Mongolia’s Selenge Province is often dismissed by tour companies and visitors, but this northern province – dominated by the mighty Selenge and Orkhon rivers within a backdrop of mountain forest steppe – makes a perfect location for a slower-paced exploration. Here’s our quick guide to what you can see and do in Mongolia’s Selenge Province.
Travel north out of Ulaanbaatar on the Монголынтөмөрзам (MTZ) train. An express route this is not but remove your watch and relax as the rolling steppe slowly unfolds as you pass through some of Mongolia’s most important agricultural land.
The local trains have compartments of four beds (clean bedding is provided) that you can use for sitting, relaxing, or sleeping on. Each carriage has toilets which are cleaned regularly and a samovar providing hot water for tea, coffee, and noodles.
On the way to/from Mongolia’s Selenge Province, there are numerous stops including Darkhan. Selenge is one of the 21 aimags (provinces) of Mongolia and the province of Darkhan-Uul, and its capital Darkhan, is located as an enclave inside Selenge. Darkhan makes for a great overnight stop and we particularly like it for the very cute Mingo Coffee Shop (their event evenings are very popular with the local community), the Callisto Cocktail Bar with live DJs, and the rooftop terrace view of the Тохь restaurant. It’s also a great city for a walk and you can join local families at the Morin Khuur Statue and seated Buddha for views over the old and new town.
Located next to the Yeruu River, Yeruu Lodge is the brainchild of Norwegian founder Eirik Gulsrud Johnsen. You can take the train from Ulaanbaatar to the small community of Orkhon where the team at Yeruu Lodge can collect you through a pre-arranged transfer.
Completely off-grid, the lodge runs off solar panels, and uses thermal heating, and all of the property’s water comes from an on-property well and is recycled after use. Accommodation is in gers and the minimal Scandinavian-style restaurant and dining area with its wonderful terrace overlooking the river – has been designed to fit within the natural landscape.
‘The story and example of Tujiin Nars is itself an important contribution to the context of Mongolian environmentalism. In a country which is sometimes criticized for its ineffective policy, corrupt politicians and civil servants, and economic inequality, Tujiin Nars reveals the capacity for change and success. Tujiin Nars required improved, effective policy, proactive and committed government and community members, invested stakeholders with tangible resources, and a growing economy. The most important lesson which Tujiin Nars teaches other environmental movements is the importance of holistic development, that creating a political, social, and economically positive environment and community is the integral element in creating real change.’ Julia Bowman, Tujiin Nars: A Story of the Forest
Our Slow Selenge Explorer allows you to discover this more local side to Mongolia’s Selenge Province combining revolutionary history, Buddhism, environmental success stories, and culture. It is a customisable trip giving you the freedom to build a unique and personal trip for your chosen dates and personal interests.