In this trip you will have rare opportunity to walk and travel by horse and ox card to the beautiful valley along the Orkhon River. You will also visit to the ruin of ancient Kharaa Dari Ekh Monastery and Caves of Meditating. You will also have opportunity to milking cow, mare and goat, making cheese by milk, making cream butter, visits to historical ancient graves, playing traditional ankle bone game which called ‘Shagai’ in Mongolian and swim in the beautiful river. Visits to historical museum where you can see mammoth ivory, rhinoceros skull and etc. While experiencing the historical and outdoor activities you will also be entertain by the local cultural events of traditional long and folk songs, traditional dance, chanting with horse headed fiddle and yochin and contortionist acrobatic.
Difficulty of trip: moderate
Community Fee: 310USD for 5 days/ 4 nights
Additional In-Country Travel Expenses
UB to Darkhan & return Bus Fee (approx): USD 9.00
Micro bus to first ger and pickup (4-10 persons.): $96 USD
Small car to first ger and pickup (2-3 persons.): $78 USD
Note: Jeep cost can be divided by number of persons
Booking & Travel Orientation w/ handbook: USD 25.00
Day One - Darhan city tour: You will leave from UB by local coach at 11:00 a.m. and will arrive in Darkhan city at 15:00 p.m. Upon arrival, our guide will take you to Raja’s Curry House by local taxi and you will have your set lunch at the curry house. Later in the afternoon you will have a short walking tour of the city to Museum, the Youth Theatre, my Mongolia Park, the Buddha’s Statue, the Morin Khuur (horse headed fiddle) complex and the Mongolian first hanging bridge. Later in the evening you will have a nice curry with parata (Indian pancake) and salads at Raja’s Curry House. While you were having you dinner, you will be entertained with local cultural performance such as khuumi (faucets), chanting with horse headed fiddle and yochin and contortionist acrobatic by the name of “Lyrical Enchainment” by Darkhan professional artist with their students. Later in the evening you will overnight at the Raja’s Guest House.
Day two - Horseback ride and visits to Ruin of Kharaa Dari Ekh Monastery: After having breakfast around 9:00 a.m. at Raja’s Curry House, you will departure to the first herder family for 38 kilometers by car or minibus. You will reach at Mr. B. Tumurbaatar ger, you will get to know with the host family and you will have lunch at host family. In the afternoon you will go for a short 12 kilometers horseback riding single trip along the beautiful Orkhan River with the herder family to visit the ruin of Kharaa Dari Ekh Monastery. You will camp near the Monastery and will have your packed dinner.
Day Three - Nomadic Cultural activities and visits to Caves of Meditating: After breakfast near the camp side, you will travel back by horseback ride for 12 kilometers to the host family. Upon arrive at the B. Tumurbaatar’s ger you will serve with Nomadic lunch and then you will have opportunity to making arol, playing traditional ankle bone game which called ‘Shagai’ in Mongolian with the children, learn how to wrestle and help with the vegetable growing field. In the late afternoon you will travel by car for 16 kilometers round trip along the beautiful Orkhon River to visit two caves of meditating of Dari Ekh Monastery. You can use your time to meditate in this cave and then in late evening you will make trip back to the host family. You will have Nomadic dinner with the herder family and overnight in the tent.
Day Four - Trip to second herder family and swim in the Orkhon River: After breakfast, the second herder family Mr. Nyamchulun will guide you to his ger by ox card for 2 kilometers. You will get to know with the host family, learn how to knit, sew and play traditional games with family. You will have tea and lunch before you have opportunity to swim in the Orkhon River. You will travel by ox card for 4 km return trip to the Orkhan river. Mr. Nyamchulun’s ger is located in front of the “Snake Mountain” where during old days this mountain was full of snakes. You might come across snakes in this area and according to the herder the snakes in this area are not poisons. After a fresh swim you will make trip back to the host family by ox card. After a short rest you will learn how to milk cows. Later in the evening you will have dinner with the host family and overnight in the tent.
Day Five - Depart back to Darkhan and Ulaanbaatar: After the breakfast, our driver will pick you up by car and then you will reach Darkhan by noon for a nice Indian lunch. Our guide will take you to visit few handy craft and souvenir making family groups and to experience how they use the local raw materials to produce finish product. You are welcome to purchase souvenirs for remembrances and by purchasing you are supporting them by income generation. Later in the afternoon you will take coach back to Ulaanbaatar.
Visiting nomadic families
Nomadic breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
Malaysian breakfast, lunch and dinner in Darkhan which are stated on itinerary
One overnight at guest house in Darkhan
English speaking guide on route
City tour in Darkhan
Small folk art concert fee in Darkhan
Herder guide service on route
Horse riding according to itinerary
Cultural activities (milking animals, play ankle bone game etc)
Boiled water on route
Local jeep arrangement by facilitator
Mongolian Cultural Travel Tips & Information
Horseback Riding in Mongolia
Mongolia's Gobi Desert Camels
Mongolians and horses have historically co-exist since the early times and It’s impossible to imagine Mongolians without horses. There are many horse related folk legends, stories about horses, epic literature and songs written about horses. Mongolians prohibit the cursing of horses, beating horses and whipping of horses on their heads and chests. Mongolia’s horse culture according to their traditions teaches to show to respect to the horse during its life and honorifically place the horse’s head on an Ovoo or other sacred place to show their respect to the nobility of their horse’s life. The head of a horse is often decorated with white stones or horse dung. Heads of especially fast racing horses are usually wrapped in a blue scarf. The Mongolian traditional horse head fiddle further glorifies the station of the horse by its artistic design and traditional sounds. The culture of the Mongolian horse even spreads to embroidery, handicraft, wooden carving, metal and silver crafts – Mongolia’s respect of the horse can be found everywhere throughout the country.
The world’s rare two-humped Mongolian Bactrian Camel is considered to be the tolerant and noble animal among five animals (horse, cow, sheep, goat and camel) and is sand colored herbivores mainly found in the Gobi Desert region of Mongolia. Mongolia leads the number of Bactrian camels in the world and Mongolian camels were domesticated in olden days and are traditionally used as nomadic transport. When Mongolian camels are used for nomadic transportation their noses are pegged and they are outfitted with a leading rein, halter, saddle, saddle cloth and stairs. Mongolian camels weight is between 400-800kg and camel meat is low in fat and lean. Mongolian camel milk is a staple food for Gobi Desert nomads and is more rich in fat and protein than cow’s milk. A female camel produces about 3 to 4 liters of milk a day; camel milk can readily be made into airag (fermented beverage), hoormog (yogurt diluted with milk) and dried curds. Mongolian camel wool is produced as a natural insulation against the cold and easily sheds in the heat. Mongolian camel wool has unique characteristics of silky softness and strength.
Riding Mongolian Camels
Mongolian nomads say that it’s much closer to the sun from the top of the tallest animal of desert - so while you are riding a Mongolian camel you will always have a panoramic view of the Gobi Desert. Generally, Mongolia’s camel guides are Mongolian nomads that are born and live in the Gobi Desert. Mongolians often start to ride camels at a very early age and have plenty of experience to share with you about how to saddle, groom and command to lay down a camel to mount and dismount. During your camel trek, you can help the Mongolian nomad by looking after your camel; learn how to groom it, saddle and unsaddle it as well as bring water and feed it. Kind attention between the camel and the rider always contributes towards establishing a close. Almost any traveler can ride a camel (in reasonable physical condition) and learn how to control it quickly – though its highly recommended to review the camel riding tips that can be found in the Ger to Ger Travelers’ Handbook. Its good to apply your knowledge and practice on a camel with a Mongolian nomad around their Ger (traditional dwelling) before starting a long trek. A camel trek could cover between 5 to 25kms a day between nomadic families or even for a short roundtrip for sightseeing.