Relive the life of the Mongols and trek through Mongolia on horseback
This incredible, primitive experience reunites travelers with a sense of Mongolia’s past through one of the oldest forms of transportation: horses.
The fearsome hordes of Mongols of the past are what inspired Game of Thrones’ Dothraki. Mongolia has long inspired people. A sparse and inhospitable steppe inhabited by freedom-loving nomadic tribes. It is a land of destitution and breathtaking beauty. How could this land with such a small population create the largest contiguous empire in human history?
Horseback riding through the Great Mongolian Steppe is just one of the many reasons why Mongolia should be your next Asian travel destination.
What you need to know about Mongolia
The Mongols have a long history of growth in the staddle and today around 30% of the population remains nomadic or semi-nomadic. Equestrian culture is an integral part of the Mongolian way of life. Beware of Western tourists with romantic ideals. While horses are considered pets in the West, they are not in this region, they are working and food animals and are treated as such.
- Cut: 604,000 square miles or 1,564,000 square kilometers
- Population: 3.3 million (least populous sovereign nation in the world)
- Ulan Bator: Capital and largest city (home to about half the population)
- Similar countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tuva (an autonomous republic of Russia) share a similar equestrian nomadic culture in the steppe
- Nomadic population: Estimated at around 30% of the population
The season for horseback riding in Mongolia is in summer. Don’t go in winter – Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital in the world. In winter, the average January temperature is -24.5°C (-12.5°F).
For anyone visiting Mongolia, horseback riding is a must – going there and not riding a horse would be like going to America and not eating burgers, hot dogs, or drinking coffee.
Point: In this article we feature tours listed online, but it may be cheaper and easier to inquire in person in Mongolia (things work differently in this part of the world)
Horseback Riding in Gorkhi Terelj National Park – 10 Day Expedition
A horseback ride of a lifetime passes through Gorkhi Terelj National Park. There’s everything from unplanned, custom hikes to day hikes to 10-day expeditions.
Gorkhi Terelj National Park is a wonderland of open valleys and rolling hills. It has trails along rivers and wooded passes. It is a taste of the great Asian steppe.
- To stay: In Yurts (Large Nomadic Tents) Also Called Mongolian Ger
This ten day tour includes 8 days of riding, the other two coming and going from Ulaanbaatar. The price includes everything.
- Understand : Ground transportation, hotel accommodations, permits, camping gear, horse gear, etc.
- Cut: Small groups only – 6 guests per expedition
- Language: Includes English-speaking guides
- Price: $3,200
12-day trek in the Gobi steppe
Have you heard of the mighty Gobi Desert? It’s in Mongolia and it’s another sparse, harsh and beautiful environment to explore. This 12-day trek in the Gobi steppe is a well designed trek and travelers will live with the horses and camel carts in the open air. It’s a taste of nomadic life.
Vast openness and nothingness are hard to find in America – except perhaps places like Arctic Gates National Park in Alaska (the least visited national park in the US without road access) .
- Duration: 12 days and 11 nights
- Driving time: 9 days on horseback, 5 hours a day
- Group size: 2 – 10 people
- Price: From: $2,400 per person
18 Days Western Mongolia Horseback Riding / Snow Leopard Tour
Want to go horseback riding and see a rare and shy snow leopard? Consider the epic 18-day Western Mongolia Horseback Riding and Snow Leopard Tour.
Basically, all of Mongolia is the definition of remoteness, but Western Mongolia is most of this remote nation where everything is remote. It is also the most ethnically diverse, mountainous and arguably most scenic region in Mongolia. The region is home to the Altai mountain range with the highest peaks in Mongolia and Lake Uvs – a large saltwater lake.
This is an area that is home to many animals including snow leopards, Govi bear, ibexes, antelopes, golden eagles, wolves, falcons and many more. the The full 18-Day Western Mongolia Horseback Riding and Snow Leopard Tour can be seen here.
- Included: Camping and horseback riding equipment
- To note: This is a real Mongolian desert adventure expedition
- Price: Information at [email protected]
Snow Leopards: Snow leopards are endangered and one of the hardest to see, there are over 30 snow leopards living here, but spotting is not guaranteed
Horseback riding in Mongolia is the trip of a lifetime. It is an experience that can also be had in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, one of the best tour operators is Central Asia Guide for all visits to this little-known region.
Next: A brief history of Mongolia and why you should visit the Asian steppe
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