continue to ride north until we reach Khalzan Springs, where there is a derelict camp from the Soviet era, frequently used by locals, as the springs have medicinal properties.
To the east, in the Khalzan Mountains, there are more petroglyphs and tombs dating from the Hunnu period, called Xiongnu by the Chinese, which may date back to 200 BC. Later the Huns evolved to become the first pastoral people, and perhaps some made it to Europe, to topple the Roman Empire. We will finally ride south until Bichigt Had (Rock Inscriptions), where close by the IkhNart Rocks Ger Camp is set up.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at IkhNart Rocks Ger Camp


Day 9: Ikh Nart
From the Ger Camp, we ride to the east between the rocks. We visit the natural wonders of Bichigt Had, Els Had and also have a chance to spot Argali Sheep. We can also visit a Gobi nomad family and learn about their daily life. You may also try riding a camel. We then ride back to the camp before dinner time.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight at IkhNart Rocks Ger Camp


Day 10: To Ulaanbaatar
After breakfast we are picked up by a driver and return to Ulaanbaatar. Picnic lunch will be provided along the way. Back in Ulaanbaatar check into your hotel. You have free time to relax or explore the city on your own. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can be reached on foot. We will have a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Overnight at Hotel in Ulaanbaatar


Day 11: Departure
Transfer out to your next destination.
Meals included: Breakfast



Naadam Games Extension

July 9th Ulaanbaatar
Arrive in the Mongolian capital by flight. If you arrive today we provide transfer to your hotel. You may explore the city on your own for the rest of the day. Distances are short and nearly all points of interest can be reached by foot. Minor archery competitions and trainings will already start today such as children’s archery, Buryat style archery, etc. Training sessions allow for good photography. In the evening the horse trainers arrive with their horses and pitch their mobile camps at Hui Doloon Hudag, a steppe area 40 km away from the city center. In the evening we meet for a festive welcome dinner. 

July 10th Ulaanbaatar
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 (same as Day 1 for the standard itinerary)
Our services end after breakfast for the Naadam Games. You will be staying at the same hotel. Free day to explore Ulaanbaatar. Tour briefing after dinner.


Rates and Dates for Eastern Gobi Ride

Rates include:

English speaking guide, Most meals, All overnights in hotels (2n.). Ger camp (2n.) and tents (6n.), camping equipment and all local transport.

Packages and Options



  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    A
    202111 day trip, AP except in Ulanbataar$2400
  • B
    202113 day trip, AP incl. Naadam Games extension$3120

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:



 DescriptionUS$
2021 Transfers from/to Ulaanbaatar airport included $0
2021 No single supplement if willing to share $0
2021 Single supplement $400
2021 Private trip supplement - please inquire $0

Season Seasons  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 05/15 - 10/15 11d / 10n 11 day trip, AP except in Ul... 2 /8 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Gratuities, Airport departure tax, Lunch on day 10, Alcoholic drinks & Health and accident insurance (mandatory)
Bring your own sleeping bag, riding helmet and short chaps.

Note:

Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Eastern Gobi Trail (IT-MNRT12):
For bookings affected by travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, we offer the possibility to postpone your trip to a later date at no extra fee.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

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
 
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
Nylon parachute cord (useful for tying rain gear and saddle bags behind saddle)