The trip departing 24th June is scheduled to fit in with a visit to the annual Naadam festival after we return to UB. Please inquire about attending. Zavkhan is not an easy region of Mongolia to get to, which is why you are very unlikely to encounter any foreigners there. The drive from Ulaanbaatar follows 800km of less than perfect roads, eventually becoming little more than a dirt track. Our vehicles are reliable Russian four-wheel drives, ideal for the conditions and driven by our very experienced drivers. We believe the 'great Mongolian road trip' should be experienced at least once (one-way is enough, we fly back at the end of the trip!). We break the drive up over 3 days, stopping frequently along the way. However if the thought of three days of driving across half the country doesn't fill you with joy, we are now offering trips where we fly to Zavkhan. There will still be a day of driving once we reach Zavkhan, but you do get an extra day of riding. The itinerary when flying is the same as below, except on Day 2 we will fly from UB and Day 3 we will meet the horses in the morning and start riding. We will be flying to Zavkhan for trips departing 24th June and 19th August.
On Day 1 of the trip (or when you arrive, if you come early) we will meet you at the airport/train station and take you to your accommodation. You are then free to explore Ulaanbaatar - we are happy to point out some of the more interesting sites UB has to offer. You don't really need a guide, but we can arrange one if necessary. We are also there to assist with getting cash, finding your lost luggage if you flew with Aeroflot (just kidding hopefully!), and any other problems you might need help with before we head for Zavkhan the next day. We will meet for an evening meal and discuss the coming trip. When we return to Ulaanbaatar we will have a final evening meal togther, and then on the final day of the trip we will take you to the airport/train station for your return home or further travels. If possible you might like to leave some time on the final day for picking up gifts for the folks back home, before departing.
On the first day of driving we set out across rolling steppe and reach Karakorum, famous as the old capital of the Mongolian Empire and a must-see on most tour itineraries (hence the large number of purpose-built ger camps for tourists). However you'll need a good imagination to see anything more than the collection of run-down socialist-era concrete buildings that is the present-day town. Erdene Zuu monastery on the other hand, founded in 1586, and mostly destroyed in the Stalinist purges of the 1930s is definitely worth a look around. The second day will see us reach Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (The Great White Lake), a lovely spot surrounded by forested volcanic mountains. Finally we arrive in Tosontsengel where we meet our local wranglers, and familiarise ourselves with the horses. We will take plenty of time to match you to a horse you feel comfortable with, since you'll be seeing a lot of each other in the coming days!
We start off riding south from Tosontsengel, across open steppe and into the forested foot-hills of Tarvagatai Uul National Park. At this point we have many options before us. Various routes head further up in to the mountains, some we know well but others we are keen to try out. We are really only limited by the need to meet the support vehicle at the end of each day. Whichever way we go, we aim to eventually reach an old abandoned spa in the mountains, perfect for a day or two resting and soaking in the hot baths, before picking a route back to Tosontsengel. In order to explore deeper into the mountains where vehicles can't go, we need to use packhorses. If this sounds like you, see our 'Zavkhan by Packhorse' trip. After riding, we drive south to Khar Nuur, a beautiful and remote desert lake fringed by sand dunes. Perfect for swimming, hiking or just relaxing. In a country full of beautiful places, this is our all time number one! Finally we fly back to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, you are free to explore the city before meeting for an evening meal.
Day 2: Depart Ulaanbaatar, drive west to Karakorum, visit Erdene Zuu monastery and the infamous penis rock.
Day 3: Continue on to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur (The White Lake).
Day 4: Arrive in Zavkhan, meet the horses.
Days 5-13: Riding (8-9 days), through steppe, forest and mountains.
Days 14-15: Drive south and explore Zavkhan's desert-steppe and lakes.
Day 16: Fly back to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 17: Depart Ulaanbaatar.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Mongolia Outdoor: Land Rambler Horse Riding Cultural Journey
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