Chojin Lama Temple, Mongolia

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Yet another monastery in the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar is the Chojin Lama Temple that is sure to draw the awe of tourists. The main temple here showcases an 18th-century gold statue of Buddha Sakyamuni and a statue of Chojin Lama Luvsankhaidav on the Buddha’s right and embalmed corpse of Baldanchoimbolon to his left.

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Tsetserleg, Mongolia

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Tsetserleg has an enviable location between a duo of rocky bluffs, right in the middle of Mongolia as a whole. Sleepy, quiet, and slow, the town is a provincial capital that’s known for its pretty neighbourhoods of low-rise cottages. These can be seen sweeping down a single hillside; a mosaic of colourful timber facades that glints in the sun of the steppe.

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Khovd, Mongolia

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You’ll find Khovd clutching the roadways as they weave north-westward to Olgii and the windswept, snow-doused heart of the Altai Mountains. It’s a charming place with all the amenities you could need as a traveller: hospitals; shops; earthy guesthouses that won’t break the bank.

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Moron, Mongolia

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It’s easy to write Moron off as just the gateway to Lake Khovsgol and the popular summertime pastures of the northern steppe. And while it’s true that this provincial city certainly deals with its fair share of passing tourists on their way to those attractions, it’s also got a decent scene of its own.

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Erdenet, Mongolia

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You might have heard of the legendary archers of Erdenet, who are famous throughout the steppe for their quick aim and accuracy. What you might not know is that their home is one of the few built-up, urban spots in Mongolia, and, with 75,000 people, the second-largest town overall. In fact, Erdenet started life as a mining service centre; its raison d’être the great open-faced copper quarries nearby.

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Khorgo Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur National Park, Mongolia

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Dominating the wild reaches of the Mongolian north-west, this beautiful swathe of protected land has plenty of awesome sights in its arsenal. Look up and you’ll see the splintered caldera of Khorgo Volcano: an extinct mountain that once ravaged the surrounding valleys with its pyroclastic flows and ash plumes. Today, climbing the 2,240-meter-high peak is possible, and it reveals wonderful panoramas of the volcanic ridges and lakes that spread out all around.

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Olgii, Mongolia

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Olgii is overshadowed by the hulking and sinewy massifs of the great Altai. They dominate the horizon all around the town and loom as if to demand the attention of any who pass this way. It’s only once you’ve managed to get over the breathtaking and haunting panoramas that you can begin to properly enjoy this provincial capital of Bayan-Olgii.

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Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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With its sterile concrete sprawl and reflective glass skyscrapers, endless neighbourhoods of Soviet-style blocks and constant need for expansion, Ulaanbaatar is pretty much everything you expect Mongolia not to be. It’s brash, bold, big and loud, and comes packed with designer outlets and all-new shopping malls

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Orkhon Valley, Mongolia

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Once the home of the great Khans and the epicentre of power that fueled the onslaught of the Mongol Horde across Asia and Europe, the Orkhon Valley has been trodden by totemic names like Genghis and Kublai. Today, this rich history is honoured with a UNESCO World Heritage Tag, which also celebrates the deeper traditions of nomad living; still seen today, when white-fabric yurts pop up between the gallery pines.

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Lake Khovsgol, Mongolia

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A great dash of blue that hides between the shale peaks and rocky foothills of the Sayan Mountains, Lake Khovsgol is the second-largest body of water in all of Mongolia. It filters down from the Russian border in a streak of deep blue, its grassy banks rising and falling, peppered with the occasional wind-blasted pine tree, and sometimes giving way to pebble coves where locals relax in the summer.

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Terelj National Park, Mongolia

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The rising peaks and ochre-hued ridges of the Gorkhi-Terelj National Park shoulder their way above the horizon just north of Ulaanbaatar’s concrete sprawl. The reserve represents one of the most accessible examples of Mongolia’s backcountry (thanks to the proximity to the capital), with pine-studded mountain valleys and sculpted rock formations all peppering the vistas.

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Karakorum, Mongolia

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Set deep between the undulating green hills and stony ridges of the Orkhon Valley, the fabled ancient city of Karakorum is now the stuff of myth and legend. But follow the sporadic cobbled lanes that weave around the mountains in the very heart of Mongolia, and you’ll discover that it did certainly exist.

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