Khuvsgul aimag, Khuvsgol, Khovsgol, Five rivers, Lake Hovsgol, Tsagaan Nuur
THE REGIONS OF MONGOLIA
- Territory - 38, 842 sq. miles (100,600 sq. km)
- Center - Murun town, located 430 miles (692 km)
- Population : 124,500
- Population density : 1,24 p/sq. km
- Elevation of Capital City : 1283m
- Livestock & Crops : Sheep, Goat, Cattle, Horse/ Hay
- Ethnic Groups : Khalkh, Buryat, Tsaatan, Uriankhai, Darkhad
- Average temperatures : July + 16,9°C January - 23,8°C
- Number of somons - 23
- Khuvsgul aimag was established in 1931.
Khuvsgul aimag borders on the North with Russian Federation. The altitude of
high mountains of Burenkhaan, Khordil saridag, Erchim range, Tagna, and Soyon is
up to 11,483 feet (3,500 m.) above sea level. There are beautiful passages in
the mountain such as Jigleg, Jar, Toom and Uli. Tagnuur, Shiluust, Uran dush,
Delgerkhan are highest mountains. Foreign tourists refer to Khuvsgul aimag as
There are many rivers flowing through the
province such as Ider, Tes, Delger, Selenge. Khuvsgul lake is one of the deepest
in Asia. Other lakes include Erkhel, Achmag, Tsengel, Sangiin dalai. The
province accounts for 134,276 cubic feet (3,800 cubic m) of wood per capita,
which makes the province the richest in forest resources. The soil in the
territory of the province is grey and there is black soil in the valleys. The
annual precipitation is 12-16 inches (300-400 mm) and more. This is the most
humid region in Mongolia. Khuvsgul aimag is rich in natural resources such as
phosphorite, coal, nephrite, graphite, and precious stones including rock
crystal, green jade and chalcedony. Asbestos, fluorspa and mica can be found in
many places. The Khuvsgul area is also rich in medical herbs, such as peony,
liquorice, astragalus, wild rose, saussurea involucrata, hawthorn, valerian,
thyme, thermopsis. Of wildlife species, in Khuvsgul there are brown bears,
foxes, wolves, squirrels, badgers, ermines, wolverines, muskrats, martens,
steppe polecats, and protected species, such as deer, roe deer, elk, wild sheep,
ibex, musk deer, sable, beaver and otter. Khuvsgul aimag, located in the
northern part of Mongolia with its fresh and deep lake of Khuvsgul and Khoridol
Saridag mountain range, isolated and deep forests and peculiar customs of many
ethnic groups is the main destination of foreign tourism in Mongolia.
This is the northernmost and absolutely one of the most scenic aimags in the
country. It is a land of crystal clear lakes, icy streams and tall green taiga
forests. As the crown jewel it is dominated by the magnificent Khovsgol Nuur -
one of the most scenic spots in Mongolia. There are also mountains with peaks
near 3000m. Here also lives the Tsaatan reindeer people.
Try to imagine a 2760 sq km (1080 sq mi) alpine lake, with water so pure you
can drink it. Then add dozens of 2000m (6560ft) mountains, thick pine forests
and lush meadows with grazing yaks and horses, and you have a vague impression
of Khuvsgul Nuur, Mongolia's top scenic heartstopper. This is the deepest lake
in Central Asia, and the world's 14th largest source of fresh water. Situated
along the border with Russia, the lake is sacred to local Mongolians, who refer
to it as 'mother'. It's full of fish and the area is home to sheep, ibex, bear
and moose, as well as over 200 species of birds. There are numerous caves around
the lake, though they're hard to find without a guide. Three separate peoples
live in the area: Darkhad Mongols, Buryats and Tsaatan.
An amazing 90 rivers flow into the lake, but only a single river flows out -
the Egiin Gol, which ultimately reaches Lake Baikal in Siberia. Khuvsgul Nuur
freezes in winter, allowing huge trucks carrying fuel to cross from Siberia.
Visitors can kayak on the lake when it unfreezes, and hike or ride on horseback
(or yakback) around it.
The southern boundary of Khuvsgul Nuur is about 775km (480mi) north-west of
Ulaanbaator and is reachable by occasional plane, bus or your own jeep. The best
time to visit is in spring (around April and May). It's still very cold at this
time and the lake may be frozen. The summer (July and August) is warmer but more
crowded. Permits are required to visit the lake. They're available on the main
road into Khuvsgul Nuur National Park, a few km before the southern entrance
at the town of Khatgal.
It is impossible to imagine Mongolia without the uniquely magnificent and
pristine land of Khuvsgul or lake Khuvsgul. Lake Khuvsgul covers an area of
2760sq.km and exists at 1605 m above sea level. Khuvsgul is the deepest lake in
Central Asia, with a maximum depth of 262metres. It's water is crystal clear and
WHAT TO SEE
In the province you will find cave paintings and deer monuments dating back
to the Stone and Bronze ages. There are 2m-3m high deer stones; 3m-4m high
tombs; the ruins of Munkh Khaan’s palace and monuments to Kul Bilge Khaan in
Uushgi Uvur, Burentogtokh soum; stone figures; the Arig River and its monument
in the homeland of Alungoo, the highest grandmother in Chinggis’s family; ruins
of the capital of Khubilai Khaan in Tsagaan-Uur and Chandmani soums; a dirt wall
of Erchim castle and a wall of Chingunjav; the legendary cave of Dayan Deerkh of
ancient shamanism; 100 beautiful deer stones, the Sukhbaatar ship on Khuvsgul
Lake; the Khoridol Saridag natural reserve; the reindeer people of Tuva; and the
stupa of the famous Gelenkhuu.
PLACES TO VISITED.
- Moron. Population 28,000. Elevation 1283m. This rather scruffy aimag capital is cooler than most Mongolian cities, and has
relatively few gers because nearby forests supply abundant timber. Moron (which means river) has few sights and most travellers just drive through en route to Khatgal at the southern end of Khovsgol
Moron Museum. Given the variety of wildlife in the aimag, stuffed animals are, not surprisingly, the main feature of the museum. There's a large tusk from a woolly mammoth, but you won't see one of those in the flesh - they haven't inhabited this region for over 40,000 years. Photographic exhibits of the Tsaatan people are also intriguing.
Danzandarjaa Khiid (Monastery). The history of this khiid (monastery) is unclear, but the original monastery (Morongiin Khuree) was built around 1890 and was home to 2000 monks. It was rebuilt and reopened in June 1990, and now has 30 monks of all ages. It's a charming
place, designed in the shape of a concrete ger, and contains a great collection of scroll
- Lake Hovsgol – 1645m above sea level, frozen
from January until May, is located in the most northern province and called the „ Dark Blue Pearl“ of Mongolia. Untouched by industry and
modern urban life, the Lake Hovgol’s water is unbelievable clear and clean. The scientists have announced that the lake contains 2% of world’s fresh water resources. The second largest fresh water lake in
Central Asia is the home of the Tsataan Reindeers herders which live in this taiga and forest
steppe since centuries. The best and fastest way to come to this area is by plane to Moron and then by four wheel cars.
- Tsagaan Nuur. About 50km west of Khovsgol Nuur, in Renchinlkhumbe sum (district), is a large depression called Darkhadyn Khotgor, often referred to as
Tsagaan Nuur (White Lake), after the main village in the area. The Darkhadyn Depression is roughly the same size as Khovsgol Nuur and was indeed originally formed as a glacial lake.The difficulty in reaching the region ensures that the unique Tsaatan people who inhabit the valleys are able to continue their traditional lifestyle - but tourism is slowly making an impact. Darkhadyn is one of Mongolia's strongest centres of shamanism.
This is one of the best-watered regions in Mongolia: the aimag has about 300 lakes and 200 of them are in this area. The lakes are a vital part of Mongolia's very limited commercial fishing industry - white carp and trout are packed in salt and flown out to Ulaanbaator
to be served in the fancier hotels. Salmon and huge taimen can also be found in the region.
One definite drawback to visiting the region is the insects that invade the area.
- Chandiman-Ondor & Surround. The village of Chandiman-Ondor, a day's drive
East of Khatgal, is in a beautiful area, which would make a good exploratory trip for hardy travellers. The town also has a decent museum
and dining rooms.
Surrounding sites include the Bulnai hot springs, about 50km north-west of town, which offers simple cabins around a former Soviet resort. Further
East, 30km south-east of Tsagaan-Nuur, is the Dayan Derkhiin Agui cave, considered holy by local Buddhists and shamanists, and a nearby ruined monastery. Many Buryats live in this area. With a few days up your sleeve this could make a rough but beautiful alternative route from Khovsgol to Bulgan.
In the north-east of the aimag, the area around the Khokh, Arig and Kheven rivers, is particularly good fishing.
- Five rivers. About 50km South of Moron, on the border with the Arkhangai aimag, is an area where the Ider, Bugsei, Selenge, Delger Moron and Chuluut rivers converge. In September and October this is one of the
best fishing spots in the country.
There are a number of hotels to choose from, including the Dul, Gobi,
Juulchin, Delgermurun, Ider, Khangarid, Tamir and Javkhlan. Among these hotels,
Dul, Gobi and Juulchin are the biggest. Restaurants include the Dul, Gobi,
Juulchin, Ider, Jargalan and Chinggis. There are three supermarkets and 50
stores in Murun. There are also branches of Khan Bank, XacBank, Zoos Bank,
Capital Bank, Golomt Bank, Mongol Post Bank and Savings Bank. Visa and
Mastercards can be used. Moneygram, a money transfer service, can transfer money
in five minutes locally and within one hour internationally.
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