Things to do in Mongolia №1

10 things to do in Mongolia 

Mongolia is similar to Mars, only closer and more accessible. In the country with the lowest population density, you find yourself tête-à-tête with a cosmically unreal nature. Dunes in the Gobi desert, bright blue lakes, volcanoes, reindeer in the taiga, the hospitality of nomads in the middle of the boundless steppe - all this is worth it to shake along the Mongolian roads. Juulchin shares tips on where to go and what to do in this incredible country.

  • Meet the Sunrise in the Gobi

Listen: Go-bi. It is as if the wind rustles among the distant dunes, and camels, gently stepping, carry tea and spices along the Silk Road. Contrary to expectations, most of the Mongolian Gobi is clay and stony, with bushes of hard grass and rare hooked saxaul trees. Sands, however, also exist. The most famous are the singing dunes of Khongor Els. They are called singing for the sounds made by grains of sand when moving. Another impressive place is Bayanzag, where bright red sand cliffs pitted by the wind stick out above the ground. Bayanzag is also famous for the fact that in 1923, for the first time in the world, dinosaur eggs were found there.

Even Marco Polo wrote that in the Gobi “mountains, sands, and valleys are everywhere; and no food anywhere”. Almost nothing has changed since the 13th century. Therefore, an independent trip to the Gobi is a task for well-trained people. We recommend joining an organized tour or renting a car with a driver. The active part of the route usually begins in the town of Dalanzadgad, where planes fly from Ulaanbaatar. Hotels outside cities are yurts; overnight stay is atmospheric and very authentic.

  • Spend the night on the shore of the “Blue Pearl of Mongolia”

Khuvsgul is called the younger sister of Lake Baikal and the Blue Pearl of Mongolia. It is divinely beautiful. A 136-kilometer lake with clear water is surrounded by mountain ranges, along which larch trees descend to the very edge of the water. On green meadows, yaks and horses graze idyllically. To enjoy the harmony of local nature, it is worth getting outside the tourist centers: Khatgal in the south of the lake and little Hanha in the north. Drive as far as possible on a horse, bicycle, motorcycle, car or boat, choose a secluded bay, which is abundant in Khuvsgul, put up a tent and enjoy complete peace. Keep in mind that the road along Khuvsgul is bad, therefore it is better to plan movements with a margin of time.

  • See the ancient shamanistic altars

Stone slabs are found in the Mongolian steppe, on which schematic drawings of animals and objects are applied. Deer are most often depicted, hence the name deer stones. They appeared, probably, in the first half of the 1st millennium BC, finally scientists have not yet decided. Why they were needed by the ancient people and why they were offering sacrifices next to them is also not completely clear.

A good place to explore the mysterious ancient stones is Ushkiyn-Uvur, 20 km from the city of Murun. Behind a transparent fence there are 15 deer stones, including a unique one with a relief image of a human face. The atmosphere is complemented by the Kereksur barrow, and images of eerie shamanistic rituals to the rhythmic sounds of a tambourine easily arise in the imagination. It is best to come at sunset, when in the oblique rays of the setting sun, drawings on stones are more clearly visible. It is convenient to combine a trip to Ushkiyn-Uvur with a trip to Khuvsgul, the road to which also goes through Murun.

  • Visit Reindeer herders tipies

To the west of Khuvsgul there lives a small nomadic people, about which almost no one knows. The Mongols call them Tsaatans, that is, reindeer herders. Dukha - so they call themselves. Previously, Tsaatans roamed with herds of reindeer along Tuva. In 1944, Tuva became part of the Soviet Union, and the freedom-loving Tsaatans, fearing collectivization, went to their neighbors. In Mongolia, they also tried to "domesticate": they were identified in collective farms, animals were taken, but in the end they retreated. Now there are less than 300 Tsaatans left. They still live in spiky tipies (and not in yurts like Mongolians), and their entire existence revolves around deer.

Only tourists who accept willingly and almost officially distract from deer. To get to the camp, you have to thoroughly jump on the bumps in the car, and then in the saddle, but they will be greeted as a native: they will feed you from the heart and will tell you in a friendly conversation how one of the last nomadic people lives on earth. You can get to the Tsaatans on your own, but this is the rare case when it makes sense to join the finished tour.

Seeing once is better than hearing thousand times!

Enjoy and love Mongolia with us ...