Posted by Selena Travel / 11 30, 2023
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.
Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park is located in Arkhanghai aimag about 575 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar. There are plenty of ger camps located around the lake and one can pay anywhere from 10,000 MNT per night (Rustic ger, pit toilet) to 100,000 MNT (ger on a raised platform, restroom with hot showers) or more. It all depends on which side of the lake you choose, and what amenities you wish to have. You can also pitch a tent wherever you’d like! That’s one of the lovely things about the countryside in Mongolia--if you can get there, you can camp there.
This Park has something for every traveler. The lake is good for swimming (most recommend in the afternoon once the water has warmed up a bit), fishing, and boating. It was unseasonably cool the days I visited so I did not do any of these myself. I did, however, enjoy an hour and a half long horseback ride--there are plenty of opportunities to ride horses or hike up into the mountains. Sites surrounding the lake worthy of exploration include the Khorgo volcanic crater (2210 m tall, 200 m wide, and 100 m deep) and a host of caves here and there. You’ll have to be adventurous or have a guide and driver that know where to take you to find them. The local soum, Tariat, will have most supplies you might need, or if you’ve traveled from the aimag capital, Tsetserleg, you can certainly stock up there on supplies. The only complaint about the Park is there are, sometimes, flies and mosquitos--so it doesn’t hurt to carry bug repellent!
If you are looking for a place to kick back and recharge--Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur is the place to go! I was especially inspired by the views over the lake from the mountains around it. I could have hiked for days from this location. Watching weather roll in over the lake is especially beautiful, and sunsets are almost always stunning in this country! If the wildflowers are blooming, even better! Hope you have the chance to enjoy it as I did. Happy Travels to you!
Photo credits to Heather Caveney