Top things to do

Top Choice Cultural in Ölgii

Ölgii Eagle Festival

Hunting with eagles is a Kazakh winter hobby, not a profession, and it's estimated that there are about 400 practitioners living in Bayan-Ölgii. Every October, around a hundred of them converge at Sayat Tube (Hunter…
Top Choice National Park in Bayan-Ölgii

Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

Covering 6362 sq km, Altai Tavan Bogd National Park takes in the Tavan Bogd massif – which includes Khuiten Uul (4374m), Mongolia's highest mountain – and the stunning lakes of Khoton, Khurgan and Dayan. Fauna inclu…
Top Choice Lake in Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

Khoton Nuur

The southern shore along Khoton Nuur has excellent camping spots, especially around Ulaan Tolgoi, a spit of land that juts majestically into the lake. The northern tip of the lake is marked by Aral Tolgoi (Island He…
Top Choice Cafe in Ölgii

Arvin Coffee & Book

Stepping into the Starbucks–styled surrounds of Ölgii's first coffee shop is a bit like finding a pub on Mars. They'll even whizz you up a caramel, cream-topped frappeno, as Russian 4WDs bounce through potholes on t…
Top Choice Turkish in Ölgii

Pamukkale

Smartly dressed staff greet you with a smile at this Turkish–run outfit, the nicest restaurant in town by a steppe mile. After a long trip, a juicy shish kebab with a side of fries really hits the spot. Also has sou…
Top Choice Cultural in Sagsai

Altai Kazakh Eagle Festival

This two-day festival, held about 6km southwest of Sagsai, is smaller than the Ölgii Eagle Festival, although it follows much the same program of eagle hunting competitions, horse events and camel races.
Cultural in Bayan-Ölgii

Spring Eagle Hunting Festival

For those who believe the Ölgii Eagle Festival has become more about tourist-oriented showmanship than tradition, this new festival is the real deal. Held during the March Navrus holiday, it lets bona fide burkitshi…
National Park in Bayan-Ölgii

Tsambagarav Uul National Park

Western Mongolia's second highest mountain – the permanently snow-capped Tsambagarav Uul (4208m) – straddles the border between Khovd and Bayan-Ölgii aimags; the national park (1110 sq km) is accessible from either …
Lake in Tolbo

Tolbo Nuur

The bleakly inviting teal expanse of Tolbo Nuur unfurls for 20km beside the paved Ölgii–Khovd City Rd. Despite being 2080m above sea level, the lightly saline waters are warm enough for swimming in summer, and mosqu…
Cultural in Sagsai

Altai Nomad Festival

Day-long festival featuring Kazakh horseplay, including kyz kuar ('kiss the girl', a race between a man and a woman on horseback); buzkashi (also known as kokpar), a horseback tug of war, and tenge ilu, where riders…