Mandalgovĭ Travel Guide

Explore the rich cultural and natural attractions, hiking and biking routes, food and drink scene, accommodation options, and travel logistics of the enchanting city of Mandalgovĭ in Mongolia.

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Mandalgovĭ, Mongolia

Welcome to Mandalgovĭ, a vibrant and fascinating city situated in the heart of the Gobi desert in Mongolia. Named after the nearby mountain range, Mandalgovĭ is a popular destination due to its diverse cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty. In this guide, we will take an in-depth look at its top attractions, local cuisine and customs, and travel logistics to help you plan an unforgettable visit.

Introduction to Mandalgovĭ

Mandalgovĭ is a city located in Dundgovi Province, about 291 km south of Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. It has a population of over 16,000 inhabitants, and its economy is mainly based on agriculture and mining. Mandalgovĭ is a popular destination for travelers due to its rich cultural and historical attractions, natural wonders, and outdoor adventure opportunities.

List of Places to Visit in Mandalgovĭ

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Mandalgovĭ Museum: This museum showcases traditional Mongolian clothing, ancient artifacts, and household items used by nomads in the region.
  • Khan Khentii Monument: This monument is dedicated to the Mongolian leader, Genghis Khan, and is located on top of a hill overlooking the city.
  • Sükhbaatar Square: The main square of the city, named after Mongolia’s national hero, is a central meeting place for locals and visitors alike.
  • Mandala Khad: This ancient walled city is located just outside of Mandalgovĭ and is famous for its well-preserved ruins and rich history.

Natural Attractions of Mandalgovĭ: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Yolyn Am Canyon: This canyon is located in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains and is famous for its stunning natural beauty, including bubbling streams, towering rock formations, and a diverse range of wildlife.
  • Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes: Also known as the “Singing Sands,” these massive sand dunes stretch for over 180 km and are a popular spot for hiking, camel riding, and sandboarding.
  • Baga Gazriin Chuluu: This rocky mountain range is located northeast of Mandalgovĭ and features unique rock formations, scenic hiking trails, and a peaceful atmosphere.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Mandalgovĭ

  • Gurvan Saikhan National Park: Featuring a wide range of hiking and biking trails, this park is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts looking to experience Mongolia’s stunning landscapes and unique wildlife.
  • Orkhon Valley: This valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and offers some of the best hiking and biking trails in the country, with a range of different routes available for all skill levels.

Best Things to Do in Mandalgovĭ: Activities and Tours

  • Cultural Tours: Experience an authentic nomadic lifestyle by visiting nearby nomadic families, learning about Mongolian tradition, and tasting local cuisine.
  • Camel Trekking: Take an unforgettable ride on a camel and explore the landscape like a true nomad.
  • Mongolian Wrestling: Witness the traditional Mongolian wrestling competition, a national sport and an integral part of local festivals and celebrations.

Week-Long Itinerary for Mandalgovĭ

Day 1: Arrival, Check-in at your hotel, visit Sükhbaatar Square, and dine at a local restaurant.

Day 2: Visit the Mandalgovĭ Museum and explore the city’s rich history and culture.

Day 3: Explore the Yolyn Am Canyon, take a hike, and spend the night in a traditional ger camp.

Day 4: Visit the Khongoryn Els Sand Dunes and try sandboarding and camel trekking on the dunes.

Day 5: Take a scenic drive to Baga Gazriin Chuluu and spend the day hiking and biking.

Day 6: Visit the Orkhon Valley and explore the region’s ancient history and landscapes.

Day 7: Spend the day shopping for souvenirs and taking final walks around the city before departing back to Ulaanbaatar.

Food and Drink Scene of Mandalgovĭ

Must-Try Dishes

  • Khorkhog: A traditional Mongolian barbecue dish prepared with goat meat and hot stones.
  • Boodog: A dish prepared with hot stones, marmot meat, and vegetables.
  • Airag: A fermented drink made from mare’s milk, often served with traditional Mongolian meals.

Local Beverages

  • Kumis: A fermented drink made from mare’s milk, slightly alcoholic with a slightly sour taste.
  • Guriltai shul: Hot and comforting lamb soup with noodles and vegetables.
  • Sulguni: A creamy, smooth, and slightly salty drink made from milk and yogurt.

Where to Stay in Mandalgovĭ: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Mandal Hotel: This hotel offers a comfortable stay with excellent amenities and is located in the city center.
  • Nomads Guesthouse: Experience a true nomadic lifestyle by staying in a traditional ger camp and enjoying the natural beauty of the surrounding area.

What to Buy in Mandalgovĭ: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Cashmere Clothing: Mongolia is famous for its high-quality cashmere clothing, available in many shops around the city.
  • Gers: You can purchase miniature versions of traditional ger tents as souvenirs.
  • Camel Wool Products: Buy camel wool products such as blankets, hats, and scarves, which are warm and comfortable.

Local Culture and Customs of Mandalgovĭ

Mongolia is a country that is rich in tradition and customs, and it is essential always to show proper respect when visiting. Some basic etiquette includes removing shoes when entering homes, avoiding pointing with your feet, and never touching someone’s head.

Best Time to Visit Mandalgovĭ

The best time to visit Mandalgovĭ is during the summer months of June to September when the weather is suitable for outdoor activities and tourism. Winter in this part of Mongolia can be harsh and unforgiving, with temperatures dropping well below freezing.

Do’s and Don’ts of Mandalgovĭ


  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Take off shoes when entering a ger or someone’s home.
  • Ask for permission before taking photographs of people.


  • Touch someone’s head.
  • Point with your feet.
  • Take rocks or other natural souvenirs from the landscape.

Safety and Health

Safety in Mandalgovĭ

Mandalgovĭ is generally a safe city, but it’s essential always to take regular precautions while traveling in any foreign city. Be careful when traveling alone and avoid walking alone late at night.

Health in Mandalgovĭ

It is recommended to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen during the summer months as temperatures can get very hot. Also, bring insect repellent as there are many bugs and mosquitoes in this region.

Getting to Mandalgovĭ: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Mandalgovĭ

The nearest airport to Mandalgovĭ is the Buyant-Ukhaa International Airport in Ulaanbaatar, from which you can take a domestic flight to Mandalgovĭ.

Bus Stations Near Mandalgovĭ

There are regular bus services from Ulaanbaatar to Mandalgovĭ, which take around 6-7 hours.

Other Options

Car rentals are available from Ulaanbaatar, but it is essential to have an experienced driver as the roads in Mongolia can be challenging and uneven.

How to Get Around in Mandalgovĭ

Taxis, buses, and rental cars are available for travel within the city. It is essential to negotiate prices before traveling in taxis and buses.

Where to Go Next from Mandalgovĭ: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Kharkhorin: This ancient city is home to the famous Erdene Zuu Monastery and is located 300 km west of Mandalgovĭ.
  • Bayanzag: Also known as the “Flaming Cliffs,” this famous dinosaur fossil excavation site is located 240 km southeast of Mandalgovĭ.


Mandalgovĭ is a city with a rich and fascinating history that offers visitors an opportunity to experience Mongolia’s unique culture and breathtaking natural beauty. Make sure to add this enchanting city to your travel itinerary, and you won’t be disappointed.