Some call it the land of the blue sky. Some describe it as the golf course of the Old Gods. This is where Chinggis Khan decided to build an empire stretching from Asia to Budapest, scourging the earth and in the end leaving no traces but sand and memories. This is where ancient cartographers filled in unknown areas of their maps with the words: ‘Here be Dragons’. You don’t believe us? Well come and we’ll show you bones of velociraptors…
This is Mongolia, with its endless plains of treeless green, patterned by the shadows of clouds; pristine lakes and air; epic silence and, when night falls, the Milky Way's billions of stars come out to play and seem so close you could sweep them up in your hands. This is Ulaanbaatar, the country’s only city that was once a migrating yurt city made up of thousands of tents and temples (long known as the Great Monastery Town) and that now hurtles into the 21st century. Few places in the world have the rich, albeit complicated, history of Mongolia.
This is the land of the last surviving great nomadic society, where perhaps as much as forty percent of Mongolians still live pastoral lifestyles that has barely changed since the days of the Khan. A fabulous wide-open land of extreme climate and extraordinary natural environment, the home of horses and herdsmen.
Witness migrations, the snow-capped mountains in the Altai, the longest sand dunes in the world in the Gobi. Scan the horizon and see nestled together in the dip of a valley gers (classic, collapsible, round Mongol tents) set against an awe-inspiring background of mountains and river valleys. Explore the rolling and endless horizon of the Gobi desert via camelback, in SUVs, small planes or by foot. Take a turn at milking a yak or meet a party of Kazakh eagle hunters. Look up and up and up at the casted silver 60 metres high statue of the Great Khan that can be seen shimmering from miles off. Venture into the wild with epic horse rides through the valleys, climb up to Buddhist temples, hike through the mountains, sleep under a canvas of stars , and discover homey dishes that are truly farm to table. Mongolia is the perfect antidote to the intensity of modern cities and hectic life.
Change is in the air in Mongolia, which is why now is the time to visit.
The best time to visit Mongolia is from June to October - October specifically if you want to experience the Golden Eagle Festival.
You should plan for a two-week trip - Minimum. More if you want to connect with our Silk road trip.
WHERE DOES IT START?
Beijing, China with direct flights to Ulaanbaatar.
DID YOU KNOW?
Three million people live in Mongolia. An estimated 25 to 40 per cent of them live as nomadic herders.