Must see attractions in Mongolia

  • Top ChoiceSights in Selenge

    Amarbayasgalant Khiid

    Amarbayasgalant Khiid was built between 1727 and 1737 by the Manchu emperor Yongzheng, and dedicated to the great Mongolian Buddhist and sculptor Zanabazar, whose mummified body was moved here in 1779. The design references Manchu style, down to the inscriptions, symmetrical layout, imperial colour scheme and roof guardians on every roof corner. Despite extensive restoration by Unesco, there's a sense of genteel decay and a gradual takeover by nature that adds to the allure of the place.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ongiin Khiid

    Ongiin Khiid

    The bend in the river here marks the remains of two ruined monasteries which are today considered one vast complex known as Ongiin Khiid. Bari Lam Khiid was built in 1810 on the north bank, the same side of the river as the area's tourist ger camps. Khutagt Lam Khiid was built in 1760 on the south. It was formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, and home to over a thousand monks.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    Khongoryn Els

    Khongoryn Els are some of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia. Also known as the Duut Mankhan (Singing Dunes – from the sound they make when the sand is moved by the wind), they are up to 300m high, 12km wide and about 100km long. The largest dunes are at the northwestern corner of the range. From afar the dunes look painted on the south horizon in front of those gorgeous granite mountains.

  • Sights in Khövsgöl Nuur National Park

    Khövsgöl Nuur

    Known as the Blue Pearl of Mongolia, Khövsgöl Nuur is an extraordinary lake that stretches 136km deep into the Siberian taiga. The lake, mountains and forests that surround it form the basis for the popular Khövsgöl Nuur National Park, a major destination for both Mongolian and international tourists.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ikh Nartiin Chuluu

    Ikh Nartiin Chuluu Nature Reserve

    This 670-sq-km nature reserve, only a four-hour drive from Ulaanbaatar, at an elevation of 2200m, is home to hundreds of ibexes (mountain goats), argali (big-horn sheep), gazelles, black vultures, wolves and other wildlife. There are 10 nomadic herder families living in the park, which is studded with spectacular glacial rock formations, their winter corrals built into red cliffs. Aside from the remote location, one of the reasons there is so much wildlife here is because of the water.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    Yolyn Am

    Yolyn Am was originally established to conserve the region's bird life, but it’s now more famous for its dramatic rocky cliffs and narrow, heavily shaded canyons that allow sheets of blue-veined ice to survive well into the summer in what is known as Yolyn Am Gorge. Yolyn Am is in the Zuun Saikhan Nuruu range, 46km west of Dalanzadgad (return taxi T100,000, one to two hours).

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ömnögovi

    Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    Gurvan Saikhan National Park (20,000 sq km) offers a wealth of sand dunes, canyons, dinosaur fossils and mountainous terrain. Desert wildlife includes argali sheep, ibexes and snow leopards. The most visited sights in the park are Yolyn Am and Khongoryn Els.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Gurvan Saikhan National Park

    Yolyn Am Gorge

    A pleasant 2km path leads from the parking area to this gorge filled with blue ice, one of the park's can't-miss sights. You can hike, bike or hire a horse and ride here. Along the way, you'll see herds of shaggy yaks and, if you're lucky, an ibex. You'll have to dismount your horse or mountain bike near where vendors gather to sell handicrafts in order to walk far enough for photo ops of the stunning glacier.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Khamaryn Khiid

    Shambhala

    In 1853 Danzan Ravjaa told the local people that he would die in three years but that they could forever come to this place and speak to his spirit. Indeed, he died three years later and the site was marked by an ovoo. Shambhala is now surrounded by 108 new stupas (‘108’ being a sacred number in Buddhism).

  • Sights in Baga Gazryn Chuluu Nature Reserve

    Tsorjiin Khureenii Khiid

    An unusual sight is the half-hidden stone ruins of the 200-year-old monastery, Tsorjiin Khureenii Khiid. Concealed among the rocks, and shaded by a grove of aspen trees, some of the rooms at the back of the now roofless complex still have traces of blue paint on their crumbling walls. The granite path to and from the ruins is lined with aromatic sage and stinging nettle; the isolated location is stunning and would make a terrific campsite.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ömnögovi

    Bayanzag

    The so-called Flaming Cliffs are a Gobi highlight and an important palaeontology site first excavated by Roy Chapman Andrews in 1922. Even if you are not a ‘dinophile’, the eerie beauty of the surrounding landscape is a good reason to visit. It’s a classic desert of rock, red sands, scrub, sun and awesome emptiness. The cliffs look to be formed by great rifts in the earth, like a layer cake torn open, offset by the surprisingly green valley below.

  • Sights in Gov-Altai

    Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area

    Split in two for management purposes, but considered one protected area, together they form the fourth-largest biosphere reserve in the world. It protects habitat home to wild ass, Gobi bears, wild Bactrian camels and jerboas. It's divided into 'Gobi A' (Southern Altai Gobi) and 'Gobi B' (Dzungarian Gobi). Gobi A protects 44,000 sq km in the southern part of the aimag; Gobi B protects 8810 sq km in southwest Gov-Altai and neighbouring Khovd. There are no tourist services in either reserve.

  • Sights in Dundgovi

    Baga Gazryn Chuluu

    Like a miniature Joshua Tree National Park, this granite-rock formation in the middle of the dusty plains sheltered Zanabazar during conflicts between the Khalkh and Oirat Mongols. Later it was home to two 19th-century monks who left rock drawings in the area. Locals who sometimes make pilgrimages here worship the rocks. Naturally, there is a legend that Chinggis Khaan grazed his horses here.

  • Sights in Dundgovi

    Ikh Gazryn Chuluu

    Travellers descend on this remote Gobi nature reserve to wander the boulder-strewn moonscape scenery, clamber around and over abstract rock formations and crawl through small caves. You'll need wheels to explore the region effectively. It's possible to hire a jeep from Mandalgov, though most book transport from Ulaanbaatar.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Dundgovi

    Tsagaan Suvarga

    A 400m-long jigsaw of white-sand cliffs, striped pastel shades of purple, orange and red. That's the scene awaiting you at Tsagaan Suvarga, a sight similar to Bayanzag, but with much more colour and a sliver of the tourism footprint.

  • Sights in The Gobi

    Khermen Tsav

    Way off the beaten track; you are likely to have this complex of canyons all to yourself. Some say they are even more spectacular than Bayanzag. Be sure to have well-maintained transport and a driver who knows their way around.

  • Sights in The Gobi

    Sevrei Petroglyphs

    These petroglyphs depict herds of animals including deer, ibexes and gazelles; 20km from the town of Sevrei.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Kharkhorin

    Erdene Zuu Khiid

    Founded in 1586 by Altai Khaan, Erdene Zuu (Hundred Treasures) was the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. The monastery went through periods of neglect and prosperity until finally the Stalinist purges of 1937 put it completely out of business. The monastery remained closed until 1965, when it was permitted to reopen as a museum, but not as a place of worship. It was only with the collapse of communism in 1990 that religious freedom was restored and the monastery became active again.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    National Museum of Mongolia

    Mongolia’s wonderful National Museum sweeps visitors from the Neolithic era right to the present day. It’s UB's only genuine blockbuster sight, offering an unparalleled overview of Mongolian culture, ranging from stone-age petroglyphs and exquisite gold ornamentation to, arguably the highlight, the full gamut of traditional ceremonial costume – which unmistakably inspired the look of characters from the Star Wars prequels.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ulaanbaatar

    Choijin Lama Temple Museum

    This temple museum smack in the middle of downtown Ulaanbaatar was the home of Luvsan Haidav Choijin Lama (‘Choijin’ is an honorary title given to some monks), the state oracle and brother of the Bogd Khan. Construction of the monastery commenced in 1904 and was completed four years later. It was closed in 1938 and probably would have been demolished had it not been saved in 1942 to serve as a museum demonstrating the ‘feudal’ ways of the past.