- Encounters with locals
Arriving in Kazakh territory is a wonderful experience, and it really gives you a strong sense of the exotic and being off the beaten track. The Kazakhs and Mongolian peoples share mutual respect, and the former display all the same warmth and generosity and are just as friendly and welcoming as the latter, though they do have their own distinct culture. With the way the locals dress, from the characteristic appearance of their faces, and from observing their customs, you can tell you virtually have one foot in nearby Kazakhstan here.
Visiting Mongolia is above all about encountering and meeting its people and learning about their way of life. I really enjoyed mingling with the local Kazakh population when visiting the Ölgii market and the museum of Kazakh culture. And as for the region's countryside and unspoilt natural areas, these are also equally wonderful.
After you've visited these places I recommend heading to the southeast and the Altai Tavan Bog National Park, which is based around a wonderful mountain massif that contains Mongolia's highest point, Khüiten Peak (4,374 m high), as well as a number of glaciers and other impressive summits. There are many walks, horseback rides, cycle rides and jeep trips you can go on here.