Find out everything about visiting in Khuvsgul Lake Mongolia National Park – history, places to visit and travel, tourists Ger camps and tours.
The Khuvsgul Lake, ‘Blue Pearl’ as Mongolians call it venerating, is the biggest lake in Mongolia. It is located in the Northern Province, Khuvsgul on the southern region of the Eastern Sayan Mountain chain bordering with Russia. The Eastern Sayan Mountian range rises to over 3400m above sea level. Its highest peak of Munkh Saridag is 3491m above sea level. The Lake is 136km long and approximately 20-40 km wide, with its maximum depth 262,4m. About 70,000km2 lands, including Khuvsgul Lake became a National Park in 1992. Its biodiversity is huge, which will compile up numerous books and studies.
Khuvsgul Lake Geology
The region of Khuvsgul is said to have glaciation of the Middle and Late Pleastocene. It wide spread in the northern and western parts of the Horidol Saridag Mountains and its surrounding area. According to geologists, the Khuvsgul Lake was formed about 4-5 million years ago, becoming southern boundary of the Baikal Rift System which was formed following the collision between the Eurasian Continent and the Sub-continent of India. The south and southwestern regions of the lake’s watershed is covered with majorly carbonates (limestone, dolomite) with phosphorite deposits of Vendian-Early Cambrian.
There are some small alkaline rocks and sub-alkaline olivine basalts, a dark-colored, porphyritic volcanic rock, of Paleozoic in the same area. The northern and southern shores of the Lake contain ophiolites of Late Riphean, igneous turbidite deposits from Vendian-Early Paleozoic and granitoids of Paleozoic era, while the northeastern shore is composed of sediments related to Early Precambrian and Late Riphean-Early Paleozoic eras, such as granitoids and olivine basalts.
The water of the Khuvsgul Lake is characterized as fresh and as well as carbonate-rich alkaline lake water, which is the result of its extensive dolomite sedimentary rock layers. The water also contains the concentration of phosphorus. Anyhow, the Khuvsgul Lake is the biggest freshwater lake, which is 60% of the freshwater of Mongolia, generated by many small rivers and only river that outflows from the lake is called Eg River, which is a tributary of Selenge River, goes to the Lake Baikal.
Khuvsgul Lake Wildlife
There are numerous lagoons around the lake which become home for many migratory and epidemic birds and fishes, that is, the number is too much to mention here. Not only lagoons, but also forest, forest edge, meadows and shoreline. Wherever you go there are enough birds to watch for someone who loves birds. There are 4 islands namely Modon Khui, Khadan Khui, Dalain Khui and Baga Khui in the middle of the lake, which are worshiped by local people. The Lake and those islands are greatly venerated and worshiped by local people, as well as all Mongolians. You will find many Ovoos (establishment of piled rocks and woods with stripes of cottons or khadag), which usually built by Shamans.
Things to do in Khuvsgul lake Mongolia
For any tourist, hiking is a priority, of course. You can hike alongside the lakeshore, but also you can hike up to the mountains. There are several mountains you can climb, such as Horidol Saridag and its highest peak Munkh Saridag and any other mountains. From there you will enjoy a better look of the lake and surrounding. As you climb up in the forestry mountain you might encounter with wild animals. For instance squirrel, red deer, corsac fox, or any other wild mammals. You might just hear them howling, chewing or pecking. Just don’t wander around alone as you might lose your way and get lost in the wood.
There is a village called Khatgal is located on the southern shore of Khuvsgul Lake. It is the point where tourist camps started to be settled alongside lake shores throughout the lake. This might be the most packed tourist place among the other ones. The good thing is you can do every kind of activities with help of them. You can rent a bike from one of the camps and ride around the lake. Alternatively, you can find a horse to ride around too. Boat service is also easy to find when there are not too many domestic and foreign tourists. In the northern shores some reindeer herders Tsaatan come down to the lake from their high land of forest. They present their own culture with reindeers and teepees, which is a must-see display for any tourist.
Sukhbaatar Navy Ship
An interesting history about the Khuvsgul Lake is that, once we used to transport people and goods on a ship through the Selenge River and Orkhon River, as well as the Khuvsgul Lake in 20th century, cooperating with the Soviet Union merchants. The one evidence of it is a Sukhbaatar ship, which is now being used for tourist matter. Moreover you can have a chance to travel on the ship board.
When to Visit Khovsgol Lake
You can visit the Khuvsgul Lake almost any time of year since there are places to stay nearby. But it would be enjoyable if you visit around warm July and August. Winter is not too cold and harsh. However still it gets cold enough to freeze the whole lake completely around December. Ice stays until April or May. Therefore local authority organizes Ice Festival yearly in February or March depending on the climate of the respective year.