Top things to do

Top Choice Buddhist Monastery 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 pu…
Top Choice Buddhist Monastery in Orkhon Valley

Tövkhön Khiid

Hidden deep in a pine forest in the mountainous Khangai Nuruu National Park, this scenic monastery has become a major pilgrimage centre for Mongolians. Zanabazar founded the site in 1653 and lived, worked and medita…
Top Choice Museum in Kharkhorin

Karakorum Museum

Kharkhorin's museum is small, but highly impressive – probably the country's best museum outside Ulaanbaatar. Everything is beautifully designed and well displayed.The exhibits include dozens of artefacts dating fro…
Waterfall in Orkhon Valley

Orkhon Falls

After a strong rain the magnificent seasonal Orkhon Falls is one of the best sights in central Mongolia. About 250m downstream from the waterfall you can climb down to the bottom of the gorge; it’s 22m deep and dott…
Nature Reserve in Orkhon Valley

Khuisiin Naiman Nuur Nature Reserve

The area of Naiman Nuur, which was created by volcanic eruptions centuries ago, is now part of the 115-sq-km Khuisiin Naiman Nuur Nature Reserve. Despite the name, there are actually nine, not eight, lakes. The lake…
Historic Site in Kharkhorin

Stone Turtles

Outside the monastery walls of Erdene Zuu Khiid are two stone turtles. Four of these sculptures once marked the boundaries of ancient Karakorum, acting as protectors of the city (turtles are considered symbols of et…
Buddhist Monastery in Kharkhorin

Shankh Khiid Monastery

This secluded, atmospheric monastery was founded by the great Zanabazar in 1648 and is said to have once housed Chinggis Khaan’s black military banner. At one time the monastery was home to more than 1500 monks. Sha…
Dunes in Övörkhangai

Mongol Els

On the road from Kharkhorin to Ulaanbaatar, one surprising sight that livens up a fairly boring stretch of road is the sand dunes of Elsen-Tasarkhai. Better known in Ulaanbaatar's tourist industry as Mongol Els, the…
Ruins in Kharkhorin

Ancient Karakorum

Stretching out for about 1km east of town is the site of ancient Karakorum. The foundations of Karakorum’s buildings are all underground and little has been excavated, so you need lots of imagination when contemplat…
Ruins in Khögnö Khan Uul Nature Reserve

Övgön Khiid

These 17th-century ruins are a lovely 45-minute (2km) walk along a rocky path (follow the pink dots painted on the rocks) up the valley to the right of Erdiin Khambiin Khiid. The monastery was built in 1660 and dest…