Embarking on a two-week journey that combines high Altai Mountain touring with a thrilling horseback riding adventure promises an unforgettable experience. This adventure is tailor-made for avid explorers and nature enthusiasts, and it takes you to the westernmost point of Mongolia, the majestic Mongol Altai mountains. This extensive mountain range, Mongolia’s largest and loftiest, features glacier-capped peaks rising over 3000 meters, crystal-clear mountain streams, and glistening lakes that are home to an array of remarkable wildlife, including the world’s largest wild sheep, the Argali, as well as ibex, snow leopards, wolves, eagles, and numerous bird species.
The name “Altai Tavan Bogd” translates to “Five Holy Peaks of Altai” and refers to a cluster of five dramatic peaks that dominate the vast Mongol Altai mountain range. The climate in this region is extreme, with limited vegetation, giving the surrounding landscape a rugged appearance. This touring adventure will lead us to these holy five peaks, with the loftiest being Khuiten peak at an impressive 4374 meters. The journey through the snow-covered mountains will include crossing the country’s longest glaciers.
Following this thrilling mountain exploration, we will embark on a three-day horseback riding adventure through various valleys, heading toward the area’s most beautiful lakes. Along the way, we will have the opportunity to visit and interact with local families from Kazakh, Tuva, and Khoton minority groups, gaining insights into their way of life and customs, and forging connections with these friendly locals.
Day 1: Arrival in Ulaanbaatar
Upon your arrival, you will be transferred to your accommodation in Ulaanbaatar. The city tour includes visits to the Gandan Monastery, the National Museum of Mongolia, and Sukhbaatar Square, also known as Chingis Khaan Square. The Gandan Monastery offers a glimpse into original prayers, monks, and houses the largest standing indoor Buddha statue and intricate temples.
Day 2: Fly to Western Mongolia
You will take a flight to Ulgii, the central city of Bayan-Ulgii province, where the majority of the population is Kazakh. The Kazakhs have their own language and unique culture, and they are renowned for their tradition of eagle hunting. Upon arrival, you will meet our team and visit a local gallery to learn more about the Bayan-Ulgii province and its diverse ethnic groups. From there, we will drive to Sagsay River to meet an eagle hunter’s family. In the evening, we return to Ulgii city to stay overnight in a local hostel or ger camp.
Day 3: Arrival at Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain
Today’s journey takes you to the Altai Mountain region, where you will arrive at Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain, the closest accessible point to the Altai peaks by vehicle. You will be traveling at altitudes of 2500-3000 meters. Here, you will visit a local Kazakh family to gain insights into their lives and rent horses for the upcoming journey. You will also have the opportunity to interact with the locals and capture the daily life of the Kazakhs. Their larger ger dwellings distinguish them from the Khalkha ethnic group. Prepare your luggage for the upcoming three-day mountain adventure.
Day 4: Altai Tavan Bogd Peak
On this day, you leave your vehicle behind and load your luggage onto horses as you embark on a journey towards the Altai Tavan Bogd peaks, with elevations ranging from 4100 to 4374 meters. The terrain in this region is rocky and characterized by rugged mountains. Your destination is the base of these high peaks.
Day 5: Potanin Glacier and Mount Altai Tavan Bogd
You will commence your journey towards the Potanin Glacier and Mount Altai Tavan Bogd, the highest peaks in Mongolia. The Tavan Bogd, meaning “Holy Five Peaks,” includes Khuiten Uul at 4374 meters, Peak Malchin, Peak Naran, Peak Burged, and Peak Olgii. As you travel, you will cross glaciers that connect these five peaks, providing you with spectacular views. You will arrive at the base camp to spend the night.
Day 6: Tsagaan Gol – White Swash
On this day, you will head to Tsagaan Gol, which gets its name from the glacial milk that gives the river its white color. The surrounding landscape is characterized by snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, and sandy dunes. You will have the opportunity to interact with local people and capture the stunning scenery. You will camp near a nomadic family and engage in conversations and shared experiences.
Days 7-8: Khoton and Khurgan Lakes
You will embark on a two-day journey to Khoton and Khurgan lakes, the source of Mongolia’s second-largest lake, Lake Khar Us. These lakes are known for their crystal-clear waters and are fed by numerous rivers and streams originating in the Altai Mountains. The landscapes surrounding the lakes are characterized by snow-capped mountains, lush meadows, and picturesque sand dunes, making it an ideal location for hiking and trekking. Your vehicle will follow you, carrying your luggage and camping equipment, and you will have the opportunity to rest and have lunch during the journey as you make your way to the camping spot.
Day 9-10: Exploring Beautiful Lakes and Baga Turgen Waterfall
During these two days, you will have the chance to explore the beautiful lakes and their surroundings. You can engage in voluntary hiking and trekking activities to fully appreciate the breathtaking landscapes. In the morning, you will be driven to the nearest point to the Baga Turgen waterfall by vehicle, and from there, you will hike to this magnificent cascade. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning natural surroundings and have a picnic lunch. Afterward, you will return to Khoton and Khurgan lakes and spend the night at a tented camp.
Group Size & Prices:
- 2 Pax: $3180 per person
- 3-4 Pax: $2880 per person
- 5-8 Pax: $2790 per person
- Accommodation: Hotel****, ger camp, tented camp
- Guiding and interpreting service
- Full board meals
- Transport: 4×4 vehicle or minivan
- Domestic flights (Ulaanbaatar-Ulgii & Khovd-Ulaanbaatar)
- Entrance fees to protected areas and national parks
- Museums and cultural performances
- Horseback riding
- Camping equipment
- International airfare
- Personal equipment
- Optional activity costs
- Excess baggage charges
- Single room supplement
- Alcoholic drinks
- Travel insurance
- Extra costs for photography in museums
- Tips for tour guides, drivers, etc.
Embarking on this incredible journey will not only provide you with unforgettable adventures in the heart of Mongolia’s Altai Mountains but also immerse you in the unique cultures and lifestyles of the local ethnic groups.