1. SOUTH PART OF MONGOLIA
Landscape and climate of the Gobi is generally understood as desert. But the Gobi is much more than a desert. The Gobi has rocks and mountains, rare trees and flowers, very rare birds and wildlife. The Gobi harbors valuable scientific information – famous paleontological finds including the first dinosaur egg and Tarbosaurbataar were discovered here. In today’s Mongolia, Gobi is an economically powerful region that brings big cash to the country’s budget. Most of Mongolia’s coal and copper export is being produced in areas of the Gobi while most remains remote and beautiful. Reaching province centers of the Gobi is easy by plane or via paved roads. The Gobi is a huge area involving territories of some eight out of 21 of Mongolia’s provinces. Much of the Gobi is state protected territory. For example, over 90 percent of Gobi-Altai province territory is a strictly protected area because it is home to rare wildlife such as snow leopards, wild camels, wild sheep, wild ass, ibex, argali (bighorn sheep), and the Gobi bear as well as many rare birds. If you chose to travel to Gobi’s nomadic and unsettled areas, you should prepare your mood for a different measurement system- Gobi’s. If in your everyday life “nearby” means a 15-minute walk away, in the Gobi it will mean 20-30 kilometers or so. The Bactrian camel is the dominant animal in the Gobi and you’ll have plenty of chances to photograph their amazingly noble poses. And you’ll have many camel riding opportunities, as well. We strongly recommend you to have an official guide and a host company to travel to the Gobi as it is not easy to get around in the Gobi. There are many licensed tour companies. They are well spread out in the Gobi and where-ever you reach, you’ll find wonderful 360 degrees views for your relaxation. Make sure you have an experienced driver from a tourism company or from Gobi itself. Non-Gobi drivers, do not drive well in the Gobi because of mirages that fool drivers.
Flaming cliffs and Bayanzag saxaul forest
Bayanzag is located 597 km away to the south west of Ulaanbaatar city in Umnugobi province. It’s a valley covered by ancient deposits with saxuals and combination of Gobi landscape, rocks and taluses. The popular finds from Bayanzag show that the place was home of ancient people and animals. Many rare archeological and historical finds have been found here and some of them are being exhibited in Natural History Museum of USA. American Expedition to Central Asia led by Endruis R.Ch. traveled through Mongolian Gobi during 1922to 1928. The finds were carried by 70 camels when they went back to America.This place is popular with the name “Flaming Cliffs” in the world because some American archeologists called so when they were in the Gobi in 1922. Mongolia is considered second country of dinosaur finds while USA is first and 330 types of dinosaurs have been found in the world and 60 types of them are belong to Mongolia. The hills in Bayanzag look like burning hills when sun sets. People have been living for a long time here because the place is always in rich of plants even dry years.
Khongor sand dune
This is the biggest sand dune in Mongolia, which covers 180 km long area between Gurvan Saikhan and Nemegt Ranges belonging to Gobi Altai Range. It lies along wind flows.The sand has 965sq.km area with 27 km of widest and 0.8km of most narrow. There are many clay hills and terraces with sexual-trees in west of the sand. East of the sand has much taller sand dunes with 150m relative altitudes and 25-300 inclined sides. THe tallest one has 190m relative altitude. Movement of Khongor sand makes unique noise and it’s called singing dunes by local people.
The Khongor`s sand dune is involved in the area of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park.
It’s one of the natural secret of Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park and beautiful deep canyon with many rocky cliffs, has been created by many years of water erosion.
The Yoliin Am (Vulture Valley), a protected site in 1965, is 62 km northwest of Dalanzadgad. A spring 2 or 3 km long winds its way through the defile and in July, freezing into a thick corridor of ice that stretches along a considerable distance. In earlier times, the blocks of ice rarely melted, being protected from the vicious sunlight. However has changed in recent years, partially because of the multitudes of tourists that walk on the ice. You can still see ice here in July but it is almost completely melted by August. Following the canyon to the very end, one emerges into a beautiful wide valley. Surrounding mountains are home to argali, ibex, and many birds of prey, as well as numerous small rodents particular to the Gobi. A small museum marks the entrance to the protected zone and provides information on the petrified trees, fauna and flora of the Gobi. The walk along canyon must be done on foot.
Baga gazriin chuluu
Baga gazriin stone, is a 15km long and 10 km wide stone massif, is located 30 km to the south east of Adaatsag sum. This stone massif is also part of the Mongolian granite stone zone. The highest point is Tahilgat Mountain /1758 m/ in the Northwest part of the stone massif. Wild sheep, ibex and marmot inhabit here, Surtiin am is one of many beautiful places in Baga gazriin stone massif. This is a narrow canyon with asp, birch, white whicker and elm tree, as well the ruin of a stone temple and the site of 2 yurts where monks lived and meditated since the seventieth century. There is a 20 m long cave near to the Surtiin Am. Crystals can be found around the cave. Life size paintings of deer are painted on a granite stone and another yurt shaped stone called Ger chuluu. According to scientists, 64 tombs and tumuli dated back to Khugnu tribe have been found around Baga zagriin Stone.
Also, there is a spring water which comes from under source is good for eye illness.
Tsagaan Suvraga is located 419km away to the south west of Ulaanbaatar city in Dundgobi province. It’s 90 degree of straight, consists of many colors of clay deposits. In ancient times, there was a big sea in KHevtee and Bosoo valleys of Tsagaan Suvarga. After dried up the sea, this area became a valley with many glacis and escarpments, covered by many different sedimentary deposits. Tsagaan suvraga is a big escarpment with 200m height and 400m long. This place has been protected since early times and local people say that Tsagaan khairkhan/ respectful name/ instead of Tsagaan Suvraga.
Ongiin Khiid is a sightworthy monastery on Ongi river about 18 km from Saikhan Ovoo. Formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, it was founded in 1660 and consisted of two temples complexes on the North and South of the Ongi Gol river. The older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex, built in the 18th century, consisted of 17 temples – among them one of the largest temples in all of Mongolia. The grounds housed also 4 Buddhist universities. It was completely destroyed in 1939 under Khorloogiin Choibalsan, the then president and leader of the Communist Party of Mongolia. Over 200 monks were killed, and many surviving monks were imprisoned or forced to join the Communist controlled army. A large number of ruins including a tall stupa can be seen on the river and on the surrounding hills. In the 1990s, it was decided to rebuild the monastery. The first temple was inaugurated in 2004. There is a small museum in a ger in front of it. One of the stupas has just been reconstructed as well. It has a conmemorative plaque indicating the names of the monks who were killed in 1939. At present (2011), 13 monks live in the monastery.It used to be a big Buddhist monastery compound built by Bari Yonzon Khamba Lamaist bishop at the Ongi river, a river that takes source from the Khangai Mountain range in Ovorkhangai Aimag (Province) and flows into the Ulaan Nuur Lake of Gobi.
2. NORTH PART OF MONGOLIA
Lake Khuvsgul and Tsaatan community
On the furthest north of the country, there are famous travel destinations from Khuvsgul province. Lake Khuvsgul is Mongolia’s biggest pristine fresh water lake and it is the sister lake to Baikal across the border in Siberia. Many tourism camps are available at Lake Khuvsul national park area and the towns of Khatgal and Khanh. The region is known as the Switzerland of Mongolia with high, ice-capped mountains, beautiful lakes and vast forests of pine and fir. Before 1990, the lake area was occupied by a wool cleaning factory and petroleum importing and waterway trade logistics factories. When the Lake was officially registered as the strictly protected National park in 1993, all the industries were forced to move out nearly bankrupting the local towns of Khatgal and Khanh. Thanks to the tourism industry, the people of Khatgal and Khanh remained in their home towns. Local culture featuresarea shamans. Khuvsul people worship nature and shamanistic culture – which is best preserved in this area. There are many tour camps and there’s a paved road to the lake from the town of Muren which is serviced by an airport.
Lake Khuvsgul is surrounded by the sharp peaks of the KhoridolSaridag mountain range on the west side and the thick forests of the Soyon mountains on the east side. The lake is overwhelmingly beautiful and water is so pure that locals drink it directly from the lake. On the opposite side of Khoridol Saridag mountains, is the ‘Darkhad valley’. Travelling in the Darkhad valley to the Tsaatsan (reindeer herders) community on the north end of the valley will be an unforgettable experience. As to the nomadic part, you’ll see Darkhad’s famous white horses and yaks and the Tsaatan’s reindeer herds. Be sure to ride reindeer while visiting Tsaatsans.
Because the area is full of high mountains, forests, rivers and lakes, it is an adventure travelers’ heaven. The most famous season for locals is late August, as the valley’s forests produce all kinds of berries at this time. If you travel there during ‘berry season’, do not miss the local fresh wild berries. The Darkhad’s won’t eat more than one-day-old berries during this season.
The “Monastery of Tranquil Felicity”, once one of the three largest Buddhist centres in Mongolia, is located near the Selenge river, in the Iven valley, at the foot of Mount Buren- Khan. Built between 1727 and 1736, it is one of the very few monasteries to have partly escaped the destruction of 1937, after which only the buildings of the central section remained. The entire contents: the thankas, statues, and manuscripts, were looted by the communists, or hidden until more fortunate times. Restoration work began in 1988 and some of the new deities were commissioned in Delhi. India. The Monastery was originally built to house the remains of Zanabazar, the foirst Bogd Gegeen, or Undur Gegeen, the “August light”. At the time of Manchu expansion in Mongolia, Zanabazar allied himself with Emperior Kangxi (1662-1722). The aim of the Manchus in founding this monastery was to seal with great pomp this alliance between the Mongol Lamaist church and Manchu power. The entrance of the monastery is located in the south and preceded by a screen meant to prevent evil spirits from entering.It leads to the small Hall of the Seal here the tabletsbearing the imperial edict on the founding of the monastery were kept. Furthermore, there are many halls which kept the secret histories.
3. CENTRAL OF MONGOLIA
Elsen tasarkhai ( Mongol Els)
This 80-km sand dune is situated in a terrain of 3 Soums, Erdenesant of Tuv Aimag, Burd of Uvurkhangai, Gurvanbulag of Bulgan Aimag, starting from west of Mount Batkhaan and stretches along west of Mount Khugnu Khan . The main road separates this sand dune into two parts, Mongol Els on the south and Khugnu Tarnyn Els on the north. The sand is sodden under its surface, so shrubberies such as willow, elm and dogwood, grow in the area. There are many tourist camps around the sight. Elsen Tasarkhai is surrounded by Mount Khugnu Khan on the north and Mount Ikh Mongol on the south. The main road separates Elsen Tasarkhai sand dune into two parts, Mongol Els on the south and Khugnu Tarnyn Els on the north. Elsen Tasarkhai sand is sodden under its surface, so shrubberies such as willow, elm and dogwood, grow in the area. There are many tourist camps around Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes. Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes is surrounded by Mount Khugnu Khan on the north and Mount Ikh Mongol on the south. It is 370 km from Ulaanbaatar to Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes.
Khugnu khan mountain
Khogno Khan Natural Reserve covers 46,990 hectares of land and is located in Rashaant county of Bulgan province. The taiga and steppe plants grow in this area and represent two or three different natural zones. This area was taken under state protection in 1997. Khogno Khan, a splendid mountain is situated in the border area of Uvurkhangai, Tuv and Bulgan province. This is a magnificent place with mountains, forests, steppes, Gobi-type desert and mineral water sources all in one location. There are many wild animals such as wolves, deers, foxes and snow leopards inhabited here. In Khogno Khan Natural Reserve, there is an extraordinary sand dunes called Elsen Tasarhai. “Elsen tasarhai” is a part of the Great Mongolian Sand dunes and extends about 80 km. The scenery is a perfect combination of desert, picturesque mountains, river and green grassland. One of the main attractions of this area is Uvgun monastery which was built in 17th century by Saint Zanabazar who was a great sculptor and the biggest representative of Buddhism in Mongolia. During Middle Age feuds between Western and Eastern Mongolians (Dzungaria and Khalkh Mongolia) after the collapse of the Mongol Empire. The armies of Dzungarian leader Galdan Boshigt noticed the golden roofs of the temples in Khogno Khan Mountain and massacred the partisan-monks of the rival Zanabazar in 1640, killing them by tying their necks with a rope (the Mongolian verb for the action is khognokh) as if they were goats and sheep. This is the meaning of name of the mountain. After democratic revolution in 1990 the monastery was restored by the granddaughter of the monks who was living at the monastery. This area is pleasant for many activities such as hiking, mountain climbing and horse riding.
The Ovgon Khiid monastery is located in the mountains of Khogno-Khan 257 km away from Ulan-Bator, on the way to Arvaykheer, 173 km away from Arvaykheer and about 75 km away from Kharkhorin. It is impossible to drive right up to the impressive ruins of the monastery situated at the altitude of 1532 meters. The only way there is to walk from the functioning monastery Khogno-Tarnil-Khiid, which stands lower on the hill. You can reach the lower standing monastery by car, directly from the tourist camp “Mon-Gobi”. Stone stairs along the steep slope will lead you to the temple. Nearby there is a sacred suburgan (stupa), pavilions and clay ruins of temple buildings. This and many other monasteries were destroyed during anti-religious campaigns. In 1980s it was newly rebuilt. From the functioning monastery the trail through the valley and a birch wood (30 minutes of an easy walking for 2 km) will take you up to well preserved ruins of the Buddhist monastery Ovgon-Khiid. A birch wood with crooked trunks is a totally unusual phenomenon in the middle of Mongolia, there is nothing else similar in any other areas. If you stand with your face to the top of the valley, to the right of you the trail takes its way up. A bit higher in front of the temple there is a rock picturing a large drawing of a horse with no date determined. From this place the trails runs past an obo and goes up the valley to the ruins covered with thick brushwood which makes it difficult to pass through them without scratching oneself. Amongst the brushwood there are massive stone walls. These look quite striking against the background of close stone tops. The monastery Ovgon-Khiid was built by a famous religious figure of medieval Mongolia – Zanabazar, who constructed it in the honor of his teacher. This temple used to be one of his most beloved sanctuaries. In its thriving years the monastery was hosting over a thousand lamas at a time. In the 18th century Ovgon-Khiid became a bone of contention between Galdan Boshigt (Western Mongolia) and Zanabazar (Central Mongolia). The former was against Zanabazar’s intention to submit to the Manchus. The never-ending argument resluted in a war when Galdan Boshigt’s army destroyed Ovgon-Khiid.
Orkhon valley is a famous steppe encompassing territory of eight soums (counties) of two provinces- Uvurhangai and Arhangai. You can reach there by bus or car on a paved road. However, as you reach the main towns of Orkhon valley, relatively short, non-paved roads will take you to the cores of the nomadic culture. The people of this valley are true to the nomadic heritage and many nomadic intangible heritages are kept and transmitted to the next generation in this valley. Orkhon valley and surrounding heritage were registered by UNESCO as a world heritage area. The tourism industry in this valley is developing with the understanding of the fragility of nomadic heritages and environment and the historic and cultural value of the area. When improving their services the industry team work together to stay true to the nomadic lifestyle and protection of the valley’s substantial cultural heritage. Orkhon valley has hundreds of archeological sites. From ancient rock paintings to Monasteries, from the first written account of Turkik history to the ruins of Uigur palace, from Mongol Empire’s capital city ruins to Zanabazar’s art making escape temple, the valley’s people continue to honor and protect their nomadic heritage along with the heritage of all the past nomadic tribes and empires that once dominated Mongolia. Because the valley is also the home of thousands of active herders, it is advisable to travel in this world heritage area via a tourism company so that you can be harmonious with the fragile steppe life and its resources.
Abtai Sain Khan, ruler of the Khalkh Mongols and grandfather of Zanabazar, the first Jebtsundamba Khutuktu, ordered construction of the Erdene Zuu monastery in 1585 after his meeting with the 3rd Dalai Lama and the declaration of Tibetan Buddhism as the state religion of Mongolia. Stones from the nearby ruins of the ancient Mongol capital of Karakorum were used in its construction. Planners attempted to create a surrounding wall that resembled a Tibetan Buddhist rosary featuring 108 stupas (108 being a sacred number in Buddhism), but this objective was probably never achieved. The monastery’s temple walls were painted, and the Chinese-style roof covered with green tiles.
The monastery was damaged in 1688 during one of the many wars between Dzungars and Khalkh Mongols. Locals dismantled the wooden fortifications of the abandoned monastery. It was rebuilt in the 18th century and by 1872 had a full 62 temples and housed up to 1000 monks.
According to tradition, in 1745 a local Buddhist disciple named Bunia made several unsuccessful attempts to fly with a device he invented similar to parachute.
Kharkhorim ancient capital
Located 373 km-s from Ulaanbaatar and 138 km-s north of Arvaikheer, this important village is the administrative centre of the Kharkhorin soum nowadays.
Once were the imperial site of Kharakhorum is located on the right bank of the Orkhon River and on the North Eastern slopes of the empire for only 32 years of those 140 years since 13th century. It served first of all as a base camp for the leader of the Kereit tribe, before being used by Chinggis Khaan in 1222 as a supply point for the Mongol armies. Cereals were grown there to feed the army, agricultural implements and weapons were cast there. Almost nothing remains of the Imperial site of Karakorum. In 1235, Ogoodei, son and successors of Chingis, surrounded it by a rampart measuring approximately 1.7 km-s by 1 kilometre; it was during his regn that Karakorum became a true urban, diplomatic, and commercial centre. Despite this, it managed to retain a strongly nomadic appearance. the palace was built only for official receptions, and the court did not live in town and instead setup their camps in the surrounding area.
Terkhiin tsagaan nuur (White lake)
The freshwater Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur is not as forested or as large as Khövsgöl Nuur, but it is closer to Ulaanbaatar, relatively undeveloped and just about perfect for camping (though there are a few flies in summer). The lake, birdlife and mountains are now protected within the 77,267-hectare Khorgo-Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park . According to legend, the lake was formed when an elderly couple forgot to cap a well after fetching water. The valley was flooded until a local hero shot a nearby mountain top with his arrow; the shorn top covered the well and became an island in the lake (Noriin Dund Tolgoi). Another theory is that it was formed by lava flows from a volcanic eruption many millennia ago. The lake is around 16km long, east to west, and around 4km to 6km wide, north to south. It takes around two hours to walk from Tariat to the northeast corner of the lake (6km). Here you’ll find the largest concentration of ger camps, plus some shops selling drinks, snacks, cooking provisions and even gas cannisters for camping stoves. Most of the rest of the ger camps and the best camping spots are then strung out along the northern lakeshore.
Khorgiin togoo (Khorgo volcano)
Khorgo Mountain is a dead volcano which lies on the west of Traiat village of Arkhangai province. the Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake in Arkhangai province. (GPS: N48° 11.187’, E99° 51.259’). The Khorgo crater, situated at an altitude of 2.210 meters with a diameter of 20 meters and depth of 70 to 80 meters, is the most interesting at all. There is no lake in this crater, but clouds of steam jet out it is crevices forming ice moulds in winter, which from a distance look like large flocks of sheep scattered on the mountain. Near the crater there are dozens of small caverns with stalactites hanging from their ceiling and walls. About 8000 years ago volcanic lava flooded the valleys nearby which are covered today with small forests of Sibirian larch and a great variety of berries and flowers. In the woods there are lots of deer, wild goat and other animals, as well as various kinds of birds such as Red Deer, Siberian Deer, Wild Boar, Ruddy Shelduck and Duck.
Tsenkher hot spring
Set between forested hills, these hot springs are becoming an increasingly popular detour from the main road. Four ger camps have been built around the springs; each pumps water into splash pools that, for nonguests, cost around US$10 to enter. If you are already in Tsetserleg, it’s possible to head south on a jeep trail 27km to get here. It’s around T45,000 return in a taxi from Tsetserleg. You could also consider cycling. If you are coming from Ulaanbaatar, the turn-off is at Tsenkher sum. From the sum centre it’s 24km to the hot springs.
Ögii Lake is a freshwater lake in eastern Arkhangai, in central Mongolia. The lake, designated as a Ramsar Site of International Importance, is known for its fish and for birdlife. It is a stopover point for migrating waterbirds of the family Anatidae. Almost half the lake is less than 3 m deep. There are several ger tourist camps around the lake, as well an information and training center.
Khuisiin Naiman Nuur Nature Reserve ( 8 lake)
This trip enable one to explore parts of the Khangai Mountain Range National Park. Known as “Eight Lakes” this site is located the Uvurhangai Aimag. Actually there are nine lakes, notably Shireet Bugat, Khaliun and others.The lake of Naiman Nuur lies at an altitude of 2,200 meters above sea level. There is forest belt some 300 to 400 meters above on the surrounding mountains. Sometimes violent wind with snow blows in the pass of Davaa, even in summer.
Taikhar chuluu (rock)
Taikhar Chuluu is a massive granite rock that towers above the surrounding flat country. It is located about 25 km from the city of Tsetserleg on the banks of the Tamir River. Legend says that a giant Mongolian hero crushed a fierce serpent to death by placing this rock on top of it. The rock is also considered as a sacred object for worship.
Chuluut River (Stony river) is a river flowing through the valleys of the Khangai Mountains in central Mongolia, and a tributary of the Ider River. It is 415 km long, the width at the mouth into the Ider river is 80 m, the maximum depth is 3 m. It is usually frozen from November to April.
Khustai national park
100 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar is Khustai Mountain National Park. The Park was established twenty years ago just for one type of horse: The Takhi, Mongolia’s native wild horse. Takhi means “worship worthy” in Mongolian. The Takhi’s scientific name is Przewalski’s Horse- the man who first described the horse for science during his late 19th century research in Mongolia. The Taki went extinct in Mongolia in the 1960s, but survived in European zoos. When the park started its operation, only a few horses were brought back from a Netherlands zoo. Now Mongolia has over 300 Takhi thanks to the National Park. And the park’s protected wildlife is constantly increasing. Wolves, red deer (elk), fox, marmot, lynx and many other native species animals and birds found a safe home in Khustai National Park when development in Ulaanbaatar expanded into wild areas. This is one of the key areas where local herders have to peacefully share their pasture, with wild animals. Another such area is in the Altai Mountains where local herders may not kill snow leopards even though the big cats occasionally take a herd animal. It is understood as a cost of herding nearby. Wildlife watching in the Khustai Mountains plays important role to the local economy and environmental protection – more than compensating for the occasional loss of a herd animal. Takhi-watching is very popular for tourists during all seasons except spring. When baby horses are just born in the spring, the takhi herd is possessive and aggressive, as the wolves of the area actively hunt for baby animals. But during summer time, takhi life is much more peaceful. The most handsome takhi and deer population roam in Khustai Mountains during the winter time. Winter walks in the Khustai Mountains offers spectacular pictures of blue sky, white hills and fully fed thick-hair takhis and herds of majestic elk with their full antlers. Traveling to Khustai Mountain is included in almost all tour packages offered by major tour operators of Mongolia. The Park administration and Khustai’s environmental NGOs recommend tourists to travel as groups guided by registered tourism companies so as not to disturb the area in unpatrolled locations. Khustai Park is also a major scientific research field for mountain-steppe fauna and flora.
4. WEST PART OF MONGOLIA
Altai Tavan Bogd national park
Altai Tavan Bogd National Park (Altai five saints nature complex) is a national park in Bayan-Ölgii Province of western Mongolia. It covers 6362 square kilometres and is located south of Tavan Bogd, the highest mountain of Mongolia. It includes the lakes Khoton, Khurgan, and Dayan. The protected area is inhabited by species such as the Argali sheep, Ibex, Red deer, Beech marten, Moose, Snow cock, and Golden eagle. The (UNESCO)World Heritage Site Petroglyphic Complexes of the Mongolian Altai is located inside Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. The World Heritage Site covers three locations with several thousand petroglyphs and Turkic monoliths, including the Tsagaan Salaa Rock Paintings with over 10,000 cave drawings in 15 km of river valley.
Bayan-Olgii province and Kazak community
Bayan-Olgii, with its striking raw beauty, has been attracting artists, photographers, film makers, mountaineers and adventurous travelers, and is now becoming accessible to more and more tourists thanks to new paved roads and flights to the town of Olgii. Local people are very hospitable as is the case in any other nomadic communities in Mongolia. There are many tourism companies that can take you to this far away but fascinating destination.
To have the best eagle photos, one can visit Bayan-Ulgii from October to early November. Eagles present their best feathers, best speed and best hunting skills before the prey animals hibernate. Consequently, the Kazakhs organize their coolest local festivals in October. March 22 is another important day for the Kazakh community as it is the Nauriz holiday that celebrates the beginning of spring.
5. EAST PART OF MONGOLIA
Dornod, Sukhbaatar, Khentii and other provinces
This is a favorite destination for birders, wild life watchers, astronomy buffs and those who like big sky, 360 degree views, and a peaceful environment. Mega city dwellers come to the Eastern steppe of Mongolia to enjoy its endless horizons. One of the favorite activities of tourists in the eastern steppe is just to lie down on grass, open their arms, close their eyes and listen to the tweets of… no, not tweeters on internet… but real steppe birds. Mongolia’s eastern steppe is the world’s largest wildlife preservation steppe area. The open steppe of Dornod and Sukhbaatar provinces harbor millions of gazelle, and thousands of other animals such as foxes and wolves. Travelers will find horses and horse-riding at its best in the steppe. Horses of the steppe are the fastest and most alert. Therefore, eastern communities bring the best competitors to the State Naadam in Ulaanbaatar. Also, the steppe is the richest with its number of “human stones”, a nomadic archeological heritage that can be either a monument for a tribal leader or a celebration of an achievement. Most human stones date between the 3rd and 14th centuries.
Khukh nuur (Khentii)
“Khukh Nuur” in the Khar Zurkh Mountain is a beautiful place located in Tsenhermandal soum, Khentii aimag, Mongolia. Besides being a beautiful nature, the place is unique due to the fact that the most important event of history of Mongolia took place here. “Khukh Nuur” in the Khar Zurkh Mountain is a beautiful fresh water lake located at 1675 metres above sea level. The surrounding areas of the lake are forested Mountains which together form one of the most attractive places in Mongolia.
Khagiin Khar Nuur (Black Lake)
This area is one of the less touristy places in Mongolia. It would be possible to reach the lake on the horseback or walking through. There is not proper road to get there by jeep and traveling on the horseback gives you the great opportunity to reach the lake adventurously. This is a small lake known as Khagiin Khar Nuur, 20 meter deep, buried deep within the mountains and surrounded by lush forests of pine and larch. To reach the lake we will traverse streams, valleys and marsh land. The wildlife in the area is varied and includes musk deer and moose, brown bear, roe and elk.
Three kilometers north of Bayan Ovoo is a group of hills known as Deluun Boldog. This is where Chinggis Khaan was born. As Deluun Boldog is one of the most important historic locations in Mongolia, one should definitely take the time to visit the historic sites and monuments of Deluun Boldog. The hill is topped with a stone monument dedicated to honor the 750th anniversary of “The Secret History of the Mongols,” a 13th century chronicle of the empire, which indicates the location of the Great Khan’s birthplace.