Central Mongolia was the heart of the Great Mongol Empire. The vast grasslands of Central Mongolia is where the first official capital, Karakorum, was founded in the 13th century. This place was home to ancient people who engraved rocks and deer stones to document their lifestyle.
Wonder of Volcano – Khorgo Volcano
Academics have proven that Khorgo was a volcano that erupted twice 9 million years ago and became dormant. Khorgo volcano, 2240 meters above sea level, is the youngest of all the volcanoes in the country. Its pre-historic lava flowed 100 km to the east of the mountain, and to the Suman and Chuluut rivers. The crater slopes at about 50 degrees, its depth is about 100 meters, and its diameter is 300-400 meters. Inside the crater you may see large stones, the size of tables and chairs. Between the trapped stones of the Khorgo Mountain, small cedar trees are growing with plenty of cedar nuts and berries. There are caves too. Three dormant volcanoes Bosgo, Khyar, and Suga are located 20 km from the Khorgo Mountain. The Bosgo crater has a crack on its northwest side, and has a lake at its bottom. A rare type of diamond was found near a clay mountain in the area of Khorgo.
A must-see place for those who want to walk the trails of the Mongolian Empire’s glory and fall, is the Orkhon Valley Protected area. The Ulaan Tsutgalan Waterfall, ruins of Karakorum built in 1220 by Chinggis Khaan, Erdenezuu monastery and its 108 stupas, Chuluut river Canyon, Taikhar Chuluu Giant Rock, Tuvkhun monastery on top of a mountain (you’ll need to hike 600 meters to reach it!) — are all located along the Orkhon River. The valley is 360 km from Ulaanbaatar. For thousands of years, this area was the center of powerful empires. A stone statue with inscriptions dedicated to Bilge Khan of the Turkic Empire is the oldest remaining relic that proves their history. Once you’re in the soum center, you can visit the Karakorum Museum that contains excellent artifacts such as the king’s crown, gold, and silver crafts found in this area.
Natural Heritage of Humanity — Orkhon Valley
Khuisiin Naiman Nuur (Eight Lakes)
Khuisyn Naiman Nuur Lake is located 2400 above sea level and situated in the middle of Khangai Mountain range, 115km from central town Arvaikheer of Uvurkhangai province. In the result of magmatic activities and volcanic eruptions which occurred in the beginning of the Paleozoic era and late Carboniferous to early Mesozoic era, the Lake was created. Moreover, Khuisiin Naiman Nuur is located in front of northern area of the Khangai Mountain and covered with magmatic and igneous rocks. There are several extinct volcanoes in the surrounding mountainous area.
Natural Spa Tsenkher Hot Spring
Mineral and hot springs have been an important part of Mongolian traditional medicine. There are springs that heal and others for relaxation. The Tsenkher hot springs are located in the Arkhangai province at an altitude of 1850 meters above sea level. By the time you count to one, the spa effuses 10 liters of water. The water comes from deep reaching up to 90 degrees Celsius. There are a number of tourist camps in the area.
Heaven of Birds – Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake
Locals says some visitors who came to the eastern shore of this lake gasp, “look at that huge lake” and so it was named terkhiin tsagaan nuur (huge white lake). A small island in the lake is inhabited by birds that build their nests and lay their eggs. Black geese and seagulls dive at depths of up to 5 meters to catch pike. In 2011, CNN named Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake as one of the world’s best tourist destinations. The lake is surrounded by the khangai mountain range and more than 10 rivers, including the Terkh , pour into the lake while Suman river flows out.
Ugii lake - Rich Wildlife
Ugii Lake is a freshwater lake and situated in 25km southwest of Ugii nuur soum of Arkhangai province. It precisely lies in the foothill piedmont at the northern flank of the Hangay Mountains and belonged to the Orkhon River basin. This beautiful lake is not that big, covering 2570 hectare land with a maximum water depth of 15.3m. A tributary of the lake is Old Orkhon River, which generates most of the lake water.
Khugnu Khan – Elsen Tasarkhai
Khugnu Khan Nature Reserve is located in 250kms west of Ulaanbaatar. It was being protected as a natural reserve by the state since in 1997 and formed as a national park in 2003. The national park has unique landscape that shows gobi desert, mountain steppe and forest steppe in such harmonized view. Khugnu Khan Nature Reserve covers 84,390 hectare land. It is comprised of Khugnu Khan Mountain range and Elsen tasarkhai (locals call it ‘mini-gobi’) which is a part of the Ikh Mongol sand dunes stretches through 80km with width of 5km.
Good to Know
Best months to visit
May to October
Horse trekking, trekking, biking, kayaking and yak riding
Flora & Fauna
Siberian larch, cider and pine trees
Tours to the Central Mongolia
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