Enter a rugged wilderness inhabited by nomads
Nomadic herders still roam the vast plains of the Gobi Desert as they’ve done for centuries. Meet them on an unforgettable Mongolia holiday.
As you’ll discover when you head out into the inhospitable Gobi Desert, Mongolia is a country that has a sense of true isolation about it. Its remoteness is all part of the appeal, as are the nomadic herders who still cling to a traditional way of life that’s remained largely unchanged with the passing of the centuries.
Mongolia is known as the Land of the Eternal Blue Sky, because it famously enjoys 250 sunny days a year. You’ll still need to wrap up warm, though: with an average temperature of -1.3 degrees, the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar is the world’s coldest.
Mongolia's chilly capital is home to 45% of the country's population, and it couldn't be more different from the wilderness of rural Mongolia. There are cultural attractions for you to explore; don't miss the chance to brush up on your Mongolian history at the National Museum, and find a moment of calm at the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. But it's the modern side to Ulaanbaatar that interests the most, mainly for its striking contrast with your probable expectations. It's a place where you can watch traditional theatre and sample Mongolian delicacies, as well as throwing yourself into a surprisingly energetic nightlife scene.
A city that was once Genghis Khan's ancient Mongol capital is now your base for discovering the enigmatic ruins that pepper the UNESCO-protected Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape, where archaeology dates back as far as the 6th century. The area's other big attraction is Mongolia's first Buddhist monastery, Erdene Zuu, which means "Hundred Treasures". Gain an insight into its long and fascinating history as you explore its three remaining temples.
A pristine national park surrounds this expansive yet serene lake, which is the deepest in Mongolia and framed by spectacular forested hills. Wildlife such as moose, bears and wolverines inhabit the area, sharing their land with several groups of nomadic people. To experience a taste of Mongolian life, stay in a ger camp in a traditional felted tent and look out for some of its 200 species of bird as you ride a horse around the picturesque shore of the lake.
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Travel the Trans-Mongolian Railway
A train journey past the Great Wall of China and into the endless skies and vast grasslands of Mongolia is an epic experience.
Mongolia’s biggest festival, this annual celebration held mid-summer sees residents gathering around the country to participate in Mongolian Wrestling, horse racing and archery competitions. The most people gather in the capital, but joining the excitement in rural Mongolia gets you much closer to the action.
Meet nomadic families
The nomadic families of Mongolia still live in Gers, moving their families and small herds throughout the year for the best grazing and conditions. Learn more about this traditional lifestyle when you meet friendly nomadic families that welcome you warmly into their homes.
Stay in a ger camp
Sleep in nomadic-style felt tents with wooden frames in rural Mongolia for an authentic experience of local life.
Visit Ulaanbaatar a curious mix of the old and new where the population have embraced Western modernisation while keeping Mongolia’s culture and traditions alive.
Discover the wildlife around Lake Khuvsgul
Stretching into the Siberian Taiga, this huge lake and its surrounds form a popular national park, home to ibex, argali sheep, sable, bear, moose and wolverines.
Hike or ride a horse to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur
This extinct volcanic crater is known as the great white lake, and is surrounded by volcanic rock and grassy slopes.
Visit the Erdene Zuu Monastery near Karakorum
Mongolia’s first Buddhist centre, Erdene Zuu has been constructed using the stones of the ruined capital of Karakorum nearby.
Ride a camel in Mongol Els
The sand dunes of Mongol Els provide the perfect location for a camel ride, surrounded by grasslands with mountains in the distance.
Spot wild horses in Khustai National Park
Khustai National Park is home to Takhi, the endangered Mongolian wild horse, where a local project is working to protect and reintroduce the Takhi to keep Mongolia’s ancient traditions alive.
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