THE ORKHON VALLEY
THIS TRIP IS 250 - 280 KILOMETERS LONG. A TRAINED CYCLIST CAN MAKE A DAILY AVERAGE OF 50 KMS PER DAY. PERFECT FOR A 10 DAYS TRIP WITH SOME RESTING DAYS
This itinerary will allow you to have a good overview of Mongolia. It leaves from Kharkhorin to the Orkhon valley through magnificent valleys, wooded solpes and numerous passes. You will meet many nomads who live in their yurts taking good care of their livestock. You can bathe in the rivers and even fish there trouts if the envy takes you. A good physical condition is however required for this trip which 250 - 280 kilometers long. A trained cyclist can make a daily average of 50 kms per day.
For the others who want to take their time and stop to fully appreciate the rhythm of life of the nomads, an average of 30 kms is to be envisaged. The accommodation is in
tent or "tourist camp" for those who want a little more comfort. Possibility also to sleep in small hotels in the 3 small towns crossed.
Take with you warm sleeping bags because the weather is capricious and the highest camp is more than 2500 meters above sea level. You can expect cold nights
The Orkhon Waterfall water flows for remarkable 1120 km to the North and lies in the historically significant Orkhon Valley, UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Central Mongolia. The height of the waterfall is about 20m. It was formed by a unique combination of volcanic eruptions and earthquakes about 20,000 years ago. The fall is naturally impressive after a heavy rain.
Tuvkhun monastery is another spectacular visit. It is located in the high mountains marking the north side of Orkhon Valley at 2600m above sea level. One of Mongolia’s most remarkable and versatile figures, Zanabazar built this monastery in 1653. He lived, worked and meditated here for 30 years. Here he invented the Soyombo script in 1686 and madke his foamous creations as well. Likewise other monasteries in the country, it was almost totally destroyed by the Communists. Today, there are special formation of rocks which are called womb and cradle, symbolizing rebirth, besides 4 temples and 2 stupas.
Kharkhorin - In 1220 Chinggis Khaan established the capital of Mongolian empire on the fertile plains along the Orkhon River. This is called Kharkhorin, 373 km from Ulaanbaatar city. Kharkhorin is located at the lower end of the upper valley of the Orkhon River, which is part if the World Heritage Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape. The location marks the eastern foothills of the Khangai Mountains. Kharkhorin town population is 8,977 (2003), city area is 20.5 km2.
Tsenkher hot springs
There are in Arkhangai many old volcanos, which explains the presence of this hot water source - 85,5°C (185,9°F).
In a pleasant verdant wooded area, some yurts camps with equipment and baths with a less hot temperature have been set up for the travellers, but also for the nomads and the inhabitants of Ulan Bator who are very keen on these baths. Tsenkher hot springs have healing properties notably on articular diseases and nervous system’s diseases. Composition: sodium carbonate, hydrocarbonate, sulfate, fluorite, hydrogen sulfide.
Perfect after a long day on a bicycle
The Orkhon valley
If you've come to Mongolia to experience its vast mountainous steppe, then travelling through the Orkhon Valley should be on your itinerary. Here you can drive all day and hardly see another vehicle, passing through flocks of goat and sheep that scurry out of the way, while herds of semi-wild horses graze in the distance. Crossing this vast nothingness of undulating hills you'll encounter the occasional ger camp of nomadic herders, who'll wave you on in the direction you're heading.