Posted by Selena Travel / 11 30, 2023
Mongolia is a country filled with gorgeous sites and memorable adventures. From dry deserts to snow capped peaks, and historical museums to cultural interactions, there’s so much to see and do while visiting here that will help you grow as a traveler and as a person.
It helps to know the best places to visit in Mongolia before you plan your trip. That way, you can be sure you’re hitting all the right marks on your journey, and you can come prepared for the activities.
So, here are the best places to visit in Mongolia and what there is to do there.
Up north, Lake Khuvsgul is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in Mongolia for adventurers.
The area boasts a plethora of outdoor activities from hiking to boating. Trek around the lake on a multi day excursion or climb up Munkh Saridag, the tallest mountain of the Sayan peaks.
The lake itself dates back to prehistoric times, and you can cruise on its ancient waters or fish from a boat.
Other than hiking and boating, you can try horseback riding. While in the Khuvsgul region, you can also head over to visit with the nomadic reindeer herders of northern Mongolia.
They tend to reside a couple of hours west of the lake, so it’s definitely more than a day trip, but it’s one that you won’t forget.
Otherwise, Lake Khuvsgul is known for being one of the most beautiful natural sites in the world. It’s one of the largest bodies of water in Mongolia, and you’ll marvel at its impressive size and sparkling waters.
Whether you tour on the water or on the shore, you’ll be glad you made it to Lake Khuvsgul.
If you’re looking to stay in the countryside, Kharkhorin is one of the best places to visit in Mongolia. Centrally located, this village is a popular choice for mini Naadam, which is a smaller scale version of the National Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar.
Every July, archers, horseback riders, and wrestlers compete in the National Sports Stadium, and thousands of spectators gather to watch the events, try some local festival foods, and take part in a cultural event. The Naadam Festival marks Mongolia’s independence from China, though its origins date back far before this to the era of Genghis Khan.
Because the National Naadam Festival in Ulaanbaatar’s stadium tends to be crowded, and because tickets sell out fast, many Naadam hopefuls opt to attend one of Mongolia's many countryside Naadams.
Kharkhorin’s mini Naadam doesn’t require tickets, and the small crowd puts you right in front of the action, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the experience. It’s a wonderful alternative to a popular event.
Other than the Naadam Festival, Kharkhorin is host to many other things to do. You can explore the ancient remnants of the city’s medieval past, visit the time-tested Erdene Zuu Monastery, and stroll through Karakoram Museum to learn more about the town’s history.
For outdoor activities, you can venture further into Orkhon Valley and snap photos of waterfalls, the Orkhon River, and more incredible scenery. Kharkhorin is certainly a destination for every type of traveler.
One of Mongolia’s most famous attractions, the Gobi Desert, is a must stop on your trip. If you take the Trans Mongolian railway in from China, you’ll pass the desert in the country’s southern reaches on your way into Ulaanbaatar.
But since it’s one of Mongolia’s most iconic sites, don’t just settle for passing through. Be sure to stop for a couple of days and take in all the Gobi Desert has to offer.
You can trek through the desert atop a camel, a fun and unforgettable experience sure to make for great memories.
Several dinosaur fossil discoveries have been made at the Bayanzag Flaming Cliffs, which also happens to be a gorgeous, red-hued region of the desert, perfect for snapping pictures.
And Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park will make you forget you’re in a desert, boasting an icefield in Yolyn Am and the scenic Gurvan Saikhan Mountain range.
But, don’t stray from the dusty attractions for too long. Also in the national park are the “Singing Dunes,” whose real name is Khongoryn Els.
With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder the Gobi Desert is a top site in Mongolia.
One of the best places to visit in Mongolia for exploring out west is the town of Ulgii. It’s a wonderful base for several attractions that are unique to this region. Mainly, the Kazakh people live in and around this village, and their community is known for the craft of eagle hunting.
This centuries-old tradition entails using an eagle to hunt for small animals. It’s revered in Mongolian culture, and a treat for foreigners to observe.
Eagle hunting festivals usually take place in September and October, so plan to travel in autumn if you want to witness the hunters in action.
If you’re the outdoors type, head outside of the town and over to Mount Khuiten, the country’s highest peak. This mountain looms tall on the border of Mongolia and China.
You can also visit Altai Tavan Bogd National Park to go camping on the shores of the picturesque lakes here or try out some other hiking trails.
Of course, the country’s capital is definitely one of the best places to visit in Mongolia. As the international port for most foreign visitors, Ulaanbaatar is naturally a top destination for travelers.
You can stroll around at the National Museum of Mongolia, checking out ancient artifacts and learning about the country’s history. Or you can visit the Choijin Lama Temple, a historic Buddhist monastery popular for visitors looking to get more acquainted with Mongolia’s spiritual side.
Outside of the city, head over to Gorkhi Terelj National Park for rafting, horseback riding, and more outdoor activities. Ulaanbaatar is more than Mongolia’s capital city; it’s a wonderful center for exploring the country’s varied attractions.
These are just some of the best places to visit in Mongolia. The country is teeming with natural wonders, ancient ruins, and unique lifestyles no matter where you go, so start planning your Mongolia trip today!