Best Places to Visit in Kharkhorin

Kharkhorin is a small town located in the center of Övörkhangai Province in Mongolia. It is located at the lower end of the upper vale of the Orkhon River. With around 15,000 populations and 20.5 km2 covered an area Kharkhorin is full of natural beauty and also includes UNESCO's World Heritage Site Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape.

Kharkhorin has also served as the capital city during the Mongol Empire period under Ogedei Khan. It is not that modern and advanced as compared to Ulaanbaatar but it has many attractive places to visit. The main sources of earning for the city are agriculture and tourism. The agricultural field visit is super enjoyable and very inexpensive.

How to Reach Kharkhorin

The Kharkhorin airport is not open for international flights; it only operates flights from Ulaanbaatar and a few more cities. So, to reach Kharkhorin visitors have to take a route through the roadway.

You can catch a bus from the Dragon Bus Terminal at 11 am and 2 pm from Ulaanbaatar. Bus fares are cheap but the standard is low and has a crowd. You can also hire a personal jeep or shared minivans. Minivans are a few bucks more to buses.

How Many Days Tour Should be Planned for Kharkhorin

 Kharkhorin tours do not need pre-bookings. The city has first Buddhist Monastery “Erdene Zuu Khiid” and a Karakorum museum. The two sites need at least one day, another day for the Khangai Mountains, and the rest of the sites can be covered in one more day. So a two to three days plan is ideal for Kharkhorin city.

Top Five Best Places to Visit in Kharkhorin

Khangai Mountains

This mountain range is known for being the “provident lord, munificent king, generous gracious lord or bountiful king”. Its name denotes its sacredness. The lush forest-steppe area is best for hiking and animal and natural sightseeing. The beauty of this part of the land is incredible and heavenly. As the place is not much visited by tourists and local travelers so it’s untouched, clean, and very very prodigious.

Near to Khangai Mountain, there are other connected mountains naming Suvraga Khairkhan and Taryatu-Chulutu. The Taraytu-Chulutu range is recommended to explorers and science lovers. It is an extinct volcanic field so there is a lot to fascinate visitors.

Erdene Zuu Monastery

It was founded in 1586 by Altai Khan. Erdene Zuu means “Land of Buddha.” The word Zuu means “Buddha with a Crown” and it is the very first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia.

The monastery is considered important as “it’s a shadow of what it once was”. The site consists of 100 temples, almost 300 Gers were almost 1000 monks used to live among which some were killed, and some sent to Siberian gulags during purges. There are hundreds of incredible statues, team masks, and thangkas from the past. Dalai Lama Süm, Baruun Zuu, Zuu of Buddha, Zuun Zuu, Golden Prayer Stupa, and Lavrin Süm are the most loved temples as per international visitors.

The architecture and interior designing of these temples are more than amazing. The best craftsmanship of carvers, engravers, and sculptures can be witnessed here.

Stone Turtles

At 300m from the northern wall of Erdene Zuu Khiid monastery, there are four ancient sculptures which used to mark the boundary of ancient Karakorum. Among the four there are two turtle sculptures that were considered as protectors of the city in the past. Each turtle is holding an inscribed stone stela on its back which is mounted vertically.

The location is scenic and has a few more attractions like Penis Stone, a stone phallic sculpture for young monks of that time to remain celibate.

Karakorum Museum

Kharkhorin's Karakorum museum is small but considered as one of the best and most interesting museums of Mongolia. It exhibits oodles of artifacts from the 13th and 14th centuries, tons of prehistoric stone tools, ancient pottery, coins, bronzes, stone inscriptions, and statues.

A half-excavated kiln and a scale model of ancient Karakorum city are also a center of attraction. The model well describes back in the 1250s how the city looked. The building is air-conditioned so visitors can enjoy noticing the details on artifacts without getting worried about the weather.

The café of the museum serves delicious local snacks and some main courses and has free Wi-Fi facility as well.

King's Monument

Imperial Map Monument or King`s Monument is a commemorate constructed in 2004. It has three walls with three maps of three empires, Hunnu, Turkic, and Mongol which settle near the Orkhon River. It is also known as the monument for Mongol states

The three walls encircle a Shamanic Ovoo which is assembled with small stones in the shape of a cone supported with nine poles. The outer walls have colorful mosaics shaping the maps of empires. It is located at the hilltop; the sunset view from this site is mesmerizing. You can also enjoy a 360-degree bird`s eye view of the whole Kharkhorin city.

Other Recommendations

Ancient Ruins of the Karakorum and Ogedei Khan Palace ruins which is 1km away from the city of Kharkhorin and a Pal Eolithic archaeological site of Moiltyn-am which is located near the bridge over the Orkhon River are also recommended to visitors. 

Near to the city, there is an archeological digging of the 6th century Shoroon Bumbagar tomb which is 220km from Kharkhorin. Asa Land Resort and Dreamland Tourist Resort are also worth visiting. They have all modern facilities and offer tons of activities for visitors.