The 101 Best Places to Visit in Mongolia

Looking for Mongolia’s best places to visit? This guide will tell you the best tourist attractions and historical landmarks listed by region.

Table of Contents

With 2024 and 2025 being the years to visit Mongolia thanks to a relaxed visa policy for tourists, now really is the time to visit. (Check now if you need a visa to visit Mongolia.)

Slightly smaller than the size of Alaska and with a population of 3.3 million, I love calling Mongolia home. Not only are the landscapes stunning, but so are the people, culture, and traditions. Especially if you’re interested in seeing and experiencing nomadic living firsthand.

Here, almost a quarter of the population still lives this way. Following their herds and moving across the steppe seasonally. Mongolia’s nomadic herders pack up their entire lives, sometimes on camels or yaks, and relocate to greener pastures, quite literally.

It’s an incredible thing to see and be a part of, but it isn’t the only thing Mongolia has to offer. Mongolia’s natural wonders and historical landmarks are some of the best, and most ancient, in the world.

There are pristine mountains and lakes, museums dedicated to the man, the myth, the legend – Genghis Khan himself, as well as Buddhist temples and sacred shrines that have remained untouched for centuries. You can be amazed by dinosaur eggs one minute and lost for words at watching cliffs change colors before your eyes the next. There really never is a dull moment and shortage of things to see here.

In this guide to Mongolia’s 101 best places to visit, I started with my favorite places to visit in and near Ulaanbaatar first. From there, I move east, central, south, north, and eventually west, picking out each of the best sights and attractions to visit across the country.

While many of these tourist attractions and landmarks are well-known, hopefully there are more than a few on this list that will surprise and delight you. You never know what will inspire a trip to Mongolia.

Ulaanbaatar

The best places to visit in Ulaanbaatar aren’t always the most obvious. Sure, you’ll have heard of some of these, but this city still has more than a few tricks up its sleeves. Here are my favorite things to do and see in Ulaanbaatar.

1. Gandantegchinlen Monastery

The “great place of complete joy” is just that, especially around 9 am when the monks start their daily chants. After listening to the monks chant your stresses away, pop into the main temple to see the 26.5 meter tall, gold leaf and gemstone adorned Avalokiteśvara. This also happens to be the largest indoor statue in the world.

Gandan Monastery Ulaanbaatar

2. Chinggis Khaan Museum

One of the best museums in Ulaanbaatar, visiting the Chinggis Khaan Museum should be on everyone’s list. With more than 11,000 artifacts sprawled over eight floors of exhibition halls, and covering 2,000 years of Mongol history, it’s to spend an entire day here. Go earlier in the day to avoid the crowds.

Genghis Khan Museum Ulaanbaatar

3. Sukhbaatar Square

Also known as Chinggis Square, Sukhbaatar Square marks the center of town, and life, in Ulaanbaatar. Head there in the summer to sit on the fake greens and people watch as Mongolians dressed in deels (traditional Mongolian robes) come here to take photographs and celebrate special occasions.

Sukhbaatar Square Ulaanbaatar

4. The Parliament Building

One of the most impressive and important landmarks in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s Parliament Building can’t be missed. Both the President and Prime Minster have their offices here.

Protecting the front of the building is one of the best Genghis Khan statues in the world. Come here on holidays to see special parades and military processions, especially on Genghis Khan’s birthday when the ceremony of the Nine White Banners takes place.

Genghis Khan’s birthday is celebrated on the first day of winter on the Lunar calendar.

5. Gobi Cashmere at the Galleria

Mongolia is famous for its cashmere and Gobi Cashmere is the best place to shop for cashmere in Mongolia. Not to mention, this is also the world’s largest cashmere store. So, there’s that. Drop in and pick up a cashmere sweater, or three, and don’t forget to try on a coat for good measure. Cashmere is one of the best souvenirs you can buy in Mongolia and this is the best cashmere store in Ulaanbaatar for doing just that.

6. State Opera and Ballet Academic Theatre

Opened in 1963, Mongolia’s opera house is a perfect example of a neoclassical building lost in time. The pink building is hard to miss when you’re in Sukhbaatar Square. From Swan Lake to Aida, purchase tickets to any of the theater’s many different shows on the State Opera and Ballet Academic Theatre website.

Opera Theater Ulaanbaatar

7. Mongolian Grand Theatre of National Arts

Not to be confused with the other pink theater above, the Mongolian Grand Theatre of National Arts is where Mongolian heritage thrives. Here you can see folklore come to life, portraying the nomadic lifestyle, watch Mongolian contortionists, or simply watch a concert or orchestra performance.

8. Ulaanbaatar National Amusement Park

The only place to ride a rollercoaster in the city, the National Amusement Park is a cheap way to spend an afternoon in Ulaanbaatar on a sunny afternoon, especially with children. Visit the castle surrounded by a moat, ride the Ferris wheel and carousel, or just take a leisurely stroll through the park.

9. Black Market

Naaran Tuul, also known as the Black Market, is one of the best places to visit in Ulaanbaatar. The market sprawls in every direction and is hands down the best, and cheapest, place for buying souvenirs. It’s also where you want to come to buy a deel, the traditional robes Mongolians wear, as well as authentic herder boy horse riding boots, and more, to complete your new Mongolian look.

Visit Black Market Ulaanbaatar

10. Central Dinosaur Museum of Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar’s dinosaur museum is a fun, quirky exhibition hall where you’ll find some of Mongolia’s greatest archeological discoveries. From a full-size Tarbosaurus Bataar skeleton to dinosaur eggs and plenty of Protoceratops skulls, the museum is great for kids and adults.

Central Dinosaur Museum Ulaanbaatar

11. The Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum

Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike will find the Fine Arts Zanabazar Museum an interesting thing to do and see in Ulaanbaatar. Here, many of Mongolia’s most famous painter’s works can be seen in person. Learn about the famous Mongolian painter Balduugiin Sharav before moving on to see some of the most famous Buddhist artifacts in the world, including the red coral mask of Jamsran.

Zanabazar Museum Ulaanbaatar

12. Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery

One of the best museums in Ulaanbaatar, the Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery is where you’ll find one of the most impressive collections of modern and contemporary Mongolian art in the world. Opened in 1991, the gallery is home to the most famous painting in Mongolian history, including “One Day in Mongolia” by Balduugiin Sharav.

Modern Art Gallery Ulaanbaatar

13. Mongolian National Museum

As the largest museum in Mongolia, the Mongolian National Museum covers it all. More than 57,000 objects cover Central Asian history and the history of Mongols from prehistory to the end of the 20th century. Traditional dress exhibitions lead way into medieval ger recreations, eventually ending at a collection of modern historical objects, photographs, and documents.

14. Dashchoilin Monastery

Follow the sound of chanting to these circular, yellow structures, and you’ve found the spot. A hidden gem in Ulaanbaatar, you’ll find about 100 monks inside this often overlooked monastery. Almost 90% of Mongolians are Buddhist, so spend the morning learning about – and participating in – the importance of these practices in Mongolian culture.

15. Choijin Lama Temple and Museum

Built in 1904, the temple was active until 1937 when it was closed during the Communist repression against Buddhism. Only one of a few temple complexes in Mongolia the Communists didn’t destroy, today, Choijin Lama Temple is one of the best museums for Buddhist artifacts in the world. Inside, visitors will find religious instruments, thangka paintings, silk embroideries, wood carvings, statues, and the biggest collection of cham dance masks in Mongolia.

16. Bogd Khan Palace Museum

As the largest museum in Mongolia, the Mongolian National Museum covers it all. More than 57,000 objects cover Central Asian history and the history of Mongols from prehistory to the end of the 20th century. Traditional dress exhibitions lead way into medieval ger recreations, eventually ending at a collection of modern historical objects, photographs, and documents.

Bogd Khan Palace Museum Ulaanbaatar

17. National Sports Stadium

Ulaanbaatar’s National Sports Stadium is most associated with Naadam, Mongolia’s biggest national festival. The festival’s opening ceremonies are held here annually each July 11 and tickets to the Nadaam opening day are some of the hardest tickets to get in town. With only 12,500 seats in the stadium, book a Naadam tour for the best way to secure tickets to this culturally important festival.

18. Mongolian Military Museum

On the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar, this often overlooked museum screams Sovietism. An interesting look into Mongolia’s military history and the weaponry they use, veterans and history buffs especially will find this museum interesting.

19. Mongolian Rail Museum

Also known as the Steam Locomotive Museum, according to Google Maps, these Soviet train cars are relics lost in time. This weird, free thing to do in Ulaanbaatar, is worth the detour from the Black Market to check out. The museum is currently closed, but the train cars are clearly visible from the street.

20. Mongolia Mounted Archery Camp

Mongolia’s mounted archers were once known as the fiercest warriors in history thanks to their archery skills and the ability to shoot with insane accuracy while galloping at full speed. It was thanks to these skills that Genghis Khan and his army were able to conquer and expand his empire so rapidly to reach from China to Europe. These days, this lost art is making a comeback in a big way. Join an indoor training session in Ulaanbaatar or turn on your warrior mode and schedule a full day or archery and horseback training outside of the city.

Mongolian Mounted Archery Lesson

21. Eatopia Food Hall

Get to know a different side of Mongolian food by eating your way through some of the city’s best restaurants. Warm up with a bowl of ramen at Miso Ramen, chow down on some sushi at Noka Japanese, or sip on a classic cocktail at Cocktail Bar.

22. Zaisan Memorial Monument

Sitting at the base of Bogd Khan Mountain, the Zaisan Memorial Monument is one of Mongolia’s best Soviet monuments to visit. Celebrating a friendship between Mongolia and the former USSR, the details on the monument are spectacular. Look for Jugderdemidiin Gurragchaa, the first Mongolian to go to space, before taking in your own space views of a sprawling Ulaanbaatar below. Head to the Zaisan Memorial Monument at sunset for the best views in Ulaanbaatar.

Zaison Hill Monument Ulaanbaatar

23. Tsetsee Gun, Bogd Khan Mountain

No matter where you are in Ulaanbaatar, you can’t escape the views of Bogd Khan Mountain in the distance. Looming over the city, it’s Tsetsee Gun peak that calls out to true adventurers. Spend the day hiking these lesser-explored mountains in hopes of getting closer to Tengger, Mongolia’s sky god. Bogd Khan National Park also happens to be one of the oldest national parks in the world, established in the 18th century.

Day Trips from Ulaanbaatar

You’ll need a day away from the city to experience these monasteries, natural wonders, and other great tourist attractions in Mongolia.

24. Manzushir Monastery

A former gompa, meaning a Buddhist ecclesiastical fortification for learning, Manzushir Monastery dates back to 1733. Eventually destroyed by Communists in 1937, parts of the complex still remain and worth making a pilgrimage to today. Visiting the monastery is a great day trip from Ulaanbaatar, where avid hikers and trekkers can stretch their legs. Hikers up for a challenge can even cross over Bogd Khan Mountain to Tsetsee Gun Peak before continuing on into Ulaanbaatar.

25. Dambadarjaa Buddist Temple

Dating back to 1761, more than 50 monks can be found practicing at this ancient temple when you pay a visit today. The temple is an iconic landmark, recognized by the white stupas sitting on top. Only two old temples and two shrines are all that remain of the original 25 buildings where 1,500 lamas called home at the height of the temple’s presence. Daily chanting takes place from 10 am to 1 pm and readings of requested texts are offered until 1 pm.

26. Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park is one of Mongolia’s most-visited national parks, and for good reason. The park is only 55 km northeast (1.5 hours by car) from Ulaanbaatar making for an easy and exciting day trip. Inside the park, ride horses year-round, and climb atop a two-humped Bactrian camel, or brave the cold and go dog sledding in winter. Famous tourist attractions in and around Gorkhi-Terelj National Park include the Chinggis Khaan Equestrian Statue, Turtle Rock, Aryapala Temple Meditation Center, and the nearby 13th Century Complex.

Terelj National Park Hiking

27. Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue

Not only is the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue Mongolia’s most iconic monument, it’s also the tallest equestrian statue in the world. Standing tall at 40 meters high, climbing to the top of the horse’s head to stare the Great Khan in the face makes it one of the most picture-perfect places to visit in Mongolia.

Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue Mongolia

28. Aryapala Temple Meditation Center

Climbing the steps up to the Aryapala Temple Meditation Center is a sort of meditation all in itself. Because of this, the views from the top are the best you’ll find in all of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park. Head here in autumn to see a beautiful display of fall foliage or even in winter, when the park’s rolling hills and mountains are blanketed in a layer of pristine white snow. Don’t forget to look up when you’re at the temple, you never know what the temple be trying to tell you.

Terelj National Park Day Trip

29. Turtle Rock

Legend has it there’s more than just a turtle to see at this rock – there’s buried treasure here, as well. In the summer find rock climbers and tourists alike scaling and crawling their way over and through this Gorkhi-Terelj National Park main attraction. Stop into the nearby store for an ice cream or water, or just a mid-day bathroom stop.

Turtle Rock Terelj National Park

30. Terelj Luxury Hotel

The best hotel for a luxury stay in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Terelj Luxury Hotel is not what you’d expect to find in Mongolia. Opulent and grandiose, the hotel is worth the splurge, even if it’s just for one night. Take a swim in the hotel’s indoor pool, book a spa appointment, and eat breakfast next to the river all while channeling your best Wes Anderson vibes.

Terelj Luxury Hotel Mongolia

31. Tuul Riverside Lodge

A stay at this small, sustainable yurt hotel is the best way to experience Mongolian living without having to travel deep into the steppe to do it. Book a private yurt and the boat transfer for your arrival into the hotel – this is what makes staying here so fun and unique.

32. 13th Century Complex

This 13th century village complex is an important historical sight for anyone interested in seeing what it was like to live in Mongolia during the days of Genghis Khan. Just like in the 13th century, don’t expect cell phone service, electricity, or running water. Instead, learn archery, how to write old Mongolian script, have a meal suitable for a khan, and simply enjoy the beautiful nature in the area.

13th Century Complex Mongolia

33. Khar Zurkhnii Khukh Lake

From the 13th Century Complex, head northeast for another 149 km until you reach Khar Zurkhnii Khukh Lake. This beautiful lake in Khentti Aimag is surrounded by forest with statues and totems dedicated to Genghis Khan. It’s believed this is where Genghis Khan became the king of the Mongol tribes in 1189.

34. Aglag Monastery

Aglag Monastery is one of the most underrated and unique monasteries in Mongolia. Not your traditional temple complex, Aglag is both weird and wonderful. Start by walking the paths through the incredible stone statues before heading inside the monastery’s main temple. Inside the temple, it’s the beautiful thangka paintings will leave you mesmerized and the animal, half-hybrids with body parts that don’t match, that you’ll remember most after a visit here.

Aglag Monastery Best Places to Visit Mongolia

35. Hustai National Park

Hustai National Park is one of the last places in the world where you can find wild Przewalski’s horses, or takhi, as they’re called in Mongolian. Venture out into the park in search of this rare and endangered horse. Mongolia has the largest population of Przewalski’s horses in the world.

Khustai National Park Wild Horses

36. Amarbayasgalant Monastery

A UNESCO cultural heritage site, Amarbayasgalant Monastery was built between 1727 and 1736. Located near the Selenge River, it’s one of the three main monasteries in Mongolia. Built in honor of Zanabazar, the first Bogd Gegeen leader of Mongolian Buddhism, a sculptor and painter who lived from 1635 until 1723, it’s here where his mummified body remains.

37. Baga Gazariin Chuluu

Located in Dundgovi Province, 250 km south of Ulaanbaatar, Baga Cazariin Chuluu is one of the best places for hiking in Mongolia. This granite canyon has been molded over time into a place your eyes won’t believe exists, especially in Central Asia. Look for the ruins of a temple dating back to the 17th century while you’re here. Legend has it the water collected on these rocks can cure eye diseases. Look for the ladle where you can wash your eyes with this sacred water and test the legend for yourself.

Eastern Mongolia

The birthplace of Genghis Khan is one of the least discovered places in Mongolia, which is exactly what makes it so interesting to visit.

38. Buir Lake

On the border with Inner Mongolia, China, Buir Lake’s sandy beaches and surrounding wetlands make it one of the best places to visit in Mongolia. Birdwatchers and fishers will agree. The lake is home to 34 species of fish, 37 species of sedentary birds, and 199 species of migratory birds. While the lake also boasts 4 species of pearl oysters, it’s not advised to eat them. They are an essential part of this delicate and balanced ecosystem.

39. Dariganga National Park

Patrolled by three full-time and ten seasonal rangers, Dariganga National Park is one of the only national parks in Mongolia to be managed by a female ranger. Most travelers visit the national park for Ganga Lake. Because of the park’s location, volcanic craters, small lakes, and dunes can all be found here. As an area where aristocrats used to graze their animals, there are still tales of a Sain Er (meaning good man), similar to Robin Hood in the west.

40. Genghis Khan Birthplace Memorial

While there are plenty of mausoleums and memorials dedicated to Genghis Khan, this one in Dadal Soum in Khentii Province is the best. That’s because Temuujin, Genghis Khan’s real name, was born here in 1162. Legend says he was born near Burkhan Khaldun Mountain and in 1962 a large white stone monument was erected here for his 800th birthday.

41. Onon-Balj Basin National Park

Straddled between two of Central Asia’s most important ecosystems – the Siberian conifer forests to the north and the Daurian steppe to the south – Onon-Balj Basin National Park is one of Mongolia’s most important national parks. As the area where a young Genghis Khan was born and raised, you can feel the importance of this area. Outdoor lovers come here to climb the park’s mountains and camp along the banks of the Onon and Balj rivers.

42. Khan Khentii National Park

As a strictly protected area, visitors need special permission to visit this national park in eastern Mongolia. Inside the park, the sacred Burkhan Khaldun mountain is where Mongolians believe Genghis Khan was born and where his burial tomb still lays untouched and undiscovered. The mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national monument in Mongolia.

43. Ikh Burhant

Built in 1864, this giant sculpted statue of Janraiseg, a God who sees in every direction and is known as a great protector, is one of the least visited, but also best tourist attractions in Mongolia. The statue, built into the ground, lays horizontally and is surrounded by 12 stupas and 20 smaller statues of Gods. The statue was built to protect Mongols from neighboring Manchuria.

44. Dornod Aimag’s Salt Lakes

In a country where more than 170 salt lakes can be found, the salt lakes in Dornod Aimag are the best to visit – and most impressive. Start by setting your GPS to Toson Khulstai and from there head across the province to Yakhi Lake and down to Dund Shavar Nuur.

45. "Heart" Island, Onon River

A lush, green part of Mongolia, the Onon River is one of the world’s longest rivers. Before it flows from the base of the Khentii Mountains into Russia, water flows around a Heart Island located right in the middle of the river. It’s unclear where exactly this heart island can be found, adding to the alure of this natural wonder.

46. Shiliin Bogd Mountain

This extinct volcano in eastern Mongolia sits 1,778 meters above sea level and has a 2 kilometer-wide, 300 meter deep crater. While the area is home to 220 extinct volcanoes, Shiliin Bogd Mountain is the most impressive and important. The mountain is a pilgrimage site for Mongolian men who believe it will improve their heavenly fortune. They climb the volcano at dawn to see the sunrise and make their offerings and say their prayers to the mountain.

Central Mongolia

Central Mongolia is often considered one of the best places in Mongolia for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. The roads aren’t easy to navigate but taking the time to reach these remote tourist attractions is always worth it.

47. Sweet Gobi Geolodge

Located in the Mini Gobi, Sweet Gobi Geolodge is the best place to stay in Central Mongolia. The lodge’s private yurts can sleep from one two three people where travelers will find beds topped with satin sheets and cashmere quilts. The lodge has a dining yurt, compostable bathrooms, and a salon where women can get their hair washed for free. Hot towels and complimentary tea and coffee are delivered to each yurt throughout the day.

48. Elsen Tasarkhai

The best place to visit in Central Mongolia, the Elsen Tasarkhai dunes are the best place for riding camels and getting the full Mongolia experience. Giant dunes are surrounded by steppe, making for one of the most beautiful landscapes you’ll find anywhere. Hire a nomadic herder to lead you on an adventure through the dunes atop a Bactrian camel. This place doesn’t disappoint.

Mini Gobi Mongolia Tour

49. Erdene Zuu Monastery

Built atop the old capital city of Kharakhorum, Erdene Zuu Monastery is made from the stones and rubble from this important Silk Road stop. The oldest and most elaborate monastery left in Mongolia, Erdene Zuu dates back to 1586. At its peak, Erdene Zuu Monastery was home to almost 100 temples and 1,000 monks. Only three temples remain standing today, but the monastery still holds an impressive number of statues, tsam masks, and thangkas from throughout the monastery’s history.

Erdene Zuu Oldest Monastery Mongolia

50. Kharakhorum Museum

To see what the former capital city of Kharakhorum was like at its peak, stopping into the Kharakhorum Museum is a must visit place in Mongolia. The museum is great for history buffs, and anyone interested in seeing some of Mongolia’s best artifacts from excavations done around Kharakhorum. Coins, ceramics, a model of the ancient city, old Mongolian passports, sculptures, jewelry, and even a letter from one of the ancient Khan’s to the then Pope make this museum one of the best museums to visit in Mongolia.

Kharkhorin Museum Mongolia

51. Erdenesiin Khuree Mongolian Calligraphy Center

Another one of Mongolia’s best places to visit, the Erdenesiin Khuree Mongolian Calligraphy Center is a great way to spend a few hours learning about Mongolia’s ancient script. Under the direction of Tamir Samandbadraa Purev, Mongolia’s best calligraphy artist, visitors can browse through life-size pieces of artwork while learning about the techniques used to create and preserve this style of writing. Children (and adults) can even sit and learn a few letters and simple phrases for themselves.

Mongolian Calligraphy Center

52. Monument for Mongol States

The Monument for Mongol States is a Soviet-style monument with great views overlooking Kharakhorum. While the view of Kharakhorum in front of the monument is what most people come here to find, it’s the view at the back of the monument that will blow you away. The Orkhon River flows through this beautiful valley where you’ll find semi-wild horses and incredible sunsets. Pack a picnic and eat lunch down by the river after taking in everything the monumnet has to offer.

Monument for Mongol States Kharkhorin

53. Ursa Major Geolodge

With the UNESCO World Heritage Orkhon Valley sprawled out in front of you, there’s no such thing as a bad view at the Ursa Major Geolodge. Especially after the sun sets. Take in some of the best views of the Milky Way and Mongolia’s dark skies you’ll find anywhere in the world. While the lodge has the best telescope in the country, a MEADE LX 200 ACF, visitors will also learn how nomadic people use the stars to navigate through the vast steppes and deserts, determine the time and date, and predict weather.

54. Tövhön Monastery

As one of Mongolia’s oldest monasteries, Tövhön Hiid (Monastery) was built in 1653 for Öndör Gegeen Zanabazar, the first spiritual leader of Mongolian Buddhism. That’s not the only reason this place is one of Mongolia’s best tourist attractions, the views from the monastery are something special to see. Perched on a cliffside, you’ll have to hike 5 km up the mountain to see where two of the original temples and two stupas from the 17th century still stand.

55. Khar Balgas Ordu Baliq

Another must visit place in Mongolia and the Orkhon Valley, the Khar Balgas “Black City” of Ordu Baliq dates back to 744. At the time, the city was the capital of Uyghur Khaganate, a Turkic empire that existed for about a century between the 8th and 9th centuries. It was a destination of major importance to the Silk Road and parts of the city were solely devoted to crafts and trades.

56. Ugii Lake

A great place for birdwatchers and bird lovers, Ugii Lake is most known for the 150 species of birds found here. This includes several endangered species and rare migratory birds, including the Dalmatian Pelican, Swan Goose, Baikal Teal, Palla’s Fish Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Siberian Crane, Great Bustard, and Relict Gull. While several yurt camps surround the lake, finding a spot to camp is the best way to spend the night at Ugii Lake.

57. Duut Resort Mongolia

Mongolia’s hot springs are one of its best kept secrets. A place that’s great for weary travelers, families, or just a weekend of rest and relaxation, Duut Resort is our favorite place to stay at the Tsenkher hot springs. Mongolia’s hot springs are rich in minerals and an enjoyable 86-degrees. Slipping into one of the resort’s hot spring baths is known to relieve fatigue, treat joint, and skin disease.

58. Fairfield Guesthouse and Café

The best place to stay in Tsetserleg, Fairfield Guesthouse has it all – comfortable rooms, a great café, and warm and hospitable hosts. Staying here means you can have a hot shower in the shared bathrooms, the best pizza and burgers in Arkhangai, and plenty of tourist attractions are just outside the door. Walk to the Arkhangai Aimag Museum for an interesting look into the history of the area or go out on a horse riding adventure with one of the local herders as your guide.

59. Arkhangai Aimag Museum

One of the most underrated museums in Mongolia, the Arkhangai Aimag Museum is a beautiful museum worth making any Central Mongolia itinerary. Housed in the former Zayain Gegeenii Süm monastery, a temple complex dating back to 1586, the museum would make the 1,000 monks who once lived here proud. Traditional Mongolian deels, paintings, and a room dedicated to Mongolian games keep traveler’s coming here.

Arkhangai Museum Mongolia

60. Buyandelgeruulekh Monastery

This mountainside monastery is a hidden gem in Central Mongolia. Walk to the top of the steps, pay your respects inside the temple, and then keep walking to the giant boulders behind the temple. Climb the rocks, find the secret oovo (small rock shrine) and ground yourself as you take in the best views of Tsetserleg.

Monastery to Visit Arkhangai Mongolia

61. Taikhar Rock

This 20-metre tall granite rock is so much more than a rock. There are 150 writings in different languages covering the rock, the oldest being runic writing from the Turkish period of the 6th and 7th centuries. Legends surround the strange placement of the rock, saying a giant warrior named Bukhbilegt once threw it at a snake that was coming out from the ground.

62. Uurtiin Tokhoi Cliff

Once named Khuurtiin Tokhoi, or “the cliff of corpses,” today Uurtiin Tokhoi Cliff is a popular photo stop for tourists and locals. Driving to the Orkhon Valley Waterfall, the cliff can’t be missed, it’s a popular area for taking pictures and taking a break from the inevitably long car ride it takes to get here. From the cliff, it’s another two hours off-roading to the Orkhon Valley Waterfall, which is the water that flows here.

63. Orkhon Valley Waterfall

The Orkhon Valley Waterfall is a popular tourist spot in the summer for both Mongolians and visitors. The trip to get there involves several hours of off-roading and should only be done in a 4×4 vehicle. Once you’re at the waterfall, find the hidden hiking path that will take you down to get a better view from below. Visit in September for the best weather and to see the best fall foliage in all of Mongolia.

Mongolia Best Tourist Attraction

64. Khan Khujirt Med Wellness Resort

One of Mongolia’s best wellness resorts, Khan Khujirt Med Wellness Resort is a must visit when you’re traveling through central Mongolia. Book packages that are 7, 10, 14, or 21 days, or just stay for a night, and take advantage of all the spa treatments the resort has to offer. Go from the massage table to a mud bath and revitalize your mind and body in the healing waters and natural elements this part of Mongolia is known for.

65. Khuisiin Naiman Lake

The name Khuisiin Naiman Lake translates to the Eight Lake thanks to the eight lakes that make it up. These separate lakes – Shireet, Khaliut, Bugat, Khaya, Khuis, Mukhar, Duruu, and Bayan-Uul – are all connected via underwater canals. Several extinct volcanoes can also be found around the lake, which can only be reached by horseback. Cars are unable to make the difficult journey back here.

66. Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake

One of the most beautiful lakes to visit in Mongolia, Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake is 16 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide. Because of the lake’s size, it’s easy to find great camping spots around the lake’s shores. The lake is part of Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan National Park and driving to the lake is like being transported to Iceland thanks to the volcanic rock and lava fields that make up this unique area. This is one of the most interesting roads to drive in Mongolia.

White Lake Mongolia Arkhangai

67. Khorgo Mountain

The Khorgo Mountain volcano crater is one of the most unique natural wonders you’ll find anywhere in Mongolia. That also makes it one of the best places to visit on a trip to Mongolia. A popular spot for hiking and picnicking, the mountain is close to Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake, so you’ll be able to experience both places together. The hike up the side of the mountain so you can peer down into the crater takes about 30 minutes and is clearly marked with signs and stairs.

Khorgo Mountain Mongolia

68. Yellow Dog’s Hell Cave

Between the Khorgo Mountain volcano and Terkhiin Tsagaan Lake, most travelers miss the small roadside sign that says, “Yellow Dog Cave.” Stopping here gives travelers the chance to see something most other people miss, an underground cave and waterfall.

Southern Mongolia and Gobi Desert

Often the most popular place for tourists to travel in Mongolia, southern Mongolia has it all. Singing sand dunes, friendly camel herders, and natural wonders that will leave you breathless.

69. Ikh Gazariin Chuluu

The largest granite rock formation in Mongolia, this natural wonder is one of the best things to see in Mongolia. More than 40 caves can be found in the formation. Look for the cave locals call Olgii, mysterious books and sculptures were once housed inside. Crystal hunters will also appreciate this area – pure crystal, cloudy crystal, jade, chalcedony, fluorite, and bezoar can be found here.

70. Ongi Monastery Complex

Two of Mongolia’s oldest and most historical monasteries, Barlim Monastery and Khutagt Monastery, split the Ongi River to make up the Ongi Monastery complex. Both built in 1660, the 30 temples and 4 study centers were destroyed in 1939 and more than 200 monks were killed by the Communist Party of Mongolia. Today, one of the temples has been rebuilt and a small yurt museum stands proudly in front of it.

71. Gimpil Darjaalan Khiid

If you haven’t noticed by now, Mongolia is the land of monasteries. Buddhism was brought to Mongolia in 1271 by the Yuan Dynasty at a time when Mongolians believed in Shamanism. Though they converted to Buddhism, they briefly reverted back to Shaminism until Buddhism became the official religion of Mongolians in the 16th century. Gimpil Darjaalan Khiid (khiid meaning monastery) was one of the few monasteries to survive communist times and the current Dalai Lama even visited it in 1992.

72. White Stupa

If nature is your religion, Mongolia’s White Stupa, or Tsagaan Suvarga will be your shrine. This 400 meter long limestone formation used to be underwater. That means you’ll find marine fossils, clamshells, and more at this popular tourist destination. Head here at sunrise (no later than 6:30 am in the summer) for the best colors and light, photographers especially love this Mongolian natural wonder.

White Stupa Mongolia Travel Guide

73. Gobi Caravanserai

When visiting Tsagaan Suvarga, be sure to book a night at Gobi Caravanserai, one of the best hotels in Mongolia. The hotel looks like something out of Star Wars, which is exactly why people love staying here. This minimalist eco-lodge is less than 10 minutes by car from the White Stupa and staying here means a hot shower (bathrooms are shared, not private), complimentary breakfast, and a night’s sleep without worrying about Mongolia’s often-times unpredictable elements.

Gobi Caravanserai Mongolia Hotel

74. Overnight Train from Ulaanbaatar to Sainshand

The overnight train from Ulaanbaatar to Sainshand is one of the most unique things you can do in Mongolia. As part of the Trans-Mongolian Railway, Sainshand is the train’s last stop going south. The train is a must-have experience because of the Soviet-vibes and the way it seemingly transports you to another time, and planet. Once you arrive in Sainshand, the surrounding desert is quiet, peaceful, and otherworldly. Use your time in Sainshand to disconnect from technology and connect with the earth, it has a lot of things to say here.

Contact us for help booking your train tickets in Ulaanbaatar.

75. Khan Bayanzurkh Mountain

Known as Wishing Black Mountain, and one of the most sacred mountains in Mongolia, Khan Bayanzurkh Mountain is one of the top sites to experience in southern Mongolia. Locals say if you climb to the top of the mountain and whisper it a wish, the mountain will grant it. Unfortunately, women are not allowed to climb to the top of the mountain, where there’s a sacred cairn, or ovoo, as it’s called in Mongolian. Women, children, and elders who can’t climb to the top will find a small temple 100 meters from the bottom of the mountain where they can sit, pray, and make wishes of their own.

76. Yolyn Am Valley

One of the most unique landscapes in Mongolia, driving through Yolyn Am Valley is like transporting yourself to Jurassic Park. The deep gorge was shaped by glaciers and ice fields millions of years ago and you’ll even find the remnants of such things when you visit. Hiking through the valley can be done without a guide, or you can hire one of the local herders sitting at the trailhead and cross the valley on horseback for a more adventurous experience.

Mongolia Travel Tips 2024

77. Yolyn Am Ice Field

A hike through Yolyn Am Valley is one of the coolest ways to spend a day in southern Mongolia. Not only are the views beautiful, but because the valley leads to the Yolyn Am Ice Field, this is an absolute can’t miss experience. Thanks to the high gorge ice remains here year-round, which is a surprising break from the sweltering temperatures typically associated with southern Mongolia. Spend the day in the gorge before booking a yurt at one of the nearby yurt camps for the best experience.

Yolin Am Ice Fields Mongolia 2023

78. Flaming Cliffs

If there’s one tourist attraction that shouldn’t be missed in Mongolia, it’s the Flaming Cliffs, or Bayanzag. Known as the Grand Canyon of Mongolia, these cliffs are famous for both their color and because dinosaur eggs were discovered here almost exactly 100 years ago. If you look carefully enough, you can still find 70 million year old dinosaur eggshells and unexcavated dinosaur skeleton fossils scattered around the cliffs. Camping is allowed next to the Flaming Cliffs for a small fee and witnessing sunrise here is a bucket list worthy travel experience.

Mongolia Travel Best Places

79. Three Camel Lodge

Often called the best luxury hotel in Mongolia, the now 20-year-old Three Camel Lodge is Mongolia’s very first eco-lodge. The lodge is close to the Flaming Cliffs (about an hour’s drive by car) and sits on the side of small mountain. The private luxury yurts have private bathrooms with rainfall showers, a very nice touch for any hotel in Mongolia, and all meals are included in a stay. The food here is some of the best you’ll find at any restaurant in Mongolia and the chef only uses locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as locally sourced meat. At the end of the day, a whiskey at the Thirsty Camel Bar will have you checking ‘have a drink at the most remote whiskey bar in the world’ off your bucket list.

Best Hotel Gobi Mongolia

80. Bulgan Soum Tomato Harvest

Bulgan soum might not seem like much at first glance, but come fall, this is tomato central. The soum is known for both their greenhouses and green thumbs, and tomatoes from here are famous across Mongolia. Visit Bulgan Soum in September and help with the harvest so you can see and learn about Mongolia’s new agricultural and sustainability efforts firsthand.

81. Khongoryn Els

The most famous tourist attraction in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, the ‘singing sands’ are worth the journey to get there. The singing sands get their name from the sounds the dunes make when the winds blow and it’s one of the only deserts in the world where snow accumulates on the dunes in winter. Climbing to the top of these dunes is no easy feat, which can take 45 minutes to an hour. Camel herders can be found around the dunes, but don’t expect to find wild camels in the dunes when summer temperatures reach 40 degrees or higher.

82. Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park

As the largest national park in Mongolia at 27,000 sq km, Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park is a must see and explore when you’re in this part of the country. The park is home to Khongoryn Els, but also mountains, rare and endangered animals, and dinosaur fossils. Block off a few days to roam and explore everything the park has to offer without being in a rush. You won’t regret it.

83. Khermen Tsav

Khermen Tsav is famous because it’s where the first dinosaur skeleton was discovered in Mongolia. But even before dinosaurs inhabited this part of Mongolia, scientists believe this area was underwater more than 200 million years ago. Here, red canyons meet giant dunes making for one of the best landscapes you’ll find anywhere. Don’t be surprised if you don’t run into any other travelers when you travel here, not many tourists know this place exists.

Northern Mongolia

Northern Mongolia is known for sprawling green landscapes, the harsh taiga, and its most famous tourist attraction – Khuvsgul Lake.

84. Khuvsgul Lake National Park

Recently added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO, Khuvsgul Lake and the surrounding National Park are one of the most important protected areas in Mongolia.

Khuvsgul Lake is the world’s second largest freshwater lake and is considered a ‘sister lake’ to Lake Baikal in the north. The lake freezes over completely in wintertime and the annual Ice Festival is one of the best festivals in Mongolia. In summertime, the lake is a popular place for locals who come for kayaking, fishing (with a fishing permit), horseback riding, and hiking. Fishing permits can be purchased from park rangers or at local guesthouses.

85. Khuvsgul Lake Shipwrecks

One of the last places in the world where you’d expect to find sunken military ships is Mongolia. But in Khuvsgul Lake, a few remain. Rent a glass-bottomed kayak and go out in search of the few that remain close to shore – seeing them from above is a surreal experience.

86. Dinosaur Bay, Khuvsgul Lake

Khuvsgul Lake is the only place in Mongolia where you can go scuba diving and Great Sea Resort is the first PADI certified dive center in the country. The best time to go diving in Khuvsgul Lake is August, when the water is at its warmest. Otherwise, expect to wear thick wetsuits, gloves, and hoods when diving here. Popular dive sites include Dinosaur Bay, where dinosaur statues greet you under the surface.

87. Mongolian Taiga

As the home of the Tsaatan Tribe, Mongolia’s famous reindeer riding tribe, the Mongolian Taiga is one of the best places to visit in Mongolia. Getting there takes some patience, and a few different modes of transportation, including by horseback. Once you’re there, expect to find yourself in one of the last truly wild places in the world. Life here revolves around the herds of reindeer and surviving in this vast forest on the Siberian border can be tough. Spend a few days learning from the Dukha people who live here, ride reindeer, live in a teepee, eat reindeer cheese, and sip on reindeer milk tea. These are some of the most things you can do in Mongolia.

Best Places Mongolia

88. Mongolia’s Taimen Sanctuaries

In Mongolia, taimen are the king of fish. These Siberian giant trout, or Siberian salmon as they’re often called, are the world’s largest trout like salmonid. Though they’re found in Russia and China, Mongolia is the best place in the world for taimen fishing thanks to protected sanctuaries and strict fishing policies. There are only four rivers in Mongolia where international anglers may legally fish, including the Delger River, and special permits are issued only by two fishing outfitters, Fish Mongolia or Mongolia River Outfitters.

89. Khoridol Saridag Mountains

Snowcapped mountains and the famed Khoridol Pass, one of the most dangerous roads to travel in Mongolia, the Khoridol Saridag Mountains are a can’t miss place in Mongolia for adventure lovers and thrill-seekers. The 150 km long range is home to Delgerkhaan Uul, the range’s highest peak at 3,093 meters, as well as the 2,961 meter Ikh Uul peak and equally impressive 2,702 meter Uran Dösh Uul.

90. Mörön

A city with many different pronunciations, Mörön is the capital of Khusgul Province. Most travelers arrive here by plane from Ulaanbaatar. The 1.5 hour flight eliminates an otherwise 12 hour drive from the capital. Lovers of Soviet architecture will love the Mörön Stadium Wrestling Palace and visiting the market is a great way to meet and mingle with locals and pick up any gear you might have forgotten before adventuring this far north.

91. Tsagaannuur

Tsagaannuur is the main town of the Darkhad people, also known as Mongolia’s reindeer riders and Tsaatan Tribe. Located on the shores of Dood Tsagaan Lake, to reach the Tsaatan Tribe from Tsagaannuur you’ll need to go by horseback for two days. It’s absolutely necessary to hire a guide to help navigate the difficult terrain and manage the horses, don’t be fooled, this is no easy horse trek. Travelers coming to this area will need to acquire a border permit in Mörön before beginning this adventure. This is also the best place in Mongolia to learn about authentic Mongolian shamanism.

92. Selenge Soum

Located on the banks of the Selenge River, Selenge Soum is the heart and soul of Mongolia’s northern provinces. This is where 45% of Mongolia’s grain is grown and more than 570,000 livestock roam. Here you’ll find hot springs, the petroglyphs of Duut Khad, and the vast endlessness of Saikhanii Khutul National Park. Saikhanii Khutul National Park is famous for inspiring General D.Sukhbaatar to start the Mongolian Revolution of 1921 which helped Mongolia claim their independence from China.

93. Eruu Hot Springs

A sacred place where even animals come to heal, the Eruu hot springs are a must visit place in Mongolia. For anyone interested in natural healing, a dip in the Eruu hot springs shouldn’t be missed. The springs reach 42 degrees and are easy to visit in winter. They are rich in carbonate, sulphate, and sodium, and are known to cure joint and nerve pain.

Western Mongolia

You know what they say, west is best and that’s certainly not untrue for seeing some of the most beautiful and hard-to-reach landscapes in Mongolia.

94. Khyargas Lake

One glimpse at Khyargas Lake and many travelers don’t believe this is Mongolia. One of the few saltwater lakes in the country, this is a great place for travelers thanks to the natural springs on the northern part of the lake. Visit the eastern shores to see the Khetsuu Khad rock cliff proudly sticking out of the water, a sight that looks more like it belongs in Baja, Mexico than Mongolia.

95. Ölgii

As the capital of the Bayan-Ölgii Aimag (Province), Ölgii is the center of life in the west. Sitting at an altitude of 1,710 meters, the city is predominantly Kazakh. This means travelers get a totally different travel experience than they’ll find in the rest of Mongolia. Speaking of Kazakhs, did you know Mongolia and Kazakhstan don’t actually touch? They’re only separated by 50 kilometers by Russia and China. Ölgii is most famous for the annual Golden Eagle Festival held here each October.

Ulgii Western Mongolia Travel

96. Altai Tavan Bogd National Park

The best place to visit in western Mongolia, Altai Tavan Bogd National Park is known for its stunning views, incredible natural wonders, and towering mountains. The park is home to nomadic Eagle Hunters and ethnic-Kazakh herders who will show you a completely different side to Mongolia. Argali sheep, ibex, red deer, moose, snow leopard, snow cock, and golden eagles all live in the national park. It’s one of the most popular areas for snow leopard conservation and research projects in the world.

97. Burkhan Buudai Mountains

A unique red and orange rock and snow-covered mountain formation in the Gobi-Altai Province, the Burkhan Buudai Mountains are one of the most unique mountain ranges in Mongolia. Don’t miss the Thousand Tombs of Khyar Lake and Uert White Gate for the most spectacular views – and photos.

98. Tolbo Lake

Taking the AH4 paved highway from Ölgii and Khovd City, travelers can visit this popular tourist attraction in the heart of the Altai Mountain range. The best time to visit is mid-July, when temperatures are at their warmest, otherwise travelers face the risk of encountering unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards – which makes for a great travel story but not the most pleasant travel experience.

Best Places to Visit Western Mongolia

99. Potanin Glacier

The longest glacier in Mongolia is also the most popular for tourists and locals to visit. Potanin Glacier stretches 14 kilometers through Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain and is difficult to reach, a 4-wheel drive vehicle and experienced off-road driver are recommended. The glacier is steadily shrinking and is at risk of disappearing. Meaning, get here now before it’s too late.

100. Malchin Peak

With an elevation of 4,050 meters, Malchin Peak is one of the best mountains for climbers and trekkers to visit in Mongolia. Translating to Herder Peak, it’s one of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park’s ‘Big Five Peaks.’ Climbers don’t need technical experience to take on this mountain and, if you’re lucky, you’ll even run into some nomadic Eagle Hunters along the way.

101. Friendship Peak

While Khüiten Peak, also known as Friendship Peak, is located on the border with China and is one of the least accessible mountains on earth, you can still get a glimpse of the mountain from below. Named for being the point where Mongolia, China, and Russia meet, Khüiten Peak is the tallest mountain in Mongolia at 4,374 meters above sea level.

Author: Breanna Wilson

Hi! Sain uu! I’m Breanna, an American travel writer and adventurer living in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for more than 5 years. I’ve written for and been featured in Condé Nast Traveler, CNN, Forbes, and the New York Times, among others. Read more of my Mongolia travel articles here.

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