Sandwiched between Russia and China, the land that birthed Genghis Khan, the Silk Road and the giant sand dunes of the magical Gobi Desert is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world.
Mongolia’s mystique lies in its primal lifestyle.
Nomadic herders move to the beat of the seasons, raising yaks and camels and pitching up in gers across endless green steppe.
The government plans to pave roads connecting all provinces to capital Ulaanbaatar by 2020.
The city is a modern paradox. Designer suits brush shoulders with sandal-clad shepherds.
“Although being ‘sent to Outer Mongolia’ has been an oft-echoed parental threat to children, Mongolia is yet to hit mainstream,” says Tom Bodkin, CEO of Secret Compass.
“Travel feels authentic, gritty and real for true isolation.”
When to go: May to September. Naadam, the national festival of “three games of men” — wrestling, horse-racing and archery — takes place in mid-July.