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Mongolia

General Information

Languages : Khalkha Mongol 90%, Turkic, Russian
Currency : Tenge (KZT)
Time Zone : EST +13hrs
Capital City : Ulaanbaatar
Population : 2.9 million
Government : Mixed parliamentary/presidential
Total Area : 603,908 mi²
Climate : Desert; continental (large daily and seasonal temperature ranges)
National Holidays: Independence Day/Revolution Day, 11 July
Additional Info: Travelers have admired Mongolia for its clear sunny skies and contrasting natural features ranging from high mountains, valleys and wide open steppes to the Gobi desert and semi-desert.

Destination Activities

Activity Details

Mongolia is the world's second-largest landlocked country after Kazakhstan. The Mongolian heartland consists of relatively flat steppes. The southern portion of the country is taken up by the Gobi Desert, while the northern and western portions are mountainous. The highest point in Mongolia is the Khuiten in the Tavan bogd massif in the far west at 14,350ft. The basin of the lake Uvs Nuur, shared with Tuva Republic in Russia, is a natural World Heritage Site. Most of the country is hot in the summer and extremely cold in the winter, with January averages dropping as low as -22degF.

Trekking

The Altai Mountain range is Mongolia's largest and highest mountain range and is an ideal place to take trekking and mountaineering trips. An ideal place for a trekking holiday is in the Altai Tavan Bogd National park. Here you can meet the Kazakh people, watch wild animals including real Ibex, and visit historical places. Then climb out from snowcapped mountains and breathe the fresh Mongolia air while taking in the eternal blue sky.

Hiking and trekking is also popular in the Khan Khentii Mountain National park, northeast of Mongolia's capital city, Ulaanbaatar. Enjoy hiking and photographing the charming landscape and wildlife. Your ultimate goal is to reach Asraltkhairkhan (8,860ft), which is the top point of the mountain.



Bogd Khan Mountain is the world's oldest official protected area. In 1778, the Emperor of Manchur passed resolutions to formalize the sacred values of the Bogd Khan Mountain and provide for official protection of the site. Here you can hike up Tsetse Gun (7,220ft), the mountain's high point. Reaching the summit is a 4-5 hour hike, perfect for a morning and then lunch at the peak. Then continue hiking to a star watching camp and enjoy Mongolian night sky and star watching.

Biking

There are several biking tours to experience in Mongolia including the Gobi Khangai biking challenge, the New Bulgan Mountain bike trail, and many Inner Mongolia options also.

Gobi Khangai: Recommended between June and September, you can cycle across the northern part of the Gobi desert and the Khangai Mountain range, while experiencing the ways of the people of Genghis Khan. The trails are in great condition. The country is also home to nomadic people who live in felt covered gers and tend large numbers of sheep, goats, cattle, horses, yaks and camels. Aim to cross the Khangai mountains that separate the Gobi Desert from the northern steppes in about 5 days. You can bike along easy mountain valleys interrupted by short but challenging passes to climb followed long fast down hills. Each pass opens a grand view of distant ridges, high mountains and wide green valleys. On one of these days there will be many river crossings sometimes knee-deep. Everyday you can pass by nomadic encampments and hundreds of yaks, sheep and goats grazing alongside watched by tough horsemen. Nomads are hospitable people; therefore, many times you will be invited into their gars and offered some tea and dairy products.

New Bulgan Mountain Bike Trail: This is a brand new mountain biking route, located north of Ulaanbaatar in the provinces of Bulgan and Selenge. Travel by train to reach the copper mining town of Erdenet, and then ride into the remote and beautiful mountains. The area is inhabited mainly by nomadic people with their herds of horses and sheep. You will meet some families along the way and see their fascinating lifestyle, which has changed little in centuries. The area the trail runs through is partly forested and with major river systems running by. The trail concludes at the fascinating Buddhist monastery of Amarbayasgalant, once one of the three largest Buddhist centers in Mongolia, located near the Selenge River in the Iven Valley, at the foot of Mount Buren-Khaan. The riding is off road, following rough jeep tracks most of the way, with a number of river crossings.

Climbing

The Mongol Altai range has some of the most exceptional mountain scenery. Trekking and climbing through the snowy mountains amongst the majestic peaks, you will be walking on Mongolia's longest glacier.

Most climbing expeditions take place in the Western province of Bayan Olgii, in the Tavan Bogd Range. Here you can visit with nomadic shepherds before leaving for the snow-capped, glaciated peaks of the Altai. Geographically, much of the highlands are defined by green pastures with fox, bear, lynx and falcons inhabiting the lower regions. The Mongolian countryside possesses a wide array of indigenous flora and fauna including, yak, horse, sheep and the Bactrian double-humped camel. Visit and overnight in gers, traditional felt-covered nomadic homes.

A great 3-day climbing challenge to take on is the Khuiten Peak. To reach its foothill you cross the Potanin glacier, which lies in between. Though technically moderate there are a number of crevasses to traverse before the climb. Khuiten, the highest peak of the Mongolian Altai affords tremendous views over China and Russia.

Photography



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