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Mongolia is Asia's last frontier. An enormous country where a lack of development has kept it refreshingly pure - you could drive for days across its vast landscape without seeing a fence or even a paved road. The emptiness of the land has kept Mongolians nomadic; each season shepherds pack up their belongings on sturdy camels and follow their herds toward greener pastures. Steppe hospitality requires an open door policy; travelers are welcome to visit any ger (yurt) as they make their way across the mountains and deserts. The Gobi, littered with dinosaur fossils, remote canyons and thousands of shaggy two-humped camels, is the country's ...

Mongolia is Asia's last frontier. An enormous country where a lack of development has kept it refreshingly pure - you could drive for days across its vast landscape without seeing a fence or even a paved road. The emptiness of the land has kept Mongolians nomadic; each season shepherds pack up their belongings on sturdy camels and follow their herds toward greener pastures. Steppe hospitality requires an open door policy; travelers are welcome to visit any ger (yurt) as they make their way across the mountains and deserts. The Gobi, littered with dinosaur fossils, remote canyons and thousands of shaggy two-humped camels, is the country's best known destination. Lake Khovsgol, little sister to Siberia's Lake Baikal, is another magical place surrounded by high peaks and game-filled forests. Mountains, glaciers and icy lakes are the predominant feature of western Mongolia, where the minority Kazakh people still hunt using eagles to catch prey. Little known eastern Mongolia looks like Montana circa 1850. It was here that a boy named Temujin grew up to be the world's greatest conqueror - Ghengis Khan. Make your way to Mongolia in mid-July when nomads converge on villages to participate in the ancient Naadam festival, featuring wrestling, horse racing and archery.

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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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Asia, Central Asia, while the northern rim of historical Mongolia extends into North Asia. It is a landlocked country bordering with Russia at the north and with the People's Republic of China at the south.
  • Language: Mongolian
  • Currency: Togrog
  • Research: Mongolia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight