The Gandantegchinlen Monastery is the main religious center in the country. This Tibetan Buddhist monastery was founded in the beggining of 19th century and still functions a place of worship - that why it is really woth visiting! Gandan Monastery functioned until 1937, when the communists closed all the temples in the country. Most of the monastery buildings were destroyed, only few survived. Buddhism was reborn after the end of communism in 1990.
In a monastery you can meet old monks as well as the young boys learning to be monastics.
Everyone should visit the monastery clockwise, do not move backwards or walk chaotically on the temples.
The exhibits here about Mongolia's flora and fauna are exquisite and very comprehensive. There are many history and geography lessons to be learnt in this museum as well. I discovered quite a few things here in this museum.
The most impressive display must be the complete dinosaur skeletons found in the Gobi Desert - the meat-eating Tarbosaurus, 15m tall and weighing 5 tons and the plant-eating Saurolophus, 8m tall.
The museum is old and a little dingy but it has that old museum smell and atmosphere. Very nice.
The museum contains very interesting exhibits of, what else, Mongolian History.
The ground floor displays the cultural items related to Mongolia, the ger, farming implements, horse saddles, musical instruments, items related to Buddhism.
The second floor is wonderful. It contains the traditional costumes and head-gears from the various minority groups of Mongolia. All very interesting.
The third floor is, to me, a little boring, mainly historical photos, documents, etc...
Better to spend more time at the first two floors at the visual displays.
I don't even know where to start. Best experience of my life. I was a little intimidated and reluctant to visit the village next to our "fancy" hotel but as my mother always told me just act like you own it and pretend you belong there; even though we didn't. However, the Mongolian people were so wonderful. Luck would have it that our horse guide from earlier in the day recognized us and then all was GREAT!!! He went and gathered up a couple of friends, his girlfriend and asked them to open up their disco early just for us.
The horses are tiny but are sturdy and strong. For around $4 an hour in Terelj National Park, you have a guide and a horse. There were 2 of us on this trek and I got too scared and turned around. So, my boyfriend and the guide went on the ride. I am glad I tried it but was more happy that I wasn't hindering my boyfriend having a really good ride with the guide.
Inserted in the heart of Ulaanbatar city is a busy and yet peacefull monastery where you can relac and appreciate the local activity and seeing monks chanting and creating Mandalas (Buddhist Universes) with coloured sand.
A generation ago there were still camels on the streets of Ulaanbaatar. Now the streets are clogged by top-of-the-range offroad vehicles – Hummers, Landcruisers, Range Rovers – and the city centre is expanding steadily upwards as more and more highrise steel-and-glass buildings appear. The "old" Mongolia can still be found outside Ulaanbaatar, but not in the capital anymore.
The massive marble building on the north side of Sukhbaatar Square was completed in 2006 to mark the 800th anniversary of the recognition of Gingghis Khaan (Genghis Khan) by the Mongolian tribes as their supreme leader. He had achieved the tremendous feat of unifying the various warring tribes and forging a great Mongolian empire. As the Mongol hordes spread west through Asia and into Europe, they inspired awe, fear and loathing. Gingghis Khaan tends to have a poor reputation in the West, but he is revered by his compatriots.
Old Cliffie was in Ulaanbaatar on an auspicious day for weddings and he saw several newly wed couples waiting for their turn to be photographed in front of the Sukhbaatar statue in the main square. The temperature was low but the sun was shining, and so were the faces as the family and friends lined up for the photographer. After that it was off to a reception, with plenty of vodka, brandy and whisky on each table.
Yolyn Am (Vulture's Mouth) was originally established to conserve the birdlife in the region, but it's now more famous for its dramatic and very unusual scenery - it is a valley in the middle of the Gobi Desert, with metres-thick ice almost all year-round. The valley is named after the Lammergeier, which is called Yol in Mongolian. The Lammergeier is an Old World vulture, hence the name is often translated to Valley of the Vultures or Valley of the Eagles. It's a beautiful walk through some lovely dramatic rocky hills in order to get to the star attraction - the semi permanent ice. The ice field reaches several meters thick by the end of winter, and is several kilometres long. In past years it remained year round, but the modern ice field tends to disappear by September. Luckily there was some still around when I visited in July but it was melting very quickly, given that it was around 23°C. The reason why it stays here is that the tight valley never sees direct sunlight but it's certainly an unusual sight given that we had just come from the Khongur sand dunes. You can ride a horse along the valley for US$3 or a camel for US$4 each way.
The Khongor sand dunes are some of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia. Also known as the duut mankhan (singing dunes), they are up to 800m high, 12km wide and about 100km long. The largest dunes are at the north-west corner of the range. The views of the desert from the top are wonderful and we fooled around and stayed on them for quite a while.
The Gurvansaikhan Mountains are a mountain range in Umnogobi province. They are named for three sub ranges: Baruun Saikhanii Nuruu (the Western Beauty), Dund Saikhanii Nuruu (the Middle Beauty) and Zuun Saikhanii Nuruu (the Eastern Beauty) and so are known in English as The Three Beauties. The highest peak is found in Dund Saikhanii Nuruu, and is 9,268 feet (2,825 meters) above sea level. A notable gorge, Yolyn Am, is found in Zuun Saikhanii Nuruu. Though the range is surrounded by the Gobi desert, Yolyn Am contains a semi-permanent ice field. We drove through the mountain range on our way to the Khongor Sand Dunes.
Bayanzag, 120km northwest of Dalanzadgad in the Gobi desert, earned its place in history as the first spot dinosaur remains were found in Asia by American palaeontologists lead by Roy Chapman Andrews in 1921. Skeletons of protoceratops and tarbosaurus have been found here but it was famous for being the first place on earth where dinosaur eggs were found in 1923. The Americans dubbed these cliffs the “Flaming Cliffs” during their time here and it's not hard to see why. They stand out from the flat featureless plains like flames and make for wonderful photo opportunities. There's a little museum inside a ger overlooking the cliffs that contains fossils and bones as well as some black and white photos of the American expedition.
Umnogobi province in southern Mongolia is one of Mongolia’s largest provinces, with a population density of only 0.3 people per sq km. The few people who live here are of the Khaikh ethnic group. It's not hard to see why humans prefer to live elsewhere. With an average annual precipitation of only 130mm a year, and summer temperatures reaching an average of up to 38°C, this is the driest, hottest and harshest region in the country.
The world famous Gobi desert is located in this province where the Khongor sand dunes stretch for 36 square miles (92,5 sq. km.), and are 115 miles (185km) in length and the 12 miles (20 km.) wide. The desert is also famous for being the birth place of modern palaeontology where many dinosaur skeletons and fossils have been found including the world's first dinosaur eggs, which were found at the Flaming Cliffs by American Roy Chapman Andrews in 1923.
I spent a few days in this region at the end of my 12-day tour around Mongolia. We first visited the Flaming Cliffs, 120km northwest of the provincial capital, Dalanzadgad, before heading to Khongor sand dunes and Yolyn Am - a valley in the middle of the Gobi Desert, with metres-thick ice almost all year-round.
Formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, Ongi Temple, located in Dundgovi Aimag south of Ulaanbaatar and north of the Gobi Desert, was founded in 1760 and combined two temple complexes on the north and south sides of the Ongi River. The older southern side consisted of various administrative buildings which were linked to the northern side by a bridge over the river which has long since disappeared but you can still see the base foundations of it. It used to have around 1000 monks bustling about their daily services in the 30-odd temples that were originally here. I say originally, as the whole monastery was destroyed by Stalin’s cronies in the 1930's and 200 monks were killed and many more imprisoned or forced to join the Communist army. Other monks escaped certain death by becoming farmers and common workers. The temple was then simply left to decay further. However, after the end of Communism in 1990, 3 monks returned where they had begun their Buddhist education as young children some 60 years prior. Slowly, these monks started laying new foundations upon old ruins with a vision of restoring the temple.
during my stay in UB I was completely cought of guard by this hotel. now they have a new fitness...more
I stayed here for a couple of nights - the first and last night’s of my Mongolian tour. This 4-star...more
Very good high end hotel. Modern, recently built. Very good service. We went there with very low...more
More Regions in Mongolia