Imagine traveling by hrseback with nomadic families along the lush and beautiful Terelj River, around mountains, through idyllic scenery throughout Terelj National Park. During your Mongolian cultural adventure, you will have a wonderful opportunity to experience the main traditional activities of nomadic lifestyle as well as enjoy many great days of horseback riding through prestine landscapes to the historically famous Gunj “Princess” Temple.
Difficulty of trip: Easy going
Method of travel: mainly horseback and camping
Community Fee: $391 USD for 8 days/ 7 nights
Additional In-Country Travel Expenses
UB to Terelj Park Bus Fee (approx.): $2 USD
Booking & travel orientation w/ handbook: $25 USD
National Park Fee: $3 USD
Day One - Herding, Tethering and Milking Livestock: You will depart Ulaanbaatar by local bus and our local guide will greet you at Terelj Village bus stop. Upon arrival you will travel northwards for 3 kilometers across the Terelj River into a mountainous river valley inhabited by local nomadic familes where you will arrive at Mrs. Batsetseg’s family for your afternoon hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea. After lunch, you will have great opportunity to learn how to herd livestock, tie sheep and goats for milking before your evening dinner and retiring to your tent for the evening.
Day Two - Nomadic Lifestyle Immersion and Horseback Riding to Dunjengur Medition Monastery: After breakfast today you will assist the family in collecting traditional fuel for cooking and warming nomadic gers - dung, using traditional equipments. Soon afterwards, you can learn the techniques of prepare horses for the 24 kilometer (round trip) horseback ride to Dunjengur Monastery, a Buddhist Temple, where local monks carry out their meditation practices. The temple has 108 steps leading to it and is surrounding with rock carvings of different Gods. Later you will return to the family where upon arrival they will prepare and serve you with an evening dinner before retiring for the night in your tent.
Day Three - Water the Essence of Survival: After breakfast, you will continue your journey by horseback for 23 kilometers to Mrs. Amarjargal’s family where you will assist her in both filling and carrying water jugs that is used for food and making of traditional tea. This location is also very special to Ger to Ger as it was where we hosted the internationally famous “The Amazing Race” (WRP/CBS) - this is a wonderful opportunity to explore the race location and experience one of the challenges that reality show’s participants engaged in while they where in Mongolia. When the task is completed, everyone will have a chance to cool down; Mrs.Amarjargal will prepare and serve a much deserved hot nomadic dinner in the evening before overnighting in her Ger with her family.
Day Four - Horseback Ride to the Legendary Gunj “Princess” Temple: In the early morning you will start your next leg of travel by horseback for 15 kilometers to the Buddhist Temple ruins where you will overnight known as “Gunj Temple”. History states that when Tusheet Khan of the Khalkha was living nearby, his grandson Dondovdorj won the title of “Ephu” and as a result, Enkhamgalan Khan of Manchu honorifically bestowed his 6th princess to Dondovdorj to which she later became queen. Enkhamgalan khan also awarded the title of ‘Diligence and Kindness’ to his princess and presented her with a ‘Golden Leaf Award’ made of five kilograms of gold. When the princess passed away in 1740, Ephu Dondovdorj erected a marble monument and burial temple in her honor. Historically, the Manchu Khan intended his pricess to become a spy for the Manchu Empire and when she changed her loyalties to the Mongol Empire, the Manchu Khan sent assassins to successfully end her life.
Day Five - Back to Herder family: Bridles and National Patterns: After breakfast, you will begin your return trip by horseback to Ms. Amarjargal’s family. Ms. Amarjargal is a locally well known and talented local nomadic seamstress (she sews much the traditional garments for the local nomads), will teach you how to tie a bridle as well as how to make Mongolian patterns for traditional garments which will be followed by a wonderfully hot nomadic dinner and traditional tea with the family.
Day Six - Archery Challenge: Ancient art of Mongolian Archery: After breakfast, you will begin your 9 kilometer horse or ox cart ride to Mr. Zorig’s family where you will have the opportunity to learn the techniques of shooting a traditional Mongolian bow and arrows with the nomad. After obtaining some ‘mastery’, you can try a friendly competition among yourselves or even try your luck with the local herders before your afternoon lunch with the family. Before dinner and retiring for the night, you can spend some time with the family and learn more about their traditional lifestyle or go out for a short walk along the river bed in surrounding lush forest in this stunning mountain river valley.
Day Seven - Trekking Day: After breakfast you will continue your journey for 13 kilometers trekking through truly spectacular mountain river valley landscapes that are abudantly capreted with forests, wild flowers and green flowing steppes. Upon arrival at Mr. Khashhuu’s family, they will prepare a hot nomadic lunch and traditional tea followed by an afternoon for learning the techniques of makeing nomadic dairy products with the family. Afterwards you will have free time for relaxation and later they will prepare and serve dinner before retiring the night in your tent.
Day Eight - Ox Cart Steering Techniques: After your breakfast, Mr. Khashhuu will guide you on the techniques of how to properly steer an ox cart to which you will have plenty of time to continue honing your skills in the surrounding area. In the afternoon, the family will prepare and serve you with your farewell lunch to which you will depart back to Terelj Village for 1 kilometer by ox cart to catch your bus back to Ulaanbaatar.
Visiting nomadic families
All nomadic breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
Herder guide service on route
Horse riding according to itinerary
Traveling by ox cart according to itinerary
Pack animals on route
Cultural activities (archery, collecting dung, play ankle bone game etc)
Boiled water on route
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.