Mongolia: The Bradt Travel Guide

Overview

Mongolia is one of the few countries left that can be explored with a true spirit of adventure. Open to the Western world only since 1990, this "Land of Blue Sky" offers excellent horse or camel riding, thrilling festivals such as the renowned Naadam, and a heritage steeped in rich culture and tradition.
This comprehensive guide includes detailed history and natural-history sections, and full coverage of the thriving capital, Ulaanbaatar. And, for those keen to sample the unique...
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Overview

Mongolia is one of the few countries left that can be explored with a true spirit of adventure. Open to the Western world only since 1990, this "Land of Blue Sky" offers excellent horse or camel riding, thrilling festivals such as the renowned Naadam, and a heritage steeped in rich culture and tradition.
This comprehensive guide includes detailed history and natural-history sections, and full coverage of the thriving capital, Ulaanbaatar. And, for those keen to sample the unique pleasures of staying with nomads, it explains how and where to experience the traditional lifestyle of a Mongolian ger.
Inside you will find information on: customs, ceremonies and festivals; special-interest holidays, including riding, hiking, biking and bird watching; in-depth information on national parks, wildlife, conservation and flora; language, pronunciation and useful phrases; Trans-Mongolian/Trans-Siberian railway; 37 clear, detailed maps.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781898323945
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Series: Bradt Travel Guides Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Blunden has had over 20 years' experience of traveling and living in Mongolia, including time spent helping to return the takhi (Mongolian wild horses) from world zoos to their natural environment.
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Read an Excerpt

My own reaction when I first reached the South Gobi Altai, in autumn 1990, was to fall on my knees in awe at the magnificence of the empty desert at dawn. For a short instant I felt I had arrived, and yet in the next instant I realised there was still a long, long way to go. Wearily, I recognised I had barely scratched the surface. Such travel to a far-off country both brings us home and teaches us about ourselves -- revealing, perhaps, our true identities and, maybe, our deepest desires and greatest fears.
Mongolia is not a country to visit in a hurry. It is a fabulous wide-open land of extreme climate and extraordinary natural environment. People call it a 'mythical land' or the 'land of blue sky' because of its shimmering, clear air and cloudless skies for most of the year. It is a land of horses and herdsmen and one of the last great undisturbed wilderness areas on earth. Among its 2.4 million people are some of the last truly nomadic pastoralists in the world, and visitors can experience the unique pleasures of staying with nomads and living a lifestyle of centuries ago.

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Table of Contents

Foreword VI
Acknowledgements VII
Introduction IX
Part 1 General Information 1
Chapter 1 Background Information 3
Geography 3
Climate 9
Natural disasters 10
The provinces (aimags) 10
History 12
From the Mongol empire to the 20th century 23
Politics 31
Social change, social problems and development aid 35
Economy 43
Business 52
Chapter 2 The People 55
Mongolian national groups 56
Mongol characteristics 58
Appearance 59
Greetings 61
Customs and ceremonies 62
'On the move': the world of the Mongolian nomad 65
Mongolians and their domestic animals 75
Language 78
Religion 79
Chapter 3 Culture 89
Architecture 91
Literature and legend 91
Music 94
Dance 96
Art 96
Arts and crafts 99
Sport 101
Chapter 4 Natural History and Conservation 105
Natural history 105
National parks 123
Conservation 132
Responsible tourism 138
Chapter 5 Practical Information 145
When to visit and why 145
Highlights/suggested itineraries 146
Tour operators 148
Tourist information 152
Red tape 153
Mongolian embassies and consulates 154
Getting there and away 155
Health 160
Safety 171
What to take 173
Money and budgeting 178
Getting around 180
Accommodation 184
Traditional Mongolian food 185
Festivals 186
Riding, hiking and biking 190
Sport and adventure 197
Shopping 205
Arts and entertainment 206
Photography 207
Media and communications 207
Business 211
Electricity 214
Time 214
Cultural dos and don'ts 214
Part 2 The Guide 217
Chapter 6 Ulaanbaatar 219
Getting there 220
Orientation 220
Getting around 221
Local tour operators 225
Where to stay 227
Where to eat and drink 230
Shopping 232
Practicalities 233
What to see and do 235
One- or two-day trips from Ulaanbaatar 243
Chapter 7 Central Provinces 245
Tov Aimag 245
Ovorkhangai Aimag 257
Arkhangai Aimag 265
Chapter 8 Southern Region: Gobi aimags 271
Omnogobi Aimag 273
Dornogobi Aimag 284
Gobi-Sumber Aimag 288
Dundgobi Aimag 288
Bayankhongor Aimag 292
Gobi-Altai Aimag 299
Chapter 9 Northern Region 307
Khovsgol Aimag 307
Zavkhan Aimag 318
Bulgan Aimag 321
Orkhon Aimag 324
Selenge Aimag 326
Darkhan-Uul Aimag 331
Chapter 10 Western Mongolia 333
Khovd Aimag 333
Bayan-Olgii Aimag 340
Uvs Aimag 345
Chapter 11 Eastern Region 353
Khentii Aimag 353
Sukhbaatar Aimag 361
Dornod Aimag 365
Appendix 1 Language 373
Appendix 2 Tourist ger camps 378
Appendix 3 Springs and mineral spas 381
Appendix 4 Further Reading 385
Index 388
List of Maps
The aimags 218
Amarbayasgalant monastery 329
Arkhangai Aimag 267
Bayankhongor Aimag 294
Bayan-Olgii Aimag 341
Bogd Khan's Green Palace Museum 237
Bogdkhan Uul Strictly Protected Area 249
Bulgan and Orkhon aimags 323
Central Mongolia 244
Dornod Aimag 366
Dornogobi and Gobi-Sumber aimags 285
Dundgobi Aimag 290
Eastern Mongolia 352
Erdene Zuu Monastery 261
Gobi-Altai Aimag 301
Khankhentii Strictly Protected Area & Gorkhi-Terelj National Park 251
Khentii Aimag 355
Khovd Aimag 337
Khovsgol Aimag 309
Lake Khovsgol National Park 312
Map Shop, Ulaanbaatar 233
Mongol empire in the 13th century 20
Mongolia inside cover and 4
Mongolia: protected areas 122
Northern Mongolia 306
Omnogobi Aimag 274
Ovorkhangai Aimag 259
Selenge and Darkhan-Uul aimags 327
South Gobi national parks 282
Southern Mongolia 272
Sukhbaatar Aimag 362
Tov Aimag 247
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian Railways 156
Ulaanbaatar city 222
Uvs Aimag 347
Vegetation zones 8
Western Mongolia 334
Zavkhan Aimag 319
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