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21 Reasons to Travel to MONGOLIA

1. MOST CAPTIVATING SUNRISES (AND SUNSETS ) IN THE WORLD

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Harukia Murakami, best-selling Japanese author

“Dawn in Mongolia was an amazing thing. In one instant, the horizon became a faint line suspended in the darkness, and then the line was drawn upward, higher and higher. It was as if a giant hand had stretched down from the sky and slowly lifted the curtain of night from the face of the earth. It was a magnificent sight, far greater in scale…than anything that I, with my limited human faculties, could fully comprehend.”

 

2. ITS THE HOME OF LIVING NOMADIC CULTURE

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Michael Kohn, Lonely Planet contributor

“Mongolia is an unspoiled wonder, a land where sand dunes sing, horses roam wild and nomadic herders greet strangers with open doors. Keep your itinerary flexible and expect the unexpected.”

 

 

3. THE VAST, UNTOUCHED STEPPE

 

Stanlye Stewart, British author of “In the Empire of Genghis Khan : A Journey Among Nomads”

“I waited half a lifetime for Mongolia only to arrive, fortuitously, at the moment I was bet equipped to appreciate it. Any older, I might have found five months in the saddle too arduous. Any younger and I would not have taken such pleasure in those innocent landscapes, in the grasslands’ wonderful solitudes, or in the rich hospitality of nomads. Now would I have understood Mongolia as a kind of homecoming.”

 

4. THE BIRTHPLACE OF CHINGGIS KHAN

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Jack Weatherford, author of “Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World”

“Chinggis did not leave a monument to himself. Temple, pyramid, palace, castle or canal, and even his grave was left unmarked in the remote area where he grew up and hunted as a boy. As he himself wished, his body could wither away so long as his great Mongolia nation lived – it is that nation today that is his monument.”

 

5. ITS A PLACE EVERYONE CAN EXPLORE THEIR IMAGINATION

 

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States of America

“I still haven’t been to Mongolia. I want to ride a horse across the Mongolian steppes and try to imagine what it was like to be in Genghis Khan’s horde.”

 

 

6. YOU CAN RECONNECT WITH NATURE WHILE CROSSING THE COUNTRY ON HORSEBACK

Tim Cope, author of “On the Trail of Genghis Khan : An Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads” about his 10,000 kms solo odyssey that took over three years or traveling from Mongolia to Hungary on horseback

“Feeling the air, in touch with the way the world works, aware of everything around you. In the wintertime you even realize when the days shorten by one or two minutes. If I’m in an apartment for a week I totally lose touch with what the moon’s doing, where the stars are, what the weather’s doing, and I start to lose my strength.”

 

 

7. IT DOESNT GET ANY WILDER THAN MONGOLIAN WILDLIFE

DSC00408Julia Roberts, Academy Award-winning actress

“For these horses to just be allowed to roam around and they don’t take off and leave… is kind of amazing. Everywhere in America you see animals and you also see fences. Here [in Mongolia] it’s really about love and respect that man gives to the animal that they all stay together.”

 

 

 

8. IT IS FULL OF UNEXPECTED ADVENTURES

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Andre Tolme, author of “I Golfed Across Mongolia” about the 12,170 shots it took to cover 1,200 miles in 90 days

“As I wander across this land, there is no doubt in my mind that golf must have originated there. The horses, goats and sheep keep the fairways mowed down to the perfect playable height. Every day is a sunny day (perfect for golf), and the marmot holes make perfect targets.”

 

9. MONGOLIANS ARE THE MOST HOSPITABLE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD

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Joe Rohde, Vice President of Creative at Walt Disney Imagineering

“No matter how much one reads about the tradition by which strangers are welcomed into a random Ger, it is remarkable to experience.”

 

 

10. FOR THE TRACES OF ANCIENT HISTORY – THAT STILL EXIST !

ruin of the uvgun temple

 

Ian Johnson, traveler

“To realize that Mongolia is, in many respects, unchanged from its historical period is a fascinating draw. How many other periods of history can you find reflected in an existing society ? Mongolia, to me, offers a picture of Living History.”

 

 

11. FOR THE SERENITY, AS THE VAST COUNTRYSIDE WILL LEAVE YOU SPEECHLESS

Caroline Moireaux, traveler circumnavigating the world on foot

“When I arrived at Mongolia’s border there was this small hill, really small. So you cross the border, go up this hill, and you see Mongolia. And I just stopped and said, ‘Wow. It was just like a big wave hitting me. I don’t have enough words, even in French, to explain what it is you feel when you enter Mongolia. There is a spirit here that’s so strong, it’s really amazing. The land is flat with one asphalt road and some mountains around – and you are just in this immensity.”

 

 

12. PRISTINE LAKE KHUVSGUL : THE BLUE PEARL OF MONGOLIA AND ONE OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST

Khovsgol lake

 

Lubomir Svoboda, scuba diving expert

“I was surprised to hear that it is possible to drink straight from the lake. A place like that is rare in this world.”

 

 

 

13.THE SINGING SAND DUNES, CAMELS AND SO MUCH MORE OF THE GOBI

Khongor sand dune

Thomas B.Allen, National Geographic

“Shaped by the wind into countless curves and bathed in countless shadows, the dune rose in marvellous mystery. Sand but not desert, high but not mountain, this ultimate dune towered well over 300 meter (1,000 feet); its slopes merged into an edge that gleamed like a blade. I climbed the knife-edge, breathing hard after a hundred yards because each step upward plunged my foot deeper into the fine sand. I felt as if I were struggling with the stuff of time in a giant hourglass. My footsteps faded away in a living metaphor of human passage upon this land.”

 

14. FOR THE ULTIMATE IN WILDLIFE WATCHING – NO MATTER IF YOU’RE A BIRD OR A BEAR LOVER

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Balazs Szigeti, birdwatcher

“From the endless Gobi desert to the slopes of the Altai mountains covered with beautiful evergreen forests, this country provides unspoilt scenery, stunning landscapes and a mouthwatering array of species.”

 

 

15. FOR ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST FESTIVALS – NAADAM FESTIVAL

Archery, Naadam festival

 

Carl Robinson, author of “Mongolia- Nomad Empire of Eternal Blue Sky”

“In a tradition dating back thousands of years, the three-day event features wrestling, archery and horse racing and ranks as Mongolia’s biggest public festival. Enthusiasm, rather than compulsion, now draws the crowds and everyone is in a cheery holiday mood with tourists.”

 

16. TO MEET LIVING EAGLE HUNTERS

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Craig Smith, photographer

“It isn’t a circus or a professional event. This is their tradition. They are proud of what they do, their culture and their heritage.”

 

 

17. SO YOU CAN STAY IN A HANDMADE GER WITH A LOCAL FAMILY

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Brigita Ferencak, fashion designer and traveler

“Is it too cold for us ? We turn the heater on. Is it too hot ? We bump up the air conditioning. If we need food, we go to the supermarket. If we need help, we ring all sorts of customer services. Out here you belong to the landscape. You must know how to maneuver it, when an how to move with the seasons and what to do with them. Helping each other out, neighborly support and community, means being embedded in this merciless nature with the precious gift of belonging-something that has been long lost in western cultures.”

 

18. TO SEE MODERNITY MEET ANCIENT HISTORY IN THE CAPITAL CITY ULAANBAATAR

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National Geographic Traveler

“Nearly half of Mongolia’s three million residents are nomads, and most of the rest live in Ulaanbaatar – the country’s capital and largest city. Its ten museums, close proximity to national parks, and collection of imperial palaces and Buddhist monasteries qualify Ulaanbaatar as a destination rather than way station.”

19. TO HEAR MONGOLIAN MONKS CHANT AT ONE OF THE SURVIVING BUDDHIST MONASTERIES

First Buddhist monastery, Erdenezuu

Suzanne Roberts, travel writer

“The walls are painted red and gold, and elaborate dragons wrap around each column. Some monks chant, while others play drums or blow into seashells. Devoted Mongolians bow their heads in reverence and clasp their hands in prayer. A high- ranking monk in the middle distributes the holy water by shaking a small amount into the air. The drum’s echo and the incense mingled with sweat create a trancelike atmosphere. I, too, bow my head in reverence to this amazing scene. ”

 

20. TO TRY THE SOUR TASTE OF HOMEMADE AIRAG (FERMENTED MARE’S MILK, A MONGOLIAN DELICACY)

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Adrienne Mayor, research scholar in Classic and History of Science, Stanford University

“The early European traveler William of Rubruck, who trekked across the steppes ca AD 1250, watched the same process : “As the nomads churn the milk it begins to ferment and bubble up like new wine. “He sampled the effervescent beverage and found it pungent and intoxicating. “Koumiss makes the inner man most joyful !”

 

 

21. BECAUSE IT WILL CHANGE YOU – FOREVER

A visit to nomad family

 

Liza F.Carter , author of “Moving with the Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family”

“While in Mongolia, I certainly explored new landscapes, but more importantly, I discovered new ways of seeing and being. Spending time with my Mongolian family recalibrated my internal scale to what I needed to have a happy life.”

About the Author
Uka is an freelance author who writes various articles about Mongolia travel. The aim of blogging is to provide insight into Mongolia and it's unique culture as well as travel tips. Hope you find it helpful !