White Lake region is a true representation of the extreme beauty that exists within a geologically diverse location, where the legendary White Lake lies adjacent to Khorgo, the famous inactive Volcano, that is surrounded by a petrified (still very present) volcanic forest. This is a true highlight destination in Mongolia - we strongly recommend travelers to incorporate this within their travel plans if you are already planning to visit the region and/or planning to travel to Khuvsgul and/or Western Mongolia. Imagine yourself surrounded by mountain like hills, listening to the beat of the horse and the wave cresting on the lake’s shoreline, while the refreshing winds elevate your senses on this geologically rich horseback riding route.
Locals say that once upon a time, elder man and woman lived with their granddaughter. However grandma always warned to her daughter to cover the well completely but a daughter forgot to cover the well one day and that morning, they exclaimed “Oh my goodness, look at all the water” – it was from this event that “Terhiin” (all that water) Lake was formed. Legend says that a locally famous wrestler was called in to cut the top off one of the nearby mountain to use as lid to plug the well water from continuing to flood out. It is from the tip of this ‘legendary lid’ which became today’s vantage point that we use to see the panoramic view of lake. Locals renamed the lake to Terhiin White Lake because of the white waves. This renowned lake draws in local visitors from nearby regions to pay their respects to the Lake annually by celebrating a rural Naadam Festival at the end of June.
Difficulty of trip: moderate
Community Fee: 256USD for 6 days/ 5 nights
Additional In-Country Travel Expenses
UB to Arhanga Bus Fee (approx): USD 15
Rural jeep to first ger and pickup (approx): $260
Note: jeep cost can be divided by number of persons (max 4)
Booking & travel orientation w/ handbook: $25
Local park fee: $3
Day One - Arrive in Tsetserleg Town: YYou will travel from UB to Tsetserleg by the public bus at 8am, along the way you will see many scenic locations from the bus as it drives by vast nomadic pastures, the Ancient Capital City of the Mongol Empire “Karakorum”, etc. Once you arrive in Tsetserleg town around at 6pm, our local facilitator will meet you at the rural bus station to which you be will guided to your local guest house.
Day Two - Visit to Mr. Batbold’s family and short walk along the White lake’s scenic shoreline (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will travel to White Lake for 185 km by rural vehicle. White Lake is an astonishingly beautiful lake - the lake is about 20 km long and 16km wide, it supports Pike and other fish as well as rare birds’ species can be found here. You will be served lunch when you arrive at Mr. Batbold’s ger camp in the afternoon to which afterwards you can take a short rest in your own Ger before the 5km walk along the lake. On your way, you will visit the legendary “Uvgun Had” rock formation that is a representation of an old man who is the guardian of the Lake and the locally worshipped Black Stone where guests and locals make small offerings of rocks to the Ovoo. In the evening, you will begin to make your way back to the ger camp where you will have your dinner and overnight.
Day Three - Horseback Ride to White Lake’s Vantage Point “Nuurin Dund Tolgoi” (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will continue with a 13 kilometer journey by horseback to the White Lake’s panoramic vantage point. On the way, you will pass by the locally renowned “Hungiin Tohoi” known for the gathering of Swans – of which you may see if you are lucky. As you continue your journey, you will be served a picnic lunch before you arrive at the next nomadic family in the evening where you will have an opportunity to learn the basics of nomadic dairy products. The family will show you how to boil milk to make “urum” which is a creamy spread used to eat on bread and in Mongolia teas. Afterwards you will have a picnic dinner and overnight in your tent nearby the herder family.
Day Four - Horseback Ride to “Khorgo” Volcano and Yellow Dog’s Cave (B, L, D): After breakfast, you will travel by horseback for 20 kilometers (round trip) to the volcanic crater known as Khorgo that is 2100 meters above sea level. From the summit there is a splendid panoramic view of the whole lake and region. As you continue your journey, you will also visit the famous Yellow Dog’s cave (a local legend stated that a compassionate monk kept a sick dog in this cave in order to protect it from being killed) and have a picnic lunch. In the evening, you will return Batbold’s family and be welcomed with a farewell dinner and milk tea before retiring to your Ger.
Day Five - Departure back to Tsetserleg (B): After your breakfast, our driver will pick you up from Mr. Batbold’s family and take you to Tsetserleg by rural vehicle that is 185 kilometers where you will check-in to the local guest house. Afterwards you will have free time of which you can independently visit the local museum and/or make a short trek around the beautiful Bulgan Mountain.
Day Six - Trip back to Ulaanbaatar (B): You will be served an early breakfast at guest house to which afterwards you will walk to the rural bus station to take the 8am public bus back to Ulaanbaatar.
All nomadic breakfast, lunch and dinner which are stated on itinerary
Overnight in Ger
Herder guide service on route
Horse riding according to itinerary
Pack animals on route
Cultural activities (milk a cow, play ankle bone etc)
Boiled water on route
Two ways bus tickets between UB and Tsetserleg
2 nights at local guest house in Tsetserleg
Orientation lesson fee
Rural jeep cost which stated on itinerary
National park fee
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.