Top 10 Things to do and see in Mongolia
Mongolia is one of the last remaining unspoiled destinations in the world. The variety of the landscapes composing it, only matches their majesty: craggy mountains with dense forests in the north, through the central plains and the arid deserts of the south… It is a land where culture, history and landscapes are inextricably linked, where the nomads still wander in the vast steppes as they used to during the time of Genghis Khan, and where the hospitality of their inhabitants is well known.
To give you a quick insight of the treasures that the country contains, here comes objectively our Top 10 amazing things to do and see in Mongolia:
Khatgal is one of the best spot in Mongolia to celebrate Naadam festival, which occurs every year from July 11 - 13. Unlike Ulaanbaatar, Khatgal offers a much more festive atmosphere where there is no need to queue to attend the games. The atmosphere of this small northern city is jovial at this time of the year, emphasised by the legendary Mongolian hospitality. Everybody is wearing the traditional costume for the occasion, which offers a truly colourful performance. Mongolians 3 sportive games: archery, wrestling and horse riding race; the whole in the joy and good mood. Taking part to Naadam is a truly experience not to be missed during your stay in Mongolia.
2/ Camelback riding in the region of Khongor Sand Dunes
The sandy deserts contrast most likely with the idea that we have got from Mongolia and its vast plains. However, the Khongor dunes (‘Khongoriin Els”) are genuine and are among the biggest sand dunes in Mongolia. They stretch over 180 km long and can reach up to 300 meters high. Climbing to the summit will offer you stunning views of the surrounding desert. Traditional camel breeders inhabit this region, which gives the opportunity for the most curious ones to learn more about these fascinating animals.
It is doubtlessly the ultimate experience for a moment of tranquility and peacefulness. After a hiking day in the Gobi desert, enjoy this moment of rest while admiring the stars like you have probably never seen. The silence of nature combined with the vastness of the desert and the sky will bring you an unrivalled and unforgettable serenity.
Home of reindeers, the Darhad valley is located in the northwest of Mongolia, benefiting from spectacular sceneries. Between the crystal clear lakes, rivers, green meadows and larches of the taiga, the valley has some advantages that it is important to preserve. Around forty pastoralist families ‘The Tsaatan’ living there, manage the small community of reindeer. They still depend upon these animals to survive. Travel conditions are particularly rough to get there, yet it’s worth it .
5/ Trekking in the Khentii province
The Khentii is a wild province, which is located in the eastern part of Mongolia where compete steppes, valleys, mountains, rivers, lakes and nomadic herders. Horse riding in the valleys, exchanging with the nomads, sleeping next to beautiful lakes…so many activities that will make you discover the numerous facets of Mongolia: you won’t soon forget them.
6/ Fishing on the Khenti rivers
Oasis of calm on a sunny afternoon, there is nothing better than a little fly-fishing session or taimen fishing (Siberian salmon) to relax. The Khentii province contains sinuous rivers with pristine and cold waters that are particularly suitable for fishing. Surrounded by mountains and vast forests, these rivers doubtlessly offer an idyllic setting for amateur fishermen!
7/ Horse riding in Lake Khovsgol
Second largest and deepest lake in Mongolia, Lake Khovsgol impresses with its crystalline color. Horse riding along the lake and in its surrounding offer a great opportunity to discover unique sceneries. Go through peaceful forests with stunning views on the lake, encounter beavers, reindeers or ibex and exchange with the reindeer breeders. The region is ideal not only for relaxing, but also offers multiple choices of activities.
Enjoy the legendary hospitality of Mongolians to integrate their community during this period of great celebration. Tsagaan Sar is traditionally held between late January and early March, depending on the Luna calendar. This period implies many traditional rituals: families offer to each other gifts and prepare special dish that you must definitely try. Immerse fully yourself in the Mongolian culture; you will gain so much from it with incredible memories in mind!
It is almost imposible to find anywhere else in the world a place where horses play a major role in the culture of a country, and maintains a close relationship with the human beings. The Mongolian nomadic culture was partly built on the relationship between man and animals. Observing the Mongolian horse riders gathering the herds of wild horses in spring is both magical and impressive. Discovering the extreme dexterity of the mongols on their mounts will leave you speechless!
The ancient art of falconry, as the Kazakhs practice it, has remained unchanged for millennia. Enjoy the speed and the power of the majestic eagles as well as the close relationship existing between them and their master. Hunting in the wild landscapes of Bayan-Olgi is a unique experience that will leave you a lifelong memory.