Mongolian Travel Destinations
Southern Mongolia - The Gobi Desert
The Gobi desert is one of the last untamed places in the world. Stretching across the southern half of the country, it is an ideal location for animal lovers, adventurers, and anyone looking to be inspired by its beauty. On a clear night in the Gobi you can see the stars as they are meant to be seen: so clear that the milky way appears as a dusty disk in the sky. The Gobi desert is truly a gem of Mongolia.
The Khongoriin Els or Singing Sand Dunes, rise out of the Gobi desert and can be seen for miles around. The soft sand can reach as high as 800m, and, as you approach them on camel back, you will be reminded of why you wanted to come to the Gobi. If you can make it to the top you will be rewarded with a stellar view of the three beauties mountain range and the Mongolian plains. If you time it right, you just might witness one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ll ever see. This is why National Geographic nominated the dunes in 2008 for “Best of Adventure Destinations”.
Only a short drive from the scorching Singing Sand Dunes is the Yoliin Am or Vulture’s Gorge. In this gorge, mountains spike 900m above the river below. Travelling by horse or by foot you can find your way to an ice pack that fills the valley year round. On your way you can enjoy the wild life ranging from the adorable Pika, which looks like a furry hamster, to the majestic vultures that call the mountain peaks home. If you are lucky you just might see an Ibex or a Mountain Sheep in their native habitat.
The Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park is the largest national park in Mongolia, stretching for over 27,000 square kilometers. This protected area represents a significant portion of the Gobi desert and provides one of the last refuges for the wildlife of Central Asia. The park has over 620 species of flowering plants, 38 of which are endemic. It also is home to 52 species of mammals including 8 of which that are endangered. Some of the wildlife that can be seen in the park include the snow leopard, Ibex, Argali, wild assess, gazelles, multiple species of vultures, northern pikas, lynx and Mazaalai, the very rare Gobi bear.
The vast river valleys and great steppes of Central Mongolia are known as the cradle of Mongolian history and culture. Today the remains of the ancient cities of the Uighur and Turkic states are still found here. The region is the main land of Mongolian Buddhism, there are endless opportunities of visiting ancient Buddhist temples, nomadic cultural sightse and pristine nature wonders here in the verdant Khangai Mountains and around.
Key destinations: Khangai Mountains, Gorkhi-Terelj national park, Gun-Galuut nature reserve, Lake Ogii, the UNESCO world heritage site "Orkhon River valley", the celebrated Tuvkhun monastery, Genghis Khan"s capital ruins at Karakorum and legendary Erdene Zuu monastery, picturesque Khogno Khan mountains and Elsen Tasarkhai sand dunes and Hustai national park.
Karakorum (Kharkhorin), ancient capital of Mongolia was established by Genghis Khan in 1220 in the Orkhon valley. For 140 years Kharkhorin served as the capital of the United Mongol tribes until it was destroyed by the Chinese troops in 1391. The remains of the capital that stood at the crossroads of the Silk Road are extensive underground archaeological assets and two granite turtles that once stood at the main gate to the city. Four of these turtle sculptures used to mark the boundaries of ancient Kharkhorin, acting as protectors of the city (turtles are considered symbols of eternity).
In 1586, Erdene Zuu, the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia was built on the ruins of the 13th century capital. Vast walls of 400 m in length with 108 stupas surround the monastery, symbolic of Kharkhorin. time and history were not merciful to Erdene Zuu monastery but it still carries the traces of its former glory and provides a great insight into the rich religious and cultural past of Mongolia.
Terelj National Park, the third largest protected area in the country was Central Mongolia, established in 1993. The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park borders with the Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area and receives the largest number of visitors due to its natural setting and proximity to Ulaanbatar, capital of Mongolia. Tere!j is named after the Terelj river and is an area of endless slopes and valleys with high-eroded rock formations, mountains covered in dense forests, and carpets of perennial wild flowers and Edeiweiss. There are opportunities for adventure activities such as rafting, horseback riding, hiking, skiing, camping, and mountain biking.
Gun-Galuut nature reserve is one of the most popular eco tour destinations of Mongolia. The Reserve is truly the marvelous combination of high mountains, colorful flowers, pretty lakes, rivers and wetlands with its famous rare species. It is a home to endangered wild Mountain sheep-Argali the Big Horns, White-napped crane, Siberian White Crane, Hooded Crane and the rare Black stork, Asian heron, Whooper swan, Swan Goose and so on. Over 130 Argali sheep inhabit peacefully in Gun-Galuut now.
Tourists visiting the Nature Reserve have the opportunities to do watching and taking photos of the Endangered species, rafting and fishing in the lakes and rives, camping in a beautiful and peaceful nature, visiting nomadic family, riding horse, yak and camel and introducing with traditional nomadic lifestyle and culture.
The Northern part of Mongolia is mostly covered with mountains, dense forests, rivers and lakes. The most distinguishing feature of the region here is the pristine Lake Huvsgul. This part also represents one of the most direct and contemporary convergences of the ancient shamanic and relatively modern Buddhist cultures of Mongolia.
This part of Mongolia is still a home to the people from ancient tribes - Uriankhai and Darkhad people, as well as the Tsaatans - the Reindeer riders of Mongolia.
Key destinations: pristine Lake Huvsgul, Khoridol Saridag mountains national park, Khorgo volcano and Lake Terkh, legendary Amarbayasgalant monastery, the fairytale Darkhad Valley and the Taiga etc.
Lake Huvsgul. This majestic clear-watered lake contains 65% of all the fresh water of Mongolia and furthermore, 1% of the world’s fresh water supply. Nine species of fish inhabit the lake, including Siberian grayling and lenok. Nearby taiga forest, forest steppe, moun tains, and the lake itself provide habitat for 68 species of mammals, including argali, ibex, elk, reindeer, musk deer, brown bear, lynx, marten, beaver, wolf, and moose, 244 species of birds, and 750 species of plants, including 60 with medicinal importance.
Khuvsgul is the land of the TSAATAN REINDEER HERDSMEN, a branch of the Turkic-speaking Tuvinian or Dukha ethnic group. This small group of 42 families possesses a social and material culture which has remained unchanged since the Ice Age. Shamanistic or totemic rituals and symbolism are central to the social organization of the Tsaatan. Shamanistic rituals of healing rely on rare medicinal plants and animals unique to this landscape. The Tsaatan are an archaic and ethnographically interesting nomadic groups to be found on the Eurasian continent their lifestyles are both ancestral to all the nomadic herding cultures of Central Asia and are reminiscent of a way of life which was widespread across Europe, Asia and North America 10,000 years ago. Darkhad and Tuva people have coexisted peacefully with the Tsaatan reindeer herders sharing respect for KHUVSGUL LAKE, The Dalai Eej or Mother Sea for sustaining their livelihoods for centuries. The area is a perfect destination for vacationing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, trekking, sport fishing, and bird watching.
The majestic Altai Mountains tower the western part of Mongolia with its" beauties and glory stretching for over 900 km. The range is home to Argali wild sheep, Ibex, Brown bear, Fox, Wolf, as well as the endangered Snow leopard and Lynxh. The region is rich in significant archaeological sites, evidence of human habitation as far back as 40000 years ago. The Western Mongolia is also home to many ethnic groups such as Torguud, Durvud, Bayad and the Kazakhs.
Key destinations: Altai Tavan Bogd National Park, Mongolia"s largest lake and UNESCO world heritage site Uvs Lake basin, snow capped Tsambagarav, Sutai and Munkh Mountains, birds" paradise Uureg and Khyargas lakes, rich archeological site Tsenkher Caves, the sacred Otgontenger mountain, the mystical Khar and Telmen Lakes, and the Worshipped Eej Khairkhan Nature Reserve to name a few.
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