Things to do in Mongolia

Unusual Attractions in Mongolia

Are you planning to visit Mongolia soon? Here’s the list of 8 Unusual Attractions in Mongolia based on my experience of visiting this beautiful country.

Mongolia is yet another landlocked country in Central Asia. It is also one of the highest countries in the world with an average altitude of 1,580 meters above sea level. Surrounded by mountains, half of the population are known to be nomads where they camp on the grounds with no fence to protect them or their properties.

Back in 2015, my friend and I had the chance to explore this amazing country while cycling touring across the Gobi desert. Nomads are just incredible! We ran out of water a few times and without asking anything in return, they offered water, food, and even accommodation if we wanted to.

Mongolia has a special place in my heart and I will for sure coming back one day. Meanwhile, you may want to check these 8 Unusual Attractions in Mongolia.

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Never too far with a camera. Who has never wished to travel the world and bring fabulous pictures of his amazing journey? Roman started traveling at the age of 22 years old through Vietnam and Cambodia, the travel bug began, and since his hunger to see the world never stopped.

1. Explore Ulaanbaatar

discover Unlaan-Bataar

After taking a 30 hours long journey experience with the transiberian from Beijing to Ulaan-Baatar, we decided to stay few days in this incredible city. Ulaanbaatar has a population of 949,000, and it is the largest city. In fact, more than half of the population lives in the capital, and the rest is spread out everywhere else.

5 days in Ulaan-Baatar:

Day One: The Mongolian National Museum, Sukhanbaataar Square, Choijin Lama Monastery, the Winter Palace, the National Park, the new city, and Fat Cat Jazz Club by night.

Day Two: Day trip to Terelj National Park. Zaisan Hill, Chinggis Khan statue, Ariyaval Monastery, Drive around park, overnight in yurt.

Day Three: Transfer back to Ulaanbaatar in the morning, visit Gadengein Monastery in the afternoon, traditional show/ opera in the evening

Day Four: Trip to Hustai National Park to see the horses and other wildlife. This is a 4WD tour, with your guide driving the vehicle.

Day Five (optional): Costume Museum, Dinosaur Museum, souvenir shopping, another performance or stand-up comedy night.

You may also want to book your hotel in advance: Book your stay in Ulaan-Baatar.

2. Go horseback riding 

horse riding Mongolia

I know this doesn’t excite you much but I’m telling you, horseback riding in Mongolia is an exceptional experience. You’ll see how green this country is, you’ll cross rivers. You will also come across locals tending to their herds who will give you a genuine smile and warm welcome.

3- Stop by an Ovoo/Oboo

Stop by an Ovoo/Oboo

These are heaps of stones and wood piled on top of each other that you’ll frequently see by the mountains. While it may look like just a bare structure, they have a very special meaning to the Mongols. This is, in fact, a shrine used to honor spirits and Mother Earth. Stop by one and circle it three times for a safe journey. If you’re in a hurry, asking your driver to honk will suffice. 

4. Hike going to Aryabal Meditation Temple in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

Aryabal Meditation Temple in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

One of the best things to do in this park is to hike up this temple. This hidden in the mountains temple is located nearby Turtle Rock, 56 km away from Ulaanbaatar city. Surrounding areas attractions full of granite formation set among scenic valleys and hills with a winding river and groves of trees.

Aryabal is a Buddhist God who listens to all the prayers of humankind and releases humankind from suffering. It was built in the shape of an elephant’s head. The number 108 is an auspicious number in Buddhism. Therefore the stairs leading to the temple consist of 108 steps and symbolizes the elephant’s elongated trunk. Moreover, signs with 144 Buddhist teachings, written in English and Mongolian, lined the sides of the path to the temple.

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5. Stay with a nomadic family in a Ger or a Yurt

Yurt Mongolia

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to stay in the yurt in Mongolia. However, I met a few nomads in the Gobi desert that offered me to stay, but my friend and I were cycling and while bikepacking in the middle of the desert we needed to make sure that we would have enough food for next coming days. People in Mongolia are extremely welcoming and I am sure you will not have any problem finding someone to host you.

6-  Go stargazing

 Go stargazing Mongolia

You may have seen a few stars at home but you will never know how truly the sky looks until you come to Mongolia. I was astonished by it, and if it was not freezing cold at night, I would have probably sleep outside and stare at the sky all night. There is no pollution and that is the reason why the sky is so clear! You must add it to your bucket list right now and you can thanks me later.

7- Visit the Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

Elsen Tasarkhai Sand Dunes

More or less 300 kilometers west of Ulaanbaatar is this 80 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide desert where nomadic families strive and thrive. Here you’ll be surrounded by astonishing view– sand dunes, hills covered with bushes, and even a forest near the river. 

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8- Spend a few days at the Gobi Desert

This is one destination that you can’t miss when you visit Mongolia. Gobi Desert is so vast that it covers  2 countries– the northeastern part of China as well as Mongolia. This is the perfect place to just let your hair and your guard down and realize how little we are in this world but how big of an impact we can make. 

Youtube mongolia
Bikepacking mongolia checklist

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