Guidebook to Mongolia
November 11, 2018
One of the 'eternal' landscapes of Mongolia - gers in the central Khangai Mountains.
The (Eternal) Landscapes Of Mongolia
November 28, 2018
Mongolian gers in the snow. Notice the traditional 'ulzii' pattern on the nearest door - a symbol of protection and longevity.

Winter in Mongolia

Winter is a quintessential Mongolian season. It is cold, very cold, but the cold is an important part of what makes Mongolia and its landscapes extraordinary at this time of year.   But, I didn’t want you to only hear my voice. That gets a little dull. So, here, in their own words, are why some of my female Mongolian trip assistants like winter in Mongolia.

 ‘It’s a challenging time of year. It makes us stronger people – facing the harshness of winter.’

A winter horse trek Ulaankhuus district of Bayan Ulgii Province in the wild landscapes of western Mongolia during winter in Mongolia

One of our winter horse treks in the Ulaankhuus district of Bayan Ulgii Province in the wild landscapes of western Mongolia. Note the traditional hand made goat skin coats and the felt boots. Insulation Mongolian style!

‘Winter in Mongolia makes my country look even more vast. It seems endless. With the mountains and mountain steppe all covered with snow, it is like an infinite milk sea. The beauty of it makes you catch your breath.’

 

As the sun dips ever lower during the shorter days of winter in Mongolia, the landscapes  seem to stretch further than ever. Such as the immensity of the Altai Nuruu Mountains seen here that stretch across western Mongolia

As the sun dips ever lower during the shorter days of winter, the landscapes of Mongolia seem to stretch further than ever. Such as the immensity of the Altai Nuruu Mountains seen here that stretch across western Mongolia

‘Every season is completely different in Mongolia. If you want to know what winter is like in Mongolia, then really, you have to come and experience it yourself. Our Mongolian winter really has its own taste – especially our Lunar New Year celebration.’

‘The weather is really unique. It can be so harsh and also so mild. No two days are ever the same. It’s a very real time of year – with our people and our livestock battling the changing weather conditions.’

Gorkhi Terelj National Park in winter in Mongolia

A majority of tour companies that operate in Mongolia close for the winter and early spring months. We don’t. For those travelling looking to travel out of season or on the Trans Siberian we offer winter trips focusing on the ‘real’ Mongolia. One of the destinations we include is Gorkhi-Terelj where the main focus of your experience is staying with Naraa and Bujee – a modern herding family that move twice a year. Yes, Gorkhi-Terelj is well developed for tourism and is a key location for international visitors. But, as this photo taken by our guest Yi-Hsin who travelled with us this February and March shows, sometimes it’s not necessarily where you visit but the way in which you visit.

‘During the winter time we can sledge with our children – after the fresh snow. It is wonderful in the mountains – with nothing else except snow. It is just WOW. And the challenge of the winter makes me admire my ancestors and my country makes me think about who I am and where I am from. How Mongolians  have always faced the challenges of the winter. And of course, there is our new year celebration – Tsagaan Sar.’

Celebrating sunrise on Tsagaan Sar - Lunar New Year during winter in Mongolia

There are two parts to sunrise on New Year’s Day in Mongolia – sending out the old, and welcoming in the new. We brought several offerings with us: milk, rice, and juniper. First, while it’s still dark, you need to send out the old. And then as the sun rises, so you welcome in the new.

‘One reason I like winter in Mongolia is because of Tsagaan Sar – our traditional New Year. It is an important time to be with family and this means I get to travel to my home in the countryside and meet with my relatives.

The Khoridol Saridag Mountains and western shoreline provide a backdrop to the frozen lake surfaces of Khovsgol Nuur during winter in Mongolia

The Khoridol Saridag Mountains and western shoreline provide a backdrop to the frozen lake surfaces of Khovsgol Nuur. Notice the traditional and WARM (!) coats modelled by Turuu and Bataa. These are hand made for Eternal Landscapes.

‘I like the snow in winter. Also, our winter holiday which is Lunar New Year – Tsagaan Sar – is very special for us. We meet with out relatives and celebrate. Although winter is a very cold season, Tsgaaan Sar celebrates the warm season – the coming of spring and the warmth of being together with our relatives and family.’

Why not consider joining us on one of our Mongolia winter tour experiences? Why not join us? Bring your thermals and join us with our annual low season discount of 15% off per person. Do something out of the ordinary this winter.

Jess @ Eternal Landscapes.

Jessica Brooks
Jessica Brooks
I’m Jess Brooks. I have been based in Mongolia since 2006 and 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 that supports local communities. 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. http://www.jessbrooks.co.uk/
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