Tavan Bogd National Park
Altai Tavan Bogd has some of the most stunning scenery in all of Mongolia with towering white mountains, glaciers, deep lush valleys, and large lakes.
The park is divided into 2 regions, the Tavan Bogd Mountains in the northwest and the Lakes Region to the southeast. The park stretches along the Chinese border from the Russian border to 200 km south following the Altai Mountains, which form the borders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Glacial melt and annual snow fall supplies 3 large lakes inside the park that form the head waters of the Hovd River.
Tavan Bogd Mountains
The Tavan Bogd Mountains are the highest mountains in Mongolia, with Khuiten Uul (‘Cold Peak’) at 4374 m (14,201 ft) being the highest. These permanently snow capped mountains form a bowl around the Pontuninii Glacier, which covers 23 square km. The other peaks are Nairamdal (‘Friendship’, 4180 m), Malchin (‘herder’, 4050 m), Bürged (‘Eagle’, 4068 m) and Olgii (‘Craddle’, 4050 m). From the peak of Kuiten Uul, it is possible to see Kazakhstan 30 km away on a clear day. Khuiten Uul was renamed Ikh Mongol (‘Great Mongol’) by President Enkhbayar when he climbed it in 2006, though this is widely ignored and possibly reversed by the new government. There is still a monument at the base commemorating the accomplishment.
The Lakes Region is a beautiful area surrounding 3 large fresh water lakes. Khurgan Nuur and Khoton Nuur are attached by a small channel with a many small creeks flowing into the lakes from surrounding mountains. Two of these creeks form waterfalls of 7 to 10 m in height. A small bridge crosses the channel. These lakes are full of fish and many species of bird. Dayan Nuur is a smaller lake 20 km south of the 2 larger lakes.
Flora and fauna
There are many endangered species inside the park including argali sheep, Beech marten, ibex, grey wolves, red deer, black vulture, elk, snow leopards, Altai snowcock, golden eagles, and many others.
There is usually snow until end of May. It starts snowing again in October, though it can drop below freezing at night even in August.
Rainy season is from mid of july to Mid of August. Average temperature in Summer: Day: 16-25°C, Night: 7-13°C
Kazakhs and Tuvan nomadic herders live inside the park and visiting them is part of most tours. The Kazakhs are the most numerous and the ones that do eagle hunting. They They live in large colourful gers with rich embroidered wall hangings.
Tuvans occupy the Tsagaan Gol valley and have different clothes, food, and language than Mongols. Tuvan men sing deep eerie long-songs using throat-singing, though very few Tuvans in this isolated pocket have mastered the art. Kazakhs live around the lake, as well as Tsagaan Salaa and Takhiltyn Havtsal (and most of the rest of the park).
Those living inside the park have retained their traditional culture to a greater degree than probably any Kazakh in Central Asia. They have preserved their arts and music, and practiced the ancient sport of eagle hunting continuously throughout the Soviet era when it was suppressed elsewhere. Many inside the park have never lived anywhere else and don’t speak Mongolian, the national language.