- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
The western banks of LakeKhövsgöl are lined by a stunning mountain range with peaks that range from 2,500 to 3,500m high. You'll find numerous, pretty campsites spread between the Khatgal bank and the trail that leads to Renchinlhümbe; it's the perfect place for a family holiday.
The road that crosses the mountain to the village is a perilous drive, but the scenery is stunning. Even though we were on a motorbike, it was a tricky ride. We even came to the rescue of a hunter, whose tire had blown out and who had been waiting for help for more than three days!
If you want to tour on horseback you won't have a problem finding a Mongolian guide! The trek to Hanh, for example, is quiet and the landscape magnificent. If you're planning to head high up the mountains, make sure you have the necessary permits if you're hoping to reach the Russian border.
Lake Khövsgöl, the second largest lake in Mongolia by surface area, lies in the extreme north of the country and is immense. I tried horse riding for the first time while I was visiting this area – an unforgettable experience. We also encountered some nomads while were were here, and they were delighted to have us travel along with them and their animals and act as our guides for a few days.
It will take you two to three days to tour the lake, and as you travel around its shores you will pass through areas of pine forest. The fact that this kind of landscape is quite rare in Mongolia makes it a novel and particularly enjoyable experience. I was personally delighted to encounter forests again after weeks of treeless landscapes.
You'll also get the chance to meet the Tsaatan people here: nomadic reindeer herders who live in the surrounding mountains a little set back from the lake, not far before you reach it.
Something interesting that takes place here is the ice festival held in February or March each year, for which the nomads descend from the mountains to take part in various activities that take place on the surface of the frozen lake. Of course, this isn't the best time of year to visit Mongolia, but if you do manage to attend the festival, you have the opportunity to admire ice sculptures, watch skating and wrestling competitions, and observe traditional shamanic rituals.