Adventures in Lake Hovsgol Mongolia

by Danny Lee

Lake Hovsgol

The highlight of our 8 Day Mongolia Adventure Tour was to visit the Lake Khovsgol (Lake Hovsgol). Accordingly to the itinerary, we will spend two nights at the Ancient Resort, a luxurious tourist Ger camp nestled in Lake Khovsgol National Park and doing some of these activities (including some crazy ones) like:

– Visit Nomad Family
Fishing at Lake Khovsgol
Riding Horse in Lord of the Rings Style
Riding Reindeer like Santo Claus
Unusual Sanua Experience
Get Drunk During Huge Bonfire Finale

To begin with, Lake Khovsgol or Lake Hovsgul is located at the very northwest of Mongolia and it borders Siberia, Russia. It is the largest freshwater lake in Mongolia at 136km long and 262m deep and is formed more than 2 million years ago. Also known as “Blue Pearl of Mongolia” because of the reflection of the cloudless blue sky gives the lake a blue hue, Lake Khovsgol is about 1600 metres above sea level and surrounded by many mountain ranges that provide magnificent landscape views that can be seen in many postcards.

Nomad Family in Mongolia

Visiting a Local Nomad Family

Before we checked in to the Ancient Resort, we made a detour to visit one local nomad family. Our local guide Saruul promised a Singaporean family (dad and daughter) to pass the photos that were taken during last year’s trip to this nomad family. When we reached there, we found a nomad family but it wasn’t that family. Apparently, that nomad family has moved to greener pastures. Luckily this nomad family happens to be their relatives, hence will help us to pass the photos to them and also invited us into their family Ger.

The family Ger is slightly larger than the Ger we stayed in but it fits in the whole family of about 8 to 9 persons. Surprisingly the Ger is powered by solar panels planted outside (Mongolia has lots of sunshine during summer time), and the electricity generated is used to power up a LCD TV and satellite decoder box!

LCD TV in Mongolia Ger

The matron of the family brought out salted milk tea, yogurt and some curdled milk titbits to welcome us. The curdled milk titbits are actually very dry pieces of curdled cow’s milk that is very hard to chew and it definitely tastes bland to me.

The family have quite a large brood of kids and they were all playing with an empty yellow plastic can. They do not have the Playstations or iPads like us but still they were displaying genuine joy from the simple toys they had. It certainly made me envious that they can be so contented with simple stuff in life. Finally we bid them goodbye but not before donating the sweets and titbits we bought from Singapore. The children faces brighten up when they receive the sweet treats and without a doubt, it is one of the happiest moments of my life too.

Girl Playing With Simple Toy

Best Mongolia Ger I Have Stayed In

On our first day arriving at Ancient Resort Ger camp after a bumpy 4-hour ride, we were warmly welcomed with friendly Mongolian faces. We were shown to our Ger (twin sharing) and were bowled over by the Ger decorations and amenities. Each of us is given a huge single bed covered with very clean gold-coloured blankets and fluffy pillows. The room is very clean, well laid out and they even have armchairs for us to sit down in comfort to wear our shoes!

Ancient Resort Mongolia Ger

Our fellow travellers (a married couple) were given a Ger with a queen-sized bed so they could hug each other to sleep – such thoughtfulness from the resort owners. I seriously think this can make an unforgettable honeymoon getaway for the newlyweds!

What impressed me further was the fire stove for burning firewood to warm our Ger at night comes with a portable gas burner to start the fire. No more shaving of firewood using our Swiss Army knife and constant blowing at the fire stove to keep the fire burning! Such a luxury indeed!

Ancient Resort in Lake Hovsgol

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