Explore Mongolia OUTSIDE
Ulaanbaatar - 5 Places
Not to Miss

For many visitors to Mongolia, a visit here will only involve a stop of three to four days possible as part of a trip to another country or taking the Trans Mongolian railway. Its always a little sad, especially as Mongolia, is such a vast country with a lot more to see.

For many visitors to Mongolia, a visit here will only involve a stop of three to four days possible as part of a trip to another country or taking the Trans Mongolian railway.

Its always a little sad, especially as Mongolia, is such a vast country with a lot more to see.

For visitors with less time or those who want to see a little more; we have included some of the sites of interest found around the Capital Ulaanbaatar.

1. Bogd Khan National Park

Designated a national park over 300 years ago Bogd Khan is not only Mongolia's oldest national Park but the oldest legally protected Park in the World. Bogd Khan national park is so close to the capital that it's popular with both locals and tourists a perfect weekend getaway or a day trip for those with limited time.

The reserve is excellent for hiking and exploring home to the sacred Bogd Khan mountain 2,261 metres high. The Park also offers superb views over the ever-growing Ulaanbaatar city.

With forests, huge granite boulders, over 300 different plant species and even rock carvings it's a great escape from the city.

Getting there from Ulaanbaatar

45 KM (depending on the entrance used)

30-40 minutes drive (traffic dependant)

2. Mandshir Khiid

Found enveloped by the Bogd Khan national park built-in 1733 this monastery once consisted of around 20 buildings and was home to 300 monks. Unfortunately in 1937, it was to suffer in the communist purges the buildings destroyed and the monks killed.

After Mongolia's independence, the reconstruction began; the beautiful monastery is now home to around 20 monks and doubles as a museum. Well worth the visit not only to learn to about the countries more recent history but great to learn about Buddhism and meet the friendly monks.  A visit here can be combined with hiking into the Bogd Khan National Park.

Getting there from Ulaanbaatar

46 KM

30-40 minutes drive (traffic dependant)

3. Gorkhi-Terlej National Park

Known by many as merely Terlej National Park, this Park was started in 1964 only achieving national park protection in 1993.

The countryside here is lovely and awarded its park status to protect it from city development from Ulaanbaatar. Unfortunately, this status has done little to prevent the many ger camps, golf courses, theme park-style growths and future hotel developments.

Due to the proximity of Terlej to Ulaanbaatar,  during the summer it's packed; crowded will all who want to experience the Mongolian countryside without any hardships. Terlej is also busy with locals who during the weekend and public holidays flock to the Park, for some city escape.

There are horse-riding centres, rope courses, and water parks to be found here. Our write up maybe touch cynical, but our advice is to visit here off-season no people and stunning scenery.  Terlej is beautiful with its pine forests and colossal granite rock mountains; it is lovely for a winters horse ride or a peaceful springtime hike. 

Getting there from Ulaanbaatar

70 KM

1 hr 30 mins -2 hrs drive (traffic dependant)

4. Turtle Rock and Aryapala initiation and Meditation Centre 

Not a nightclub but an actual granite rock formation within Gorkhi-Terlej National Park. These rocks do look like a giant Turtle and are massively popular with Mongolian tourists. Its worth a stop to see the stones and to enjoy local people enjoying their holidays. 

Further along from the Turtle rock, the road deteriorates but do not give up as eventually the Aryapala initiation and meditation centre will be reached.

The temple itself is a newer addition, although it is nice that temples are still constructed. Set within a beautiful setting against a lovely hillside surrounded by granite mountains, the walk to the temple will take around 40 mins uphill. The views from the top over the national Park are stunning and the temple itself not to bad.

During the winter the views are even better although there may only be one monk in residence at that time. 

Getting there from Ulaanbaatar

70 KM

1 hr 30 mins -2 hrs drive (traffic dependant)

5. Chinggis Khan Monument and Visitor Complex

The giant silver statue of Chinggis khan atop his horse should not be missed. At over 40 metres tall and made of brushed steel, it certainly stands out. A visit here isn't just to stand at lookup, but a little more, one can enter into the plinth below the statue.

Once inside in the basement, there is a small museum dedicated to Mongolian history.

Above a plethora of coffee shops, souvenir shops and even a giant boot. The best part of the visit is being able to take an elevator or walk visa stairs to a viewing platform atop the horse. Strangely all visitors emerge from Ghengisis crouch on to a gantry leading to the top of the horses head. The views of the surrounding countryside are awe-inspiring. 

Getting there from Ulaanbaatar

46 KM

1 hr – 1hr 30 mins drive (traffic dependant)

Khustain Nuruu Reserve 

Established in 1993 shortly after Mongolia's independence, the main aim of the Park was to afford protection to the countries Przewalski horses (Takhai). The Przewalski horses were hunted to extinction in the wild; however, a large number of horses were found thriving in zoos, predominantly the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Moves were made, and in 1995 these the last of the worlds genuinely wild horses were reintroduced to the wild. The breeding program is a success Khustain national park is one of the best places to see these fantastic creatures.

The park is well worth the visit not only to see the horses but its other inhabitants such as red deer, gazelle and Yak along with the odd wolf if you are lucky. The park boasts a visitors centre, ger stay accommodation and a restaurant/ bar perfect for an overnight visit. It is possible to visit the Khustain Nuruu national park in a day although we recommend an overnight stay as the Przewalski horses are best seen in the morning and at night.

Getting there from Ulaanbaatar

110 KM

1.5 hr – 2 hrs drive (traffic dependant)

When to Travel to Mongolia?

All of the above are open year-round, do take care during the winter as temperatures can drop to below minus 30. Winter has the advantage of giving you a visit to most areas with very few tourists and if lucky beautiful snow-lined scenes.

The spring/ Autumn times tend to be the best times to visit as you have the beauty, accessibility warmer weather with fewer tourists. July will typically be the busiest month as many visitors crowd the capital to see the Naadam festival and catch a day or two outside in a ger. 

Note: The places listed above are all highlights on many people visits and can be incorporated as part of a larger tour.
Do be aware that although the journey times are as accurate as possible due to heavy traffic in Ulaanbaatar times may vary wildly. 

Koryo Tours 
Mongolia Tours


Rich Beal

Rich Beal is our International Tours Manager.

Rich is one of our most experienced tour leaders. He has led tours worldwide since 2004, specialising in Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the surrounding area. Currently living in Mongolia, he leads multiple specialised trips annually and has over 20 years of experience running and designing tours of the region. 

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