Shiliin Bogd Uul


Towering over the steppe like a dark dagger, the tallest mountain (1778m) in Sükhbaatar aimag is one of the holiest of Mongolian sacred peaks. Ostensibly, only men are allowed to ascend this extinct volcano; we know women have done so in the past, but beware that any such attempt may prompt an angry reaction from locals. Either way, a 4WD can drive about halfway up the mountain, and then it’s a short, blustery walk to the peak.

A pungent odour surrounds the large ovoo (shamanistic offering to the gods) that crowns Shiliin Bogd Uul; the cairn is topped with a horsehair pennant and covered in offerings of food, milk and coins. The view from up here is, in a word, fantastic: you can literally see the rains sweep in from the nearby Chinese border, 3km to the south.

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