Eastern Mongolia is the least traveled place despite its rich historical significance and stunningly diverse natural settings. Dornod aimag, home to various ethnic groups such as the Khalkh, Buriad, Barga, Uzemchin, and others certainly make a colorful cultural fabric adding to the charm of this destination. The area is being targeted as the next frontier of economic development of Eastern Mongolia and as a center of culture, communications, trade, and information. The historical places are Deluun Boldog, where Chinggis Khaan was born and AURAG, where his residential palace was located and the “The Secret History of the Mongols” was written in 1240. There are many places of interests such as cave paintings, ruins of 13th and 14th century towns, Stone Walls of the Kidan dynasty, Khajuu bulag and Uglugchiin Kherem.
Key destinations: Khan-Khentii strictly protected area, home land of Genghis Khaan, Genghis Khan's Monument at Gurvan Nuur, Oglogchiin Herem, Rashaan Khad and Mount Shiliin Bogd
Activities: hiking, horse riding, nomadic culture experiencing, monastery visiting, 4x4 driving, yak cart travelling, fishing, bird watching, kayaking, biking, wildlife viewing, and sightseeing.
The homeland of Chinggis Khaan, Khan Khentii is covered with forests, taiga and mountain forest steppe. It is described in The Secret History of Mongols, and is a protected area north-east of Ulaanbaatar.
Khan-Khentii strictly protected area covers over 1.2 million ha of the rugged Khentii mountains with several peaks over 2,000 meters 70 rivers of various sizes, including the three large ones, the Tuul, Onon and Kherlen feed from numerous springs of the Khentii range.
The peak of Tsogt Chandmani at the end of the Khentii Mountain Range is the world watershed of three huge drainage basins: the Arctic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and the Inland Basin of Central Asia.
Genghis Khan's Monument at Gurvan Nuur is famous for that it was erected in 1962 or during the communist time. During the communist regime Genghis Khaan was seen as a monster, mass killer to the Mongols according to the Soviet policy. The Mongols weren't allowed to say good things about their Great Khaan, if one once told he'd definitely be sent to jail.
Oglogchiin Herem is the biggest graveyard ever found from the 13th century. It is said that it was the graveyard of the 13th century Mongolian aristocrats. The graveyard is surrounded by 2-4m high granite wall extending about 10 km. The journey also takes us to Khajuu Bulag, a spring near Deluun Boldog, Genghis Khaan is believed to be washed for the first time right after he was born.
Rashaan Khad is famous for its over 20 ancient inscriptions in Tibetan, Runic, ancient Mongolian etc. It is a 10m high granite rock on a hill. It is very strange for tourists having about 20 inscriptions on it. The rock has being protected by state since 1998.
Eastern Mongolia SPA
Imagine the verdant grasslands that covered the great plains of eastern Europe a thousand years ago or North America two hundred years ago-a place with few inhabitants, and no fences, roads, or livestock. Established in part to protect habitat for the Mongolian gazelle, the Eastern Mongolia Protected Area covers a representative part of the last of the great plain ecosystems. The Eastern Mongolia protected area is home to 25 species of mammal, dominated by herds of Mongolian gazelle. Wolves, corsac and red fox, and badger all occur here. Birds include the endangered great bustard, a game bird that has been hunted close to extinction. Steppe eagles, upland buzzards, kites, and the rough-legged harrier all nest in the reserve. Two species of amphibian, including the endangered Asiatic grass frog, and five reptiles live here.
Khukh Nuur or the Blue Lake is said to be the site where Temuujin was crowned as Chinggis Khaan in 1206. There is a small plaque that marks the coronation spot, which some say was attended by 100,000 soldiers.
Baldan Bereibun monastery considered as one of the three largest monasteries in Mongolia was built in 1777 with more than 1,500 lamas at one time. The monastery architecturally resembles the famous Utai Gumbun monastery in Tibet.
Mount Burkhan Khaldun is a remote mountain, known as God’s Hill in the Khentii range is one of the sites mooted as the burial place of Chinggis Khaan. Over 800 burial sites have been found in the region, though the main tomb has yet to be located.
Khalkh Gol - History comes to life at Khalkh Gol, the battlefield during 1939 between Mongolian and Soviet Russian allied forces and Japanese troops.
Dornod Mongol Biosphere Reserve or the Mongol Daguur Strictly Protected Area, uninhabited by humans extends for over 200 km along the Chinese border. It boasts 226 species of birds, including the endangered whooper swam, relict gull, mandarin duck, and great bustard inhabit the protected area. The protected area is home to 36 mammals, including roe deer, Mongolian gazelle, red fox, raccoon, and wolf. Established in part to protect the habitat for the Mongolian white- tailed gazelle (Procapra guttarosa) the area covers a representative part of the last great plain ecosystems where herds between 300,000 to 1 million Mongolian white-tailed gazelle roam the steppes.
Numrog Stroctly Protected Area has the Manchurian flora and fauna ecologically distinct from rest of Mongolia. The protected area, with high biological diversity, is home to 44 mammals, 234 species of birds, 24 fish, 3 reptiles and 4 amphibians. Rare Usurian moose, black-naped oriole and great black water snake and the endangered hooded crane and Houbara bustard are found here along with otter, brown bear, lynx and wild boar.
The Buir Lake, the largest lake in the eastern Mongolia stretching 40 kilometers is an important local fishing site where Amur carp, mirror carp. Amur grayling, lenok, khadary, burbot, whitefish, and others are found in abundance.
Huh Nuur (Blue lake) is the lowest point in Mongolia, 554 meters above sea level. The beautiful rivers of Khalkha and Numrug and Buir Nuur lake all boast rich bird life.
Sukhbaatar aimag has more 220 dead volcanoes, lakes, sand dunes, and ancient stone monuments. Friendly Dariganga is where the sand dunes of the Gobi and the grassy plains of the northern steppe converge. There are dozens of stone figurines, the origins of which are yet to be discovered, close to ALTAN OVOO, a wide crater topped where only men are allowed to visit. Originally Batsagaan stupa was erected on top of the mountain in 1820. According to local tradition, you should place an offering of food in the cup held in the statue’s left hand. There are also three balbals known as the king, the queen and the prince, in the north edge of town, near some hay sheds.
Mount Shiliin Bogd (1,778 m) is the highest peak in Sukhbaatar aimag. The locals believe that the spirit of a man who climbs it especially at sunrise will be revived by the sacred volcano. The region is isolated yet stunning in so many ways. En routceto Shillin Bogd there is the statue of Tooroi Bandi, the ‘Robin Hood0 of Mongolia who stole horses of local Manchurian occupants and hid them in the mountain.
Taliin Agui or the Steppe Cave is one of the largest caves in Mongolia with seven chambers to explore, the entrance of which is covered with ice till August. There are six lakes in the vicinity of Dariganga all of which are part of the 28,000 ha of Ganga Nuur Nature Reserve. Ganga lake is the gathering ground for thousands of migrating swans from the start of August to end of October.