The most beautiful aspect of Mongolia is its scenic natural beauty and warm people who continue to preserve the age-old traditions. It is an intriguing country where people in jeans and shirts walk beside people wearing the classic deel. Nowhere is this more evident than the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. A bustling metropolis where buildings and gers (traditional Mongolian houses) co-exist side by side. Given below is a list of activities that you must do when you plan your Mongolia travel.
1. Spend Time with a Nomadic Family
A considerable proportion of the Mongolian population has been living a nomadic life for the past 3,000 years. Families have been moving around the countryside in search of greener pastures. Farming and animal rearing are the prominent professions among Mongols. If you wish to get the maximum out of your trips to Mongolia then we suggest you spend your time with a traditional Mongolian family living in a ger. You will get a much better perspective on the Mongolian way of life. This will most certainly be the highlight of your trip.
2. National Museum of History
There are four things about Mongolia that most people have come across – Genghis Khan, horses, nomads, and Ulaanbaatar being the coldest capital city in the world. If you wish to expand your knowledge about Mongolia’s culture, language, history, and traditions then we suggest you visit the National Museum of History located in the downtown Ulaanbaatar. It is country’s largest museum and has a collection of 57,000 objects related to Central Asian history and the history of ancient Mongolia all the way up to the 20th century. The museum gets 60,000 visitors each year where half the visitors are foreigners enjoying their holiday in Mongolia and acquainting themselves with the rich history of the country.
3. Camel Riding through the Gobi Desert
The southernmost part of Mongolia is mostly covered by the Gobi desert. It is characterized by red sand dunes that are stretched across hundreds of miles. A good way to spend your Mongolia holidays is to go for a camel ride across the Gobi desert. You will have a serene and unique experience as the closest habitable city would be miles away. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb Khongoriin Els, also known as singing sands, because of the sounds they make when the wind blows. Getting there will be difficult but the view from the top will be worth the effort. You would be able to see the desert, the green oasis at the base, and the mountains in the distance.
4. Ruins of Kharkhorin
Your tour to Mongolia will be incomplete without a visit to Kharkhorin which was the ancient capital city of Mongolia under Genghis Khan’s rule. It is home to some of the most prominent Buddhist monasteries including the Erdene Zuu Khiid which is the oldest monastery in Mongolia. The monastery is composed of beautiful architecture which is reflected through stupas, temples, and prayer halls decorated with Chinese tiles and golden Buddha statues. The monastery suffered extensive damage under Soviet rule but was restored to its natural state. Today, it is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. The monastery is accompanied by the Kharkhorin museum which has many artifacts from the ancient city.
5. Naadam Festival
Naadam is referred to as the second oldest Olympics in the world. It is the largest and best-known of the festivals in the country. It takes place every year from 11th to 13th July in the capital and on various dates throughout the summer in the countryside. The three main events that take place are archery, horseback riding, and wrestling. These are highly competitive sports events where locals can be found cheering for their favorite athletic stars. These sporting activities are accompanied by other activities such as traditional dance and food. You will get the opportunity to savor some of Mongolia’s finest traditional dishes from different regions of Mongolia. This should definitely be on your list of events to attend while you travel in Mongolia.
6. Hiking Yolyn Am Canyon
The name roughly translates to “Valley of the Eagles”. It is an excellent place to observe vultures, wild Argali sheep, and golden eagles. It is situated in a narrow gorge situated in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains. The place is also famous for the ice fields that are formed during winters and last till summers. It is a beautiful place to hike as the gorge looks stunning during summer. You will be pleasantly surprised by its natural beauty flanked by colorful flowers and rocky outcrops.
7. Sunset at the Flaming Cliffs
Another beautiful spot in the Gobi Desert is the Flaming Cliffs. This is a famous paleontological site where one of the first dinosaur eggs were discovered. Other than its scientific importance, the place also looks quite beautiful especially during the sunset. This is when the red sandstone turns bright orange giving the impression of being on fire.
8. Experience the Sunlight at Khovsgol Lake
Just because Ulaanbaatar is the coldest capital in the world does not mean that there are no sunshine spots in the country. A popular practice among the locals is to spend the weekends at Khovsgol Lake. Over there you can throw yourself into yourself in a whole bunch of activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, and hiking. There are several ways to get there but the easiest is to get a plane from Ulaanbaatar. You will also discover some picture perfect views once you arrive at the lake. You can also take a tour guide to help you explore the country better.