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A vast country with a rich culture, Mongolia has plenty of adventures and activities to enjoy, including horseback riding, hiking, and exploring the Gobi Desert.
Mongolia is also known as Outer Mongolia. Inner Mongolia is the grasslands region in China.
The Gobi Desert
The Gobi is located in Mongolia and northern China. A plateau between higher mountains, the mainly gravel plains is the coldest, most northern desert in the world. The Gobi is not entirely waterless, and several caravan trails dating from ancient times cross the Gobi region.
Marco Polo, along with his father and uncle, were the first Europeans to traverse the Gobi; around 1275.
The best time to visit the Gobi is June or September as temperatures aren't so hot then.
Sightseeing in South Gobi
Most tours of the southern Gobi region are likely to take in some, or all, of these sights.
Mongolia's tourism season is from May to October because of the difficult climate at other times of the year. Visiting out of season is not a problem as long as you can tolerate cold weather, dust storms and difficulties in travelling.
Includes the Gobi Gurvan Saikhan Mountain and a visit to the Yol canyon.
The aimag's Museum displays some of the finest examples of Dariganga craftsmanship, with saddles, knives, silver cups and decorative ropes among the exhibits.
Hongoriin els, or the Hongor Sands, is a giant sand dune stretching 180km long and anything from a couple of hundred meters wide, to as much as 7-20km. Overnight stays are arranged in a ger camp.
Surrounded by 108 stupas, Erdenezuu monastery has been a place of Buddhist activity for more than 1000 years. Kharkhorin was the first capital of the Mongolian Empire, although there's not much to show for it. If you're in Mongolia in July, don't miss the Karakorum naadam on the 11th - a three-day horse race, wrestling and archery festival to commemorate Genghis Khan's warriors.
Khorgo Volcano is a dead volcano covered with basalt lying in the east of the Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan (National Park) in Arhangai aimag.
Known as the Dark Blue Pearl of Mongolia, Lake Khuvsgul is one of the country's largest and most spectacular protected areas. An ideal location for boating and horse-riding. Also visit the natural history museum in Moron city.
Visit the Noyon-Uul dead volcano. There's also a chance to observe Mongolian nomadic life and learn about their traditions.
The Orkhon river is popular for fishing tours. There's also a 20m high, 10m wide, waterfall - Ulaan tsutgalan. The Baruun huree monastery, also known as Shankh hiid, is a popular attraction and a visit to a horse breeders family will allow you the chance to taste the Mongolian's favourite drink, airag (fermented mare's milk).
Open year-round, Terelj Resort is set in a spectacular valley only a two-hour drive from Ulaanbaatar.
Along with Bayanzag, the area is famous for the findings of dinosaur eggs and skeletons of giant, prehistoric animals.
Where steppes and desert meet, Tsetserleg is considered Mongolia's most beautiful aimag (province). You can also visit the Tsenkher hot spa for a relaxing bath.
Fossilised dinosaur eggs were discovered in the Gobi during the American Museum of Natural History sponsored expeditions in the 1920s.
With the fall of Communism, the American Museum were invited back in the early 1990s. They discovered one of the greatest graveyards that dinosaur palaeontology has ever known - in the low, brown hills of Ukhaa Tolgod.
Also known as Ulan Bator, the capital of the Republic of Mongolia is in the Tuul River valley, in the north central region of the country.
Trunk roads connect Ulan Bator to all the major towns in Mongolia, and by rail to the Trans-Siberian and Chinese railway network.
The city expanded greatly after World War II, with planning aid from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
The broad tree-lined boulevards and squares of the city are lined with large Neo- Classical buildings.
The city was founded in 1649 as a monastic centre and eventually became the seat of the Living Buddha.
The Monastery of the Living Buddha, the residence of the nation's former spiritual leader, is now a museum.
In the mid-19th century, Ulan Bator developed through its position on the trade route between Russia and China.
The Communist Mongolian People's Republic was established in 1924, and the city was renamed Ulaanbaatar-- Red Hero, in Mongolian.
Lamaist Buddhism was suppressed by the Communists in 1929, and only one small monastery remains in Ulaanbaatar.
The guanz is an institution in Mongolia, and especially in Ulaanbaatar's fast-paced city life. A guanz is a small and inexpensive restaurant that sells typical Mongolian fare.
US Embassy in Mongolia:
Denver Street #3
Founded in 1996, the UB Post has become Mongolia's leading English-language news outlet.
Getting to Mongolia
Mongolia has 21 provinces (aimags in Mongolian), with the South Gobi Province (Umnugobi aimag) being the largest and most sparsely populated.
Most tourists arrive in Mongolia through Buyant Ukha airport, 18km south-west of Ulaanbaatar.
International operators serving Mongolia are Aeroflot, Air China, Korean Airlines and MIAT Mongolian Airlines.
Berlin (twice weekly) to Ulaanbaatar, with MIAT Mongolian Airlines.
Moscow to Ulaanbaatar, with Aeroflot.
Beijing to Ulaanbaatar with MIAT Mongolian Airlines or Air China.
Osaka to Ulaanbaatar, with MIAT Mongolian Airlines.
Seoul to Ulaanbaatar, with MIAT Mongolian Airlines or Korean Airlines.
Mongolia is also a popular stop with travellers on the Trans-Mongolian, Moscow to Beijing, rail route.
Mongolia is a vast country with an infrastructure that is still developing. Some roads are very poor or not there at all, communication is testing and accommodation in some areas is very basic.
It is for this reason that many people choose to go on an organised tour to the southern region; sleeping under canvas, in a typical Ger camp.
Born Temujin, the famous Mongol conqueror's nomad armies conquered a vast empire from China to Russia, and west through Pakistan to Iran and Iraq.
The young Temujin succeeded his father as tribal chief at the age of 13.
By the time he was in his fifties his ruthlessness earned him the name Genghis Khan. In Chinese genghis means precious warrior and khan is Turkish for lord.
The Mongol ruler's empire was so well arranged that travellers were said to be able to go from one end of his domain to the other without fear or danger.
His rivals and enemies had no such chance and were massacred as a rite of conquest.
Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, extended the empire to its greatest reach in the late 1200s and founded the Yuan dynasty, which lasted until 1368.
Genghis Khan: Life, Death and Resurrection
Genghis Khan is one of history's immortals, alive in memory as a scourge, hero, military genius and demi-god. To Muslims, Russians and westerners, he is a murderer of millions, a brutal oppressor. Yet in his homeland of Mongolia he is the revered father of the nation, and the Chinese honour him as the founder of a dynasty.
The Secret History of the Mongols:
English edition of the great 13th century historical epic - the only surviving Mongol source about the empire. The book is mainly about the life and career of Chinggis Khan, his ancestors and his rise to power.
Mongolian Language and Culture
The official language of Mongolia is Mongolian; an Altaic language.
From the exploits of Genghis Khan to the herds of the modern nomads, the vast plains of the Eurasian steppe are tightly woven with equine tradition.
In Mongolia horses have shaped the nation and still outnumber the human population.
Explore the far reaches of Mongolia’s national parks, on a Secret Compass 17-day horseback adventure in a class of its own. Get to grips with Kazakh and Mongolian traditions as you ride in the company of the true nomads: the Kazakh Eagle Hunters.
A visual homage to the indigenous Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia by Jimmy Nelson.
Mongolia Maps and Travel Guides
Weather in Asia:
Local weather forecasts for destinations around Asia.
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