After our stop in the land of the reindeer peoples, we continued our route to Khovsgol Lake. We slept in Tsanganuur and then continued with a very long day of road along the steppes and forests full of snow. Very complicated to drive but with the chance to enjoy amazing landscapes.
Drive the UAZ
Byamba, our driver, stopped in the middle of nowhere, turned to me and said: “it’s up to you now”! I did not understand right away because he spoke in Mongol, but he was proposing me to drive our badass russian van. I have to confess that I had been dreaming about this moment since I arrived to Mongolia, this is why I was so happy about his proposal.
Very hard gearbox, super power steering and pedals that go up to the knee, this Russian animal is not easy to tame. And if you add the 20cm of snow… yes, it is very intimidating. You have to constantly maneuver the car to be able to go few meters straight. After 15 minutes driving I have to say that I respect a lot the Mongolian drivers because driving on this extreme conditions requires a real know-how and thousands of kilometers of experience. Fiorella can not resist either but after 3 minutes she almost destroyed the car so Byamba invited her to sit back again…
Finally, in the late afternoon we arrived to Khovsgol Lake, which is considered the little brother of the famous Lake Baikal located a little further north in Russian territory. It is the second largest lake in Mongolia after Lake Uvs Nuur, but the first in depth. So big that when you see it you have the feeling you are in front of the sea but in different tones of blue.
It is also a very popular touristic destination for Mongolians during the summer. But now, in October and very close to winter there is no one here! So calm… We stayed at a kind of guesthouse in front of the lake, sleeping in a big ger. During the night we had a full moon that was beautifully reflecting on the lake. Total silence. The next morning it snowed very strong so we had to stay at the ger, but after lunch the sun started to come out and we decided to explore the forest behind the lodge.
Next morning, a beautiful sunrise!
Riding horse along the steppes
We drove to the eastern part of the lake to stay with a nomad family who owned horses. We had the best time exploring the lakeshores and surroundings riding the horses and feeling we were almost the only ones in such a vast territory. Once again, the landscapes are impressive. It really sounds cliché but we cannot stop being impressed by the landscapes in Mongolia… A sense of incredible freedom to ride these semi wild horses along the steppes and forests, all covered by snow.
After this epic horse ride we had a very fun dinner with the family, celebrating with beers, vodka and lots of food our first month travelling. Take a look to the video to learn how to cook Khuushuur.
Thanks to the warm moments we had with our hosts we managed to forget the extreme cold weather outside the ger.
Next day we continued our way back visiting the Amarbayasgalant Khiid Monastery (try to pronounce it, you’ll see it’s not easy). And after some days in UB we continue our trip to discover a new country … CHINA!!!
Bonus track… Manga style !
- The snowy banks of the lake.
- Enjoy the tranquility of the place during this season (October).
- Horse ride around the lake and forests
- The hospitality of the Mongol family at the east side of the lake (again and again)
- Visit the east shore of the lake, much wilder than its western counterpart
We did not really like:
- The freezing cold at this time of the year (especially for Fiorella)
How to get there:
- To get to Mörön, you can take a bus from UB (about 8h) and find a local guide on site (or just a driver with his Uaz) to get to Khatgal.
- You can take an agency directly from UB and drive to the north. This is a good option but keep in mind that the trip and long, between 3 and 4 days, depending on conditions. We recommend the agency of Soko, Mongol Nomads who, helped us organizing our trip.
- Enjoy Mongolian hospitality and beautiful scenery around Lake Khovsgol.
- Possibility to go ride horses around the lake.
- In summer it is also possible to make excursions on the lake and water sports.
What to bring:
- From September it gets cold, so bring enough warm clothes. At the west bank of the lake there are many lodges well equipped but the east side is a little more rustic, so bring your sleeping bags.