The rugged landscape of the least densely populated country in the world, Mongolia, is the perfect adventure destination for the traveler who seeks a glimpse into a different culture. Here are ten places that you should not miss when you are here:
One of the most unusual desert landscapes in the world, the Gobi Desert has the spectacular singing dunes- Khongoryn Els. Gravel plains and rocky outcrops cover much of this area, which is the home of the last two-humped camels in the world and Gobi bears, the only bears you can find in a desert landscape. Visit the Eagle Valley, a protected site which narrows into a gorge. Bayanzag is another must-see place especially for those keen on history. This was an ancient sea floor and the site of several remarkable paleontological finds. The first ever full dinosaur skeleton was found in Khermen tsav which is a canyon with an oasis.
Known as the Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia, this lake is a sight worth seeing with lush greenery surrounding it. Almost a 100 rivers and streams culminate in these waters that were first formed almost 3 million years ago due to tectonic actions.
Terelj National Park
The biggest protected area in the country, this park is about 80 kms away from Ulaanbaatar, Complete with natural beauty, adventure sport activities and great scenic spots, this is the perfect tourist destination indeed.
Altai Tavan bogd
The five sacred peaks are also the highest ones in Mongolia. In the shadow of the Tavan Bogd is a glacier spanning 23 square kilometers, several lakes and a stunning waterfall. This location is also home to many archeological sites, collective forming the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Petroglyph Complexes of the Altai.
Believed to be the oldest surviving Buddhist monastery in Mongolia, this is adjacent to Karakorum, the ancient city. Stones from the ruined old city were used to build the monastery.
This is a UNESCO World Heritage site where you can find writings from the 8th century. The ancient capital city of Uighur thrived here and this is also where you can find the Tuvkhun monastery. If nature is more your thing then the Eighth Lakes (Naiman Nuur) and Orkhon waterfall should make a spell binding spectacle for you.
Khustai National Park
Named for the birch trees that grow in the vicinity, this is the perfect place to get a glimpse of the steppes ecosystem. The fauna of the area include the red deer, white tailed gazelles and Roe deer among others. There are quite a few historical monuments here such as the Ongot’s man monuments, temple ruins and Hunnu’s rectangular tombs.
The capital city shows you how ancient culture can be fused with modern day trends with ease. The ruins of monasteries rub shoulders with glass encased skyscrapers here while the covered Narantul Market gives you a single point from where to pick up traditional essentials for your life.
Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park
Within this park, watched over by extinct volcanoes, the Terhiin Tsagaan lake can be found at an altitude of 2060 m. The unique geology of the Khorgo Volcano to the east makes this a location that remains in your memory for ever. The lake has a volcanic island at its center where exotic birds flock.
The words mean White Stupa and the towering structure revealing limestone bedrock dating back to the ancient times makes for a truly awe inspiring sight here. Don’t miss the splendid views of the desert floor down below which transforms from white to yellow to pink before turning red.