Spectacular view in Gorkhi-Terelj Nation Park
The image of Ulaanbaatar is not really matching up what most people think about Mongolia- the nomadic lifestyle. It is a big city, with tall buildings, cars, clubs, hotels and fancy departments stores. However, the story is totally different in the country side- with open fields, mountains, animals and many others! It will be a waste if you visit Mongolia without out visiting the wild for sure.
For travelers who only have few days in Mongolia, Terelj National Park will be a perfect choice. After only 1.5-2.5hrs drive from Ulaanbaatar, you are out in the wild to enjoy the great nature of Mongolia.
Terelj National Park is located 80km away from the city. Visitors can come by car or bus from city center, which leaves from the south side of Peace Avenue. Or, most travel agencies or hostels in Ulaanbaatar offer the tour to Terelji Park. It won’t be that difficult to reach there.
This park is one of the biggest protected wildlife area in Mongolia. There are plenty of green hills, rocks with special formation and endless blue sky. It was more than amazing to be in this gorgeous nature!! There are many things to see and do in the park. Most people come and experience horse riding in the wild. Another good idea is to rent and stay in a comfortable ger.
Ger camp is a really special culture in Mongolia. It is designed for easy construction and dismantling, which is perfect for nomads to move around the grassland. For people who want to experience the this kinda lifestyle, a night in the ger might be something worth to experience at first-hand
What to see?
Massive rock formations set among scenic hills around the park. Among those, the most famous one is called “Turtle Rock”.You can easily understand why it is named for when you see its formation. Turtle rock is located at the foothills of the mountain, with some sellers and horses renting places around. We climbed up the rock to have a better view of this spectacular scenery. Breathtaking… !
We walked inside a narrow slits between rocks and found a stone platform with coins on top for making wishes. After turtle rock climbing, we headed to another spot-The Aryabal Buddhist Meditation Center.
The Aryabal Buddhist Meditation Center is located on a steep hill.There is a loooong walking path started from the entrance along the hill. Sign stands with Buddhist stories drawing and explanation in Mongolian and English were set beside the path. On the way to the temple, visitors can have self-mediation and reflection by those stories. In the middle of the path , we saw a huge wheel with numbers on it. Visitor can get a number by rotating this wheel and find the corresponding Buddhist stories.
Continued the mediation path, there is a set of steer stairs leading to the main temple. The rock above is with Buddhism paintings. I really wonder how they drew on rock in this height.Amazing! The temple is small but delicate. You can see colorful carvings and drawings about life after death and rebirth which are believed by Buddhists. Prayer wheels are around the temple. People there believed that by spinning a wheel in the correct direction will have the same meritorious effect as orally reciting the prayers.
My final note..
For me, the best memory here is camping in the wild and having animals around! Sheep, horses, cows, and even camels were there, so close! In Taiwan, the only chance to get closer to animals are zoo and some tourist farms (just a few in TW). It is impossible to see sheep, cows, horses… in the “wild”. At that moment, I really felt like being in the magic forest of Disney’s animation. Cant help but wanna get closer to see those cuties! ❤