Horseback riding in the Orkhon Valley of Mongolia
Horseback riding in Orkhon Valley, Mongolia is an experience like no other. Imagine completely disconnecting from the world and immersing yourself in the magic of nature. The Mongolian people, culture and nomadic lifestyle will stay with you long after you leave.
Where is Orkhon Valley?
Orkhon Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated in the central region of Mongolia, where the barren landscapes of the Gobi Desert morph into stunning snowy mountains, waterfalls and bubbling rivers. Wedged in between the glorious mountains is the Orkhon River, ebbing and flowing its way through the valley, inviting any visitor to follow its path. Just as the landscape is stunningly beautiful, it’s also raw and harsh.
Who lives in Orkhon Valley, Mongolia?
The nomadic families who inhabit in the valley are resourceful, independent and hard working. One of their primary forms of income is offering horseback riding tours through the breathtaking landscape.
Where do you stay while horseback riding in Orkhon Valley, Mongolia?
If you’re the adventurous type, you’re going to love this experience. Visitors will stay at the family’s ger camp, a collection of white ger tents, usually with some small wooden beds and a fire stove in the middle. After drinking some hot, yak milk tea you will be introduced to your furry companion. Mongolian horses are shorter and hairier breeds than others, enabling them to keep warm and low in the snow. The wonderful family will prepare the horses and provide a traditional Mongolian coat called a ‘deel’ to keep you warm, which is essential if you’ve been brave enough to visit Mongolia in the Winter.
Get acquainted with your horse
Riding through the valley enables you to encounter stunning icy rivers, beautiful autumnal forests and snow-capped mountains. As you grow to understand your horse, you can trot, canter and gallop your way through the valley, racing each other for the bed closest to the fire (THE most valuable asset!).
Spending the night in the Orkhon Valley
As you arrive at your destination for the night, you will be introduced to the family. They will warmly welcome you into their home and genuinely want to know about your country and lives. As the sun falls behind the mountains, so will the temperature. Huddle around your fire, share stories and laughs with your fellow riders and soak up the best element of travel, learning about other cultures. And the Mongolian vodka of course!
Second day of horseback riding in Mongolia
The next day of riding back through the valley is just as special. On one side of the valley, you would swear you were standing in Ireland, looking at the grassy, rolling hills. But if you turned around, you could be convinced that you are viewing the snowy, tree covered mountains of the Canadian Rockies. The serenity experienced while venturing through the valley is incomparable. You won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.
See how to do this on our Experience Mongolia – Classic 7 Night tour.
Months later, as you sit at your office desk, you’ll still find yourself smiling at the experiences you had, the people you met and the landscapes that stole your heart.
Author: Michelle Hyde
All images captured by: Benjamin Fehervary