Night sky Mongolia
Star Gazing In Mongolia
December 3, 2021
On The Road Updates – Destination Bayan Ulgii
December 8, 2021

On The Road – Almost Full Moons & Howling Wolves

Our ‘On The Road Updates’ are short, evocative memories from some of the previous tours we have run.. This one takes you to Khentii Aimag in Mongolia’s northeast, the homeland of Chinggis Khan. During our Landscapes of the East small group experience, we journeyed through the territories of the culturally rich and traditional Buriat communities, a minority ethnic group in Mongolia. We had just left the community of Binder and were en route to Dadal, where we planned to camp for a few nights, enjoying the public shower house and feasting on homemade (but shop-bought) Buriat bread and ‘khaliartai khuushuur’ – both Buriat specialties.

We stopped for a picnic lunch along the banks of the Onon River, about 80km from Dadal. As I wrote this memory, we relished the quiet moment and the stunning scenery around us.

The previous evening, we had camped alongside Öglögchiin Kherem (Almsgiver’s Wall), a 3.2km structure dating from the 8th to 10th centuries. Nearby, over 60 graves have been discovered on what is known as the Almsgiver’s Castle, thought to be a royal graveyard. The labor required to construct the wall suggests its historical significance, with radiocarbon dating indicating its continued use by Mongol tribes in the 12th and 13th centuries. There’s an unproven but intriguing theory that this site may include the final resting place of Chinggis Khan, although this remains hotly debated.

Öglögchiin Kherem (Almsgiver’s Wall) Khentii Province Mongolia

As we sat around our small campfire, we discussed those who had come before us, such as the Khitad and the Mongols, pondering who built the wall and why. The almost September full moon illuminated our camp as we prepared our last mug of tea for the day. Suddenly, we heard the howling of wolves echoing from the opposite forested hillside.

Wolves use howling as a form of communication, possibly prior to hunting or to defend their territory. We couldn’t be sure, but sitting there under the moonlight by a 1,000-year-old wall, we felt privileged to be in such a magical and historic place.

(Among all the wolves’ different calls, howling is the only one that works over great distances. Its low pitch and long duration are well-suited for transmission in forests and across the steppe or tundra. Unique features of each individual’s howl allow wolves to identify each other.)

Traveling through Mongolia is about more than just reaching your destination; it’s about embracing the journey, the landscapes, the people who call them home, and the moments of reflection along the way. If you would like to journey with us, take a look at the range of experiences we offer.

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I'm Jess Brooks, the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia and the voice behind EL's blog posts. For more than a decade, since 2006, I've been based in Mongolia, working closely with my beloved Mongolian team to advocate for a tourism approach that brings about positive change.. What sets our blog apart is our deep understanding of Mongolia—our home. Unlike content from influencers or creators, our posts prioritise authenticity and firsthand knowledge as guiding principles.
Sign Up For Our Newsletter!

Penned by Jess, the founder of Eternal Landscapes, our newsletter is all about quality, not clutter. We respect your privacy—no spam, no sharing of your details, and no irrelevant offers. Expect updates once or twice a month, just enough to keep you intrigued without overwhelming your inbox.

We respect your privacy.