Mongolia is a country that is often overlooked by travelers, but it offers a plethora of breathtaking landscapes and cultural experiences that make it a must-visit destination. From the vast Gobi Desert to the stunning Khovsgol Lake, here are some of the top tourist attractions in Mongolia:
Khustain Nuruu National Park (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
Khustain Nuruu is located about 100 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. It created in 1993 to preserve local natural ecosystems and historical monuments. As well as to restore the population of Przewalski’s horses (which were almost killed by poachers – for meat – in the 1960s). There are approximately 200 individuals of these rare wild horses that currently reside in the park. A research center operates here, collaborating with biologists from Europe and Japan, and studies not only Przewalski’s horses, but other animals found in the national park, such as roe deer, bearded deer, golden eagles, black storks, etc.
An interesting fact: local residents are not forbidden to roam around the park with their herds, which from time to time creates the threat of hybridization of wild horses with domestic horses. There are hiking, horseback and carriage routes for tourists. Khustein Nurue’s special “trick” is that anyone can name a newborn Przewalski’s horse foal for just $100. Buddhist Mongols highly respect these horses, as they consider them sacred animals.
Amarbayasgalant Buddhist monastery (one of the three largest in Mongolia) is located near the town of Erdenet, about 360 km north of Ulaanbaatar. According to legend, once monks, who were looking for a place for their future refuge, met two game boys in the steppe. One of them was called Amar (“calm”), and the second Biasgalant (“joyful”). Monks considered it a sign of good luck and established Amarbaisgalant (“Monastery of Quiet Victory”) here. Its construction lasted from 1736 to 1727.
The architecture of the monastery is mainly Chinese (with Tibetan elements). In addition to the 14 temples, there were once many residences and outbuildings – at the beginning of the 8th century, 1937 thousand monks lived in Amarbaisgalant. A widespread anti-religious campaign began in Soviet Mongolia. Many Buddhist temples destroyed. Amarbayasgalant was a little more fortunate – all the secondary buildings here burned down, but several main temples survived (and remained abandoned and uninhabited until the late 1980s). It was restored in 1988. Today, about 60 monks live in the monastery.
Lake Ubsu-Nur (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
On the border of Mongolia and Russia, there is a salty drainless lake, with a small portion of it belonging to the Republic of Tuva. Ubsu-Nur is the largest reservoir in Mongolia. Its length is 84 km, and its width is 79 km (however, the depth does not exceed 20 m). They say that its water is most similar in composition to the Black Sea. The lake is part of the Ubsunur reserve, an area that has a dense taiga, and serious glaciers, and a desert with steppes and even sand dunes.
Of course, there is an abundance of fauna and flora, including rare ones. The places here are completely deaf (there is not a single settlement on the banks of the Ubsu-Nur, the surrounding areas are also practically uninhabited). But what great fishing in this lake! Also, around Ubsu-Nur, you will find many ancient mounds, stones with runic inscriptions, rock petroglyphs and other archaeological sites, as Scythians, Huns, Yenisei Kyrgyz and other tribes once roamed. these parts.
Ancient City of Karakoram and Erdene-Zu Monastery
In the very center of Mongolia, about 370 kilometers southwest of Ulaanbaatar, is the modern city of Kharkhorin, where about 9,000 people live. and in 1220–1260. In this place was the capital of the Mongol Empire, Karakoram (Mong. “black stone”), founded by Genghis Khan himself and built by his son Khan Ogedi. It was here that the sovereigns of neighboring countries, including Russian princes, came as a sign of humility and respect. In 1260, after conquering China, Khan Kublai moved his capital to Shangdu and in 1264 to Beijing. The Manchus almost destroyed the Karakoram shortly thereafter. Today, little remains of it, but the Mongols still consider the site sacred.
During the summer of 2011, organizers established a museum at the site of the ancient city. Where tourists can see the restored palace of Khan Ogedi, the artisans’ quarter, several temples, and more.Here from the entire Uverkhangay Amag area. The museum is very interesting, and it equipped with the latest modern museum technology. At one time, it really had 100 temples (and more than 10 thousand monks lived in the monastery area). Only three of them remain today, as Erdene-Zu has destroyed multiple times throughout its long history, including during the heresy campaign of the 1930s.
Now there is only one temple in Erdene-Zu – Lavran. The rest are museum exhibits, containing precious relics, including statues of the Buddha Ihe-juu. There is also a small Buddhist school.
Khovsgol Lake (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
Khovsgol is the deepest and most beautiful lake in Mongolia. It often called “Baikal’s younger brother” for its similarity in shape (long and slightly curved), as well as for the purity and clarity of the water – just like from Baikal, you can safely drink directly from Khovsgol. beside the boat
The picturesque coastal landscape (low mountains covered with dense taiga) of these two crystalline lakes is very similar. However, they are located on the same fault in the Earth’s crust, and the distance between the southern end of Lake Baikal and the northern end of Khovsgol is only 230 km.
Khovsgol is located near the Russian-Mongolian border (22 km). The lake is 136 km long, 36.5 km wide, and has a maximum depth of over 260 m. Unlike Ubsu-Nur, there are residential settlements. Also, there are about 30 campsites (where yurts are installed instead of houses) on the shores of the lake, and they are almost never empty. Most tourists, including Russians, come here for kayaking, hiking in beautiful places and of course excellent fishing Very rich in soft fish (including Lenk, Grayling, Whitefish, Omul, Minnow, Taimen, etc.). Well, where else can you ride in a carriage pulled by a real furry Sarlik Yak?
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
There are 22 national parks in Mongolia. But the most beautiful of them (according to both tourists and Mongols) is Gorkhi-Terelj. It is located at the top of the Khentei Highlands. Just 60 km from Ulaanbaatar, and is most famous for its bizarre rock remains. many of which resemble living creatures in their form: a giant tortoise, a rabbit, a sleeping dinosaur, etc. Residents of the capital love to visit these places on weekends – around 60 camp sites (including traditional yurts) and 5 rest houses have built here.
Gorkhi Terelj is really beautiful. Lynx, wolves, bears and other wild animals can be found on the park’s territory as well as large herds of domesticated yaks and horses. Here you can ride a camel and walk around the surroundings, climb a long staircase with steep steps to the Buddhist temple for meditation at Arable (which offers a great view of the picturesque valley surrounded by rocks), and also see a special feature of Gorkhi-Terelj. – a dinosaur park, where their mighty figures made full-size from reinforced concrete (although recently they have somehow “worn out”).
Gobi Desert (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
The Gobi is the largest desert in Asia and most of it is in Mongolia. But, if you imagine the Gobi as a vast unbroken mass of endless sand, covered with dunes, you’re wrong, to put it mildly.
Indeed, here you can find different landscapes: low mountains with a maze of narrow gorges; and green steppes with stiff grass, on which the wind blows that it is difficult to stand on one’s feet; and red sandy cliffs (for example, the Bayanzag massif, famous among tourists, reminiscent of the Arizona cliffs of the United States); and quite fertile oases with small rivers or pleasant lakes; And, yes, real – unexpectedly high – fine, fine white sand dunes. Contrary to common belief, the Gobi has a significant amount of life.Saigas, wild camels, gazelles, argali, wolves and even bears live here. Also, dozens of camps roam its terraced areas with their herds.
The Gobi is also the world’s largest dinosaur graveyard. Due to the dry climate, their skeletons have perfectly preserved here until our time. New and valuable exhibits for paleontologists are occasionally discovered in these areas, often unearthed by the constant wind that blows sand away. In 1920, the American scientist Chapman Andrews discovered the world’s first complete dinosaur egg in Bayanzag, where previously only shell fragments had found.
Gurvansaikhan National Park (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
Gurvansaikhan is, in fact, a part of the Gobi. But we separate it separately, because the density of attractions in this area of the desert “rolls over”.
First, national parks have a unique diversity of flora and fauna (especially for such arid places). And you can’t imagine how beautiful the desert is after the long-awaited rain, when everything blooms at the same time and very quickly, finally acquiring bright colors!
Secondly, this region is home to the largest number of primitive fossils. And thirdly, Gurvansaikhan has several unique natural places: Singing Sands, Yolin-Am Gorge, Harmin-Sav Canyon and Sagan-Agui Cave.
The most impressive dunes in the desert are the Singing Sands (Mong. Khongorin Els). This sandy area is about 12 km wide, about 100 km long, and 80 to 300 m high. In strong winds, the grains of sand rub against each other making a strange sound, sometimes very loud and even terrifying. At the bottom of the Yolin-am gorge, even in hot summer, thick snow does not melt. The Red Canyon of Harmin-Sav is famous for its strange reliefs.as well as numerous Saker Falcons and Black Vultures. and Sagan-Agui Cave – walls covered with calcite crystals and many Paleolithic artefacts have found here.
Monument to Genghis Khan at Songjin Bulldog
Want to see the world’s largest equestrian statue? Well, then you have to drive 54 km east of Ulaanbaatar. You can’t miss it. Because the height of the silver Genghis Khan statue visible from a distance in sunlight is 40 meters itself. Additionally, it stands on a high pedestal.
This beautiful monument opened in September 2008. Gradually, more statues of Mongolian riders on horseback appear around it. The 36 columns of the pedestal symbolize the 36 Khans who ruled Mongolia after Genghis Khan. And on the horse’s head, on which the great warrior sits. There is an observation deck with a magnificent view.
Why was the monument built here? According to legend, the young Temujin found a golden whip in these steppes, on the banks of the Tuul River. Which, allegedly, became a sign of the gods’ special favor towards him. foretold his great fortune. However, from the observation deck of the Genghis Khan statue. you can quite clearly see another huge monument being built a few kilometers away – the statue of Temujin’s mother Hoelun (also highly revered by the Mongols).
Ulaanbaatar (Tourist Attraction in Mongolia)
The main attraction of Mongolia is its capital, Ulaanbaatar. The city is attractive even externally, it is located in the picturesque valley of the Tuul River, surrounded by mountains. From one of its highest points (from the Zaisan monument built in honor of the victory of the Soviet-Mongolian army at Khalkhin Gol). You can see how it is harmoniously diverse. For example, in the center of Ulaanbaatar Modern skyscrapers have risen (and some of them are very interesting from an architectural point of view). Nearby you will find the specially built bright Viva City district.
Young and promising specialists would find that most cities in Mongolia are similar to Russian provincial cities. With panel “Khrushchev” (more accurately, “Tsedenbalovka”) buildings, children’s playgrounds, and benches in the yards. On the other hand. The outskirts of cities filled with traditional yurts, often surrounded by fences that mark the plots of individual owners.
You see a man on a horse on a busy street in a stream of cars. And all this looks quite natural and “one-style”. From what you can see here, we highly recommend the following attractions:
• Genghis Khan Square with a monument to Damdin Sukh Bator, leader of the Mongolian People’s Revolution. An impressive monument of Genghis Khan on horseback “constructed” in the Government Palace building.
• Monument near the famous Marco Polo;
• Silk Road Monument (full caravan of bronze camels);
• Buddha Park (with a “golden” 23-meter statue of Buddha Shakyamuni);
• Palace of Bogdo Khan (Bogdo Gezen) – head of Buddhist community in Mongolia;
• Temple Complex Choijin Lamyn Sum – A museum of Buddhist art.
• Beatles Square where there is a monument to the group (opposite the local central department store);
• Gandan (founded in 1835), a genuine Buddhist monastery;
Mongolia is a country that offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Whether you interested in exploring the stunning natural landscapes earning about traditional Mongolian culture. Or simply enjoying the hospitality of the local people. There’s something for everyone in this beautiful and fascinating country.