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John was very entertaining and enthusiastic, he set a good mood for the trip and it was noticeable that he looked out for everybody (sorry for causing stress by going off partying with the loud Mongolians at the lake).

Vicky, from the UK

Mongolian Horse Trek and Gobi Combo

New for 2017! We are now offering a six-day trip to the Kharkhorin area, west of Ulaanbaatar, with an optional Gobi add-on. Four days of riding gives you a taste of Mongolian life on horseback. Continue on with a trip to the Gobi, to make this a twelve-day multi-adventure! ***Availability at a Glance August 2017*** All Combo trips are guaranteed departures, and have places available.


$1350NZD, or $1950NZD with Gobi add-on (per person, for two or more people)

  • 5 Jun - 16 Jun 2017 Spring time in Kharkhorin - wild flowers and lush meadows await. Continue down to the Gobi before it gets hot!
  • 17 Jun - 28 Jun 2017 Summer is under-way and the pace of life on the steppe is picking up. Life down in the Gobi is getting harder.
  • 5 Jul - 16 Jul 2017 Naadam Festival time! Do the first six days of this trip and then return to Ulaanbaatar for this spectacular annual festival. If crowds and chaos are not your thing, continue on down to to the Gobi and find a small provincial festival along the way.
  • 13 Jul - 24 Jul 2017 Attend the main Ulaanbaatar Naadam festival 11th and 12th July, then join us horse trekking in Kharkhorin. Make the most of your time and come on down to the Gobi.
  • 2 Aug - 13 Aug 2017 The height of summer and a great time to be riding in Mongolia, and exploring the Gobi.
  • 16 Aug - 27 Aug 2017 Last chance to enjoy the Mongolian summer before autumn brings cooler days and chilly nights.
  • 3 Sep - 14 Sep 2017 This departure is timed so you can ride in Kharkhorin, head down to the Gobi, and be back in time to fly to the West and attend the annual Sagsai Eagle Festival (a smaller version of the Ulgii festival).
  • 23 Sep - 4 Oct 2017 Our final departure for the year. Ride in Kharkhorin, and be back in time to fly to the West and attend the annual Ulgii Eagle Festival. Or continue on down to the Gobi in search of warmer temperatures.
  • 2 Oct - 15 Oct 2017 A late addition to our Combo departures. Autumn is the ideal time to travel in Mongolia. Slightly longer than our earlier trips, at 14 days. We've added in a few extra treats along the way (price is slightly higher than our usual 6 or 12 day trips).
  • 25 Oct - 7 Nov 2017 Autumn is now well under way. Be prepared for cold sunny days. We have extended this trip to 14 days, so you can make the most of your time in Mongolia (price is slightly higher than our 6 or 12 day trips).


We understand that sometimes you don't have the time (or budget) to get all the way to our remote trekking destinations in Zavkhan and Altai. Or perhaps two weeks on a horse sounds a little too daunting. This trip is the perfect way to experience Mongolia's nomadic herding culture on horse back without needing to drive or fly half-way across the country (and without needing to be an experienced rider).

Mongolia is not just all about the horse riding - there's also the vast Gobi Desert to explore. Instead of driving back to Ulaanbaatar on Day 6, head south to get lost amongst giant sand dunes and try your hand at camel riding.

Why Kharkhorin?

We recommend the Kharkhorin area (also known as Karakorum), to the west of Ulaanbaatar, for the following reasons:

  • We know the area well and have excellent contacts amongst the local nomadic people.
  • Diversity of terrain, including steppe, forest and rivers, with great riding country.
  • The surrounding area is rich in history stretching back to the days of Genghis Khan (the Orkhon Valley is a Unesco World Heritage Site, in recognition of its cultural values).
  • Only one day from Ulaanbaatar, but still allowing a truly authentic experience of Mongolia.

The Gobi Desert

This optional add-on trip to the Gobi takes you far to the south of the country, a very different world from the lush pastures and forests of Kharkhorin. This is the realm of the bactrian (two-humped) camel, and yes, you will get the chance to ride these ornery beasts.

In keeping with the Zavkhan Trekking 'non-itinerised' style of travel, we don't just tick-off the must see highlights. Some of the more popular sites do lie along our way, but for us it's really about getting away from the tourist sites and simply appreciating the immensity of the desert.

Trip Outline

Day 1 Drive west to Kharkhorin (365km, 7hrs). Watch the daily life of Mongolia unfold as you head out across the steppe. Visit Erdene Zuu Monastery, before continuing on to meet the horses.
Day 2 Day ride and preparation for multi-day trek. Learn the finer points of Mongolian horsemanship, and get matched to the ideal horse for your riding ability.
Days 3-5 Multi-day trek. Explore the region's beautiful forested hills and valleys. Perfect riding country, with fast open meadows, and slower forest trails. Return to the start point by end of Day 5.
Day 6 Return to Ulaanbaatar. Visit Khustai National Park along the way, home of Przewalski's horse and other wildlife.
Gobi Add-on
Day 6 Instead of heading back to Ulaanbaatar, drive south by 4WD toward the Gobi Desert. The lush Kharkhorin region rapidly changes to arid desert steppe.
Day 7 Khongoryn Els, Mongolia's highest sand dunes. Climb amongst these spectacular dunes, and enjoy the endless view from the top - if you can make it.
Days 8-9 Nemegt, a remote area ideal for amateur fossil hunting. Hike through this strange and amazing land, shaped by the desert winds. Keep an eye out for elusive wildlife.
Day 10 Yolyn Am, where a frozen river of ice remains throughout the summer. Great area for hiking. Camel ride in the afternoon and visit our local nomadic friends.
Day 11 Baga Gazariin Chuluu, a beautiful area of rock formations. Stay in a comfortable ger camp for your final evening in the countryside. Good hiking opportunities.
Day 12 Return to Ulaanbaatar in the evening. The sands of the Gobi give way to rolling steppe, and huge herds of horses, goats and sheep dot the landscape.

You can see what is included in the price on this page: www.zavkhan.co.uk/planning

Note: Accommodation in UB is not included for this trip, but we can advise.

Contact us for a more detailed Trip Plan