Mongolia on horseback. Have you packed already?
For a while, we thought we were completely lost and in trouble, standing at the old petrol station which looked like it had been shut down years ago. The bus was already a tiny black spot on the horizon when the dust settled back down. The yard was very, very empty.
Did we take a wrong bus? Or got out in a wrong town? Or did someone just forgot us? And most of all, what the hell should we do now?
The tiny town, couple hours away from the capital Ulaanbaatar, seemed sleepy. We found a few elder man playing cards close by. We tried to explain with drawings in paper napkins, signal language and every other possible way why we were there. After a while, they got to a conclusion together, who was our man in town.
We quickly forgot about the morning hassle when we got seated in their cosy kitchen. We didn’t expect any food but got offered our bellies full of local treats. While we were sipping our spiced milktea, our guide was organising things for the trek and worrying about our shoes, which were no shoes for riding horses in his opinion.
We got our own ponies for the time being. They were small and cute, but stubborn as well, tough like the Mongolian wilderness itself. And off we went, just the two of us with our guide. He barely spoke any English but that just made the experience so much more authentic.
We rode through the plains, through national park areas, slepped in a local family’s ger (yurt) and visited many nomad families during our trek. Such an experience I will never forget.
The local families we met were all so amazingly welcoming and friendly. I think our guide knew all of them though, but no matter where we stopped, we always got invited to sit down and offered some tea or horse milk.
Side note, horse milk is quite an experience, I recommend not filling your cup too full before tasting it!
Trekking horseback in Mongolia was a perfect tune out from everything. We got our bums sore for sure, but as I love horses, the experience of riding in Mongolia was amazing.
The rough landscapes and half-wild ponies took a place in my heart and I truly hope to return to Mongolia to see more of it!