Northern Mongolia is lush green mostly covered with high mountains, dense forests, crystal rivers and lakes, and often known as the home of the Tsaatan (ethnic minority who runs Reindeer farming in a most remote and rural area of the country)and the Shamans. The region is rich in wildlife and fish.
The most distinguishing features here in this part are the pristine Lake Huvsgul and the famous Darkhad valley. This part also represents one of the most direct and contemporary convergences of the ancient Shamanic and relatively modern Buddhist cultures of Mongolia. Moreover, northern Mongolia is still a home to the people from the old tribes Uriankhai, Darkhad and the Tsaatans known as the Reindeer Riders.
Khuvsgul aimag often referred to as the “Switzerland of Mongolia” has always been one of the most favorite destinations of travelers to Mongolia. Lake Huvsgul
This majestic and clear-watered lake contains 65% of all the fresh water of Mongolia and furthermore, 1% of the world’s fresh water supply. Nine species of fish inhabit the lake, including Siberian grayling and lenok. Nearby taiga forest, forest steppe, mountains, and the lake itself provide habitat for 68 species of mammals, including argali, ibex, elk, reindeer, musk deer, brown bear, lynx, marten, beaver, wolf, and moose, 244 species of birds, and 750 species of plants, including 60 with medicinal importance.
Khuvsgul is the land of the Tsaatan reindeer herdsmen, a branch of the Turkic-speaking Tuvinian or Dukha ethnic group. This small group of 42 families possesses a social and material culture which has remained unchanged since the Ice Age. Shamanistic or totemic rituals and symbolism are central to the social organization of the Tsaatan. Shamanistic rituals of healing rely on rare medicinal plants and animals unique to this landscape. The Tsaatan are an archaic and ethnographically interesting nomadic groups to be found on the Eurasian continent their lifestyles are both ancestral to all the nomadic herding cultures of Central Asia and are reminiscent of a way of life which was widespread across Europe, Asia and North America 10,000 years ago. Darkhad and Tuva people have coexisted peacefully with the Tsaatan reindeer herders sharing respect for Khuvsgul lake, The Dalai Eej or Mother Sea for sustaining their livelihoods for centuries. The area is a perfect destination for vacationing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, trekking, sport fishing, and bird watching.
Bulgan aimag is a curious mixture: the south is dry grassland and the north is green and has enough forest to support a small timber industry; scattered in between are about 50,000 hectares of wheat and vegetable crops - Mongolia's agricultural heartland - and Erdenet, Mongolia's largest copper mine.
Mongolia's largest river, the Selenge Gol, crosses the aimag's north, and the Orkhon and Tuul rivers meander around the southern parts.
Uvgun Khiid monastery located in the mountains of Khugnu-Khan was built by the medieval religious figure Zanabazar who dedicated the monastery to his teacher, The temple was one of his beloved sanctuaries. During its peak, the monastery served up to 1,000 lamas. In the 18th century Ovgon-Khiid became a bone of contention between Galdan Boshigt (Western Mongolia) and Zanabazar (Central Mongolia). The former was against Zanabazar's intention to submit to the Manchus. The never-ending argument resluted in a war when Galdan Boshigt's army destroyed Ovgon-Khiid.
Uran-Togoo Tulga Uul Natural Reserve composed of Uran uul and Togoo volcano lies west of Bulgan city en route to Khuvsgul area.
Selenge is also a primary destination for religious pilgrimage. The Amarbayasgalant monastery is considered the second most important in Mongolia after Erdene Zuu Khiid in Kharkhorin and the most intact architectural complex in Mongolia located in a valley 360 km from Ulaanbaatar. The monastery was built between 1727 and 1737 by the Manchu emperor Yongzheng and dedicated to the great Mongolian Buddhist and sculptor, Zanabazar, whose mummified body was moved here in 1779. The valley is covered throughout its extent with Turkic-era graves of various geometric shapes dating to 3rd century. The area holds sacred associations for the people. In 1996 it was nominated by UNESCO as a Heritage Site. After 65 years the lamas organized “Tsam” religious dance for the first time in Amarbayasgalant monastery in 2002.