This Khuvsgul Lake 7-day itinerary includes it all – spectacular nature, incredible wildlife, and the chance to meet Mongolia’s famous reindeer herders.
Khuvsgul Lake, located in the northern part of Mongolia, is an incredible natural wonder and a popular destination for travelers from all over the world.
Not only is Khuvsgul Lake the largest lake in Mongolia, it’s the largest freshwater lake in Central Asia. The lake is famous for its crystal-clear waters surrounded by lush forests and rolling hills that provide stunning views of its pristine beauty.
With temperatures ranging from warm summers to cold winters where the lake completely freezes over, Khuvsgul Lake offers visitors a unique experience no matter what time of year they visit.
From fishing on its tranquil waters to exploring nearby villages or trekking through its mountainous terrain, Khuvsgul Lake has something for everyone and is one of the best places to visit in Mongolia. Especially if you only have seven days to experience what Mongolia is all about.
Northern Mongolia is also home to Mongolia’s shamans, where these ancient traditions are still practiced, as well as Mongolia’s famous reindeer herders. With the right planning, and a little bit of luck, you can experience these unique customs during this 7-day itinerary.
If you’re interested in traveling without a guide, at your own pace, and on your own budget, this northern Mongolia itinerary is a great start for planning a 7-day Mongolia itinerary.
To get from Ulaanbaatar to Khuvsgul Lake, there are multiple ways to make the journey: by car, bus, or plane.
The trip to Khuvsgul Lake from Ulaanbaatar will take two days minimum, with one overnight in Moron.
Those who make this trip by car should be warned, the journey to Moron can take more than 10 hours due to road conditions, weather, and just plain old Mongolian time. That being said, the road passes through an array of stunning landscapes and captivating landmarks making the journey a memorable part of the trip.
From Moron, the drive to Khuvsgul Lake, no matter which mode of transport you choose – car, bus, or plane – will take several more hours depending on your final destination.
One advantage, and case for making this drive, is the opportunity you have to meet nomadic people living in nearby villages or explore the towns, cafes, restaurants, and local markets along the way.
Mongolia is a vibrant destination worth visiting not just for its natural wonders, but also for its rich cultural heritage which has been passed down through centuries of nomadic life in this part of Mongolia.
The one-hour flight from Ulaanbaatar to Moron Airport provides travelers with incredible views from above of the grasslands and meadows filled with wildflowers leading up to Moron’s mountainous terrain.
While flights are available, and are the fastest, but also most expensive option for getting from Ulaanbaatar to northern Mongolia, we don’t recommend traveling to Moron this way. In 2022, domestic flight options were limited and unreliable. This is something that changes yearly as Mongolia’s domestic airlines work through local issues but is something to be aware of.
Taking the bus from Ulaanbaatar to Moron is the cheapest option, but also the longest. The bus from Ulaanbaatar to Moron operates throughout the year. From Moron you will need to hire a private transport or hitch a ride.
Whichever mode of transport you decide on for getting from Ulaanbaatar to Khuvsgul Lake, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views as you travel through this spectacular part of Mongolia.
From five-star hotels to tourist ger camps or camping, there are plenty of options when it comes to booking a stay at Khuvgul Lake. However, it’s important to keep in mind that July will be the busiest month with the highest room rates due to the national holiday Naadam. We recommend visiting Khuvsgul Lake in June or August (the best month, in our opinion) instead. The lake is at its warmest the last week of August.
Also written as Murun, Moron is the capital of Khuvsgul Aimag (province) in northern Mongolia and is home to just under 50,000 Mongolians. From Moron, you can travel to Khuvsgul Lake and see the beauty of the national park and the best of northern Mongolia. You can also travel to the towns of Ulaan Uul and Tsagaan Nuur while you’re in this part of northern Mongolia, where you will meet the reindeer herders of Mongolia.
The best things to do in Moron include visiting the historical buildings located here, including the ancient Moron Monastery which dates back to 586 AD.
Other attractions in Moron include the Ikh Tenger Natural History Museum which features an impressive collection of artifacts from around the region as well as stunning displays of local flora and fauna. In addition, visitors can explore colorful markets featuring traditional products such as handmade carpets or textiles from nearby villages.
Filled with rustic charm and plenty of opportunities for exploration and discovery, Moron is a must-visit spot when traveling through Khuvsgul province in northern Mongolia.
Thing to See in Moron:
Depending on what your plans are for traveling in northern Mongolia, you may need to stop into the border patrol office in Moron to obtain a permit for your adventure.
There’s no denying that Khuvsgul Lake is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders of the world.
Located in the northern part of Mongolia, Khuvsgul Lake is part of a large area encompassing over 11,000 square kilometers and is surrounded by Khuvsgul Lake National Park.
From Moron, head towards the town of Hatgal, which is the southernmost point of the lake on the Moron-Hatgal Highway. As one of the largest freshwater lakes in Asia, Khuvsgul Lake provides visitors with stunning views and an unparalleled wilderness experience.
The lake boasts incredible wildlife – from bears, wolves, musk deer to moose and wolverines.
This renowned eco-tourism destination has a variety of activities available for visitors including boat tours, fishing expeditions, trekking and horseback riding. Diving is also available at Khuvsgul Lake and there’s even a dinosaur sculpture park located beneath the lake’s surface.
Apart from exploring Khuvsgul Lake National Park’s wildlife and forests, travelers can also marvel at its secluded beaches and rocky shorelines. Hiking up the surrounding mountains offers amazing views of the lake and will also give you a perspective of its sheer size and volume.
For those looking for adventure, Khuvsgul Lake has numerous rapids and rivers for kayaking or rafting trips. In addition to outdoor activities like camping or sightseeing around the lake’s periphery, visitors can take part in shamanic ceremonies which have been practiced for centuries by nomadic tribes living in this region.
While the majority of Mongolia’s Tsaatan Tribe, the tribe that herds and rides reindeer, live deep in the taiga, in the summer months some families will move their herds closer to Khuvsgul Lake. This gives tourists the chance to meet members of the tribe and their reindeer – something that’s great if you’re on a short itinerary. Normally, a journey to the tribe requires at least three days of arduous travel, which can be very challenging for people.
With the reindeer herders moving closer to the lake, this gives them the chance to meet more tourists where they can sell their crafts, teach them about their herding culture, and introduce people to their unique way of life. Today is a great day for meeting the reindeer riders, especially after several long days of travel.
If you are interested in spending more time with the Tsaatan Tribe and making the trek deep into the taiga to immerse yourself with them, we recommend the tours below.
On day four of your Mongolia trip, you’ll want to hire a local nomadic herder as your guide and take a horse trek around the lake.
Horses are an essential part of Mongolian culture, and these are one of those travel opportunities that shouldn’t be missed. The views from the trek and the chance to bond with this magnificent creature will help you better understand Mongols and the way they live.
For centuries, horses have been an integral part of the nation’s nomadic lifestyle, providing transportation for travel, trade, and warfare. Today, the horse is still a symbol of Mongolian pride and heritage – from the traditional sports that are practiced to the unique breeds used in herding livestock across its vast grasslands. Horsemanship remains deeply rooted in Mongolia’s culture as well as its economy, many local families rely on their equestrian skills to make a living – which you’ll be supporting!
Make the most of your last day at Khuvsgul Lake by going fishing, hiring a boat to take you by the old ship Sukhbaatar, laying on the beach, and going for a dive.
Some of the best things to do on Khuvsgul Lake include:
With a long trip back to Ulaanbaatar ahead of you, make your way from Khuvsgul Lake back to Moron. Or even beyond to Ikh-Uul or Bulgan, where you’ll be able to find tourist camps and some basic hotel options.
You may be tempted to fit in one more stop in Kharkhorin, the ancient capital city of Mongolia, but be warned – this means a lot of driving. Take our advice as you will.
Try to get an early start on your drive back into Ulaanbaatar. Traffic around rush hour makes getting back into the city a slow-moving exercise in patience.
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.
Proudly Based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
© 2024 Meanwhile in Mongolia