The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park of Mongolia

October 18, 2022

By Haagii

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Location and Direction of The Gorkhi-Terelj National Park of Mongolia

Looking for a beautiful nature near Ulaanbaatar (The capital city of Mongolia)? Then Gorkhi-Terelj is the place for you! This place is just 50-76 km far from the city, so it’s close enough that you won’t have to spend hours in the car, but far enough that you’ll feel like you’ve really escaped from the city stresses.

I have been to Terelj in summer time and the view there was just gorgeous, with rocky mountains, rivers and whole green grasses everywhere you look. For me it was no wonder that Terelj is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mongolia. Because of the popularity with the tourists there are so many ger camps, vacation centers and resorts that you can choose from. And of course, there are so many activities to enjoy in Terelj.

Hiking, biking, horseback riding – you name it! So if you’re looking for a nearby place to rest and relax in nature, Gorkhi-Terelj should be at the top of your list!

The Gorkhi Terelj National Park of Mongolia

Attractions in Gorkhi-Terelj 

Melkhi khad (Turtle rock )

Melkhi Khad is a large rock located in Gorkhi Terelj. The rock is in the shape of a turtle, and it is 24 meters tall. When I saw it by myself it was pretty huge than I expected. As I heard from the locals, the rock was previously called “Mungut Khad” which means “Money Rock” and they worship it with respect. Also they believe that if they left the food and offerings at the Melkhi Khad, they’ll get rich.

I wasn’t sure if I should leave an offering or not, but then I heard the legend of how the rock got its name. Apparently, a rich man had once visited Melkhi Khad and left some food behind. The next day, when he came back, the food was gone. The man became very successful, after that he named the rock “Mungut Khad”-“Money Rock”. At the end, the Melki Khad has become a popular destination for those hoping to receive good luck.

So I left an offering of my own and made a prayer for good luck. Who knows?  Maybe you’ll be the next one to become wealthy after visiting the Melkhi Khad!

The Gunji Temple (The temple of the princess)

The Gunji Temple is an ancient temple that can be found in the Gorkhi-Terelj. When you visit the Gunji Temple, you can feel the history and culture that surrounds it. This ancient temple was built for the princess of the Manchu Qing Dynasty and it is a great example of ancient architecture. Even though the temple is not as same as the old days, it’s still a fascinating place to visit and learn more about the Mongolia’s past. If you are ever in Gorkhi Terelj, be sure to visit this ancient temple! You’ll be able to see all sorts of beautiful carvings and paintings on the temple’s walls which was super unique. And you might even get to see some monks meditating in one of the inner chambers.

Khagiin Khar Lake

Khagiin Khar Lake is a deep and beautiful lake located about 60 km from Gunji Temple. The name of “Khagiin Khar Lake” means Black lake. Because it is quite deep and has a lot of algae in some parts, which makes it look black even though it has blue and clear water. I promise that this place is even more stunning than you are imagining. It is 2.7 square kilometers in size.

The Khagiin Khar lake is 2.5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer wide, with an average depth of 11 meters. It reaches 25 meters at its deepest point. This lake is a popular spot to swimming, relaxing or just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Aryabal meditation temple

The Aryabal meditation temple is located in Gorkhi terelj and it is surrounded by 108 small stupas. This place is open to everyone who is seeking for inner peace. I had always been interested in meditation, so I was excited to have a chance to try it out there during my travel. As I walked around the temple, I couldn’t help but feel peace.

Inside the temple, everything was so quiet so that everyone can focus on their own inner peace without distractions. And the aspect of the temple was so interesting too. This place is so peaceful and calming, and it is exactly what you need after a long months at work. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who is looking for some peace and relaxation.

RELATED: 17 Best Places to Visit in Mongolia

Things to do in Gorkhi-Terelj travel 

Now we are officially here in my and your favorite part, the list of “Best things to do in Gorkhi-Terelj”.

  • Rent a horse and explore – there’s nothing like seeing Mongolia on a horseback!
  • Visit the souvenir shops and pick up some Mongolian handicrafts – you’ll be supporting local artisans and getting some great souvenirs at the same time.
  • Hike in the mountains – Gorkhi-Terelj is surrounded by so many rocky mountains, so make sure you take advantage of it!
  • Try some traditional Mongolian food – Who don’t want to try traditional food of the country that you are travelling! So Khuushuur, anyone?
  • Enjoy the stunning views of incredible natural beauty of Gorkhi-Terelj National Park – Relax and enjoy the beauty of nature!
  • Go for a walk – Feel the fresh air of the Gorkhi-Terelj and take a deep breath!
  • Relax under the starry night– Mongolian sky is popular with the tourists too!
  • Take some time to learn about the local culture – there’s no better way to get to know a place than by talking to the people who live there. So go and make conversation with a local and see what they can tell you about their home.

Important essentials of Gorkhi-Terelj travel

If you’re planning a trip to Gorkhi-Terelj, Mongolia, here’s a list of essential things you’ll need: 

  • Comfy boots: As I mentioned before Gorkhi-Terelj is surrounded by rocky mountains. So if you wear comfy boots, you can walk around comfortably and explore everything in Gorkhi-Terelj!
  • A camera: To document your travel you have to take some pictures. But you can use your phone instead of camera too!
  • A map: Always bring a map if you don’t want to get lost!
  • Suncream: To protect you from the strong sun.
  • Snacks and drinks: To keep you energized during your travels.
  • Warm clothing: Because it can get cold, even in summer time.
  • Cash: For buying souvenirs or other items you may need on your trip. 
  • Rain coat: Because you never know when it might rain!
  • Insect repellent: There are so many mosquitoes in Gorkhi-Terelj because of the rivers. So you will need this to keep those pesky bugs away!

RELATED: 50 things to pack in your travel backpack

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