Raw, rugged and remote, this off-the-beaten-track region has for centuries been isolated – both geographically and culturally – from the Mongol heartland. With its glacier-wrapped mountains, shimmering salt lakes and the hardy culture of nomads, falconry and cattle rustling, western Mongolia is, in many ways, a timeless slice of Central Asia.
Squeezed between Russia, Kazakhstan, China and the rest of Mongolia, this region has long been a patchwork of peoples including ethnic Kazakhs, Dörvöds, Khotons, Myangads and Khalkh Mongols. Traditional arts such as khöömii throat singing and eagle hunting are still practised here, as they have been for thousands of years.
The wild landscape creates fabulous opportunities for trekkers and climbers on peaks that rise to over 4000m. If that sounds too extreme for you, then just pick a lake, pitch a tent and have yourself a camping trip you'll never forget.