Mongolia, the land of pastoralists
Mongolia is a country located in East Asia, bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. It is known for its vast and rugged landscape, as well as for being home to a unique nomadic culture that revolves around pastoralism.
The traditional way of life in Mongolia is centered around raising livestock, particularly horses, yaks, camels, sheep and goats. This is due to the harsh climate and terrain of the country, which is largely unsuitable for agriculture. The Mongolian people have developed a way of life that allows them to survive and thrive in these conditions, relying on their animals for transportation, food, clothing and other essentials.
The traditional nomadic lifestyle of the Mongolian people is deeply intertwined with their culture and identity. Families typically live in portable round tents called gers, which can be easily dismantled and moved from place to place. They follow a seasonal cycle, moving their herds to different grazing areas throughout the year in order to ensure that their animals have enough food and water.
The Mongolian people have a long and proud history, having been united under the rule of Genghis Khan in the 13th century. Despite facing many challenges over the centuries, including invasion and colonization by foreign powers, the people of Mongolia have maintained their unique identity and way of life. Today, the country is a young democracy with a growing economy, but the traditional pastoral way of life remains an important part of the national identity.
What to do in Mongolia for a week
Mongolia is a vast and diverse country with many unique experiences to offer visitors. While a week may not be enough time to see everything, there are still plenty of things to do and see during your visit. Here are some suggestions for how to spend a week in Mongolia:
- Explore Ulaanbaatar: Mongolia’s capital city is a great place to start your trip. Visit the Gandantegchinlen Monastery, the National Museum of Mongolia, and the Zaisan Memorial for stunning panoramic views of the city.
- Experience the Gobi Desert: Take a guided tour to explore the vast and beautiful Gobi Desert, home to sand dunes, canyons, and unique rock formations. Visit the famous Flaming Cliffs and the Yolyn Am canyon to see the unique wildlife of the area.
- Visit the Kharkhorin and Erdene Zuu Monastery: Take a trip to Kharkhorin to visit the ruins of the ancient capital of Mongolia, including the Erdene Zuu Monastery, the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the country.
- Stay in a traditional ger: Experience the traditional Mongolian way of life by staying in a ger (yurt) in the countryside. Enjoy home-cooked meals and learn about the culture and customs of the local nomadic people.
- Horseback riding: Mongolia is known for its horse culture, and there are many opportunities to go horseback riding in the countryside. Take a guided tour to explore the beautiful landscape on horseback.
- Visit Lake Khovsgol: Known as the “Blue Pearl of Mongolia,” Lake Khovsgol is one of the largest and deepest freshwater lakes in Asia. Take a boat ride, go fishing, or hike in the surrounding mountains.
- Attend a traditional festival: Depending on the time of year, there are many traditional festivals and celebrations to experience in Mongolia, such as Naadam, a celebration of the country’s independence and the traditional “three manly sports” of wrestling, archery, and horse racing.
These are just a few of the many things to do and see in Mongolia. A week may not be enough time to see everything, but it’s enough time to get a taste of this unique and beautiful country.
Where to stay in Mongolia.
There are a variety of accommodation options available for visitors to Mongolia, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. Here are some suggestions for where to stay in Mongolia:
- Traditional gers: Staying in a traditional ger, a portable round tent, is a unique and immersive way to experience the traditional Mongolian way of life. There are many ger camps located throughout the country, particularly in rural areas, that offer visitors a chance to stay in a comfortable ger and enjoy home-cooked meals and cultural experiences.
- Guesthouses: There are many guesthouses located in the cities and towns throughout Mongolia, offering affordable and comfortable accommodations for budget-conscious travelers. Many guesthouses are family-run and offer a more personal experience than larger hotels.
- Hotels: There are a variety of hotels available in Mongolia, ranging from budget-friendly options to luxury properties. In Ulaanbaatar, there are several international hotel chains such as Shangri-La, Kempinski, and Ramada, as well as local hotels like the Best Western Premier Tuushin Hotel and the Blue Sky Hotel and Tower.
- Hostels: Hostels are a popular choice for backpackers and budget travelers, particularly in Ulaanbaatar. There are several hostels located in the city center, such as the UB Guesthouse and the Zaya Hostel.
- Ger homestays: For a more authentic experience, visitors can stay with a local family in their ger. This option offers a chance to learn about traditional Mongolian culture and customs, as well as enjoy home-cooked meals and traditional hospitality.
When choosing accommodation in Mongolia, it’s important to consider factors such as location, price, and amenities. It’s also a good idea to research reviews and recommendations from other travelers to find the best option for your needs and budget.