GORKHI TERELJ NATIONAL PARK
GORKHI TERELJ NATIONAL PARK
Gorkhi Terelj National Park is one of the national parks of Mongolia. The Terelj tourist zone has a number of tourist camps (Mongolian: жуулчны бааз, juulchny baaz). It is connected with Ulaanbaatar by a paved road (main road to the East #A0501 Baganuur-Öndörkhaan direction, 37 km from Ulaanbaatar city center, left turn to the branch #A24, 5 km later road crosses Tuul River and the National park territory begins). The road comes to the Gorkhiin Davaa (Mongolian: Горхийн даваа) pass. Most of the tourist camps and tourist attractions are before this pass. The road then ends at the settlement of Terelj, which features small shops and restaurants. The Terelj settlement is located in the valley of the Terelj River (Terelj Gol), approximately 66 km from the Ulaanbaatar city center. The national park tourist zone is formally in Nalaikh düüreg(district) part of Ulaanbaatar municipality, the rest of the protected zone beginning to the north of the Terelj River, is located in Mongolia’s Töv Province. A small southern portion of the park is developed for tourists, with restaurants, souvenir shops, horses and camels for rent, and tourist ger camps, many of them run by the Juulchin corporation, the former state tourism company. However, most of the park is undeveloped and difficult to access. Attractions include Khagiin Khar Lake, a 20m deep glacial lake 80 km upstream from the tourist camps, and Yestii Hot Water Springs, natural hot springs 18 km further upstream. The park also has a Buddhist monastery that is open to visitors. Park wildlife includes brown bears and over 250 species of birds. The Tuul River flows through the park. The park has many rock formations for rock climbers, and includes two famous formations named for things they resemble: Turtle Rock (Mongolian: Melkhii Khad) and the Old Man Reading a Book (Praying Lama Rock). Many Westerners were introduced to Gorkhi-Terelj National Park when the CBS reality television program The Amazing Race visited the park in the second
Highlights: Turtle Rock, Meditation temple Ariyabal and visit local nomadic families. During the summer there are great opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, flower and bird watching.
GOOD TO KNOW
THE TURTLE ROCK
The Turtle Rock, or called Melkhi Khad by the locals, is an interesting rock formation looking like a turtle. This giant rock formation is a popular spot for visitors to the area. There are you can ride a camel or travel on horseback around scenic nature.
ARYABAL MEDITATION TEMPLE
Ariyabal meditation temple is situated in the scenic area of Terelj National Park, 3 km from Turtle Rock. Buddhist Monks performs meditation ritual for many years amongst beautiful and tranquil mountains.
The temple is surrounded by scenic mountains with interesting rock formations and sits at top of the mountain. The entrance of the gate is accessible by car, hiking or on horseback. The distance between the gate and the actual temple is about 1 km and it is only accessible by walking. To get to the top, you would cross the suspension bridge and climb up on 108 stairs, according to Buddhist prayer beads. This small hike is seen as a ritual to cleanse one’s sins. The temple, when observed from distance, can be seen as a beautiful white elephant and the staircase looks as if the dangling elephant’s trunk. From the top, you can enjoy the breathtaking view overlooking the Terelj National Park.