Mongolia, located in Central Asia, is a mysterious land of vastness with nomadic people. It is also one of the rare destinations in the world where visitors can experience the simple and traditional lifestyle of the Mongolians.
In recent years, tourism in Mongolia has boomed and the internal airport in its capital, Ulaanbaatar, has connected tons of visitors from all over the world who desired to explore this beautiful land that is mostly untouched by modernisation.
From the capital of Ulaanbaatar, visitors can take a domestic flight to Murun where they can visit the largest freshwater lake in Mongolia – Lake Khövsgöl. Due to its clear blue water, it is also known as the blue pearl of Mongolia.
Stay in a ger with a great view
Lake Khövsgöl is increasingly becoming a popular tourist due to the beauty and serenity of the lake. Many accommodations are available, lots with a view of the lake as well. One of the recommended accommodations is Bayan-Ulaan Camp, where traditional gers, rounded tents that locals sleep in, are offered to its guest.
This camp is built on higher ground, which offers you a magnificent view of the lake. Chairs are available outside the gers so you could simply sit there for hours and admire the creation of Mother Nature. The bluish water is always calm against the clear blue sky, where you can hardly differentiate between them.
Stroll along the lake
Take a stroll along the lake where you can enjoy the serenity of the surroundings. You can hear the sound of the water gently splashing against the small rocks. The water is so clear that you can see every rock beneath it. You are not encouraged to swim but you can play in the cool water. The other side of the lake has a lush forest, so you are surrounded by the blue lake and greenery.
Chase after a herd of goats and sheep!
For urban dwellers, when was the last time you spotted a herd of goats and sheep passing by you? Along Lake Khövsgöl, you will see the locals with their livestock grazing on the grass. The young lambs are very adorable but do not chase after them aggressively. You can follow and observe them quietly along the lake.
Aim and shoot!
Archery is one of the popular sports in Mongolia and you may be amazed to find that almost all Mongolians, regardless of their gender and age, can shoot really well.
Most accommodation in gers offer activities, so do try out archery by the lake and see how far those arrows can go. For first-timers, do not be disappointed if your arrows do not come close to the target after numerous tries, since you need to learn the technique and have the strength to get there. It is the fun that matters.
Ride a horse along the lake
Horses are still a common mode of transport for the Mongolians in rural areas. Do not be surprised if you see a 3-year-old toddler on a horse, as that is a common sight. The locals mentioned that their children learn to ride a horse before they can say their first word! You can rent a horse where the guide will bring you for a ride along the river, which is simply romantic!
Get close with the reindeers
Near to the peak tourist season (July and August), the reindeer families (the Dukha people / Tsaatan) will descend from the mountains with their reindeers so that tourists can get up close with them by the lake. You can pay a small fee to snap as many pictures as you like with the pretty reindeers. However, reindeers are used to a cold climate so they look rather uncomfortable with the ground level temperature, although the climate by the lake is slightly low, around 15-20 degrees Celsius (59-68 degrees Fahrenheit).
They are also covered with flies in the warmer climate, which will result in skin problems. Nonetheless, these adorable animals deserve a hug if you spot them. If you are adventurous enough, ride a horse to the mountains during winter and you can spot these reindeers with the reindeer families (herders). The Tsaatan is the last group of reindeer-herding family in Northern Mongolia since most have disappeared with modernization.
An alternative vacation by the lake
If you are considering a vacation in an exciting and unusual country, look no further than Mongolia, especially Lake Khövsgöl. With so many activities and a magnificent view, it promises to take away any troubles or stress that might be on your mind. Book your trip to enjoy this wonderful place.