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Mongolia’s wild west is a raw landscape of bare mountains, tumbling glaciers and shimmering desert lakes. It’s about as far off-the-beaten-path as you can get in Central Asia but anyone who makes the effort to come this way is rewarded with some spectacular landscapes and fascinating cultural encounters. The natural highlights are mostly found in Tavan Bogd National Park, bordered on one side by Russia and by China on the other. The park contains Mongolia’s highest peak, Tavan Bogd, scattered alpine lakes and ancient petroglyphs (rock art). The ethnic Kazakhs who live in the park herd their livestock to the high pastures in summer. In winter ...

Mongolia’s wild west is a raw landscape of bare mountains, tumbling glaciers and shimmering desert lakes. It’s about as far off-the-beaten-path as you can get in Central Asia but anyone who makes the effort to come this way is rewarded with some spectacular landscapes and fascinating cultural encounters. The natural highlights are mostly found in Tavan Bogd National Park, bordered on one side by Russia and by China on the other. The park contains Mongolia’s highest peak, Tavan Bogd, scattered alpine lakes and ancient petroglyphs (rock art). The ethnic Kazakhs who live in the park herd their livestock to the high pastures in summer. In winter its possible to watch local eagle hunters in action, men who use trained eagles to hunt for fox, wolf and rabbit. Like Mongols, the many Kazakhs lead a nomadic existence and lucky travelers should have many opportunities to experience life with a nomad family. Western Mongolia also contains the Great Lakes Basin, an arid landscape of fresh and salt water lakes that attract all manner of waterfowl. It’s a fine region for camping, especially around Uureg Nuur which always has a few nomad camps by the lakeshore.

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:

    May to September