Destination of the week: Mongolia

Our destination this week is Mongolia, a special place for those who enjoy outdoor adventure. With its vast plains, horse riding, camping and nomad families, Mongolia will take you back to a simpler age and way of life. Mongolia is one of the last unspoiled travel destination in Asia, and you will have nothing less than an invigorating and exhilarating experience.


Gandan Khid is one of Mongolia’s most important monasteries and is a massive tourist attraction. Its full name Gandantegchinlen, translates roughly as ‘the great place of complete joy’. Around the start of the 19th century there actually stood more than 100 süm (temples) and khiid (monasteries) which housed a population of about 50,000 in Urga (Ulaanbaatar). Majority of these building were destroyed during the religious purge and only a handful of these buildings survived.

Gandan Khid

The Building of Gandan began 1838 by the fourth Bogd Gegeen and today more than 600 monks belong to the monastery. In 1944 the US vice president Henry Wallace asked to see a monastery during his visit to Mongolia, then Prime Minister Choibalsan guiltily scrambled to open Gandan to cover up the fact that he had recently laid waste to Mongolia’s religious heritage. Gandan continued to remain a ‘show monastery’ for other foreign visitors until 1990 when full religious ceremonies recommenced.


Amarbayasgalant Khiid is another historic part of Mongolia that was built between 1727 and 1737 by the Manchu emperor Yongzheng. It was then dedicated to the great Mongolian Buddhist and sculptor Zanabazar, whose mummified body was moved here in 1779. Amarbayasgalant Khiid was built in the Manchu style, which can be seen in its symmetrical layout, imperial colour scheme and inscriptions.

Amarbayasgalant Khiid

Amarbayasgalant Khiid has had extensive restoration courtesy of UNESCO, but there is still there's a sense of gradual takeover by nature. Majority of the temples in the monastery are closed, so if you wish yo see any stauties or scroll paintings, you’ll have to be on the lookout for the monks with the keys in the monks’ quarters.

Main temple

The main temple Tsogchin Dugan is beautifully decorated and features a life-like, life-size statue of Rinpoche Gurdava, a lama from Inner Mongolia who lived in Tibet and Nepal, but eventually returned to Mongolia in 1992, helping raise much of the money needed for the temples restoration.


Yolyn Am was originally established to conserve the birdlife but has now become famous for its dramatic rocky cliffs and narrow, heavily shaded canyons that allow for sheets of blue-veined ice to remain even into summer.

Yolyn Am
Nature itself can be wondrous and awing and Khongoryn Els are exactly that. They are some of the largest and most spectacular sand dunes in Mongolia, 300m high, 12km wide and about 100km long. The dunes are also known as the Duut Mankhan (Singing Dunes), because of the sound they make when the sand is moved by the wind or as it collapses in small avalanches. To get to the top it can take between 45 minutes to an hour but the views of the desert from the sandy summit are incredible.The dunes are also a popular place to go on camel rides; you cannot get here however unless you charter a jeep or are part of a tour.

khongoryn els

Khuiten Uul is the tallest mountain in Mongolia and will be of definite interest to you if you’re a professional climber. The view from the mountain is simply stunning and one you won’t soon forget. We recommend climbing in August and September after the worst of the summer rains, but you can still go later on in the year. Even if you’re not completely confident with climbing its still worth making the trip, just make sure you are with someone who is experienced. There is also an amazing view from the 12km-long Potanii glacier, which you can walk on but be very careful. If you don’t mind spending some extra time walking then head to the top of Malchin Peak, where you will be rewarded with views of Russia and beyond.

Khuiten Uul

Another great place to visit is The Khövsgöl Nuur, an extraordinary lake that stretches 136km deep into the Siberian taiga. The lakes moody blue waters,  that range from midnight blue to tropical aquamarine is the basis for this this very popular national park, and attracts thousands of international and Mongolian tourists each year. The Khövsgöl Nuur is full of fish like lenok and sturgeon, and the area is home to wildlife such as argali sheep, ibexes, bears, sables, moose and more. The area also has more than 200 species of bird, including the Baikal teal and bar-headed goose.

Khövsgöl Nuur

If you’re a lover of theatre then you must definitely visit Mongolia’s National Academic Drama Theatre. Most of the year the theatre shows one of a dozen or so Mongolian-language productions by various playwrights from Mongolia, Russia and more. Visitors can buy their tickets in advance at the booking office.

National Academic Drama Theatre

Whilst you’re in Mongolia we recommend staying at the 5 star Kempinski Hotel Khan Palace. The hotel is one of the best places in town and a 5-minute drive from the Statue of Chinggis Khan in the city centre. The rooms are spacious rooms and are fitted with modern furnishings; there are also robes and slippers for you to get cosy in. The hotel also features a fitness centre and sauna, and their European-American buffet breakfast is one of the best in town.


If you are considering Mongolia or another dream destination for your next vacation, why not drop us a line at to help us book you your dream holiday with highly negotiated near-corporate rates? All you need to do is send us your ideal destinations, group size and preferences and we will take it from there to make this autumn the best ever yet.