With one of the most extreme climates in the world (-40°C to +40°C year round) Mongolia can seem a daunting place for travellers and especially in winter when the weather becomes especially challenging and so people from across the world often dismiss it as a destination during the winter months without considering the advantages that it holds for people who are intrepid hardy and prepared enough to brave it!
We have prepared 10 activities that will occupy you during your winter trip.
A relatively new activity in Mongolia but one that is ideally suited to the landscape, dog sledding is an exciting way to spend a day or two. Most dog sledding outfits operate in Terelj National Park and offer 1 to 3 day trips between November and March.
The blue pearl, Baikal’s little sister, whatever you call it Lake Khuvsgul is a fabulous destination year round but especially so during the winter months when the plummeting temperatures and arid climate cause it to freeze solid by November each year. There are no domestic flights operating during the winter so travellers have to rough it along the narrow highway passing through mountainous wild landscapes: dense, dark forests and wide open prairies spotted with wolves but the reward is immense for those who choose to make the journey. Once there you can enjoy ice skating, ice sculpture, bonfire parties on the ice, ice sledding, whatever usually floats your boat you can be sure that at Lake Khuvsgul it’ll be the ice.
Nomads make up about 1/3 of Mongolia’s population. During summer they live in small family groups but in winter they gather together to protect their flocks in sheltered locations. We suggest that you visit one of these impromptu communities and stay with the people who have maintained Mongolia’s ancient traditions. You will be welcomed with open arms and fed till you nearly burst before you are invited to join in the milking, herding and general care of the livestock.
We don’t rank internationally as a particularly enviable golfing location but wait for winter and all that changes! Ice Golf, the sport of discerning White Walkers everywhere, is here for you between November and March each year. So wrap up warm and grasp your 9 iron as you take to the green.
When you visit one of the coldest countries on earth you should absolutely take advantage
Whole Goat Barbecue
Ok, so this isn’t an exclusively winter activity but when you are in Mongolia you may as well take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy this delicacy no matter what the weather. The goat will be butchered specially for you and prepared lovingly for a feast. Bear in mind that all the surrounding neighbours will probably show up with or without an invitation.
What could be more pleasing than hiking in the snow high above the steppes. We recommend travelling not too far from the capital city unless you are an extremely experienced outdoors person just in case you do need to seek medical treatment quickly and to always keep your destination in sight of your trail. For example, try travelling to a hotel or camp that is surrounded by hills and walk the ridges that surround it, keeping the camp in sight at all times.
Camels are brilliant and Mongolian camels (Bactrian) are especially great due to their 2 humps. Riding a bactrian camel is a comfortable and relaxing experience especially during winter when their thick winter coats come in. You can ride across the snowy northern tundra on the backs of these impressive beasts but make sure to wrap up warm!
Have an impressive coat made
DO you have a good winter coat? Unless you’re a nomadic herder out on the bare steppes of Mongolia then the answer can only be no! Mongolian coats (Deels) are amazing! Silk outer layers and, for winter coats anyway,
Just enjoy the weather! The country is unbelievably beautiful in winter with deep blue skies, endless sparkling ice fields and frozen rivers and lakes everywhere you go. Dress in layers, wear good boots, keep your hat on and simply marvel at how beautiful it all is!