A 17-day self-sufficient ride, from the banks of Lake Khovsgol to the taiga in the extreme North Mongolia, where Dukhans, traditional reindeer herders, live.
A ride for the skilled horsemen/women who want to live a wild, natural adventure in exceptional landscapes made of lakes, steppes, mountains and forests. You'll meet the last Dukhans, still so attached to traditions of shamanism.
Day 1Arrival in Ulan Bator and visit of the city
Arrival at the airport, meeting with our driver. Transfer to your hotel, settling in, and rest.
Appointment at 12 o'clock at your hotel with your guide. He will take you to the restaurant of your choice.
Let's immerse ourselves in the heart of the Mongolian history, in the wonderful National History Museum. Three floors of a rich, glorious, violent and noble past, from prehistory to Soviet period, including the creation of the great Mongolian Empire by Genghis Khan.
At 18 o' clock, Mongolian traditional show at Tumen Ekh: folkloric dances, contortion, and of course khoomi, the overtone singing.
Day 2Flight towards the great blue lake of Mongolia
We arrive at Lake Khövsgöl, one of the natural wonders of the world. This mountain covers an area of 2760 square kilometres, and its water is so pure that we can drink it! It's surrounded with many peaks culminating at more than 2000 metres and covered with forests of pines and lush meadows where yaks and horses graze!
We go towards East and the green small valleys of Alag Sar, and spend the night in a small yurts camp.
Day 3Saddle up ! Ride on the banks of the lake
Alag Tsar - Khatgal
After breakfast, we find our horses and finally leave for our pony trek. We ride along the Southern bank of the Lake Khovsgol, and admire its clearness and the different species living around the lake, such as the shelduck. If you feel like it, in the morning we can have our first gallop in the steppe. We ride across forests of larches and lakes.
In the evening, we set up our camp in the neighbourings of Khatgal, picturesque small village located on the Southern bank of the lake, where we'll stop for a few moments.
To liven up the evenings, don't forget to bring play cards in order to play mushik, Mongolian game to say the least lively.
Day 4In the flowered meadows South of the lake
Khatgal - Jankhay
Towards Jankhay. In the morning we'll stroll in the tall grass and colorful flowers, before walking into the forest of larshes, where we might see a herd of horses grazing in the shade. We then walk back down towards the lake. Finally, the camp can be seen in a little clearing, at the end of a rocky track.
Day 5Last camp on the banks of Lake Khovsgol
Jankhay - Khelt
Today, we enter in a marshy area. We also gallop and trot in the forest. We see our first ovoo, pile of stones and wood erected by the Mongolians in the passes of the mountains, in honour of the spirit of the mountains. We will walk around three times to show respect.
In the evening, we reach Khelt and camp by the lake.
Day 6Jigleg pass
Khelt - Jigleg pass
In the morning we ride in a marshy area. We will mainly trot and move at a walking pace. For lunch, we stop near the waterfalls. The waters of the falls are well known to the eyes, the abdomen, and the kidneys. Then we ride around an ovoo three times.
In the late afternoon, we arrive in Jigleg, where we will build our camp for the night.
Day 7Horseback in the forest
Jigleg pass - Ult
Easy day, in forest and in plain, during which we'll have many occasions to gallop and trot in postcard neighbourings. We may hear a cuckoo and see susliks, small rodents looking like prairie dogs. In the evening, we camp in Eult.
Day 8Renchinlkhumbe's great steppes
Ult - Renchinlkhumbe
We start this day crossing a forest where we may have the good luck to see the herd of white horses livinbg here and to gallop with them. We pass through the village of Renchinlkhumbe, near which we'll see a névé.
Tonight we'll sleep in a yurts camp to rest before going towards taiga.
Day 9Area of thousand lakes
Renchinlkhumbe - Tsagaan nuur
We leave the majestic steppe of Renchinlkhumber to enter the "area of thousand lakes". Breathtaking landscapes, with steppes and small lakes, follow another.
We cross the Khar Us River by Mongolian "ferry boat", before passing a pass where we'll stop near the ovoo in honour of the spirit of the mountain. We go on our way until the great Lake Tsagaan Nuur, where we set up our camp.
Day 10Ride in the taiga
Tsagaan nuur - Moorog Uul
We take on the most difficult part of our trek across taiga landscapes. Taiga is a transition change between boreal forest and and arctic tundra ; bushes, low conifers and birches make up its vegetation. Forming a kind of natural barrier protecting the camps of the Dukhans, in Summer the wild and uninhabited becones harsh : unfortunately, marshes, flies and mosquitos are present.
In the late afternoon, we set up our camp by the Moorog River and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Day 11 - 12Stays among reindeer breeders
Moorog Uul - Tsaatan camp
We still ride towards North across the mountainous taiga. Dukhans or Tsaatans live in tepees, and not in yurts, and they exclusivelyearn their living with reindeer traditional breeding, source of food, clothes and exchange money. There are only 44 families left, totalizing 200 to 400 persons. They have a social and material tradidition that remained unchanged for centuries. Shamanism and totamic rituals are in the centre of their social organization.
In the early afternoon, we can see in the distance the first tepees. Reindeer eat lichens and mosses. High mountains surround us and leads us in the magic of a travel at the ends of the earth. Sit in the tepee, have a tea with reindeer milk… Here is the beginning of our encounter with this ancestral people.
This day is dedicated to the discovery of the Tsaatan people. The traveller must come and meet his/her host, so spend time to go in the tepees and to share a few moments with the family. Watch, take part in the daily tasks, listen to stories, legends and myths, and learn some games. A part of the day will be dedicated to shamanism, proper to spirituality of Tsaatans.
After sharing dinner and evening with your host family, you'll fall asleep in a tepee made with reindeer skin in the camp of the host family.
- 11, 12
Day 13 - 14Back to the taiga in the South of Dukhan camps
Tsaatan camp - Tsagaan nuur
After a wonderful adventure among the Tsaatans, it's time to find back the horses. We resume our horseback ride towards South, back to Tsagaan Nuur. We continue our ride through the taiga and at the end of the second day, we reach the banks of the lake where we set up our camp.
Let's meet the reindeers herders!
- 13, 14
Day 15Gallops in the steppes
Tsagaan nuur - Renchinlkhumbe
After the harsh taiga, we find the steppes of Renchinlkhumbe, which allow us to gallop flat out if we feel like it.
Well-deserved rest in the small yurts camp of Renchinlkhumbe.
Day 16The banks of the Arsain River
Renchinlkhumbe - Khoridol
We ride through a forest of larches where horseflies are sometimes intrusive. We pass a pass, then stop by the Arsain River where the bravest ones among you can swim. Then we reach a marshy area where we move slowlier.
Reward of the day : a sunset on the banks of the Arsain River, surrounded by high mountains.
Day 17In the mountains of Khoridol
Khoridol - Uvur Khoridol
Some delicate passages : we have to cross the dry river beds and move among the pebbles. Then, we'll find a hilly area surrounded by high peaks, where gallops will be possible. We go higher above the sea level and set up our camp on the slopes of Euveur Khoridol Mount, near the forest where wolves can sometimes be heard.
Day 18Back to the steppe
Uvur Khoridol - Ulkhun
It's our last day in the mountains. In the morning, we cross the pass of Temeen Suult. The afternoon will be held in a landscape of steppes where we'll have the opportunity to make long gallops in these large areas.
Day 19End of the horse ride
Ulkhun - Khatgal
Our tour is finishing and we find again the banks of Lake Khovsgol. We cross our last forest before reaching the village of Khatgal.
Khatgal - Alag Tsar
In the afternoon, we drive to the area of Alag Tsar by jeep and reach our camp, where we can rest.
Day 20Return flight to Ulan Bator
Arrival in town and transfer to your hotel where you can rest a few moments.
Rest of the day free. With our guide, you can go and shop in the centre of the city.