Mongolia is the world’s epitome of wilderness and secluded beauty. Staggering mountains form a silhouette against the sapphire blue skies. Vast lands make way for deserts, forests, national parks, rivers and lakes. The spectacular landscape is matched only by her renowned nomadic culture and hospitality of its locals, who are happy to welcome you into their homes or lend a helping hand to those in need.
And she is more than that. The pulsating capital city of Ulaanbaatar is where modern buildings, cars and malls blend harmoniously with the grasslands, gers and traditional livestock. It is a land of adventure, untamed beauty and flourishing excitement, unlike any other country in the world. Still relatively unexplored, Mongolia has an untapped pool of travel experiences for anyone with an adventurous heart.
1. Visit Ulaanbaatar
Ulaanbaatar is the capital city of Mongolia. It has the country’s only international airport and international rail line – the Trans-Siberian railway. The political, business and cultural hub of the country is home to Buddhist temples, monuments, museums and a ger district. It is also fascinating to see how this urban centre can thrive in such a remote country!
2. Stay in a Ger
A ger is a traditional tent made from felt or skins, used by nomads that dwell on the Mongolian plains. It is a unique cultural identity of Mongolians, so many citizens still choose to live in gers, which brings them closer to nature. This is an experience you should not miss here!
3. See the magnificent Erdene Zuu Monastery
Built between 1585 and 1586, the Erdene Zuu Monastery is the oldest surviving and largest Buddhist monastery of Mongolia. It was almost destroyed in the 1930s but became a place of worship once more after the fall of communism. You can wander through the ancient grounds of the monastery and admire the 16th century Buddhist architecture.
4. Try Horse Riding
Imagine riding a horse through vast fields, the way Genghis Khan did a lifetime ago. Horse riding remains a central activity in Mongolia, so why not go for an adventure? You’ll get to see the countryside the way nomads do.
5. Learn about Mongolia in the National History Museum
The National History Museum is the largest museum in the country. Founded in 1991, it showcases remarkable exhibitions that give an insight into the rich history and culture of Mongolia across the centuries.
6. Ride a camel on Gobi Desert
The surreal, sandy landscape of the Gobi Desert is a great way to indulge in your nomadic fantasy of riding a camel. Sprawling across 1.3 million square kilometres of Mongolia and China’s province, the Gobi Desert is the 5th largest desert in the world.
7. Explore the Kustain Nuruu National Reserve
Established in 1993, the official nature reserve of Mongolia preserves the country’s wild Takhi horses and the natural habitat within it. The Kustain Nuruu National Reserve is also teeming with diverse wildlife such as the steppe gazelle, deer, boar, manul wild cat, lynx and wolf.
8. Hike at the Yol Valley
Yol Valley is a gorge which forms part of the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains of Mongolia. Yol means Lammergeyer, one of the most endangered bird species of prey. With otherworldly cliffs that loom over you, it is a great place for mountain climbing, trekking and camping.
9. Witness the Naadam Festival
Naadam Festival celebrates national independence in Mongolia with sports like wrestling, horseracing and archery, as well as artistic activities like singing and dancing. Most of the time, Naadam is celebrated during 10 to 12 July, but this may differ according to province.
10. Explore the ancient site at Karakorum
11. See where Genghis Khan was born at Dadal
Located 590km northeast of Ulan Bator, Dadal is the birthplace of Mongolia’s greatest leaser, Genghis Khan. Some of the places of interest you would not want to miss is museum, Genghis Khan obelisk, Stupa memorial, and Delunn Boldg, which is a few kilometres up north and the possible site of his birth in 1162.