Mongolia

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Experience

Mongolia came to light because of King Genghis Khan to become the largest empire the world has ever seen.Mongolians, who still live in nomadic ways, have suffered heavily from drought and poverty. As seems the case with most economically struggling nations, tourism is shaping up to be something of a solution.

Mongolia is a unique destination. The Gobi Desert, the massive Lake Khovsgol and the Four Holy Peaks around Ulan Bator are the most memorable geographical sites, but it is the people who make Mongolia a highlight. Their nomadic way of life creates some logistical problems for your average tour operator, but Mongolians' hospitable nature and rich culture makes for a fascinating holiday. 

Mongolia has been inhabited for over 800,000 years. Mongolia, since prehistoric times, has been inhabited by nomads who, from time to time, formed great confederations that rose to prominence. 


The country is located in the northern part of Asia and is land locked between China and Russia.Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western most point is only 38 kilometers from Kazakhstan.The Khuiten Peak in the extreme west of Mongolia and bordering China, is the highest point at 4,374 metres above sea level. The lowest point in the country though is still above 500 metres and the average elevation is 1,580 metres. The landscape includes one of Asia's largest freshwater lakes (Lake Khovsgol), many salt lakes, marshes, sand dunes, rolling grasslands, alpine forests, and permanent montane glaciers. Northern and western Mongolia are seismically active zones, with frequent earthquakes and many hot springs and extinct volcanoes.



Mongolia is  divided into 21 Regions

Arkhangai
Bayan Olgii
Bayankhongo 
Bulgan
Darkhan-Uul
Dornod
Dornogovi
Dundgovi
Govi-Altai
Govisumber 
Khentii
Khovd 
Khovsgol
Omnogovi
Orkhon
Ovorkhangai
Selenge
ukhbaatar 
Tov, Uvs 
Zavkhan

Central Mongolia  home to the capital Ulan Bator and the popular region of Arkhangai.
Eastern Mongolia  birth place of Genghis Khan and heart of the Mongolian steppe
Gobi the desert region in the south of Mongolia.
Northern Mongolia  has much of Mongolia's forests and the massive Hovsgol Lake
Western Mongolia  home of Lake Uvs Nuur and Tavan Bogd Mountains, is also the most diverse region with a dozen different tribes including the Kazakhs

Cities In Mongolia

Baruun-Urt
Choibalsan  large industrial city in the East.
Erdenet is Mongolia's second largest city, located in the northern part of the country.
Kharahhorin  the ancient capital of the Mongol Empire, established by Genghis' son Ogedei.
Khovd A historic city at the crossroads of traditional Mongol and Kazakh culture.
Moron  Capital of Khovsgol Province.
Olgii a town in Mongolia's far western corner - capital of the Kazakh Region, Bayan-Olgii province.
Ondorkhaan  near the birthplace (and possible burial site) of Genghis Khan.
Tsetserleg  the capital of Arkhangai province.
Ulan Bator, or Ulaanbaatar is Mongolia's capital and largest city.
Uliastai  once an important provincial capital of the Manchu Empire.

While Ulan Bator is the heart of the nation, most visitors to Mongolia come for the opportunity to trek deep into the Gobi Desert in the south or adventure around the White Lake area to the west of the capital.

Gobi Desert

When people think Mongolia they think the Gobi Desert. The Gobi desert is one of the colder deserts in the world during winter but this place still gets amazingly hot during summer. There is stunning expansive flat desert patches, great camel rides, gorges and dinosaur digs to be seen. Of all the things to see in the Gobi the ultimate must see is the beautiful Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes. These stunning sand dunes climb to amazing heights right in front of impressive mountains. Their beauty can be stared at for days as camels, horses and sheep slowly graze in front of them.
 


White Lake

White Lake is a stunning lake in the central park of Mongolia. It is located in the Arkhangai Province, next to the city of Tariat. The large lake is surrounded by rolling grass hills and some scattered forests. Many nomads set up camp along the lake shores during the summer time and there yaks and sheep can be seen grazing along its shore. 
 

Terelj National Park

Terelj National Park is only a short distance from Ulan Bator.There are many excellent hikes and chances to see some of the great wildlife of Mongolia.
 


Trans-Mongolian Railway

Running through Russia, Mongolia and China, the Trans-Mongolian route is 7,622 kilometres (4,736 miles) long and runs through the Ural Mountains, Siberia, the Gobi Desert and the high steppe of Mongolia and passes through the Great Wall of China on its way to Beijing. The train ride from Moscow into the Urals is mostly Pine and Birch forests interrupted by industrial wastelands, and includes a crossing of the Volga river. After leaving the Urals, you enter Siberian plains, forests, open grass plains and boggy, swampy areas. Approaching Irkutsk the land starts to get hillier heading up towards Lake Baikal. Heading down through Mongolia you get more grass plains. Looking out the window, travellers will likely see wild horses, and Mongolian nomads gers surrounded by small herds of cows and sheep. Getting towards Beijing, travellers will get many chances to spy the Great Wall  of China during the times when the train emerges from the long, dark stretches through tunnels. (The 
Trans-Mongolian Railway is something every traveler must experince once in a life time)
 

Khovsgol Lake

Khovsgol Lake near Moron is the deepest and contains the most water of any lake in Mongolia. This massive lake is very hard to get to and is completely worth it. Known as the Small Lake Baykal, this lake is one of the most beautiful places in an already beautiful country. Being so close to Russia the climate is very similar to Siberia. That means dense forests and cold nights. 

 

Genghis Khan Statue

The Genghis Khan Statue at Tsonjin Boldog on the bank of the Tuul River, located  east of the Mongolian capital Ulan bator is part of the Genghis Khan Statue Complex. The statue is 40 metres high and respresents Genghis Khan riding on horseback. Tsonjin Boldog is the location, where he according to legend he found a golden whip. 
 

Other Places

Eagle Hunts Watch eagles attack prey for their Khazak masters in Olgiy in far western Mongolia.

Gandan Khiid  Is the Ulan Bator's main monastery and the center of Mongolian Buddhism.

Sukhbaatar square Is the main government square in Ulan Bator.

Randier Herders Visit traditional randier herders in the far north of Mongolia and experience amazing shamanistic culture.


The Nadaam Festival is held every year in July (National Holiday) in the capital of Mongolia ,Ulan Bator. It is believed that the Nadaam Festival has been a tradition for hundreds of years.


Mongolia has a continental climate with relatively short but warm summers and long cold winters. Mongolia is also a dry country, with on average no more than 400 mm of rain during wetter years in the mountains. Most of the country receives less than half of that amount though. In winter, most of the precipitation falls in the form of snow, but mostly in the more mountainous western part of the country. Although it is sunny most of these times, the windchill can make things even worse.

Mongolian cuisine is pretty basic. The Russian influenced has helped a bit but there is still a long way to go. Most of the food is boiled mutton in noodles with salt and is pretty bland.
Mongolian hot pot can be pretty good but it is only for special occasions.The boodog or goat  barbecue, is particularly worth experiencing. 
 
Picture Credit  commons.wikimedia

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