Popular Destinations in Mongolia
Capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar is nestled in the Tuul River valley. The city is the political and cultural center of Mongolia. Formerly a nomadic Buddhist center, Ulaanbaatar became a permanent settlement in the 18th century. In the 20th century, Soviet control of the city led to a significant religious purge. Visitors will find here an array of Soviet-era buildings, monasteries, and towering skyscrapers. Genghis Khaan (Sukhbaatar) Square, is lined with statues of Mongolian leaders, is emblematic of the city of Ulaanbaatar. Major landmarks in Ulaanbaatar are Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Winter Palace of the Bogd Khan, Choijin Lama Temple, Zaisan Memorial, Government Palace, Dashchoilin Monastery, Central Cultural Palace, Botanical Garden, and Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral. Nature lovers can explore the nearby Bogd Khan Uul National Park and Gorkhi Terelj National Park. For panoramic views of the city and mountains, visitors must head to Zaisan Hill. Ulaanbaatar is lined with several state-of-the-art museums such as Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum, International Intellectual Museum, Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, Ulaanbaatar City Museum, and Mongolian Theatre Museum. Especially noteworthy is the National Museum of Mongolia which traces the country’s heritage and displays historic and ethnographic artefacts.
The Gobi Desert is the fifth largest desert on the planet, and spreads across Southern Mongolia as well as China. It is among the most unusual desert landscapes. The Gobi Desert is a haven for nature lovers. The major highlight here are the fascinating singing dunes- Khongoryn Els. These sand dunes extend up to the foot of Altai Mountains range and span 965 square kilometres. The Gobi Desert is covered mostly by rocky outcrops and gravel plains.
Situated in central Mongolia, southeast of Ulaanbaatar, the Orkhon Valley (Cultural Landscape) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UNESCO site encompasses a vast area on both banks of the Orkhon River and includes several 6th century archaeological remains. The valley has long been considered a sacred homeland by steppe peoples who historically placed their capitals here. Uighur, Turkish, Sogdian, and Chinese inscriptions from the region, from the 8th and 9th centuries suggest that the area had become a flourishing centre of the cultures of all the people who lived here. Karakorum, a major stop along the Silk Route and capital of Mongol Emperors Genghis Khan and Ogodei Khan, is located in the valley. A hidden gem, Orkhon Valley’s many historical attractions add to the pristine natural surroundings. Major landmarks in Orkhon Valley are Ruins of Khar Balgas, Xanadu Palace, Erdene Zuu Monastery, Tuvkhun Hermitage, Mongol Palace, and Ulaan Tsutgalan waterfall.