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Rising high in the Khangai Mountains, the Orkhon River Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the cradle of Mongolia’s nomadic culture! Spend five days horse riding in Mongolia, following the course of the river as it flows past sacred caves, ancient ruins and high mountain monasteries!
From the mighty Altai Mountains to the sweeping sandscapes of the Gobi desert, Mongolia is a land of spectacular diversity! Marshes, salt lakes, forests and glaciers lie side by side with rolling pastures and wind-carved dunes, home to wild horses, Corsac foxes and the legendary Bactrian camel. One of the 20 largest countries in the world, Mongolia is also one of the most sparsely populated. Over a third of the country’s three million inhabitants live in the capital Ulaanbaatar, while another third is engaged in nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralism, a livelihood strategy unchanged in centuries. Thanks to its size and geographic isolation, Mongolia retains a truly unique cultural heritage, with indigenous forms of wrestling, horse-racing and throat-singing among the many ancient pastimes still practised today.
This horseback expedition is an adventure without parallel, a unique opportunity to explore this magical landscape in true Mongolian style! Your journey begins in the small city of Darkan, where you’ll have the chance to visit the museum and get some background information on the region and its inhabitants. You’ll then head out into the countryside, swapping your jeep for a horse as you near the mighty Orkhon! The valley walls are dotted with ancient temples, ruined monasteries and caves used for meditation – ideal trekking sites - while the river itself is perfect for swimming! Each evening you’ll stay with a local family in their traditional ger, offering a unique insight into the timeless traditions of this remote steppes region. As well as enjoying some authentic home cooking, you’ll have the chance to partake in a host of household activities, from milking the animals to playing shagai (a marbles-like game played with an old ankle bone)!
Even by our own high standards, these Mongolia tours are that little bit special! This is a serious adventure, closer in kind to explorations of old than to the well-trodden trails of the modern traveller. There’s an endless stream of unique experiences, from milking a mare to kipping in a ger, so these tours are best suited to adventurous types with wide-open minds (the kind of people who wouldn’t say no to trying a horse steak, perhaps!?).
The riding itself is fairly leisurely so no prior experience is necessary, though a decent level of physical fitness is desirable. You will be riding about 12 kms per day which will be about 2-3 hours. Do bear in mind that traditionally Mongolian saddles are made out of wood. Whilst, for the purposes of these trips, the saddles are covered in felt to increase comfort, they may not be as comfortable as the saddles you might use at home. You’ll get most from this trip if you’re not afraid to try new things and even look silly in the process – we find that’s the best way to make friends! Put yourself out there and you’ll be rewarded with sites and insights that most folk can only dream of!
We select specialist operators who are experienced, qualified and most importantly passionate about what they do. Your enquiry will be passed straight through to the experts who will be able to give you the best advice.