For long just a short stopover on the journey from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-Mongolian Express, Mongolia is emerging as a destination in its own right. For those seeking a bit of adventure and who crave the outdoor life, Mongolia holidays are a dream. Head out into the unspoilt wilderness with just your fellow travellers and a few nomads for company.
Whether you arrive by train or by air, Ulaanbaatar will be the starting point of your Mongolia holidays. Amongst the mishmash of Soviet architecture and Buddhist monasteries, glass tower blocks, international restaurants and shopping malls are beginning to develop. Check out the largest monastery in Ulaanbaatar, Gandan, before heading out into vast steppes, the evocative Gobi Desert and snow-capped mountains.
Mongolia is an unspoilt haven for adventurers. From unending steppe and taiga to enormous lakes and the rocky landscapes of glorious national parks such as Terelj, hikers and ramblers will revel in the sun-blasted vistas and fascinating geological formations. There’s no better place to stretch your legs after a long week on the Trans-Mongolian from Moscow.
Travel by jeep to reach national parks where you can trek or ride a horse through the unspoilt natural beauty. Cross the lunar landscape of the Gobi Desert and check out the cliffs where dinosaur fossils were discovered.
The memory of Genghis Khan is alive and well in Mongolia so ensure you visit the monks in the walled compound of Erdene Zuu monastery, close to his ancient capital of Karakorum. Staying in a ger, the traditional dwelling, is all part of the experience.
Taking time to go beyond the obligatory tourist sites of Ulaanbaatar and delve deeper into this vibrant city. Head out to the 3rd District to explore the long strip of shops, restaurants and bars, or jump into a taxi and head out to the sprawling “Black Market,” where one can find all manner of goods at the cheapest prices this side of the Great Wall. As the sun sets the city boasts literally hundreds of nightspots, from cosy restaurants and cafes to insalubrious bars and cavernous night clubs; there is something for everyone!
For those seeking culture on their holiday to Mongolia, try and catch a performance at the National Opera and Ballet Theatre, or head to one of the many museums which credit the city.
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