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WESTERN MONGOLIA

Western Mongolia is a region in Mongolia covering the provinces (or Aimags) of Bayan-Ölgii, Hovd, Uvs, and Zavkhan. It is the most remote region of the country with paved roads from the capital, Ulaanbaatar, ending 320 km (200 miles) before reaching the eastern most point of Zavkhan. It is also the most ethnically diverse, mountainous, and scenic region of Mongolia, with thousands of years of history. The region is home to the Kazakhs, a Muslim tribe from near the Caspian Sea, and Oirats, or western Mongols, which can be divided into 10 different tribes, as well as Khalkhs, or eastern Mongols. In addition to the ethnic diversity, the region is home to the Altai Mountain Range, with the highest peaks in Mongolia, Lake Uvs, a large saltwater lake, and many smaller lakes, mountains, rivers, forests, and steppe. Spread throughout the region are countless archeological sites with petroglyphs, cave paintings, standing stone monuments, monasteries, and ancient forts that date back as far as 10,000 years.

 

UVS PROVINCE

Uvs province is located on western side of Mongolia. It is famous for its sea buckthorn. It covers 69585 square km area. Its travel destinations are following as:

Uvs Lake

Uvs Lake is a highly saline lake in an endorheic basin – Uvs Lake Basin in Mongolia with a small part in Russia. It is the largest lake in Mongolia by surface area, covering 3,350 km² at 759 m above sea level. The northeastern tip of the lake is situated in the Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation. The largest settlement near the lake is Ulaangom. This shallow and very saline body of water is a remainder of a huge saline sea which covered a much larger area several thousand years ago.

Uvs Lake has a length of 84 km and a width of 79 km, with an average depth of 6 m. Its basin is separated from the rest of the Great Lakes Depression by the Khan Khökhii ridge. However, it is not a rift lake as some mistakenly think.

The main feeding rivers are the Baruunturuun, Nariin gol, and Tes (primary feed of the lake) from Khangai Mountains in the east, and the Kharkhiraa River and Sangil gol from the Altai Mountains in the west. 29 different species of fish are known from Uvs Lake. All of the lake and many parts of its surroundings have been declared protected sites. The UNESCO is using the designation “Uvs Lake site” as an umbrella term to summarize twelve separate clusters of protected sites, each a representative of a major eastern Eurasian biome.

The Uvs Lake is the terminal basin for the Uvs Lake Basin, which covers an area of 70,000 km² and represents one of the best-preserved natural steppe landscapes of Eurasia. The border between Mongolia and Russia runs through the northern periphery of the basin. Here the world’s most northern desert meets the world’s most southern tundra zone. Apart from the Uvs Lake, the basin comprises several smaller lakes. As these lakes lie to the north of other inland seas of Central Asia, they are of key importance for waterfowl migration.

Since the basin spans the geoclimatic boundary between Siberia and Central Asia, temperatures may vary from −58 °C in winter to 47 °C in summer. Despite its harsh climate, the depression is home to 173 bird species and 41 mammal species, including the globally endangered snow leopardargali, and Asiatic ibex. The population density is low here. The lack of industry and the reliance of the inhabitants on traditional ways such as nomadic pasturing have little impact on the landscape and allow the ecosystem to remain relatively pristine.

In 2003, the UNESCO listed the Uvs Lake Basin as a natural World Heritage Site. It was nominated as “one of the largest intact watersheds in Central Asia where 40,000 archeological sites can be found from historically famous nomadic tribes such as the Scythians, the Turks and the Huns.” This transboundary patrimony is one of the largest sites inscribed in the World Heritage List to date.

Travel tips:

  • Here you may stay at Mongolian ger. Mongolian ger’s door can be short for tall people. When you enter into ger, be careful with totgo \the top side of door\. You may need to bow preventing hitting your head on the top of door.
  • Do not step on threshold
  • According to Mongolian custom, men sit on the right side and women sit on the east side of ger. But guests can sit on the right side.
  • It is prohibited to sit like squatting, cross legged, arms crossed and leg crossed and bouncing in ger
  • Once you are served with milk tea or meal, take it by your right hand from the housewife. Taking and giving anything by right hand show respect in Mongolia.
  • Don’t take and give anything between pillars.
  • Don’t step on lasso pole

KHUVSGUL PROVINCE

This province is named after its famous lake, Khuvsgul. It is considered as Mongolian sixth largest province with its 100,629 square km. Because of its beautiful nature and exotic destinations, it has become one of the famous travel destinations. Its top travel destinations are as follow:

KHUVSGUL LAKE

Khuvsgul Lake (Lake Khövsgöl) is one of the top tour destinations of Mongolia. Khovsgol Lake is located in the northwest of Mongolia near the border to Russia, at the foot of the eastern Sayan Mountains.

In northern Mongolia, where the Central Asian Steppe meets the Siberian Taiga, Lake Huvsgul National Park preserves a place of outstanding and pristine beauty. It has long been regarded as “Blue Pearl of Mongolia”. Lake Huvsgul is one of 17 ancient lakes worldwide and is variously estimated between 2 and 5 million years old.  This exceptionally pristine lake is 136 km long, 20-40 km wide, and up to 260 m deep; it contains nearly 70% of all fresh water in Mongolia. The only outlet river Eg flows to the Selenge River that connects Lake Baikal with Lake Huvsgul. They are sister lakes.
In 1992, this stunning landscape were set aside as Lake Huvsgul National Park.
In 2011, the whole territory of park was expanded to 1.180.270 hectares when the upper headwaters of the Uur River were made a part of the park. In recent years, this spectacular landscape of water and mountains that is sacred to so many has become the destination of more and more travelers, from all around Mongolia and beyond.

THE ENVIRONMENT

Among 68 species of mammals, the Park is home to marmots, argali or wild sheep, ibex, brown bear, wolf, wolverine, fox, Siberian moose, sable, roe deer, and perhaps even the snow leopard. Most of the 244 bird species visit to the park every summer, migrate long distances between their nesting grounds here and warmer winter refuges in distant countries. Because of cold winter climate dominates the park area that is too harsh environment for most of the bird species to stay all year around in the region. Park visitors often see eagles, kites, swans, cranes, and a wide variety of ducks and songbirds.
Approximately 800 species of trees and plants have been found in the Lake Khuvsgul basin.
The landscape around Lake Khuvsgul region is one of jagged mountains and taiga forests.
Snow-capped peaks of two wonderful mountain ranges look down on the Lake.  The Burenkhaan mountain range borders with Russia on the northern edge and contains the highest peak in the national park, called Munkh Saridag peak (3491m) in Burenkhaan Mountain range.
The Park includes the complete Lake Khuvsgul basin and contains the transition zone between the Central Asian Steppe comprised of forests and grasslands and the Siberian Taiga, which is dominated by forests of larch underlain with permafrost.
Lake Khuvsgul has been the home of nomadic pastoralists for thousands of years. Their lifestyles represent some of the most enduring traditions of Mongolia. Because the harsh climate, which is dominated by long and very cold winter, severely limits agriculture, semi-nomadic herding remains a dominant way of life. Herders and their animals, reindeers, sheep, goats, cattle, yaks and horses, have long been part of the ecosystem in and around the Park.
Hundreds of Bronze-Age ritual mounds and deer stones are found throughout the region, symbolizing a cultural history that witnessed the transition from early forms of worship and sacrifice to Shamanism- an oldest religious belief on earth, strongly guided by a reverence for nature that is still practiced in this remote area by Dukha-Darkhad tribe. Mongolians call as a “Tsaatan”, means “The Reindeer Herders”
The Lake Khuvsgul National Park offers great variety of leisure or sport activities and types of tours, that are nature sightseeing and study excursions, camping, all sorts of hiking and climbing, horse riding and trekking, biking, boating, kayaking.

Guided horse trips are offered and range from a few hours short rides to multi days of horse trekking to the most parts of the park and into more remote wilderness.
Travel around Lake Huvsgul on bicycle is becoming more popular each year.
Adventure-seeking visitors can rent or bring their own mountain bikes for multi-day travel in the park.

Travel tips:

  • Here, you will visit to Tsaatan family. Tsaatan people are minority ethnicity in Mongolia. Be prepared to enter brand new environment.
  • There you may have an opportunity to ride a reindeer. Follow Tsaatan people’s guidelines quite well and be careful while riding.

ALTAI TAVAN BOGD NATIONAL PARK

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park has some of the most stunning scenery in all of Mongolia with towering snowcapped mountains, glaciers, deep lush valleys, and large lakes. The park is divided into 2 regions, the Tavan Bogd Mountains in the northwest and the Lakes Region to the southeast. The park stretches along the Chinese border from the Russian border to 200 km south following the Altai Mountains, which form the borders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Glacial melt and annual snow fall supplies 3 large lakes inside the park that form the head waters of the Hovd River.
Tavan Bogd Mountains are the highest mountains in Mongolia, with Khuiten Uul (‘Cold Peak’) at 4374 m (14,201 ft) being the highest. These permanently snowcapped mountains form a bowl around the Potanin Glacier, which covers 23 square km. The other peaks are Nairamdal (‘Friendship’, 4180 m), Malchin (‘herder’, 4050 m), Bürged (‘Eagle’, 4068 m) and Olgii (‘Craddle’, 4050 m). From the peak of Khuiten Uul, it is possible to see Kazakhstan 30 km away on a clear day.
Lakes Region is a beautiful area surrounding 3 large fresh water lakes. Khurgan Nuur and Khoten Nuur are attached by a small channel with a many small creeks flowing into the lakes from surrounding mountains. Two of these creeks form waterfalls of 7 to 10 m in height. A small bridge crosses the channel. These lakes are full of fish and many species of bird. Dayan Nuur is a smaller lake 20 km south of the 2 larger lakes.

Travel tips:

  • Be careful when you hike through Altai Tavan Bogd mountain