Mongolia. A distant land never quite on the tourist radar, seemingly situated in the far reaches of the world. One of those destinations teetering at the edge of your periphery; it’s unfamiliar, remote, and wild, but oh,—it’s so much more, especially if you’re exploring it on horseback with Stone Horse Expeditions. Here’s why it should top your bucket list.

1. You'll get to explore truly pristine, remote wilderness with a top-tier tour operator
Image by Bianca Brand.

Picture this:

It’s autumn. A 12-day wilderness expedition stretches out like the endless landscape before you. It takes you through the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park and Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, into unimaginably remote areas…on a horse. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot brown bears, wolves, moose, lynx, wolverines, elk, deer, chipmunks, and bird species the likes of vultures and other birds of prey.

Your guides make sure you’re as comfortable as possible, both in the saddle and at camp (which includes a titanium stove-heated communal tent for the chilly nights, and seriously good fresh food on the daily). All you have to do is pitch your own tent. Everything else is done for you.

2. The ever-changing scenery will take your breath away
Image by Bianca Brand.

With each mountain pass, a whole new world unveils. You’ll weave through steep climbs, marshlands, and woods, gallop across endless plains, cross rivers, and skirt lakes.

From frosty and snowy mornings to sunny or rainy afternoons, Mongolia’s weather is unpredictable and can easily bring you through four seasons in a day. Autumn allows you to see the many faces of Mongolia in a single trip, and you’ll find yourself with hand on camera, ready to quick draw.

3. You’ll experience the freedom and exhilaration of galloping across seemingly infinite plains
Image by Bianca Brand.

Unlike other horse-riding tour operators, Stone Horse gives the more experienced rider the freedom to break away from the column to gallop solo in the open plains, should they want to. There is nothing more thrilling than going at full speed on horseback across an open expanse, the thunderous rhythm of hoofbeats beneath you as you lean into the wind.

Fun fact: The phrase “I’m gonna go look at the horses” is the Mongolian way of saying, “I’m going for a tinkle.” Not only does peeing behind a herd of horses ensure privacy (especially with all those distances sans trees), but it also notifies the group of your intention so they don’t accidentally chance upon you or look your way.

4. You'll get to fully disconnect and detox from digital life
Image by Bianca Brand.

For many of us, digital devices are a significant source of anxiety. If you’ve fantasised about getting off the grid and doing that digital detox, then this is your chance. The group will likely consist of just five guests, five staff, and an established herd of 20+ horses. You’ll rarely see signs of civilisation—just pure, unadulterated nature.

Being completely disconnected and uncontactable from the outside world is a kind of bliss you’ll treasure. With zero bars on your phone, you’ll rid yourself of the responsibility and pressure of having to answer calls and messages instantly, thus achieving the elusive pinnacle of inner peace.

5. The stars
Image by Patrick Schneider.

The clearest nights are always the coldest, but with clear skies come an infinity of stars. Literally billions. Brandon Boyd said it best when he sang, “The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it.”

And, if you think about it, you’ll be experiencing the spectacular Mongolian night sky, just like how Mongol nomads have for thousands of years.

You’ll be talking about this trip for years to come, we promise.

To find out more about Stone Horse Expeditions and the tours they offer, check out the link below.

Stone Horse Expeditions
Image by Stone Horse Expeditions.

Tour operator: Stone Horse Expeditions and Travel
Tour details: Autumn Colors in the Khentii
Duration: 12 days
Total distance covered on horseback: Approximately 400km
Travel period: Autumn (September)
Accommodation provided: 10 nights in a tent, 1 night in a traditional Mongolian ger at Princess Tourist Camp
Overall rating: 10/10, highly recommended