One of the main attractions in Mongolia is Gobi desert. It is estimated that 60% of visitors in Mongolia come to Gobi. There are many things that you can do there. One of them is riding a Bactrian, or 2 hump camels. It is impossible to imagine Gobi desert without camels. First of all, let’s talk about camels. There are 2 types of camels on the planet: Bactrian (2 humps) and dromedary (1 hump). Most of the camel species are dromedary camels (97%), inhabiting pretty much in Middle East and North Africa. Only 3% are Bactrian camels, which inhabit in Central Asia. Therefore riding a Bactrian camel is a unique experience.
Many people have mentioned about the comparing experience of riding Bactrian and dromedary camels. Some estimates that riding a Bactrian camel (2 hump) is more easy and gentle. Dromedary (1 hump) camels tend to be more aggressive and they spit a lot. You’ll fund the dromedary camels in Middle East, North Africa and surprisingly, in Australia. In fact, Australia is the country which has the most camels on the planet.
Almost half of the Bactrian camel population lives in Gobi desert, which means camels essentially important to the local nomads. Nomads use camels for food, dairy products, riding, transportation and camel wool to make ropes and clothing. Also locals play camel polo. There is even an event based on camels called “The camel festival”, which is held in March at Gobi desert. Camels can carry a weight up to 250 kilos (550pounds), which in ancient times along the major trade routes on land such as “Silk road” and “Tea road”, camels were main source of transportation. They were the ships and caravans of the trade roads that linked East with West. During the “Tea road” period, which is from 16th to the beginning of 20th century, camels were quite expensive. For example: if you wanted to buy camel, then you would have to pay 144 blocks of compressed tea.
Locals in Gobi desert also organize the competition between camel herders. That competition is called “Most elegant camel”. It is also an interesting event.
Visitors find camel riding special and interesting. Many stated that riding a camel is more soft and comfortable than riding a horse. When you ride a camel, please be sure to wear pants because if you wear short, then exposed part of your leg can rub against the saddle and it can be uncomfortable and itchy. Also, boots and snickers are suitable to wear for camel riding. Some people prefer to ride camel on their own, while some prefer to be led by other. Of course, the choice is up to you. If you feel more confident on the Bactrian camel, then why not try to ride it alone?! If you feel not that confident on the back of the camel, then you can be led by local camel herder or by local guide.
Another tip when you ride a camel is that please don’t make any sudden moves or no need to change your upper coats on top of the camel. This action might startle the camel. But all in all, it is a fun activity to ride a camel definitely one of the must-do activities when you travel to Mongolia.
You can ride camel from 30 minutes to 1 hour. This is common among the visitors. But there can also be a day trip on camel or many several days trip of camel riding. This is also a unique way of traveling and understanding about Gobi desert and its inhabitants.