Mongolian tour guide
top of page

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.

mongolia travel camel riding
The Gobi reveals itself in pockets of amazing scenery, bridged by vast stretches of desolation where smartphone signals die and silence saturates. It can be daunting to be this far out in such harsh conditions, but this is where desert foliage shimmers in greens and golds, and where Tibetan lamas etched ancient messages on red rock cliffs. You’ll watch horses romp and gazelles sprint, hear goats and sheep cry, and commiserate with camels huddling in fierce winds that gather and roll across the steppe. At night galaxies erupt on the domed sky.
mongolia travel warriors
 In the Arctic, there are swathes of untouched tundra. And in Mongolia's eastern aimags, another ecosystem reaches its apotheosis – the steppe. This is where you'll find the grassy ocean that was the ecological backbone of the great horse nomadic empires of history; indeed, Khentii aimag lays claim to being the birthplace of Chinggis Khaan. The true joy of exploring here is felt when history and physical beauty merge into one experience; the rushing waters of the Onon river and the pine-clad peaks of the Khentii Mountain Range are beautiful on their own, but doubly fascinating when you consider they were the backdrop of the Great Khaan’s childhood.
bottom of page