What to See in Dalanzadgad and Muren (Mongolia)

Muren (Mongolia)

Dalanzadgad (Mongolia)

The city of Dalanzadgad is the starting point for traveling through the Gobi desert. This is the largest desert in Asia, it occupies 1/3 of the territory of Mongolia. The Gobi is not a “classic” desert: it consists of 33 different ecosystems, mostly of a semi-desert type. Only 3% of its territory is covered by sands, and the rest is occupied by semi-deserts, steppe communities and mountains.

The most interesting is the northwestern mountainous part of the desert, where the spurs of the Altai Mountains enter – the Gurvansaikhan ridge (heights reach 4000 m). On the eastern slopes of the range, the Gurvansaikhan National Park was created in 1993. The area of the park is 27000 sq. km, this is the largest protected area in Mongolia. The local mountains are inhabited by snow leopards (irbis), the largest mountain sheep in the world – argali – and mountain goats Ibeks. In the steppes surrounding the mountains, there are Asian wild ass kulan, black-tailed gazelle and foxes, and in arid regions – wild havtagai camels and gobi bear mazalai. In addition, about 200 species of birds live here. The best time to observe the animals in the park is September. The famous Yolun-Am gorge is located in the Gurvansaikhan National Park, where there are birds of prey – bearded vultures (in Mongolian, “yol” means bearded). Also in this gorge you can see wall-climbing birds, snowcocks and four species of finches. The bottom of the gorge is covered with ice fields, which in the past persisted throughout the year. Now in the summer, the ice fields disappear. Also on the territory of the park is the 180-kilometer dune Khongorian Ils (Singing Sands). The dune has a height of several hundred meters and a width of 300 m. Among the sands is the Khongorin-Gol spring, near which irises bloom for several days in June.

The eastern part of the Gobi Desert is called Bordzon Gobi. Black-tailed gazelles and wild ass kulan live here (these are the easternmost habitats of kulans in the world).

There are several lakes in the Gobi desert where you can watch birds. The most popular are lakes Boon-Tsagan-Nur and Orog-Nur.

In addition to its natural uniqueness, the Gobi desert is known as one of the most extensive dinosaur burial sites in the world. Dinosaur skeletons and eggs dating back about 80 million years have been found here. The most famous burial place is a place called Bayanzag. In addition, it is worth visiting the yurt camps of nomads in the desert, who change the place of their dwelling in order to find new pastures for livestock. During such excursions, you will get acquainted with the culture of the Mongolian people and their traditions, as well as taste the dishes of the national cuisine.

Muren (Mongolia)

According to Animalerts, the city of Muren is located in the Khangai mountains in the northern part of Mongolia. Mostly tourists go here to get into the famous Darkhad basin, where there are about 200 lakes. Among them is the deepest lake in Mongolia and all of East Asia – Khubsugul (area – 2760 sq. km, depth – 262 m). The water in it is so transparent that you can see what is happening up to a depth of 20 m. Lake Khuvsgul is called the “brother” of Baikal. It was formed about 5 million years ago as a result of movements of the earth’s crust. Lake Khubsugul is located at an altitude of 1645 m. In 1992, a national park of the same name with an area of 840,000 hectares was opened on its shores. This region is referred to as “Mongolian Switzerland”: the mountains surrounding the lake are covered with pine forests, which are inhabited by bears, deer, elk, foxes, wolves and many birds.

The main settlement of Lake Khubsugul is the village of Khatgal, which is located on its southern shore. In the village of Khatgal, there are several dozens of campsites. From it to the northern shore of the lake, where the village of Khankh is located, there is a ferry. You can also travel on the lake on the Sukhbaatar cruise ship. There are no roads in the vicinity of Khuvsgul, so you can only explore the surroundings of the lake on horseback.

Of the sights of this region, the most popular are the Amarbayasgalant monastery of 1736, which at the time of its appearance was the second most important monastery in the country after Erdene-Zu, the Dayan-Derkhin cave with ancient rock paintings, the extinct volcano Uran-Ul and the communities of nomads Dukkha living here. Nomads are engaged in reindeer herding, in summer they live in the mountains, and in winter they descend to the plains. These are the southernmost peoples in the world engaged in reindeer herding. In total, about 500 nomads live here. In addition, Lake Khubsugul is a great place for fishing. Here are found the largest representative of salmon – taimen, lenok, grayling, whitefish, Baikal omul and burbot. It is worth remembering that in order to fish here, you need to buy a license (it costs about 3 US dollars).

Muren (Mongolia)