Mongolian tour guide
 

Mongolian travel destinations

mongolia travel monastery

Verdant swaths of empty landscapes are sprinkled with tiny gers (traditional yurts) stretching to the horizon, while magical light plays across the valleys. This is the Mongolian heartland, loaded with both historical sites and natural beauty, with plenty of scope to horse-trek over forested mountains, camp by pretty lakes or soak in hot springs.

Because the region is relatively close to Ulaanbaatar (and many sights are right beside the city), infrastructure is a little better than in other areas, with many places reachable by public transport. The most scenic sub-region is the Khangai Mountains, but you’ll find beautiful scenery even if you only venture as far as Terelj.

mongolia travel reindeer rider
But it's not only forest here. Indeed, much of the land is wild, rugged steppe country, or a transition zone, where fuzzy grasslands are riven by clumps of dark birch and larch. In other places, rocky mountain spines spread their snowy fingers into natural barriers, boundaries and basins, cupping ice-cold freshwater lakes that are as fiercely blue as the wide open Mongolian sky. The most famous body of water here is Lake Khövsgöl, the 'Mother Sea' of the nation, but beauty abounds across the region, especially in the Shangri-La-like isolation of the Darkhad Valley.

Western Mongolia destinations

mongolia travel eagle hunter

Squeezed between Russia, Kazakhstan, China and the rest of Mongolia, this region has long housed a patchwork of peoples including ethnic Kazakhs, Dörvöds, Khotons, Myangads and Khalkh Mongols. Traditional arts such as khöömii (Mongolian throat singing) and eagle hunting are still practised here, as they have been for thousands of years.

The wild landscape offers fabulous opportunities for trekkers and climbers on peaks that rise to more than 4000m. If that sounds too extreme, then just pick a lake, pitch a tent and have yourself a camping trip you'll never forget.