Mongolia's Flaming Cliffs - also known as Bayanzag - in the southern Gobi Desert
Mongolia’s Flaming Cliffs – Bayanzag
August 22, 2018
A herd of yaks in the Orkhon River Valley - part of our local travel experiences in Mongolia
Local Travel Experiences In Mongolia
September 2, 2018

Short Trip Ideas For Autumn In Mongolia

Autumn in Mongolia.  What can you expect? Well …

The colours of autumn in Mongolia - specifically at Gorkhi Terelj National Park.

The colours of autumn in Gorkhi Terelj National Park captured through the eyes and lens of our guest Séverine Baptiste-Blanchart.

Naturally, it’s a time of spectacular colour. There is also harvesting of the wheat and barley crops and the cutting of the winter grass that will be used as fodder for the livestock. It’s a time when the larger tour groups have disappeared off to another country in another part of the world. And, it’s also cooler, clearer and a perfect time of year for stargazing. Autumn in Mongolia works well for shorter style trips. For more inspiration, look at our Mongolia Inspirations page.

Just bring thermals and sunglasses and everything in between. 

VISIT : Khamariin Khiid


Khamariin Khiid Monastery located in Dorngobi Aimag in Mongolia's Gobi Desert. Perfect for a short trip to experience autumn in Mongolia.

Khamariin Khiid captured through the lens of our guest Marian Herz. Now you understand why Mongolia is known as the ‘land of the ‘Eternal Blue Sky!’

Take the Trans-Mongolian train south to Sainshand. Travel second class on the local day train. It’s a great way to interact with the locals and to soak up the passing scenery  – as you travel through steppe to desert terrain you’ll start to get an understanding of the diversity of Mongolia’s natural habitats. You could observe wildlife native to the Gobi – especially herds of White-Tailed Gazelle. 

Khamariin Khiid is an important spiritual centre and place of pilgrimage for Mongolians and followers of Buddhism. The monastery was established by Danzan Ravjaa (1803-1856), the Fifth Noyon Incarnate Lama, in the 1830s. It is considered an energy centre known as Shambala created around the cult of Danzan Ravjaa. It also gives spectacular viewpoints out over the Gobi.

Khamariin Khiid Monastery

* Why not extend your trip and combine it with a visit to Ikh Nart Nature Reserve? Ikh Nart represents one of the last strong-holds for the globally threatened Argali Sheep – the largest mountain sheep in the world (Ovis Ammon). It is also a breeding site for one of the world’s largest vultures, the Cinereous Vulture – also known as the European Black Vulture. 

DO : Bike Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Two mountain bikers in Gorkhi Terelj National Park, Mongolia. Gorkhi Terelj National Park is perfect location to experience autumn in Mongolia.

Biking the trails of Gorkhi Terelj National Park … big on views and short on traffic.

Drive out to Tsonjin Boldog – the remarkable 131ft high statue of Chinggis Khan. It is a big draw for Mongolians as much as westerners and the view is spectacular – facing east overlooking his homeland. Learn more here –

From here, swap four wheels for two and spend the rest of the day on a flexible and relaxed biking exploration of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Although the main valley of Terelj was first developed for tourism in 1964 it remains a stunning area of magnificent alpine scenery which is still a joy to explore including sights such as the Araybal Temple.

You also have the option of crossing the Terelj River and heading on quieter trails to the home of Naraa and Bujee – herders that move twice a year and that we work in long-term local community partnership with. They live approximately 10km from the main developed area across the Terelj River in an area of gentle beauty.  Visiting their accommodation provides a great insight into how herders are adapting  – setting up micro businesses as a way of substituting their income.

* Of course, you could swap your two wheels for four legs and head off into the sunset on a horse trek instead.

DO: Horse Trekking Orkhon Valley

One of our young guests riding like the wind out on the Mongolian steppe

The Orkhon River Valley is one of Mongolia’s four World Heritage Sites. It’s a cultural WHS and represents the evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions in Mongolia. Yes, the region is included in many general tour itineraries but this is not about the ’must see’ sights. The hinterland of the region is a stunning area to explore in its own right – especially if you’re prepared to go a little more off the beaten trail. 

What could be a better way to explore this region of nomadic traditions and culture than on a horse trek? You’ll trek through an ecoregion with habitats as diverse as alpine lakes, long flat valleys, lava stone fields, barren mountain tops and high open Mongolian steppe, coniferous forests of Siberian Pine and Siberian Larch and sub-alpine meadows. The region features abundant streams and springs.

Our Orkhon treks are led by herders that make their home in the region. There’s no prescribed routes. Just riding. As it should be. Out on the Mongolian steppe. Learn more here –

EXPERIENCE:  Rural Homestay

This is the young Galbadrakh family. They’re young, focused and yet the traditions of Mongolia run deep with them and their way of life in the Khangai Mountains in central Mongolia.

This is the Galbadrakh family. They’re young, focused and yet the traditions of Mongolia run deep with them and their way of life in the Khangai Mountains in central Mongolia.

Stop off en-route to experience Kharkhorin and then spend time living alongside the extended Galbadrakh family in the Khangai Mountains. 

They are yak herders and members of the Cooperative Ar Arvijin Delgerekh. This cooperative focuses on working with herders producing spun yak wool, providing them with an alternative to diversify and increase their income.

The Galbadrakh family live within the district of Tsenkher but this is not about the famous hot springs. There are no tourist ger camps anywhere close. Neither do they have any guest gers. They live as part of a ‘khot ail’ – an extended family and just make one of the family gers available for guests to sleep in.

Autumn in Mongolia is their main season for grass cutting and you can take part in this community event. You’ll also be encouraged to join in with other daily tasks – helping where you can.

No hot springs. No tourist ger camps. No luxury VIP treatment. Just real everyday life.  

I call our shorter experiences the ‘Essence of Mongolia’. Your time may be limited but this does not mean that you cannot experience Mongolia in a real way and return feeling you have ‘touched base’ with the country. Another option when considering experiencing autumn in Mongolia is one of our one-day tours.

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes.

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I am the founder of Eternal Landscapes Mongolia - a registered Mongolian business and social travel enterprise that focuses on providing travellers with a real 21st Century insight into Mongolia. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and together with my beloved Mongolian team, we focus on tourism that makes a positive difference. I'm also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society - awarded for my work in Mongolia and a published guidebook author - having worked together with World Adventure Guides to produce a digital interactive guide to Mongolia.
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