Multi-Day Tour | Escorted, Group

From Horses to Reindeer: The Tsaatan People (15 days)

Nomadic Expeditions

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia To Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Valid for Departures: 26 May 2018 - 09 Jun 2018


Day 1
26 May 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar None
The contrast between ancient traditions and a 21st-century democracy is most visible in Ulaanbaatar, where traditional gers and Buddhist monasteries sit side by side with modern high-rises. Upon arrival at the airport you are welcomed by your Mongolian guide and transferred to a centrally located hotel within walking distance of various museums and shops.
Day 2
27 May 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast visit the National History Museum for an excellent overview of Mongolia’s history and culture. The newly remodeled museum displays traditional implements of daily nomadic life including Stone and Bronze Age artifacts, historical costumes of Mongolia’s minority tribes, sacred religious relics, and agricultural, shing, and hunting equipment.

Next, visit Bogd Khan Winter Palace museum, home of Mongolia’s last theocrat, Bogd Jabzan Damba Hutagt VIII. The museum displays elaborate ceremonial robes and other personal effects of “Mongolia’s 8th Living Buddha.”

After lunch, visit the Zanabazar Fine Arts Museum. Named in honor of Zanabazar, the renowned 17th-century artist and politician, who was also the rst Buddhist leader of Mongolia, the museum contains one of the best collections of Buddhist art and artifacts in the world, including many of Zanabazar’s original works. In the evening, enjoy a performance featuring traditional Mongolian dancers and khoomi throat singers, followed by dinner at a ne local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 3
28 May 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Begin the day with a visit to Gandan Monastery, the seat of Buddhism in Mongolia. Although Buddhist monasteries were either destroyed or converted into museums during the Stalinist purges of the 1930s, Gandan Monastery continued to operate as a showpiece for government officials.

Strolling through the monastery grounds, hear the low tones of the horns used to call the lamas to the temple and observe their daily rituals, including the reading of sutras, the teachings of the Buddha. Also visit the recently renovated Chenrezi and Kalachakra Temples, as well as the magni cent statue of Migjid Janraisig, “the lord who looks in every direction.” This 82-foot high statue, gilded in pure gold and clothed with silk and precious stones, completely lls one of Gandan’s temples.

After lunch, y north to Murun (1.5 hours), the capital of Hovsgol Province, and continue overland towards Renchinlhumbe Village. Camp near Ulaan-Uul sum. During the expedition our guides will set up camp with expedition-quality three-person tents for every two people, outfitted with sleeping bags and mats.

Day 4
29 May 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend the day driving north to the village of Tsagaan Nuur, named for the nearby White Lake, home to Pidschjan white sh. Built especially for the Tsaatan community in the 1950s as a town center, Tsagaan Nuur had one of the country’s largest sh farms, as well as a reindeer-breeding farm, until the collapse of communism in 1990. Arrive in the late afternoon and rest before your horse trekking adventure starts the next day. For those interested, we can explore the area on foot before dinner. Overnight in tents near the village.

Day 5
30 May 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Meet the horse wranglers and start riding through the Darkhadyn Khotgor depression towards the Zuun (East) taiga forest, home of the Tsaatan, crossing many rivers owing down from the Khoridal Saridag Mountains. The largest of these, the Shargyn River, will be crossed using a pontoon boat. Camp overnight near Targan Nuur Lake, a small freshwater lake surrounded by hills and larch forest. Overnight in tents near Renchinlhumbe Mountain. (6-7 hours, 30- 35 km; terrain: grassy; 4 river crossings)

Day 6
31 May 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This will be one of the most challenging but memorable days of the trek. In the afternoon, passing the west end of Targan Nuur Lake, cross the Sailag Mountains and by late afternoon reach the Tsaatan settlement. The Tsaatan in this region herd domesticated reindeer, which they use primarily for transportation and milk. Overnight in tents near Dood Sailig River. (6-8 hours, 30-40 km; terrain: marshy, mountain area, larch forest)

Day 7
01 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Spend this day with local Tsaatan families and learn more about their traditional nomadic lifestyle. The Tsaatan are part of the Tuvan ethnic group, who live in the Tuvan Republic of Russia. There are only about 300 Tsaatan in total, living in the northern Mongolian taiga landscape. The Tsaatan often move their small encampments every two or three weeks, looking for special types of grass and lichen loved by the reindeer (of which there are around 1000 in total for both the east and west taiga). The Tsaatan are also strong practitioners of shamanism. Overnight in tents
Day 8
02 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning, we will leave the dense northern territory and begin our journey onto Lake Hovsgol, known as “mother ocean” in Mongolia. We will trek near the Shargyn river, one of the major river systems in the area. (6-7 hours, 30-35 km; terrain: river valley, mostly grassy, some portions muddy)

Day 9
03 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DARKHADYN KHOTGOR | ARSAI RIVERWe will continue our journey in this “no-man’s” land as we trek through beautiful mountain valleys and meadows. We continue towards Jigleg Pass, again crossing the Shargyn River on a pontoon. Camp for the night near the Arsai River, near the west entry of Jigleg Pass. (6-7 hours, 30-35 km)

Day 10
04 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Jigleg Pass

Today will be a full day of trekking through the Jigleg Pass (8,500 feet above sea level), following grassy trails. Jigleg is one of the few horse trail entries into the lake shore. As we trek from the inland to the lake, we will trek amidst pine trees and open valleys as we gradually ascent this scenic valley. We will cross a freshwater mountain river and set up camp in the foothills. (6-7 hours, 30-35 km; terrain: grassy, mountain area)

Day 11
05 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Continue the trek through northern Mongolia’s pristine alpine scenery toward Lake Hovsgol and camp near the Har-Us River. Har-Us could also be described as a series of springs nestled amongst meadows of beautiful wild owers. Even in winter, Har- Us is not frozen in some parts and is a popular local destination for the healing power of its water. In early summer, locals ock here to eat the bailius sh for its medicinal properties. Overnight in tents. (6 hours, 30 km; terrain: grassy)

Day 12
06 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Har-Us River

We will be trekking today along the shoreline, with the magni cent Lake Hovsgol on the eastern side and the breathtaking Khoridal Saridag mountains on the western side. Today is one of the most scenic trekking days of our journey. We will conclude our trekking journey by arriving at our tent camp on the shore of the lake. (6 hours, 30 km; terrain: grassy)

Day 13
07 Jun 2018
Muren, Mongolia
Tent Camp Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lake Hovsgol

Spend today relaxing by the lake, kayaking, or enjoying a day- hike into the mountains or through alpine meadows strewn with wildflowers. There will also be the opportunity to visit local nomadic families who camp near the lake. Overnight in gers

Day 14
08 Jun 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Shangri-La, Ulaanbaatar Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


After breakfast, drive to Murun (4 hours) for the return ight to Ulaanbaatar (1.5 hours.) Stop along the way at Lake Irkh, a small lake in the midst of the steppe that attracts a variety of birds. Upon arrival in Ulaanbaatar, transfer to the hotel. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner at a fine local restaurant. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 15
09 Jun 2018
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
None Breakfast

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure.

Tour Features


  • Adventure
  • Culture, History & Arts
  • Sightseeing


Designed for the more experienced horseback rider, this horse trek passes through the mountains, taiga forests, and idyllic meadows of Mongolia’s northernmost province. Traveling through the beautiful Khoridal Saridag Mountains, this adventurous journey on horseback leads to Lake Hovsgol, the alpine lake known as Mongolia’s “dark blue pearl,” stopping along the way to visit Tsaatan families who herd domesticated reindeer.

This is a challenging horse trek, and riders should be comfortable traveling on horseback over difficult and steep terrain. We will ride Mongolian horses, legendary for their stamina, sturdy build, and ability to negotiate difficult terrain. Each day, approximately six to eight hours (30 – 40 km) will be spent in the saddle. The crew will include a bilingual Nomadic Expeditions guide, a camp cook, and local horse wranglers.

About Us

Nomadic Expeditions is an award-winning tour operator that has been crafting trips of a lifetime to Mongolia, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, China, Myanmar, Siberia, Sri Lanka, and India for 25 years. Founded by Mongolian-American Jalsa Urubshurow, Nomadic Expeditions pioneered luxury adventure travel to Mongolia shortly after its democratization in 1990. As developers and owners of the Three Camel Lodge, Nomadic Expeditions continues its commitment to providing exceptional experiences coupled with sustainability in this hidden corner of the world.

Insider Tip

Ask us about the remote luxury private camp in remote corners of Mongolia

Terms & Conditions

Cancellation Policy

All cancellations must be submitted in writing to Nomadic Expeditions. Cancellation charges are based on the number of days from the date we receive the written cancellation notice until the main trip departure date.

Cancellation charges:

  • 90 days or more Full Deposit
  • 89-60 days 25% of land
  • 59-30 days 50% of land
  • 29-0 days No refund
  • After trip departs - No refund

In addition, any unrecoverable charges or fees imposed by suppliers or vendors on advance payments will be assessed. Airfares are refundable in accordance with the policy of the airline carrier being used, subject to a $50 handling charge. If full payment is not received 90 days prior to departure, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to consider this a cancellation. A Late Payment Fee will apply to all payments made less than 90 days prior to departure. Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to cancel or postpone any travel services prior to departure for any reason, including insufficient number of participants. In the event that a trip cannot depart on the dates specified due to unforeseeable events that render the itinerary inoperable or inadvisable, Nomadic Expeditions reserves the right to postpone services until such time as it is deemed appropriate by Nomadic Expeditions. Trip payments will be held by Nomadic Expeditions, and subject to the same conditions as for the original scheduled trip. Nomadic Expeditions is not responsible for any unrecoverable expenses incurred by trip participants due to trip cancellation or postponement, including non-refundable airline tickets, medical expenses and visa fees, or additional arrangements, made either through Nomadic Expeditions or another provider, purchased to coincide with this scheduled departure. This trip is subject to the cancellation, refund, and other policies set forth on our Departure Guide. We urge you to read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions.

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Highly Recommended

By: CW

Reviewed on: 02 May 2014

The tour group offered helpful advice about Mongolia and organized a VIP immigration service on arrival in Ulaanbaatar. The guide was experienced and very friendly and worked hard to get me to see all the sights I wanted to see (quite a feat as I tend to want to see everything).
Travel Advisor:  Ilana Valo