Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mongolia | Khovd Aimag | Baitag Bogd Mountains

The Baitag Bogd Mountains, located in Khovd Aimag at the southwestern-most corner of the country, are probably one of the least visited places in Mongolia. Which is a shame, since the flanks of the mountains cradle gorgeous little oasis-like valleys which make wonderful places to while away a week or two far from the madding crowd. To get there you have to drive from Khovd City, the capital of Khovd Aimag, over the Mongol-Altai Mountains to the town of Bulgan. 
Hotel in Bulgan. Notice the wolf pelt drying in the window (click on photos for enlargements)
 Streets of Bulgan
Along the Bulgan River west of Bulgan City we were able to hire two camel men and camels for the trip to across the desert to Baitag Bogd.
 Local camel man and camels
 Riding across the desert-steppe to Baitag Bogd
 Riding across the desert to Baitag Bogd
Approaching Baitag Bogd 
 Oasis-like valley in the foothills of Baitag Bogd—wonderful places to camp.
Small stream with superb drinking water running out of the mountains. 
We camped here for several days so I could drink tea made from this water. New Tie Kuan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy) Oolong And Eight-Year Old Puerh Tea matched up especially well with Baitag Bogd water. 
Another excellent camping spot. Inveterate star-gazers will find the skies here are incredibly clear at night, the nearest sources of air or light pollution being hundreds of miles away.
The Baitag Bogd Mountains are right on the Mongolian-Chinese border. Here two Mongolian border guards ride along the fence which separates the two countries. Permits are needed to visit this border area. 
 Baitag Bogd Mountains

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hm.... The trees look a bit parched at the oasis. Is that how they are supposed to look?

-a mes

Don said...

It was October, so the leaves on the larch trees had already turned brown, and the grass was also withered. Would love to return in summer, but crossing the desert in summer to get there would be daunting. Plus, camels are usually not available for hire in summer when they are shedding. Actually, the weather was just perfect in October. I am not a hot weather person. Sorry, but I do not think I would have made it in Ur, despite the undeniable charms of Queen Puabi.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanation. Believe it or not, I actually was worried about those poor trees.... Would be nice to see a photo of the oasis in the summer.

Regarding the desert heat: will any of us have a choice in the future, what with global warming/climate change and all?

-a mes

p.s. I was just trying to search for some summer photos of your oasis, and I stumbled upon your old post about the "deer stones." Very cool. Incidentally, did you hear about the ancient Native American petroglyphs that were defaced and stolen from a public park in California, back in November? Sad.

Don said...

For photos of an oasis in summer see Ekhiin Gol Oasis. There are petroglyphs all over Mongolia and no one seems to touch them. Graves, however, are a different matter. Looting graves is a full-time business.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos of the Ekhiin Gol Oasis, Don. Also, stunning rock formations.

-a mes

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