I would say that the west is one of the most beautiful places in Mongolia. You can do more interesting things and have adventures as a traveler or photographer. I think in the west, first of all, Altai Mountain range. You can see the Bayan-Olgii and Khovd provinces. Roads are beautiful, the countryside is beautiful. If you go down a little bit further to the east, you can see Gobi Altay which is also an interesting mixture of desert and mountain.
And I love traveling here in winter. Heavy desert with snowy mountains. Very few percent of the world where you could see that. It has a beautiful sight. And If you are a photographer you can visually see the sunrise and sunset, and I would say something like “I don’t wanna go anywhere, I wanna stay here just forever”. That is really fun. And a thing that happens to backpackers is that they come here usually for ten or fifteen days. Some backpackers, sadly, come to Mongolia as a destination. And I really think it’s a mistake. Because Mongolia has so much to offer for backpackers. Especially those who want to do real trips. Just be in a country, just be in the territory which is in the wild basically. And I will recommend people to go especially to the west.
Mongolian culture is beautiful. The khalkh, Tuvan and Kazakh culture etc. The big advantage of the west is that you can see another two or three cultures that you won’t see in any other place in Mongolia. I wanna say culture, I mean It’s more progressed than we dressed this way, they dressed that way, we have this language, they have that language etc. Getting to know new one’s is getting to know this culture. Because in the west you can see anything from Khalkh culture, Kazakh and Tuvan culture. So you can have one place, a slightly bigger variety of cultures that are similar, but in fact it’s quite different. It’s kind of interesting that if you go to kazakh family, you may say that oh you also live in ger, also wear deel. But you will realize that they are different deel, they have different cultures. The language is different. It’s gonna be cool because you can really hear the differences of how Kazakh and Mongolians speak. But you can also hear similarities. But in Kazakh and Mongol, you start to understand how the silk road is operated where every culture can give to the next one.
The eagle hunting tradition makes them more exotic and unique. It doesn’t really matter how Mongolian landscape is. You could see more beautiful landscapes in Tibet, Switzerland and Canada etc. The most important thing in Mongolia is the mixture of how wild it is and how people live here worshiping to their nature.
Once you just focus on the landscape of Mongolia, you are missing 50% of the country. Once you get to know the people in Mongolia, you understand Mongolia.
Asher Svidensky Documentary photographer