August 2020 Mongolian Relief Ride
* Pricing is based on an intimate group of no more than 12. Prices will vary based on number of participants.
** We welcome novice riders, slower riders can ride alongside the caravan. Riders may choose to finish any segment by riding in our accompanying jeep. If you have a member of your party who would like to join the trip but is not a rider, RRI can make provisions for him/her to accompany us in a Yak cart.
August 2nd through 14th, 2020
Day 1: August 2nd
Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, where you will be met at the airport by one of our representatives and taken to your hotel.
Day 2: August 3rd
Rest or explore this fascinating city in the morning. We will suggest options for sites to visit. Afternoon visit to the Gandan Monastery, whose name translates to "Place of complete joy" where we will receive a journey blessing from red robed resident monks, before gathering for an evening meal and trip briefing.
Day 3: August 4th
Fly from Ulaanbaatar to Uliastai, the provincial capital of Zavkhan Province (1hr 15min). Zavkhan is known as the coldest region of Mongolia in winter, with temperatures as low as -58 F, but we can expect balmy temperatures in the mid 70's F. Drive to Ider village (100km/2hrs), on sealed and dirt roads. Ider sits beside the river of the same name. The population is around 800 people, although this falls in summer as people move out to the steppe to graze their flocks.
Stay in our comfortable mobile ger camp. The ger (or yurt in Russian), is the traditional felt dwelling of the Mongolian nomadic herders. Meet the horses in the evening.
Day 4: August 5th
We start the day with a visit to the nearby local school to see the new playground we have helped fund and build.
In the afternoon, we have a riding safety briefing and pointers about the local riding style, and then begin matching you to your ideal horse. A ride around the local area will allow you to decide if this is the horse for you. The terrain is a beautiful mix of forest and steppe, on the edge of the Khangai mountain range. Return to our ger camp for a second night.
Day 5: August 6th
Ride north along the edge of the Khangai mountains, to a wilderness camp site (30km). To the west, the view opens up over the open steppe of the Ider river valley. The only people you will encounter in this remote area are nomadic herders, with their flocks of sheep and goats and herds of yaks and horses. To the east, thickly forested mountains rise to 3000m.
This is ideal country for riding at all paces as the footing is safe and the scenery breathtaking.
Day 6: August 7th
Continue riding north (30km) to reach our mobile ger camp, set up in a lovely forested valley in the foothills of the mountains. Try your hand at traditional Mongolian horse games, and archery.
Day 7: August 8th
Drive west from our ger camp to Telmen village (20km/30min). Telmen is located at the transition from steppe to arid desert, and the sandy lanes give the village a desert feel. With a population of around 1200 people, it is slightly larger than Ider, and is typical of villages in the region, very basic, with electricity but no running water.
Here we will observe composting toilets we have helped fund and build at the local school.Return to our ger camp, and an afternoon ride to explore the area.
Day 8: August 9th
Ride north-east into the forested valleys and hills of Tarvagatai National Park (30km), reaching our second wilderness campsite in the late afternoon. Keep an eye out for elk and other elusive wildlife inhabiting the area. There are no permanent settlements in the area, with just a scattering of nomadic herders.
Visit a nomadic herder family and experience their unique traditional lifestyle.
Day 9: August 10th
Ride north through forest and steppe to our final ger camp beside a picturesque river, near the village of Tosontsengel (30km). We will be based here for the next three nights. Cool off with a swim in the crystal-clear waters. Tosontsengel is the second biggest town in Zavkhan Province (after Uliastai), with a population of around 3000 in summer. The town has fallen on relatively hard times since the height of the socialist period when it was a centre for the forestry industry.
Day 10: August 11th
Medical/dental clinic in Toson, 1st day. Return to our mobile ger camp.
Evening ride. Nearby sand dunes provide the perfect spot for a gallop.
Day 11: August 12th
Medical/dental clinic in Toson, 2nd day. Return to our mobile ger camp.
Evening ride. Enjoy a tasty traditional nomadic feast known as khorkhog, where meat and vegetables are cooked with the aid of hot rocks.
Day 12: August 13th
Drive south on a sealed road to the airport at Uliastai (200km/3 hrs), fly to Ulaanbaatar. Final group dinner.
Day 13: August 14th
Depart UB. If time allows, we can advise on where to buy souvenirs, or further sightseeing. Riders will be taken to the airport for their international flights. End of ride.
THIS ITINERARY IS FLEXIBLE AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY POINT DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES.
India and Mongolia offer both extraordinary opportunities and challenges. It is large, pulsing with energy and ever-changing drama, a feast for the senses. If you can appreciate the unexpected, you will quickly come to love it.
Travel Documents & VISAS
To travel to Mongolia for tourism, business or studies you are required to have a valid passport.
Passport holders of most countries, except the US, require a visa to visit Mongolia, but this is subject to change. Currently US and German passport holders, in particular, do not need a visa. Please confirm current requirements here: immigration.gov.mn/visa-free-countries-with-ordinary-passport.
It is usually straightforward to obtain a 30 day Mongolian visa, with no additional documentation required. Occasionally you will need to have a letter of invitation or confirmation of itinerary, and address of your host organization and contact details which we can provide.