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Western Mongolia

The western Mongolia is known for its very diverse landscapes, glacier-wrapped mountains, shimmering salt lakes and its strong cultural identity, with ancient traditions and a very rich history.

Altai Tavan Bogd

Location: 1800 km west of Ulaanbaatar in the Tsengel soum of Bayan – Ulgii province

Features: The Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain is the part of Altai Mountain Range stretches over 2000 km through Mongolia, Russia and China and is exactly highlight of the Altai Tavan Bogd National Park. This is the only place where Mongolia’s highest peaks (4374 m), longest glaciers (23 km) are found, and three distinct populations (Uriankhai, Tuvan and Kazakh) practicing Buddhism, Shamanism, and Islam live together peacefully. The national park covers 600,000 hectare area that holds the source of many of fresh water mountain rivers, thousands of endangered animals and sites of thousands of petroglyphs and archeological findings. The park itself is comprised of Mongolia’s westernmost land, bordering Russia and Kazakhstan.

Activities: Trekking, horse riding, mountain climbing, exploring archeological and cultural sites, visiting different ethnic people and experiencing culture, viewing wild animals

Natural and cultural sites around: Shiveet Khairkhan Mountain (15 km), Khar Salaa valley – petroglyphs (20 km), Khovd river (83 km), Khar Yamaat Human statue (87 km), Tsagaan river Deer stone (89 km), Khoton & Khurgan Lakes (125 km), Siilkhemiyn Nuruu Mountain National park (112 km)

Tsambagarav Mountain National park

Location: 1566 km west of Ulaanbaatar in the Erdeneburen soum of Khovd province and Bayannuur soum of Bayan – Ulgii province

Features: The National park established in 2000, comprises of 110,960 hectares area including sacred Mountain Tsambagarav. Its snowcapped peak at the elevation of 4202 m above sea level is the most glorious for climbers. The area is inhabited by nomadic Kazakh families who practice centuries’ old tradition of training Golden eagles for hunting. The surrounding valleys hold many human statues, petroglyphs & waterfall of Tavan Belchir.

Activities: Trekking, horse riding, mountain climbing, exploring archeological and cultural sites, visiting Kazakh people and experiencing culture, viewing wild animals

Natural and cultural sites around: Khovd town (110 km), Khar Us Lake (155 km), Tsenkher cave (215 km), Ishgen tolgoi – petroglyph site (180 km), Tolbo lake (78 km), Tsagaan khushuut human statue (35 km), Tsast mountain (20 km), khukh Serkhiin Nuruu Mountain (110 km), Duruu Lake (58 km), Khovd river (90 km)

Khoton & Khurgan Lakes

Location: 1849 km west of Ulaanbaatar in the Tsengel soum of Bayan – Ulgii province

Features: These magnificent crystal-clear water lakes that shaped by glacial forces during the last Ice Age are fed by many rivers and streams originating in the Altai Mountains and become main resources of Lake Khar Us, the second largest fresh water Lake of Mongolia. The surrounding landscape is totally pristine and picturesque with snow-capped mountains and green meadows at foothills, larch forests and sand dunes. This border zone area contains many hidden treasures and natural wonders along its unexplored territory. There is number of petroglyphs, large rock mounds, slab-edged graves and anthropomorphic balbals are around the lakes as exist as evidences of the human history in the Altai-Sayan region dated back to the Paleolithic times.

Activities: Trekking, horseriding, swimming, birdwatching, fly fishing, visiting Kazakh people and experiencing culture, exploring archeological sites

Natural and cultural sites around: Tavan Bogd Mountain (125 km), Khatan Serven Human statue (50 km), Myangan Khonkhor Burual mound (12 km), Dayan Lake (38 km) Tsagaan river (85 km), Tsengel Khairkhan Mountain (46 km)

Turgen & Kharkhiraa

Location: 1420 km west of Ulaanbaatar in the Turgen and Tarialan soums of Uvs province

Features: As main sources of the Uvs Lake, the snow peaked Kharkhiraa (4037m) and Turgen (3966m) mountains and surrounding river valleys are part of the Uvs Nuur Basin Strictly protected area (1,390,190 hectare), which is one of the only ten UNESCO World Biosphere Reserves in the world. The Uvs Nuur Basin is an ancient lake bed in the central Asia and core part of the Altai Sayan Eco Region. Its twelve protected areas in Mongolian and Russian territories possess all of east Eurasia’s major biomes relatively close together: cold desert, desert-steppe, steppe, taiga, alpine tundra, boreal, deciduous and floodplain forests, salt marshes and snow fields. Its centre is the salt lake of Uvs Nuur which attracts a great range of birds.

The Turgen Mountain Strictly protected area established in 1993, covers 22,000 hectare area of the Uvs Nuur Basin and contains almost 20% of the total snow covered mountains of Mongolia. The beautiful rivers of Kharkhiraa, Turgen and Yamaat originate from the snow-capped peaks of the Turgen Mountain range. The Kharkhiraa and Turgen Mountains are home to many endangered, rare animals like snow leopard, wild mountain sheep Argali, ibex, lynx and so on.

Activities: Trekking, horseriding, mountain climbing, flower watching, visiting nomad herders and experiencing culture, exploring cultural sites

Natural and cultural sites around: Uvs Lake (105 km), Khyargas Lake (140 km), Uureg Lake (126 km), Achit Lake (236 km), Tsagaan Shuvuut Mountain (150 km), Khan Khukhii National park (160 km) Devel Aral Nature reserve (230 km), Khalkhait Human statue (35 km)

Bulgan River Natural Reserve

Location: 1580 km southwest of Mongolia in the Bulgan soum of Khovd province

Features: The Bulgan Gol (River) Natural Reserve established in 1965 covered 1,480 hectare area in order to preserve endangered species of Mongolia’s indigenous Eurasian Beaver (Castor fiber birulai), Silver-Tipped Black Sable, Stone Marten, Mongolian Agama and other wildlife. Beavers taken from the Bulgan River Region (Zuun Gariin Gobi) were re-distributed to the Khovd River and the Tes River (in Uvs province) to create new communities there, and allow the region’s beaver population to grow beyond the constraints of what the Bulgan River could support. The Bulgan River rises on the southern slopes of the Mongol Altai mountain range and flows into Ulungur Lake in China. A hydroelectric dam in the Chinese section of Bulgan River may create a barrier to migration and cause habitat fragmentation along the river. The site comprises a section of the Bulgan River valley, where the river divides into numerous large and small streams creating islands and isolated water bodies. At the source of the river and in the valleys of its tributary rivers, there are a number of small lakes. The sides of the Bulgan River valley support desert-steppe vegetation, while good wet riparian habitat is found along the bottom of the valley. There are numerous bays, such as Tsagaan Ereg, Sanjiin Tokhoi, Balar Tokhoi and Elst Tokhoi, with dense reed and shrub vegetation. Bulgan River is an important stopover site for various migratory passerines, water birds and shorebirds. Globally threatened species that regularly migrate through the site are Swan Goose Anser cygnoides (EN), Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca (VU) and Lesser Kestrel Falconaumanni (VU). (Information  source : http://www.gohovd.com/)

Activities: Exploring wildlife & rare species, birding, trekking, horseriding

Natural and cultural sites around: Dood Ursgal Oasis (15 km), Uyench Canyon (105 km), Bodonch Canyon (117 km), Great Gobi Strictly protected area B section (129 km), Myangan Ugalzat Nuruu National park (172 km), Munkh Khairkhan Mountain (268 km), Tsenkher Cave (276 km)

Munkh Khairkhan Mountain

Location: 1458km west of Ulaanbaatar in the Munkh Khairkhan soum of Khovd province

Features: The second highest point of Mongolia, the Munkh Khairkhan Mountain stretches for 4,362m (Tavan Khumst summit) above sea level. In 2006, the mountain was turned into a state protected area as National park in order to protect threatened species of snow leopard, ibex and Argali sheep. Besides the rare animals the area is rich by ancient cultural heritages.

Activities: Visiting nomad herders and experiencing culture, trekking, horseriding, mountain climbing

Natural and cultural sites around: Tsenkher Cave (118 km), Uyench Canyon (127 km), Bodonch Canyon (150 km), Bodonch Burial mound (125 km), Khar Us Lake (120 km), Bulgan River (268 km)

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