The northern part of Mongolia is lush green mostly covered with high mountains, dense forests, crystal rivers and lakes, and often known as the home of the Tsaatan known as Reindeer people and shamans. The region is rich in wildlife and fish. The most distinguishing features here in this part are the pristine Lake Huvsgul and the famous Darkhad valley. This part also represents one of the most direct and contemporary convergences of the ancient shamanic and relatively modern Buddhist cultures of Mongolia. Moreover, northern Mongolia is still a home to the people from the old tribes Uriankhai, Darkhad and the Tsaatans (these are ethnic group of Mongolia) known as the Reindeer Riders.
Key destinations: pristine Lake Huvsgul, Khoridol Saridal Mountains national park, legendary Amarbaysgalant Monastery, Mr. Uran Togoo, the Darkhad Valley and the lakes, ancient Uushig Deer Stones to name a few.
Activities: horse riding, hiking, trekking, fishing, kayaking, rafting, yak cart travel nomadic culture experiencing, bird watching, 4x4 driving.
Huvsgul province introduction
Huvsgul province, northernmost in Mongolia, is centered around its most distinguishing feature, the pristine Lake Huvsgul, worthy of many words of its own. The province is also remarkable, however, in that it represents one of the most direct and contemporary convergences of the ancient shamanic and relatively modern (12th century) Buddhist cultures of Mongolia. Here in Huvsgul can still be found large populations of people from the old tribes - Buryat, Uriankhai and Darkhad, as well as Tsaatan, the reindeer people. They have lived here since pre-history, their traditional ranges extending northwards into Siberia. The Tsaatan way of life shares much in common with that of the American Indians, who made the crossing to America from these parts across the Bering Strait whilst it was frozen under the last Ice Age. The Tsaatan prefer to live in deer hide tepees rather than ger tents, and their totemic 'deer stones', carved with the deer that are said to guide the dead into the underworld, still dot the Huvsgul landscape. Deer stones aside, the landscape is a joy - deep green forests of pine and larch intermitted with forest steppe, and many northern animal, bird, and fish species.
This majestic clear-watered lake contains 65% of all the fresh water of Mongolia and furthermore, 1% of the world’s fresh water supply. Nine species of fish inhabit the lake, including Siberian grayling and lenok. Nearby taiga forest, forest steppe, mountains, and the lake itself provide habitat for 68 species of mammals, including argali, ibex, elk, reindeer, musk deer, brown bear, lynx, marten, beaver, wolf, and moose, 244 species of birds, and 750 species of plants, including 60 with medicinal importance. Khuvsgul is the land of the tsaatan reindeer herdsmen, a branch of the Turkic-speaking Tuvinian or Dukha ethnic group.
This small group of 42 families possesses a social and material culture which has remained unchanged since the Ice Age. Shamanistic or totemic rituals and symbolism are central to the social organization of the Tsaatan. Shamanistic rituals of healing rely on rare medicinal plants and animals unique to this landscape. The Tsaatan are an archaic and ethnographically interesting nomadic groups to be found on the Eurasian continent their lifestyles are both ancestral to all the nomadic herding cultures of Central Asia and are reminiscent of a way of life which was widespread across Europe, Asia and North America 10,000 years ago. Darkhad and Tuva people have coexisted peacefully with the Tsaatan reindeer herders sharing respect for Khuvsgul Lake, The Dalai Eej or Mother Sea for sustaining their livelihoods for centuries. The area is a perfect destination for vacationing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, trekking, sport fishing, and bird watching.
Khorgo-Terkh National Park
This is one of the most beautiful national parks in Mongolia with its crystal clear Terkh Lake and the Khorgo Volcano. Khorgo dead volcano is lying in the east of the Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur. Khorgiin togoo in the highest volcano crater in the Orkhon River Valley. From the summit of this basalt-covered mountain one has a splendid view over the whole region and the lake. The volcanic crater of the Togoo Uul is 200m wide and 100m deep. The northern slope region and the lake.
The volcano crater of the Togoo Uul is covered with Siberian Larch. One of the most interesting sights of Khorgo is the so-called Basalt Ger, which lies on the southern side. It is a large solidified bubble of lava with a broken piece on one side, which makes a natural door. The height of some of these stone gers is 1.7m. Several other ancient volcanoes are not far from the Khorgo. Lake Terkhiin Tsagaan was formed when volcano lava dammed the Suman River, cutting a large gorge through the basalt. It is an astonishingly beautiful lake, 20km long, 16km wide and 4 to 10 meters deep with an altitude of 2,060m above sea level.
The nature beauty is awesome here and is a great place for hiking, horse riding and relaxing. You can visit the Hell of Yellow Dog, Ice Hole and the Youth Cave that are pretty impressive!
Khangai Mountains introduction
The Khangai Mountain Range is Mongolia's watershed, the source of the mighty Selenge River that flows northwards into Lake Baikal. Its picturesque alpine scenery rises swiftly from the surrounding pastureland, with the highest peak, Otgontenger (13,000 feet), under perpetual snow and glacial ice. The range is reputed to hold a wealth of undiscovered gems and minerals - let's hope that they, and the landscape, remain undisturbed by the western world.
The capital of Bulgan province, this small town is full of life. This province is one of the biggest provinces of Mongolia. The landscape is beautiful with green hills and forest mountains.
Ruins of the White palace of Tsogt
This beautiful palace is situated in the valley of the Tuul river, 20 kilometers northeast of the Chin Tolgoi Kherem territory of Dashinchilen soum of Bulgan province. The White Palace was of a queen, Madai Taigal, mother of Prince Tsogt who was a famous historical person, politician and well-known poet of the 17th century.
The size of the wall area is 119 feet in south west side, 208 feet in south east side, 109 feet in the north east and 203 feet in north west side. The buildings of this complex were decorated with enamels and ceramics. It is still one of the richest historical place of Mongolia.
Ruins of Khar Bukh
It is located on the east side 12km from Dashinchilen soum of Bulgan province. This city's ruin is connected to two other historical times and first is Kidan dynasty from X to XI century. Later in the beginning of the XVII century Stone building were built in the city. This one consisted of several building which had firmly erected ramparts and the way lay stone and fortification were similar to the XVII century's fortifications. And those were built by Tibetan style. As local people say, "Nomgoi prince" Tsogt Taij established this place. Also his descendant polite Norovjantsan who lived in the beginning of the XX century thought alike.
Utan - Togoo, Tulga Nature Reserve
Uran uul volcano lies west of Bulgan city en route to Khuvsgul area. Selenge Province. The rich vegetation and fertile soil of Selenge aimag position the aimag as the breadbasket of Mongolia. Selenge aimag produces 40-56 percent of the grain of the country. In the aimag, there are timber, match, cement, chalk, spirit, wood plants, gold and coal mines and power stations. In the south-east, the open-pit coal mine at Sharyn Gol produces about two million tons of coal each year to provide electricity for the Erdenet mine in Bulgan aimag.
Amarbayasgalant monastery introduction
Amarbayasgalant, one of the most well known and largest monasteries of Mongolia, is located in the beautiful Iven River valley on thefoot of Burenkhan Mountain. Visitors especially enjoy the magnificent art and architectural construction. The monastery was established to cherish and give respect to Zanabazar, the first Buddhist saint of Mongolia. 3730 kg of silver from the state fund were used to build this magnificently styled place for Buddha teaching and practice in honor of Zanabazar. Since then the monastery of Zanabazar was a great source of Dharma teaching and accomplishment with over six thousand novices and ordained monks who followed the rules of Lord Buddha’s Vinaya. The beauty, decorations and construction of the monastery have made it one of the most magnificent architectural monuments not only in Mongolia, but in the whole Asia. In 1937-38 a fearsome repression covered Amarbayasgalant Monastery and all the highly trained knowledgeable monks were executed. Also huge numbers of rare religious relics, books, sutras, tangkas and Buddhas which had been collected for 200 years, were destroyed completely. This is how the holy temple of Amarbayasgalant became mere ruins and it was abandoned for 50 shady years.