lanterns 1043416 1920 80x80 - Destination: Mongolia
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Dancing at a Naadam - Destination: Mongolia


Blessed with huge horizons from the Gobi Desert to the Altai Mountains, Mongolia is the place for anyone who values a bit of personal space. Almost devoid of fences, roads or even towns, the best thing to do here is to hire a horse (or its equivalent, the 4WD) and set off on an epic trip across the grasslands. And just when you think you have reached the middle of nowhere, a herder will appear on horseback looking like a foot soldier from the time of Genghis Khan, to greet you like a long-lost friend and invite you back to his ger (yurt). For anyone seeking untouched, vast landscapes, Mongolia rewards with a timeless sense of space and freedom that’s simply intoxicating.

Best time visit

June to September

Top things to see

  • The Naadam festival, a traditional annual sporting contest featuring horse races, archery competitions and traditional wrestling
  • Khovsgol Nuur, a spectacular and pristine sub-Siberian lake
  • Altai Tavan Bond National Park, home to snowcapped peaks, sparkling blue lakes and Kazakh eagle hunters
  • The ruined ancient Mongol capital of Karakorum and the nearby Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Eden Zuu Khiid
  • Ulaanbaatar, one of the world’s strangest capital cities, where modern nomadic lifestyles collide

Top things to do

  • Conjure up the spirit of Genghis Khan by galloping on horseback across open grasslands
  • Spot gazelles, argali sheep, ibex and even reindeer in the country’s epic and endless wilderness
  • Gaze up mat the incredible ceiling of stars almost anywhere in the country

From Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country of the World

Lonely Planet Travel Book 1 - Destination: Mongolia

Main image by Bernd Thaller, Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0)