Why visit Mongolia? I could provide a list of reasons to visit Mongolia …but I think it helps to understand the experience better if it is through the eyes of a previous guest. So here are a few reasons to visit Mongolia through the words of our returning guest Ross Briggs who has explored the north, south, east and west of Mongolia with us. These are his thoughts from when he joined us on our Landscapes of the East and our Wild Treks Research Trip.
The Best Cultural Experiences
It is hard to separate these experiences, included should be the hospitality of the people – our visit to Jargaa and Batbold at Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and their hospitality – the special food, bin, bortsog, khorkhog, clotted cream, milk tea and generally being fussed over. Ulzii at Ikh Nart and Guibarsha at Ulgii are all memorable encounters. Meeting Byamba and Radnaa at the Gobi Oasis Tree Planting Project in Mandalgobi – being able to help their cause and contribute in a small way to the plantation. I felt I was leaving a little of myself behind.
Otgon Tenger Uul would have to be my most memorable cultural experience. Seeing the reverence Turuu showed to the mountain and lake, taking part in the lake water ritual, knowing, seeing and experiencing the significance of the area made it a very special day.
The Eagle Festival sits in this category. I thoroughly enjoyed the festival, the eagle competitions and the hunters, the diversity of the costumes and all the associated trappings. Being able to get up close to the eagles was very special.
The Best Adventure Activities
I interpret this as things that get my adrenalin flowing. My favourite would be observing Argali sheep at the Ikh Nart Nature Reserve with Ulzii. The chance to watch the sheep quite close for a reasonable time was very special. Seeing this endangered species was a once in a lifetime experience for me that I doubt I will repeat.
Also, driving the short cut to Otgon Tenger Uul.
I guess my trek to the west end of Khar Nuur in Zavkhan Aimag was an adventure activity which I really enjoyed – especially the solitude and the scenery. The diversity of the terrain, sand dunes to grassland to the rocky shore and then the climb back over the ridge and down on to the dunes leading back to camp. The scenery was magnificent.
You must realise that the whole trip was an adventure to me, I loved all of it.
The Places I loved
I loved it all. The Gobi with its enormous flat plains, the rocky outcrops with amazing formations. I especially enjoyed Ih Nart, sitting at the end of the craggy ridge above the huge Gobi plain looking to the south and inside. The Khentii, rolling hills and the grassland steppe that goes on forever, speckled with larch forests. Learning the history of this area and feeling the presence of the ancient tribes. Sitting at the campfires under the amazing starry skies and one of my most memorable moments, listening to the wolves howling in the forest across the valley.
Khar Nuur – getting there from Uliastay, through the amazing scenery, the huge river valleys and the steep passes. Finally dropping down to the lake with its amazing deep blue waters with the sand dunes dropping into the lake like sand glaciers. Camping with the sand dune rising behind and the lake at our front door. Exploring the western end, the fabulous sand dune formations, and the picturesque coves after crossing each rocky spur that reached down to the water.
Meeting Turuu’s friend Bazraa and seeing his favourite places – Senjit Dava – and its rock formations including Senjit Khaad – the rock gate.
And then on to the sand dunes, the walk in the arid sand canyon, turning the corner to the green oasis with the shallow river flowing over the sand. Continuing upstream to find the river seeping out of the base of the large curved dune at the head of the valley. This area has unique landscapes that I have not seen anywhere else. I think it is very special.
I have singled out these places but there are many more equally loved, we travelled through some amazingly scenic areas and camped at many special places, on their own not significant but as part of a whole area/region equally impressive. I recall the run home, Olgii to UB, spectacular. From the Altai mountains to the Gobi plains an amazing part of the journey. I will always remember the land, the enormous landscapes but I also cherish the time I have spent with the people I have met.
And of course, you can always find your own reasons to visit Mongolia by looking through the Mongolia tours and experiences that we offer.