Vacations to Kharkhorin, Mongolia

Ulaanbaatar is the hub of Mongolia, boasting a stellar food scene, lively nightlife, and the world-class National Naadam Festival. There’s no shortage of days out in Ulaanbaatar, but if you want to see something special, escape the city and make the short trip to Kharkhorin, the site of Karakorum, the former capital of the Mongol Empire.

The city was established in 1220 by Genghis Khan’s son, Ogoodei. It quickly grew to become a cosmopolitan city filled with traders pedaling wares from around the world. Archaeologists have excavated Kharkhorin and discovered coins from far and wide, with visitors travelling the ancient Silk Road to see the Imperial Palace of Worldly Peace and its silver fountain, the centerpiece of the city. Sadly, almost nothing of such opulence can be seen today. In the 14th century, Manchu soldiers razed Karakorum to the ground. Very little survived, save for the large turtle sculptures that were carved as guardians of the ancient city.

From the ashes of this once great settlement, one of Mongolia’s most treasured sites was born. The ruins of Karakorum were used to build the great Erdene Zuu Monastery. It was the first Buddhist monastery to be built in Mongolia. With 61 temples, 108 stupors, and home to more than 1,000 monks it’s one of the finest to be built in the country. Thankfully, it managed to survive the purges of Mongolia’s communist regime and continues to be a place of worship today and houses some of the country’s most precious art.

While you’re visiting Kharkhorin and exploring the Erdene Zuu Monastery be sure to soak up the scenery of the nearby Orkhon Valley. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is great for hiking and horseback riding tours and is home to the spellbinding Ulaan Tsutgalan waterfall.

Highlights

  • Easy-to-reach day trip from Ulaanbaatar

  • Visit the former capital of the Mongol Empire

  • Explore Mongolia’s original Buddhist monastery, Erdene Zuu

  • Uncover the history of Karakorum and its demise

  • Hike through peaceful Mongolian countryside

Alice
Senior Travel Designer
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Kharkhorin trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas that include Kharkhorin. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 020 3510 5777.

Places to stay in Kharkhorin

Here are some of our favorite accommodation options in Kharkhorin. All of our hotels and lodges are hand-picked by our Travel Designers. Need help deciding where to stay during your trip? Call our Travel Designers now and they’ll help you pick the best hotels suited to your needs: 020 3510 5777.

Things to do in Kharkhorin

Here are some of the things you can do in Kharkhorin. When you've chosen your favorite experiences, just give our Travel Designers a call and they'll put a trip together for you. If you need help choosing an experience, or if you want to learn more about it, our Travel Designers will be more than happy to talk to you. Just call them on: 020 3510 5777.

Map of Kharkhorin

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