10 Reasons Why You Should Visit Mongolia
Travelling Mongolia isn’t really on the average tourist’s radar. When I told my friends and family that I will be visiting Mongolia, everyone’s reaction was “But why? – There is nothing”.
Mongolia is a country not many people know much about. For me, that is the fascinating part and one of the reasons why I really wanted to explore this country. It is remote, densely populated and largely off the mass-tourism trail.
Here are 10 reasons why Mongolia should be added to your bucket list!
Plenty of Sunshine
Did you know? Mongolia has an average of 250 sunny days a year, so it’s not without reason that the country is called “The Land of the Blue Sky”.
Despite of the short summers and long, rough winters, having a blue sky during your trip is definitely a true benefit. Not only for the sake of the photos.
Mongolia is home to one of the world’s last surviving nomadic cultures, and these nomads still live in traditional tents known as gers or yurts. Up to 40 per cent of Mongolians live as nomadic herders. Travellers are given the opputunity to spend time with Mongol nomads, sleep in gers and learn first-hand about the traditional Mongol daily life.
Wide Open Spaces
Tired of crowds and mass-tourism? Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, with only 4.3 people per square mile. When you travel through the country, there will be many times where you don’t see a living soul. In fact, you will see more goats and horses than people. Heaven, right?
The Mongolian cuisine is not everyone’s favourite, yet very unique and special. Animal fat and starchy carbs are everywhere (reason behind: resources and to withstand the freezing winters). The food is based on milk and meat from camels, yaks, goats, sheeps and horses. Don’t expect many fresh vegetables or fruits. Yet an experience not to be missed.
Many people will be surprised, but the landscape is incredibly varied: the sand dunes of the Gobi desert; vast grasslands that make up more than half of the country’s terrain, the Altai Mountains, forests and fresh water lakes. So many different sceneries. A real paradise for anyone who loves outdoors and photography. Not to forget the amazing stars you can watch as soon as the sun sets, far away from civilisation and electricity.
The Great Chinggis Khan
Genghis Khan ruled the largest empire in history. His kingdom once stretched from the edges of Eastern China to Persia, and he is still remembered as one of Mongolia’s fiercest warriors. Until now he is a legend in Mongolia and visitors can learn first-hand about this rich and complicated history. Genghis Khan statue, Genghis Khan square, Genghis Khan museum…he is everywhere.
One of the World’s Oldest Festivals
The best way to experience the country’s history and culture is to visit Mongolia during the annual Naadam festival (the absolut highlight of my trip), which takes place every July.
It combines some of the most important and traditional aspects of Mongolian culture, from wrestling competitions, archery and horse races to cultural performances and culinary offerings.
With camels in the south, reindeer in the north and eagles in the west, it’s a must visit for wildlife lovers. There are many wild species that can only be found in Mongolia, such as the Gobi desert bear, the Przewalksi wild horse and the two-humped wild camel.
If you love road trips as much as I do and are adventurous, Mongolia is for you. With only a few paved roads and no GPS to speak of, there are infinite opportunities to take the road less travelled. Chances that you’ll have the road to yourself are pretty high.
Lack of Tourists
Mongolia, relatively untouched by modern life, is not yet a well-known destination. This gives visitors the opportunity to learn about the traditional Mongol way of life without massive crowds of tourists.
However, it is an emerging country, more flights and more tour operator are coming up.
Go as soon you can to enjoy the unspoiled landscapes before the rest of the world figures them out.