Meet with your guide and drive to the ruins of Manzushir Monastery on the edge of Bogd Khan mountain range. From there we take a 3-4 hour hike on a trail of moderate difficulty through mixed forests and alpine meadows to 2256m Tsetsee Gun peak, the highest point of the mountain range. We have a picnic lunch on the peak with scenic views of typical Siberian forests in the background before heading back down. We visit the monastery complex which was originally built in 1733. It was completely destroyed during anti-religion campaigns of 1930-ies with just the main temple remaining to these days. But apart from it we will see a few sections of shattered walls, foundations, stone terraces and some stone niches in the cliffs. The main temple building was recently been renovated and now serves as museum. We return to Ulaanbaatar in late afternoon.
|All year around
|Available||8 spaces||USD 62 - USD 148|
- English speaking guide
- Visit's fees
- Drinks & Alcohol
Hayley Baxter, Australia
If you're thinking of taking this or a similar tour, even in the frigid winter months, read my review and book it in immediately. This was the single best experience I had in Ulaanbaatar.
Bat picked us up at our hostel on time at 8am, and drove us out though Mongolia's rugged countryside of white rolling ranges as the sun rose. We drove past villages sitting contained and street-less, just rising up in brightly coloured houses amid the snow. After about 40 minutes, we began the cross country descent to The Valley of Bogd Khan Mountain.
Initially, we hiked up to the cluster of gers nesting in the ice, their chimneys smoking, then made our way to the 6.5km track up Mt Bogd Khan (600m elevation). Bat was happy to go at my pace, which is hardly Olympic, and after stripping off several unnecessary layers--I'm from Australia, my snow hiking knowledge is about zero--we made a steady pace for the summit, passing through picturesque forests of larch and cedar, spotted with little squirrels darting between them as we climbed.
There were plenty of friendly UB locals of all ages about too, hiking the same trail in their usual street boots and coats, but don't think the trail is necessarily a breeze. I worked up a sweat by the summit, and my quads are feeling it today (I hiked this yesterday).
At the top of the mountain, you will find cairns strewn with prayer flags, bestowed with offerings of milk, vodka, sweets and so on. Moreover, you have a gobsmacking 360 degree view: to the south, the edge of the forest and the wild plains leading to the Gobi. To the north, the snowy peaks of Siberia proper. You can also see the bowl of the capital spread out below, usually covered in a halo of smog.
We explored all of this while eating our packed lunch (you'd need to have a huge stomach not to be satisfied with it) and drinking cups of hot tea. It is very cold at the top, and taking gloves off photos feels like dipping your hands into a bucket of ice, but it's worth it to take those shots. So sick it up and do it.
We leisurely descended (if you're a champion hiker though, that's the pace Bat will keep) and made our way off track to explore the remains of the Buddhist monastery, where Bogd Khan was placed under house arrest by the Chinese in 1920, until he was liberated by Russian Baron Ungern-Sternberg, thus kicking off a very interesting period of Mongolian history.
That concluded the trip. Bat dropped us back at our hostel on time, and said goodbye.
A final note about our tour guide, Bat: he is wonderful and sociable. He speaks better English than many native speakers, and he studied history at university, so make sure you mine him for information. Our heads are so full of fascinating facts and images of glittering snow in cedar forests that we can hardly contain them.
Now go book this hike, even if it is cold out.
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