Travel Mongolia. Be inspired – Films About Mongolia

Winter Postcards From Mongolia – Part One – The Gobi Sauna
November 20, 2015
Winter Postcards From Mongolia – Part Two – (Christmas) Gift Ideas
December 13, 2015
Thinking about visiting Mongolia? It’s not just a country. Obviously it is but it’s so much more than that.  To try and describe precisely what it means to me would not do justice to how special it is. It’s a country where, as you explore its landscapes and meet its inhabitants, you feel  part of something bigger than yourself. 
If you haven’t been there then you may be wandering how you can get an ‘essence’ of what Mongolia is about before booking that (expensive) air ticket.
Sometimes the best way to experience a destination you haven’t been to is to watch a film that takes place there. If you have been there, it’s also a way to remind you why you fell in love with it in the first place.
Travel films allow you to escape. But they also allow you to visit places you’ve never been to and see inside the skin of people quite different to ourselves. Travel films broadens our perspective – just like an actual physical trip to Mongolia will do as well. 
S0. Here’s a list of some of my preferred films about Mongolia. Travel the country. Be inspired.


I’ll give you a clue what the film is about….
Image by our guest Aucan Czackis, Essence of Mongolia, 2013
History first. Meant to be the first of a trilogy, Mongol is a semi-historical film about the early life of Chinggis Khan before he actually became Chinggis Khan. This is the story of his life as a young boy and man as the outcast Temüjin. As you can imagine, the landscapes provide a stunning backdrop as does the music by Mongolian folk rock band Altai Urag.
* If you would like to explore the history and landscapes connected with the life of Chinggis Khan then my Mongolia small group tour National Parks and Nature Reserves can take you there.

Story Of The Weeping Camel

    The Zorgio family milking their camel herd – Image by our guest Theresa Partington, Gobi Insight, May 2015
    There are two main ingredients to this documentary style film. The epic landscapes of Mongolia’s Gobi Desert and the way of life of the herders that make their home in this vast expanse. A camel calf is rejected by its mother. Without its mother’s milk, the calf will die. To save its life, two sons of the herding family  travel to their nearest small town for a Morin Khuur (Horse Head Fiddle) musician to play a ‘Ингенд Ботго Авахуулах’ (traditional coaxing ritual) to encourage the mother camel to release its milk. 

    If you’ve been to the small community of Bulgan in the southern Gobi (which if you’ve been to Flaming Cliffs / Bayanzag then you probably have) , this is the small town that the two boys travel to in search of traditional musicians and batteries. 

    * Looking to spend time in the immensity of the Gobi Desert? The sheer size and diversity of Mongolia’s Gobi will inspire. You could consider my July Gobi Insight departure.

    State of Dogs

    The ger districts of Ulaanbaatar where a lot of the film takes place. Image by our guest Massimo Rumi, 2015
    Set in Mongolia’s capital city, Ulaan Baatar,  the film combines documentary elements with fictional elements. It’s quite impressionistic in its story of Baasar, a dog who dies early in the movie — shot by a hunter employed by the city to reduce its dog population. According to Mongolian legend, a dog (who is prepared) may be reincarnated in its next life as a human, after roaming free for as long as he wants. Baasar roams the memory of his life, uninterested in advancing to a human life. The film is a depiction of modern Mongolian life with definite connections to Mongolian myths. 

    Cave Of The Yellow Dog

    Image by our guest Egon Filter, 2009

    The oldest daughter of a  Mongolian herding family  finds a small dog  but her father refuses to let her keep it, believing it will bring the family bad luck and lead wolves to their sheep. Nansal decides to defy her father by hiding her new friend but as winter approaches and the family prepares to move camps, her father plans to leave the dog behind. He is forced to reconsider after the dog protects their youngest child from vultures.

    * If you’re interested in gaining an insight into the differences in the way of life of Mongolia’s herders, how the changing climate impacts on their lives and the way they deal with the challenges of the 21st century then I have a few Mongolia small group tours that would suit. As an example, what about my Monasteries, Mountains and Nomads or my Nomads of the Khangai?

    Balapan, The Altai Boy

    Set in western Mongolia, the sheep flocks of the local herders are being attacked by wolves. The men of the local community opt for a wolf hunt with their eagles. Four-year old Khoda Bergen dreams of participating in the hunt but first has to train his own eagle. 

    Image by our guest Massimo Rumi, September 2015
    * Yes! We visit the Altai too!! 

    Tracking The White Reindeer

    Image by our guest Hui Li on her Taiga Landscapes private trek, 2014
    Set in the Darkhad Depression of Mongolia’s far north, this film focuses on the  Tsaatan  (Duka) reindeer herders. A young couple wish to get married but the father of the girl wants her prospective husband to prove himself by  raising a herd of reindeer by himself. 

    If you prefer books to films, then you may want to look at some of these options for reading around the subject of all things Mongolia. 

    As always, thanks for reading and do get in touch with your thoughts! It’s enough that you’ve connected with the blog but if you like what you read and have the time to share this then thank you so much for helping to spread the EL word!

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