Mongolia is a truly exciting and beautiful country. The dramatic nature is comprised of an extreme climate, endless grassy wilderness, mountains, and desert that are all worth seeing. Mongolia is one of the least populated and most remote countries in the world, but that is also part of its appeal. Venture into the countryside to live with the locals and discover Mongolia for yourself!
Mongolia is three times the size of Sweden and has roughly 2.8 million inhabitants, the main language being Mongolian. The country is comprised of 21 provinces, it borders both Russia and China, and is almost 1,000 kilometres away from the nearest coastline. Mongolia was once the largest country in the world, stretching from the Baltic Sea and the Pacific Ocean all the way to the Persian Gulf. As time passed, the Mongolian empire became divided and, for over 200 years, a section of it was part of Imperial China.
Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaanbataar, is situated in the north east of the country. If you are planning a trip there, you should check out The Natural History Museum. The museum houses a large collection of stuffed animals and dinosaur skeletons that were found in the Gobi desert. You should also visit the Gandan Khiid, the city's largest Buddhist monastery. As far as accomodation is concerned, there are loads of great places to eat and stay in Ulaanbaatar. Mongolian cuisine consists mainly of deliciously prepared beef and lamb. You should try a special dish called ”Boodog”, which is a whole goat cooked from the inside with hot stones!
Mongolia is a country of extremes. The summers are short and hot, with temperatures reaching close to 40 degrees! Conversely, Mongolian winters are long and cold, with lows of -30 degrees! Despite these extremes, Mongolia has some of the world’s most untouched countryside with endless plains, huge deserts, high mountains, extensive forests, crystal clear lakes, and rich wildlife. The amazing scenery, in combination with the country’s history, friendly people, and nomadic traditions, make for a very unique and exciting journey.
The country can be divided into two main regions. The northwest region is dominated by high mountain ranges, wide rivers, and amazing salt lakes. The largest mountain ranges are the Altai Mountains. They are often referred to as the “mountains of Gold”, due to their mineral resource deposits like gold, silver, copper, lead and iron. There is also a glacial area where the Irtysh, Ob and Yenisei Rivers have their source. Apart from huge mountains, the northwest region is characterised by miles of grassy plains and pine woodlands. If you are lucky, you can find wild garlic, gooseberries, and black currants there.
The region to the south is comprised of a stony wilderness with vast salt marshes. It is also home to one of the largest deserts in the world, The Gobi. The Gobi Desert covers much of south Mongolia and Northern China.
Mongolia is particularly exciting and attractive because it is so different from home. You should deifnitely take the opportunity, therefore, to maximize on the experience. The best way to do this is by living the nomadic lifestyle out on the plains, far away from the everyday stress of civilization.
The country's nomads are often referred to as the "five-animal people". This name is due to the fact that their society is based on the five herded animals: horses, camels, cattle, sheep and goats. They also keep Tibetan yaks, used for producing milk and cheese. They move from place to place based on the availability of grazing land for their livestock. Thanks to the Trans-Siberian Railway, many travelers are able to make interesting stops throughout the countryside. We really recommend that you make this journey and that you stay with a nomadic family. This is the best way to get a truly exciting, different, and authentic experience. One of the best places to do this is in Terelj National Park, situated about 60 kilometres from Ulaanbataar in Gorkhji.
Terelj National Park is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in Mongolia. In the midst of this amazing scenery, you will find some thrilling activities. Try mountain climbing, rafting, horseback riding, rambling, and swimming in the ice cold lakes. After a hard day of activities, settle down to a well-earned mutton kebab and a glass of goat’s milk, just as any real adventurer would do!
Nadaam Festival is the largest and most exciting annual event in Mongolia. The festival takes place over three days in July and dates back to the time of Genghis Khan. Originally, it was a competition to test the battle skills of Mongolian equestrians. Nowadays, there are also wrestling, archery and horse racing competitions. During the colourful opening ceremony, the riders enter the arena carrying Genghis Kahn’s nine white ox tails. The other competitors wear folk costumes representatives of the various ethnic groups in the country. The festival is celebrated throughout the country, but the largest is in Ulaanbaatar.
The Gobi Desert, one of the largest in the world, stretches from southern Mongolia to northern China. Here, you can see plenty of sand, rocks, endless plains, and even high, snow-covered mountain peaks. Reclusive snow leopards live in these mountain areas and they are pretty remarkable to see in person.
The winter months are quite cold, so it is advisable to bring plenty of warm clothing if you are planning to visit then. The warmest period is during the Mongolian summer, between June and September.
For great tips before you make your reservation, call one of our travel experts at KILROY or visit one of our shops. We will be pleased to help you, as Mongolia is one of our favored destinations. You are also able to book masses of exciting activities through KILROY.
When travelling in Mongolia, you will notice almost immediately that the road network is very limited! Be prepared to travel on juddery roads without the slightest hint of luxury. Having said that, you will have a trip of a lifetime!
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