2018 has been a truly remarkable year for everyone at Selena Travel. It has been a year of reminiscing, remembering, learning and most importantly cherishing our 20 years of journey with all its challenges, fails and successes. It was with a vision to create a company and a brand that will represent the real Mongolian experiences and beauty in international tourism industry, Mr. Batbold, the founder of Selena Travel group, has established the company back in March of 1998, with a single desktop computer in a rented studio. Just like many startup companies at the time, Mr. Batbold was playing all the roles in the company by himself, from sales manager, marketing manager to tour guide.
Anyone traveling to Mongolia will generally have a couple afternoons or a full day in the Ulaanbaatar during which time they can visit or explore some city sites. Here is a list, in no particular order, of the places I’ve visited and can recommend. I’d select the ones that meet you or your party’s interests.
After the Gobi Desert, I’d say Lake Khuvsgul is next on the “Must See List” for Mongolia--it’s beautiful, crystalline blue waters are stunning! It’s in the opposite direction from Ulaanbaatar and will also require some decisions about travel. The best time of year to visit is summer--June, July or August--with July being usually the warmest. August is the beginning of fall in Mongolia and can sometimes mean more rain than a visitor wants to contend with. You can visit before and after those three months but many camps do shut down for a part of fall, all of winter, and the start of spring.
The town of Kharkhorin is a wonderful place for travelers to escape to while visiting Mongolia. Centrally located in the country, Kharkhorin is easily accessible from Ulaanbaatar, the common point of entry for international tourists, but far enough away that you’ll get a true Mongolian countryside experience. And from the mini Naadam Festival to the ancient ruins of Karakoram, you’ll never be bored out in the province of Uvurkhangai. There are plenty of things to do in Kharkhorin, and it’s never easy to pick and choose the best activities when you’re new to the area. So we’ve uncovered the most unique and fun attractions in Kharkhorin to help you have an incredible experience during your visit.
We tried to travel to the Orkhon waterfall that first summer I visited Mongolia. It seemed a short distance from Karakorum and we asked about swapping out the customary visit to the Erdene Zuu Monastery for a day trip to the waterfall. However, our guide and driver were quick to say that this was not a possibility as the road to the waterfall was, in their words, “a very bad road.”
Beyond your Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, or other travel guidebooks you might want to spend some time reading, listening, or watching various media about Mongolia. Part of the fun, for me, in travel is the research, planning, and anticipation that precedes the actual trip. This list is not exhaustive! There are plenty of resources out there, these are simply some that I can personally recommend.
Mongolia offers some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes that a person could hope to experience--desert, steppe, rivers and lakes, taiga forest, and mountains. However, travel within Mongolia is not at all what one might assume it to be. When I initially came as a tourist, I came with far too many assumptions and mis-expectations. In the hopes of better preparing future visitors, I’d like to share a few insider tips and observations to ease your travel and make your preparations more intentional.
I’ve traveled through more than half of Mongolia’s 21 aimags (provinces) and while I’ve seen much, in many ways I’ve only scratched the surface of this vast and extraordinary country (19th largest in the world by area, but also the most sparsely populated). Of all the places I’ve visited there is one that I wish I had the time to return to--Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur, or the Great White Lake.
A trip to Mongolia is not complete without a visit to the Gobi Desert. As travel in Mongolia includes a lot of time in a vehicle, my father and I chose to fly from Ulaanbaatar to Dalanzadgad (capital of South Gobi aimag or province) when we visited the Gobi.
There was something in my father’s pictures that called me to Mongolia. The horizon in the distance, the openness of the steppe, the wildness of the nature. In 2010 we hatched a plan to travel to Mongolia together--it would be his second trip, my first. In 2014 we spent three weeks traveling around Mongolia (and I’ve since spent 3 years living and traveling in the country). While we journeyed many miles and visited numerous sites, it was our time spent in Khustai Nuruu National Park that made my initial dream--to put my hiking boots on the great Eurasian steppe--feel complete.
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