One of the least-visited countries in Asia, Mongolia is often overlooked when it comes to planning a trip to the east. Many travelers typically choose China, Russia, and Nepal over Mongolia, often because they simply don’t know how many amazing experiences Mongolia can offer visitors.
Mongolia is unlike any other country in the world thanks to its nomadic communities and the fact that the majority of the vast landscape is still untouched by modern technology. Visiting the rural parts of the country, where horses run wild and locals drink yak milk, really can feel like you’ve traveled back in time. Check out these 10 reasons why Mongolia should be on your next Asian itinerary.
10 To Soak Up The History
Mongolia should be a must-see destination for anybody who’s interested in history. The country has experienced a fascinating timeline of events that have led to its reality today, and there are testaments and tributes to these just about everywhere you go.
Genghis Khan, known as Chinggis Khan to locals according to Expat Living, was a Mongolian warrior who is now cemented as one of the world’s most fearsome and successful conquerors. Be sure to check out the silver statue of him riding his horse near the capital city of Ulaanbaatar.
9 There Are Exciting Festivals To Check Out
It may be one of the least-visited countries in Asia, but Mongolia is a place full of action and things to do. There are several festivals that take place during the year and timing your visit with one of these cultural events is a great way to ensure you have an unforgettable trip.
The Naadam festival, for example, takes place in Mongolia every July. Similar in some ways to a mini Mongolian Olympics, the festival features horse races and wrestling competitions, as well as other performances from the local culture.
8 The Cuisine Is Pretty Unique
Trying new cuisines is one of the most satisfying and rewarding parts of travel. Mongolian cuisine might not have had a huge impact on the rest of the world yet, but you’ll understand how delicious it is when you visit the country itself.
While spending time with a rural nomadic family, you’ll get to see first-hand how they rely on their own resources and livestock to sustain themselves. The dumplings that many nomadic families make are extremely yummy! Although many dishes contain meat, there are still options for vegetarians.
7 It’s The Ultimate Destination For When You Need A Break From The World
Sometimes you just need a break from the modern world. While time travel isn’t an option, you can feel like you’ve escaped to a more peaceful time in the past by visiting rural Mongolia. Mostly untouched, the Mongolian land is vastly different from developed destinations around the world. Here, you can escape from car exhaust, the persistent sounds of technology, and people crowding everywhere you look.
Once Upon a Journey travel blog points out that Mongolia is becoming increasingly popular and may become a hotspot in the upcoming years. Who knows how long it will stay so peaceful?
6 It’s Home To One Of The World’s Largest Deserts
When visiting Mongolia, you have to make time to check out the Gobi Desert, which is one of the largest on the whole planet. The vistas really do seem otherworldly, whether you’re looking in the direction of the Altai Mountains or the surrounding vast grasslands.
There are a variety of ways to explore the desert. Vogue explains that you can travel through the desert via camel, on foot, or in a Jeep—each option having its own pros and cons. No matter what kind of traveler you are, trekking through the Gobi is an experience you’ll remember forever.
5 There Are Animals Everywhere
If you’re an animal lover, Mongolia should definitely appear on your list of places to visit. Here you’ll find horses, camels, goats, sheep, and cows, often just standing by the side of the road. This can come as quite a shock if you’re used to the big city life, where the closest you get to animals is a Chihuahua living in the apartment next door.
Many of the animals you find will “belong” to the nomadic people, but they have no need to keep them penned. There are also plenty of wild animals to discover, including snow leopards, gazelles, yaks, and the Przewalski horse.
4 It’s Not Flooded With Tourists
Floods of tourists are one of the downsides that come with traveling to popular destinations. Mongolia is a win-win experience in this regard because it’s a country with tons to offer that is definitely worth seeing, but much of the world hasn’t caught onto that just yet. As a result, there are very few tourists.
Factors that have seemed to keep tourists away in the past include the fact that the country experiences extremely cold winters (well below zero degrees). Many people seem to prefer China, Russia, and Nepal, but that seems to be changing.
3 Ulaanbaatar Is Worth A Visit
Another reason to go to Mongolia is to experience the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Brimming with famous landmarks and hidden sights, Ulaanbaatar is unlike any other capital city in the world. Although it’s home to modern characteristics and international influences, the unique Mongolian culture still rules most of the city.
While in Ulaanbaatar, Fodor's travel blog recommends checking out Sukhbaatar Square, the central square in the city, the famous Winter Palace of Bogd Khan, and the variety of museums to brush up on your local history. For a spot of shopping, head to the Shangri-La Mall.
2 The People Are Among The Friendliest In The World
Nearly everyone who documents their travels to Mongolia returns saying the same thing: the people are among the friendliest in the world. Even if they don’t speak English, they are often still ready to welcome foreigners in and share their culture and lifestyle.
Although almost half of the country’s population resides in the city of Ulaanbaatar, there are still nomadic families living rurally that visitors sometimes stay with. While they don’t have typical creature comforts at their fingertips, they are generally warm, friendly, and willing to share what they do have.
1 The Camping Is Second To None
Mongolia is one of the best locations in the world when it comes to camping, hands down. Vogue explains that it’s free to camp throughout the country, but it’s a good idea to do your research beforehand. Much of the land is unchartered, so it might take a little extra work to plot your journey.
If you don’t want to camp, you can also visit a traditional yurt campsite. This usually means roughing it a little less, since you’ll be able to use saunas, rains showers, heated tents, and handmade blankets.