In a nation of nomads, Selenge (Сэлэнгэ) stands out as an agricultural breadbasket. Throughout most of Mongolia, the land has a distinctly wild cast; on the steppe, the grass has been grazed, but rarely has the soil been tilled. Not so in Selenge. Here, you'll pass rolling wheat fields and shady apple orchards, rows of cabins and relatively few gers. This is a prosperous province, and in towns such as Darkhan and Sükhbaatar, you'll glimpse a possible preview of Mongolia's future – a nation of nomads, perhaps, but nomads a generation or more removed from the steppe, settled into the city.
And yet, the Mongolia of ger camps and guardian deities is still here for now. Towards the north, thunderhead clouds gather on the forested mountains that crowd the Russian border, and near an impossibly beautiful valley, travellers will find the sublime Amarbayasgalant Khiid, a masterpiece of Mongolian Buddhist art and architecture.