This epic 14-day experience takes you into Mongolia's Altai Mountains, traversing ancient routes on horseback just like the Mongols of old. Start in Ulaanbaatar, where you'll tour the city and visit the equestrian statue of Genghis Khan. Then, you're off to Ölgii to begin a multiday horse trekking adventure. Ride along the shores of Khoton Lake, see the icy glacier waters of the Tsagaan Gol, and meet Kazakh eagle hunters. Finish back in Ulaanbaatar for more sightseeing and a traditional folklore performance.


  • Visit the 85-foot (26 m) Buddha statue at Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar
  • Ride horses to the peaks of Altai Tavan Bogd's Shiveet Uul Mountain
  • Trek along vast glaciers and see panoramic views from the top of Malchin Peak
  • Immerse yourself in the daily lives of the seminomadic Kazakh people

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Leisure Day to Explore Ulaanbaatar
Day 2 Guided City Tour, Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex Ulaanbaatar
Day 3 Fly to Ölgii, Visit Dayan Lake Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 4 Horseback Ride: Khurgan & Khoton Lakes Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 5 Horseback Ride: Khoton Lake & Biluut Hill Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 6 Horseback Ride: Tsagaan River Valley Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 7 Horseback Ride: Shiveet Uul Mountain Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 8 Horseback Ride: White River Valley & Tuvan Family Visit  Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 9 Horseback Ride: Tavan Bogd Base Camp  Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 10 Hike Malchin Peak via Potanin Glacier Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 11 Horseback Ride: Oigor River & Cultural Visit with Kazakh People Altai Tavan Bogd
Day 12 Meet Kazakh Eagle Hunters, Return to Ölgii, Arts & Crafts Shopping Ölgii
Day 13 Fly Back to Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour, Folklore Show Ulaanbaatar
Day 14 Depart Ulaanbaatar  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ulaanbaatar, Leisure Day to Explore

Welcome to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital 

Welcome to Mongolia! Your flight lands in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital and largest city. Originally a nomadic Buddhist center, it became a permanent site in the 18th century, serving as a trade hub between China and Russia until Outer Mongolia declared itself independent. In 1924, the city was renamed Ulaanbaatar, which means "Red Hero." Modern Ulaanbaatar is known for its interesting architecture, museums, and historic sites.

A private driver will collect you from the airport and transport you to your hotel for check-in. Once you've had a chance to settle, you're free to head out and explore all the city has to offer. A good place to start is the National Museum of Mongolia, which showcases Mongolia's history and culture with artifacts from ancient times and exhibits on traditional nomadic life. Then, visit the Choijin Lama Temple Museum and see the collection of Buddhist art and artifacts, including intricate thangka paintings and ornate sculptures.

If you're on the hunt for the perfect souvenir, stop at Naran Tuul Market, a bustling outdoor market where you can find a little bit of everything—from traditional Mongolian clothing and handicrafts to modern electronics. Finish the day with a meal at a local restaurant, and if you're not too tired, take in a performance at the State Academic Theatre of Opera and Ballet, a historic venue that hosts opera and ballet, as well as other musical productions. 

Day 2: Guided City Tour, Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex

Visit the incredible Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex 

Today starts with a guided city tour of some of the city's most popular sites. Your guide will meet you at your hotel after breakfast, and you'll head out. Your first stop will be the impressive Gandan Monastery, which houses the 85-foot (26 m) gilded statue of the Buddhist sage Megjid Janraisag. If you didn't go on your own yesterday, you'll have another chance to visit the National Museum of Mongolia and take a stroll around the bustling Main Square.

From here, you'll stop by the newly opened Chinggis Khaan Museum and marvel at its collection of archaeological artifacts from the Mongolian Great Empire, led by the legendary Chinggis Khaan (Ghengis Khan). Stop for a hearty lunch at a local Mongolian restaurant, where you'll find a wide range of cuisine on offer, sure to tantalize your taste buds.

Wrap up the tour with a one-hour drive to the magnificent Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex. Towering at an impressive 150 feet (46 m), this equestrian statue of Genghis Khan on horseback is the largest of its kind in the world. You can walk to the head of the horse for panoramic views, while the attached museum has items from the Bronze Age and Xiongnu cultures and an exhibit on the Great Khan period. 

Day 3: Fly to Ölgii, Visit Dayan Lake

Fly to the Bayan-Ölgii Aimag province, where the Kazakh people live

This morning, you'll head to the airport for your flight to the city of Ölgii (Ulgi), located in western Mongolia and the capital of the Bayan-Ölgii Aimag province. This region is home to the Kazakhs, a Turkic ethnic group who originate from Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Traditionally, Kazakhs are seminomadic, raising sheep, horses, and other livestock and keeping and training eagles for hunting. 

Upon arrival, you'll meet your support team of drivers, cooks, and guides, embarking on a scenic five to six-hour drive that takes you through the foothills of the mountains and the Tsagaan Gol Valley. Here, you'll explore Dayan Lake, a gorgeous, untouched region with lush greenery and dense wilderness. You'll have a chance to meet local Kazakh people and learn more about their way of life, as well as getting to know the horses that will be part of your journey through the Altai Mountains. Overnight in a traditional ger (yurt) camp and rest up for tomorrow's adventures! 

Day 4: Horseback Ride: Khurgan & Khoton Lakes

Your first day on horseback takes you to Hoton and Hurgan Lakes 

The day starts early as you mount up and set off for the enchanting Khurgan and Khoton Lakes. After getting better acquainted with your horses and going over a safety briefing with your guides, you'll head out, passing along peaceful forests, snowcapped mountains, and expansive plains, with views that are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Along with your guides, you'll have your trusty camel support team following, transporting your equipment and supplies. At the lakes, set up camp and enjoy a peaceful evening under the stars. 

Day 5: Horseback Ride: Khoton Lake & Biluut Hill

Trek along the pristine shores of Khoton Lake 

Your expedition continues this morning as you set out on a ride along the shores of Khoton Lake. The lake, which encompasses more than 19 square miles (50 sq km), is home to many different species of birds, as well as plenty of fish, making it a popular spot for local fishermen. Ride along the lake to Biluut Hill, where you'll take in panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and serene lake waters, stopping for photos along the way. Tonight, enjoy dinner at camp and rest up after the long day of riding. 

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Day 6: Horseback Ride: Tsagaan River Valley

Ride to the stunning Tsagaan Us River Valley

In the morning, saddle up and set off through Mongolia's unspoiled beauty, traveling along the Tsagaan Gol, or "White River Valley," nicknamed for the river's milky-white glacial waters. This relatively easy ride offers snow-dusted landscapes along a mostly downhill trail. The river, which stretches nearly 70 miles (111 km), flows into Khoton Lake, with stunning scenery and lush vegetation all around it. After your ride, warm up at camp with a hot drink by the fire before settling in for another night under the stars. 

Day 7: Horseback Ride: Shiveet Uul Mountain

Keep your eyes peeled for wild ibex along the Altai Mountains

Today's ride takes you on an eight-hour journey to Shiveet Uul Mountain. Located in the upper valley of Tsagaan Gol, this sacred mountain sits at an elevation of nearly 7,000 feet (2,059 m), set against the rugged Altai range. Your route takes you through green meadows nestled between mountain peaks, with a vivid tapestry of wildflowers on view in the summer months—be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of the elusive wild ibex that call these mountains home! Afterward, settle down at your camp and chat with your guides and support team, learning more about the natural wonders of this region. 

Day 8: Horseback Ride: White River Valley & Tuvan Family Visit 

Ride through along the glacier waters of the White River Valley 

Continue through the White River Valley today, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of western Mongolia's diverse landscapes. The valley is home to the Tuvan (Tyvan) people, known for their unique culture and shamanistic religion. You'll have the privilege of visiting a Tuvan family, where you'll gain insight into their traditional way of life and their spiritual beliefs. This immersive cultural experience provides a deeper understanding of the region's rich heritage.

Day 9: Horseback Ride: Tavan Bogd Base Camp 

Your horseback trek takes you to Tavan Bogd base camp

Next up is the base camp of Tavan Bogd. This mountain massif sits near the Russian border, a gorgeous craggy range with its highest peaks reaching more than 14,000 feet (4,374 m) above sea level. Together with your guides, you'll make a gradual but continuous ascent across the high mountain terrain, riding through marshes and crossing streams. Pass by the striking icy peaks of the Potanin and Alexander Glaciers, and the grandeur of the Altai range, then arrive at your cozy campsite with comfortable tents, offering respite and shelter as you rest up after the day's ride. 

Day 10: Hike Malchin Peak via Potanin Glacier

Trek along glaciers and ascend Malchin Peak 

After a hearty breakfast prepared by the camp cooks, you'll give the horses a break today and head out with your guides to conquer Malchin Peak, one of the five peaks that make up the Tavan Bogd. The peak towers at an elevation of more than 13,000 feet (4,050 m) and is the only peak of the five that can be climbed without special equipment. The distance to the top is approximately 3.5 miles (5.8 km) and takes about six hours. 

Start with an hour-long hike along the Potanin Glacier, which takes you to the base of the mountain. Named after explorer Grigory Potanin, the glacier stretches over 8 miles (14 km) through the Tavan Bogd and into the Altai range. Along the way, you'll take in the incredible scenery of this remote area, passing by clear rivers fed by the glacier ice, wildflower-filled meadows, and mountain peaks. 

Arrive at the base of the mountain and begin your ascent, following the instructions of your guides as you make your way up. At the top, you'll be rewarded with spectacular bird's-eye views of glaciers and nearby Russian territory, as the ridge overlaps with the country's border. Relax at the top for a bit, then head back down and make your way back to camp, where you'll have dinner by the campfire before retiring for the evening. 

Day 11: Horseback Ride: Oigor River & Cultural Visit with Kazakh People

Learn about the life and culture of Mongolia's Kazakh people

Your final day of riding takes you to the Oigor River, a journey that offers incredible views of the Altai Mountains and its surrounding landscapes. Your destination is a Kazakh family's summer camp, where you'll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in their customs and culture. This firsthand experience allows you to gain insight into the traditions and way of life of the Kazakh people in this region.

As an integral part of their traditional diet, the Kazakh people produce a variety of milk products. During your visit, you can savor these locally-made milk products, which are not only delicious but also provide a deep connection to the Kazakh culinary heritage. Tonight, camp nearby and enjoy another beautiful star-filled sky set against the mountain range. 

Day 12: Meet Kazakh Eagle Hunters, Return to Ölgii, Arts & Crafts Shopping

Meet Kazakh eagle-hunting families 

Break camp this morning, say goodbye to the horses, and begin the roughly 98-mile (158 km) drive back to Ölgii, stopping along the way to visit a local Kazakh family and see their golden eagles. For centuries, the Kazakh people have incorporated eagles into their hunting practices, raising and training them from a young age to aid in hunting animals such as rabbits, marmots, and foxes. Meet a local family, learn about the history and traditions of their culture, and see the golden eagles in action.

After you arrive in Ölgii, you'll have the opportunity to indulge in some arts and crafts shopping. Visit local vendors and see their intricate textiles and artwork, all of which make perfect souvenirs or gifts for friends and family. Tonight, you'll have the option of staying in a ger camp or overnighting at the Eagle's Nest hotel in Ölgii, where you can relax with a hot shower and restaurant meal after your days in the wilderness. 

Day 13: Fly Back to Ulaanbaatar, Guided City Tour, Folklore Show

Enjoy a traditional folklore performance in Ulaanbaatar

Fly back to Ulaanbaatar this morning for your last full day in Mongolia. After you've checked in at your hotel, make the most of your remaining time here with a guided city tour. If you're still looking for gifts and souvenirs, you'll have the opportunity to visit a Mongolian cashmere store, where you can purchase handcrafted sweaters and scarves or other one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Then, head to Zaisan Memorial Hill, a communist-era monument that honors Soviet soldiers killed in World War II. The hill consists of more than 500 steps, rewarding you with panoramic views of the city at the top. 

Your adventures in Mongolia conclude with a folklore performance by the Tumen Ekh ensemble, followed by a memorable farewell dinner, where you can enjoy delicious traditional Mongolian cuisine and say goodbye to your guides. Return to your hotel to rest up for tomorrow's journey home. 

Day 14: Depart Ulaanbaatar

Farewell to beautiful Mongolia!

It's time to say goodbye to Mongolia. Depending on the time of your departure, you can take one last stroll through the city and visit a few of the sights you might have missed, or do some last-minute shopping. Afterward, your private driver will transfer you to the airport and your flight home. Safe travels! 

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Map of Horseback Adventure Through Mongolia's Altai Mountains - 14 Days
Map of Horseback Adventure Through Mongolia's Altai Mountains - 14 Days