27 March 2008

6 Must-See Tourist Spots in Ulaanbaatar

A few of the places that are worth visiting in Ulaanbaatar are the Gandantegchilen monastery, Manzushir monastery, Gorki-Terelj National Park, Hustai National Park, Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve, and the Chinggis Khan Statue Complex.

Are you planning to vacation in Mongolia soon? You might be interested in visiting Ulaanbaatar, the capital city, while you're there. It is also called Ulan Bator and means The Red Hero in English. Just like most of her people, Ulaanbaatar is a nomad herself. It has changed locations as many as twenty times before it settled in a sweeping valley bordered by four sacred peaks. This capital city is a place of contrasts. You can see natives riding horses and horse-drawn carts alongside a Mercedes Benz. It is a place where you can visit an actual nomadic family and stay in a grand hotel all in the same day. It is a home for elegant-wearing business men and women and herders who clad themselves with traditional clothing. Only in Ulaanbaatar can you find a market that sells both designer couture and livestock. To sum it all up, for Mongolia vacations, Ulaanbaatar has something to offer everyone with something that will tickle everyone's fancy.

Gandantegchilen Monastery

Gandantegchilen Monastery is the only functioning monastery for Buddhists. It represents the past in terms of spirituality of the Mongols. This one-of-a-kind monastery is the home of the largest Buddha statue in all of Central and East Asia. It is called Megjid Janraisag, the Buddha of the Future. The rooftop of this monastery shows the artistic techniques that still show even after ages. This is but one of the monasteries that tells the story of the early settlers of the 17th century until now.

Manzushir Monastery

There was one time that this Manzushir Monastery had more than a thousand lamas and 70 temples. Sad to say, it was destroyed by the Communists back in 1932. Restoration of the remaining standing temple makes it a great tourist site. You can see actual photos and artifacts of the destroyed temples. You can also enjoy the beautiful landscape of flora and fauna that surrounds the premises of this historical monastery.

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park

This protected area is the third largest in Mongolia, and, though it doesn’t hold the first title, it attracts the most number of tourists because of its natural setting and because it is located in the capital itself: Ulaanbaatar. Adventurers will surely enjoy being in this place since they can go horseback riding, rafting, skiing, hiking, mountain biking and camping.

Hustai National Park

Hustai National Park was where the last wild horse in the entire world was reintroduced into its natural habitat: the wild. This species is known as the Przewalski’s horse, or Takhi in other terms. You can sight wild horses, deer and gazelles at dawn and dusk, which are the best times for visitors to see the animals. You can also find Turkic graves and stone men called Khun chululu on its premises.

Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve

One of the most famous eco tour sites located in Mongolia is the Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve. It is a mixture of high-peaked mountains, colorful flora, marvelous lakes, rivers and wetlands. It houses lots of rare species such as the Argali the Big Horns, the rare Black Stork and Swan Goose, just to name a few. Tourists can enjoy watching and taking photos of the endangered species, go rafting and fishing, camping, visiting nomadic families, and get introduced to the traditional lifestyle and culture of nomads in Mongolia.

Chinggis Khan Statue Complex

This statue is the equivalent to the Statue of Liberty in New York. Its surroundings are the captivating natural scenery of Tuul, a river in Tsonjin Boldog. It erects 40 m from the surface and is surrounded by columns. The tourists can ascend up to the statue’s head where they have a panoramic view of the complex area.

Ulaanbaatar is as colorful as its people. Its diverse culture and beautiful nature makes it a great place to enjoy vacation.

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