Mongolia horse riding tour

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Check dates

2017: 3 Sep
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Mongolia horse riding tour

If it is your ambition in life to ride across the wild open spaces of Outer Mongolia in the valleys once travelled by Genghis Khan during the days of the Great Mongol Empire, this is your chance now. Genghis Khan established his military headquarters in the Orkhon Valley, a part of Mongolia where all preceding central Asian empires had also located their capital, and this is the part of the country where we take you.

Horsemen from this area travel with us, loaning their horses as well as their skill and humour. They have little opportunity to earn money during the year, so this trip is an excellent way for them to make enough to support their families for some time. Even though nomadic people are largely self-sufficient, they still need to buy school books for their children, medicines, flour and other basic essentials.

We travel in the mountains and valleys of Ovorkhangai province, on rough jeep tracks and horse trails. On one afternoon we will also show you the terrible destruction caused by the gold mining industry – an ecological tragedy of huge significance to the people of Mongolia. It is important that people from outside know what is happening here. It is such a remote place, hidden from the world, that these activities have gone largely unnoticed by the international community for several years already.

During the horse riding trip we camp in Western-style tents as there is no other choice of accommodation in this remote area. Our staff understand the need to leave no trace behind them and all rubbish is carried until we can dispose of it properly. Local people are interested – and pleased – to see that we take the effort to carry rubbish so far to avoid spoiling their beautiful environment. Our tourists tend to show a very good example to the locals, whose experience of non-biodegradable-rubbish is very limited. Also tourists are instructed before arrival in Mongolia of the requirement for biodegradable soap, shampoo, etc. because washing is often in rivers.

Accommodation on two nights will be at a ger camp where authentic ger tents have been set up for tourists and furnished with beds and a stove, with toilet and washing facilities on the site. The ger camp is owned by a local entrepreneur and the staff are all people from the Kharkhorin area, who benefit greatly from the opportunity to get a modest cash income during the short tourist season. Each ger has a wood-burning stove which staff will light if requested. We discourage our clients from using this facility if it is not very cold because the fuel used is trees cut down in the nearby forests.

Visits to local families are spontaneous, not artificially created experiences packaged for tourism. This is a nomadic population and we do not know beforehand where families will be. It is most likely that we would be invited to visit the relatives of one of the horsemen who is travelling with us as there are many families who have set up their gers not far from the Orkhon river beside which we ride. The tradition of hospitality and sharing of news by passing travellers is such that a visit like this is quite normal within the culture and not viewed by the hosts as an imposition.

We suggest to our clients that they bring photographs of their own homes to show and small gifts such as souvenirs from their own town. According to the situation, we may give a suitable amount of money to the host family. This would be done by the tour leader only and is taken to be a gift rather than payment for services given.

The ger camp where we stay at Kharkhorin has a small shop where they sell paintings, traditional clothing, carvings and other crafts, made during the winter months by people in the area. Our tourists are encouraged to buy souvenirs here as they are genuine mementos of the holiday and will certainly help to support the families of the shop owner and the craftsman.

Because we ride near to the Orkhon Waterfall and surrounding volcanic gorge, we are obliged to pay a “Protected Areas Service Fee” on behalf of each tourist (already included in price of tour). The fee contributes towards the following services: (i) introduction of the activities of the information centre (in Ulaanbaatar) and eco-ger and provision of information on legislation and security activities of the protected areas, (ii) regulation of camping places (iii) to provide tourists with information, brochures, booklets and warnings, (iv) garbage disposal.

The company is owned and run by Mongolians with small offices in Mongolia, UK and Germany. The itinerary for this trip, and indeed the whole brochure, can be downloaded from our website, reducing the need for printing in most cases. Upon booking a tour, clients are given a Tour Dossier which includes a section on attitudes and behaviour. We explain some of the most important issues so that tourists will not be embarrassed nor locals offended. During the tour, the leader or interpreter will educate the group on the more important points of Mongolian etiquette so that everyone feels more comfortable when we enter a local home or temple.

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