Karakorum By Horseback (7n/8d)

A traditional Mongolian saying states  "A Mongol without a horse is like a Bird without the wings"

A traditional Mongolian saying states “A Mongol without a horse is like a Bird without the wings”

Day 1    Touch down in Ulaanbaatar and transfer to the hotel. After lunch, a half-day city tour including a visit to the dinosaur skeletons at the National History Museum and an excursion to the Zaisan Hill War Memorial to get your bearings with a panoramic view of the whole city. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.

Day 2    Visit the Gandantegchinlen Buddhist Monastery, home of a 25m high gold-plated statue of Avalokiteshvara. Make a wish outside at the Wish Pole, which was originally the main pole of a temple that was destroyed in the 1930s during the communistic purges. Communists destroyed the temple but were unable to bring down the pole, and today it is considered sacred by the Mongolian people. Afterwards drive to the Bayangobi tourist camp, 280 km away from Ulaanbaatar. Get in the saddle for some horse-riding practice in the afternoon. Overnight stay at the ger camp.

Day 3    The horseback journey to Karakorum, the ancient capital city of the Mongol Empire, begins on the third day. The riding tour begins with a visit to the Mongol Els sand dunes and the granite mountain of Khugnu Khaan. The area is an amazing juxtaposition of sand dunes, mountains and forests. Dismount at the 17th century ruins of the Uvgunii Khiid Monastery in a gorge beneath Khugnu Khaan Mountain. Camp overnight.

Day 4    Ride for 40km to the Gants Hudag mineral springs and set up camp. The name of the springs can be translated as Lonely Springs and they are located about 8km from a former communist cooperative farm. Let loose and gallop through the endless steppe and mountain terrain of Mongolia. Visit a nomadic family and experience Mongolian hospitality and traditions that have existed for thousands of years.

Day 5    Spend the day at one with your horse in the most untouched landscape in the world on the way to Karakorum. Put your faith in your trusty Mongol steed and become a Mongol warrior for the day. Let the endless steppe steal your heart and capture your imagination.

Day 6    Ride like the wind on to Karakorum, the legendary 13th century capital of Mongolian Empire. Dismount for a delicious picnic lunch along the way.     Overnight in a tourist ger camp by the ancient city. Enjoy traditional Mongolian cuisine stone roast barbeque (khorkhog) at dinner.

Day 7    Visit the site of Karakorum city and Erdene-Zuu Monastery, once one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia and almost totally destroyed in the purges of the 1930s.  The monastery was built on the site of the ancient capital city Karakorum, using bricks and stones from the ruins. Tour the monastery grounds and see several chapels with examples of Buddhist iconography dating from the 16th century. Drive back to Ulaanbaatar. Evening performance by a Mongolian folklore group. Overnight stay at the hotel. Farewell dinner in a restaurant.

Day 8     Transfer to the airport and depart

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