Wanderlist Discover: Mongolia
Mongolia is a land-locked country, and as a nation, it is one of the world’s last truly undiscovered travel destinations. It is still a country that seems to be living in the last century, with vast desert lands and rolling sand dunes, and very limited modern infrastructure. In fact, most of the country is quite literally off the beaten track, because there are hardly any paved highways, but mostly dirt-tracks that connect places. Horse-back riding is still the norm here, and you can easily travel an entire day in the Mongolian countryside, without sighting any other human being. But, one look at the untouched countryside, the cobalt blue skies, the vast steppes, the mighty mountainous terrain, the abundant livestock, and the traditional hospitality of the local nomads, may make a visitor want to stay in Mongolia forever, and never leave this land of the wonderful simple life.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- Live In A Ger : A ger, or a yurt, is a traditional nomadic shelter in the countryside. Many people in Mongolia still continue to live in gers even today, and there are some travel operators that can help you get the experience of living in a ger, and staying in the open countryside, just like the locals. This beats the usual ‘living in a hotel’ experience by a mile, and is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. There are several operators near Ulaanbatar who provide this experience.
- Visit Khovsal Lake : The crystal clear waters of the beautiful Khovsal Lake just beckon you to take a dip, even in the cold weather. You can also go fishing or canoeing at Khavsal Lake, and perhaps even for a short trek around the hilly countryside. Its not too far from Ulaanbatar, and is definitely worth a visit.
- Experience the Naadam Festival : To soak up the local culture, attend the Naadam Festival which usually happens in July. According to local historians, these annual celebrations began during the time of Genghis Khan, the Great Mongol Warrior. Watch the locals compete fiercely in the three sports of archery, horseback riding and wrestling. Take part in the traditional dancing activities and even try out the local Mongolian cuisine.
Best Time To Go: May to August
The best time to visit Mongolia is around May to August, when the weather is good and there are several cultural activities across the country for visitors to enjoy.
Where in the world:
Mongolia is a land-locked country in East Asia, and is sandwiched between China and Russia.
Fun Fact: Although Mongolia is the 18th largest country in the world in terms of size, it is also the least densely populated with only 3 million people living there. Almost 50% of the people, live in UlaanBataar, the capital, while the other 50% are scattered across the rest of the vast landscape of the country.
- Language : Mongolian, Kazakh, Russian. English is spoken in the capital.
- Currency : Mongolian Tugrik (MNT); 1 USD is about 2465 MNT
- How to Get Around : Hire a minivan or a jeep in Ulanbatar to travel locally. Minivans or jeeps can be shared by a single group, or can even be shared by strangers. If you are truly adventerous, you can try hiring a camer or a yak as your mode of transport.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.