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Northern Mongolia is a rugged region with wide rivers, snow-capped peaks and idyllic valleys. With a week or two up your sleeve, get out in the backwoods for some great hiking, camping and fishing opportunities. But the real draw is the chance to see Mongolian nomads in action: herding sheep, moving camps and taming their half-wild horses. Travelers can easily get a taste of local life by dropping in on nomad families while crossing the rugged landscape. The region is also home to several minority groups, including the Tsaatan, a small clan that lives in simple tepees and raises reindeer. The Tsaatan live deep in the mountains beyond the ...

Northern Mongolia is a rugged region with wide rivers, snow-capped peaks and idyllic valleys. With a week or two up your sleeve, get out in the backwoods for some great hiking, camping and fishing opportunities. But the real draw is the chance to see Mongolian nomads in action: herding sheep, moving camps and taming their half-wild horses. Travelers can easily get a taste of local life by dropping in on nomad families while crossing the rugged landscape. The region is also home to several minority groups, including the Tsaatan, a small clan that lives in simple tepees and raises reindeer. The Tsaatan live deep in the mountains beyond the Darkhad Depression and it can take several days to reach them on horseback. Travelers with less time on their hands usually head for glorious Lake Khovsgol, an enormous alpine lake said to contain 2% of the world’s fresh water. The lake and the mountains around it are perfect for a few days of swimming, fishing, hiking and camping. You don’t have to completely rough it — ger camps and lodges near the lake offer meals and basic accommodation. A second essential stop in the region is Amarbayasgalant Khiid, a spectacular Buddhist monastery and last resting place for the fabled monk Zanabazar.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to September