Eight Lakes Ride, Mongolia - Horse Riding Holidays and Safaris

Eight Lakes Ride, Mongolia

12 NightsIntermediate to AdvancedFrom $4,150 USD?Tour costs $4,150 USD which is approximately $6,389 AUD

This ride combines two different phases: four days on the fast, flat steppes, and four days of relaxed and remote exploration in Eight Lakes National Park. Oh and there’s Yaks involved…need we say more?

The Eight Lakes Ride combines two different but complementary visions of Mongolia: fast, flat steppes and relatively open country as you ride west, followed by a gloriously relaxed and remote exploration of Eight Lakes National Park supported by a team of magnificent yaks.

The route forms a lollipop: the ‘stick’ will be fast and light, vehicle supported, a real rider’s dream. Keeping the pace up and the horsepower fresh, you will cover 160 kilometres in four days to reach the tranquil Orkhon Valley. The ‘candy’ of the lollipop is sweet indeed: four days of memorably lo-fi, yak-supported trekking as you ride a loop through the gorgeous Eight Lakes region, protected since 1992 in recognition of its outstanding beauty and diversity of rare animals and birds.

Like a cow crossed with a dinosaur, yaks will carry your world on their mighty backs, giving you privileged access to a pristine, fairytale wilderness. Where cars cannot reach, technology cannot assist, and men cannot carry, yaks pick their way with benign and dauntless resolve.

Here, the horses’ pace can vary hugely, but the nature of the terrain makes even the walking sections memorable, with steep rocky staircases and twisting trails through enchanted forests and dense undergrowth (which usually yields exquisite wild strawberries – you’ll be in no hurry).

In open country, you are free to enjoy endless canters with the wind in your hair, and sunsets can be spent swimming in the blissful waters of the volcanic lakes themselves. It’s wellness and wildness, rolled into one unforgettable Globetrotting adventure.

Fast Facts

  • Horse Breed:Mongolian working horses between 13 to 14 hands high.
  • Pace:Variable depending on the terrain, with plenty of opportunities to trot and canter
  • Weight Limit:A maximum of 100kg / 220lbs
  • Type of tack:Refurbished ex-Mongol Derby saddles. These are lightweight but with a rigid fibreglass tree, short-seated like a Mongolian saddle but with plenty of space for a Western-sized rider. They look like a stripped down Australian stock saddle - very secure and very comfortable. Custom made gel covers act as seat savers for extra cushioning.
  • Seasons:June & July. *Custom departure dates can be arranged for groups of 5+ in August, September and October.
  • Group size:A minimum of 6 and a maximum of 8 guests.
  • Time in Saddle:Anywhere between 4 to 8 hours on average per day, depending on the distance needed to travel to your next campsite.
  • Riding Ability:Suitable for intermediate to advanced riders who are fit and have a sense of adventure. You must be confident riding at all paces.
    It’s actually a fantastic place to build confidence and have your first gallop, so if you are a confident beginner, and in great physical shape, please do get in touch and we will discuss suitability with you. Rider fitness is a MUST - camping at night and riding all day is strenuous.
     Not sure what your riding ability is? Watch THIS video to find out.
  • Accommodation:The accommodation varies throughout the trip, with the majority of the nights spent camping in tents (one person per tent), but there will also be times you stay in Ger camps and hotels at the beginning and end of the ride. A Ger Camp is a Mongolian version of a motel with traditionally decorated gers for sleeping (usually shared rooms with 4 pax), separate dining hall and very basic facilities for shower and toilet.
    (International standard hotel in Ulaanbaatar nights 1 and 12, and a good quality regional hotel in Kharkhorin night 11. Ger camp near to Orkhon Waterfall night 10. All other nights will be spent camping in tents.)
  • Ride Length:13 days, 12 nights with 8 riding days.
  • Inclusions:

    The price includes full board from arrival in UB until departure (NB: there is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets), some alcohol (but you’ll need to BYO should you wish to enjoy multiple drinks), transfers to/from UB Airport, and to the ride start and finish points, and riding supported by vehicles and yaks.

  • Exclusions:

    The price does not include your international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), some alcohol, and staff tips.

    (NB: There is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets).

 

DEPARTURE DATES & RATES

NEW! Secure your saddle seat NOW with a 10% deposit - as part of our 10x 10% payment plan!

While camping, you will be assigned 1x tent per person, but when staying at hotels the rate is priced for twin share. Should you wish to have your own room on the hotel nights an additional single supplement charge will apply.

NB: When staying at the ger camp near Orkhon Waterfall, sleeping arrangements will be 3-4 guests per ger.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price includes full board from arrival in UB until departure (NB: there is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets), some alcohol (but you’ll need to BYO should you wish to enjoy multiple drinks), transfers to/from UB Airport, and to the ride start and finish points, and riding supported by vehicles and yaks.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
The price does not include your international flights, travel insurance (compulsory), some alcohol, and staff tips.

NB: There is a surcharge of $10 USD per day for gluten free and dairy free diets.

Accepted payment is by credit or debit card only. Depending on the ride you choose to book and your country of residence, there will be a 1.2% to 2.9% surcharge.

Click HERE to read more about our fees and charges.
Click HERE to read our recommendations on which cards are best to use to avoid international transaction fees.
WHY IS THE PRICE QUOTED IN USD?
With our riding destinations, the currency is dictated by our ride partner in that country. Therefore due to fluctuating exchange rates we have to quote in the same currency.

Itinerary

Expand AllCollapse All

Please note, this is a suggested itinerary only and subject to change at the discretion of your guides due to weather and other influencing factors.

Expand AllCollapse All
  • Day 1

    Fly into Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia (called ‘UB’ by locals and visitors alike). After passing through immigration and customs, you’ll be collected and whisked to the dependable luxury of the Holiday Inn hotel. Referred to as the ‘city of contrasts’, UB is a city where modern skyscrapers stand beside traditional dwellings and ancient monasteries. You’ll be very conveniently located in downtown UB, within walking distance of Sukhbaatar Square, museums, theatres, and shops.

    If you arrive in the morning, you’ll have time for lunch and a nap before being gathered up for a city tour with your hosts. If you arrive later in the day, you’ll be given space to rest up at the hotel before heading out in the evening. You’ll visit a local theatre to see a local arts troupe perform a concert of traditional music, song and performing arts, including the famous contortionists. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner as a group and discuss the adventure to come.

  • Day 2

    Mount up Globetrotters! It’s time to head west towards Eight Lakes National Park in Ovorkhangai province – you have some 160kms to cover by horse, starting at the beautiful rock formations around Erdenesant soum. It’s around a four hour drive to reach the start point and there will be stops for snacks and coffees on the way. In the afternoon you’ll meet the fabulous Morindoo crew and horses, and do a looped ride to get the hang of these superb adventure partners, and test out all the gears, and adjust all your own gear too. Get comfy riders, it’s a long journey ahead. Enjoy your first night at camp in these stunning rock formations and see the stars come out while the horses graze round the camp. Priceless.

  • Days 3 to 5

    Over the next three days you will ride approximately 160kms towards the Eight Lakes National Park, though with the sturdy fourgons (Russian vans) supporting the group, there is always an ‘off-ramp’ should you need it. The ride takes you through the magnificent golden dunes of Elsen Tasarkhai, the ‘mini Gobi’, through the geographical centre of the country, around Burd, and towards the lush river valleys or Ovorkhangai province, which supports the largest livestock population of all of Mongolia with its verdant pastures and fast clear waters.

    You’ll settle into a seductive daily rhythm, including (but not limited to!) morning coffees, pre-ride yoga sessions, increasingly dexterous and efficient de-camping, magnificent cooked breakfasts by your incredible crew, and invigorating riding, interspersed with the odd block of chocolate, some home-made trail mix, some eagle-spotting, some group singing, the odd carefree canter, and life-enhancing chats as you hack along with your fellow Globetrotters.

    You’ll enjoy a table lunch every day, and even have the chance to drop in with a local herder family for some salty milk tea and curds (high summer is when the dairy products are at their sweetest and most abundant).  Each evening you’ll ride into camp and pitch sturdy little dome tents, and enjoy lively evenings in the dining tent.

    On day 5 you’ll make a farewell camp around Yesonzuil, bed down one final time on the steppe and say farewell to your faithful steeds and wranglers for this opening section. Tomorrow morning they will start their journey home to their family, and a well-earned rest.

  • Day 6

    Changeover day and a rodeo! Today you will pack up into the fourgons and pick up the road close to regional capital Arvaikheer, and drive south for around 2 hours to get to the entrance to the park and your next adventure. Near Arvaikheer you’ll be the special guests of a very special herder games showcasing local herders’ skills in catching and handling their horses. In every household there is at least one soul who can pick up a lasso pole from the ground at the gallop, or throw a rope into a shoal of crafty horses and fish out his favourite riding horse. The acrobatics and athleticism are worthy of Cirque du Soleil, and they underpin the freedom of the horses of Mongolia – to ride them, first you have to catch them! Watch horse-catching taken to the Olympic standard this afternoon.

    You will meet the Eight Lakes horses and crew that evening and make camp. Today is likely to be a non-riding day, or depending on timings, possibly an orientation ride with the new horses. Also – meet the YAKS!! These huge and docile creatures will knock your socks off with their ability and temperament, and we have no doubt you’ll be itching for a ride on one at the first opportunity.

  • Days 7 to 10

    The second four days’ riding is a blissful and welcome contrast to the faster pace and long saddle hours of the first four. The daily distances are benign, the pace slows to a genuinely leisurely and restorative one.

    Each morning, the wranglers will pack all of your essentials onto the trusty yaks, and send them off into the forest ahead of the group, riding independently from the horses. Miraculously, by the time you make camp each evening, they are there waiting, unloaded, fire smoking and coffee (or gin and tonic) ready.

    Each night you will camp in secluded, silent luxury, the horses and yaks grazing nearby, the mist rising off the lakes.  Savour the meals prepared by your sensational cook, play a few rounds of poker with your brilliant logistics lead.  Hike a little, swim a little, read a little…pet some yaks. These are halycon days.

    On the evening of the fourth day in the park, you’ll find yourself in the roaring mists of Orkhon Waterfall, the finish point for the ride. You’ll say farewell to Boldbaatar and his wonderful horses and make the short trip to a local ger camp, for the iconic experience of sleeping in a traditional Mongolian ger. You’ll be almost sorry to lie in a bed, having enjoyed the “full factory reset” that characterises an adventure in Mongolia. Smell the hard wood poles and lattices, and the rawhide ropes, and the felt cladding, and the grassy dung-smoke of the stove, and admire this timeless and sustainable structure. You’ll be in shared gers, probably 3 or 4 to a ger.

  • Day 11

    Today you will finally pop up into civilisation and phone reception again. Boo. You’ll return to your (wheeled) vehicles and make the short but very bumpy journey to Kharkhorin, the 13th century capital of Mongolia, and, by extension, arguably, the world. The remarkable Erdene Zuu monastery is built over a site in use at the time of Ogedei Khan, and many a mounted messenger would have galloped into this cosmopolitan city from all corners of the fast-developing empire. Nowadays there is a decent museum, a whole bunch of hawkers and artisans, and a few decent hotels too. You’ll spend a good few hours on foot seeing the sights and understanding some of this rich seam of history, and picking up souvenirs if you fancy them.

    Tonight you will stay in a decent hotel in the city.

  • Day 12

    This morning you will pack up and head for the bright lights of the city once more (approx 6hrs overland). The team will make the most of the road trip, stopping in the sand dunes for a surf, and a paddle in the river, or even a sit on a camel if you are feeling adventurous. You should be back in UB before the rush hour traffic, and with a good time to check in and chill out at the Holiday Inn.

    Your hosts will make a dinner reservation for the group in the evening, and you can enjoy the singular pleasures of washing the dirt off, and painting the town red!

  • Day 13

    Today we’ll bid our fond farewells and take a transfer to the airport for onward travels.

  • Transfer Information

    Complimentary airport transfers are included upon arrival and departure in Ulaanbaatar. Please ensure you inform Globetrotting of your flight itinerary prior to departure so that these can be arranged.

    You can arrive into Ulaanbaatar anytime on day 1, and depart anytime on the final day.

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RIDE OR WHICH IS MOST SUITABLE FOR YOU?

CONTACT US DOWNLOAD FACTSHEET