The highest peak in Mongolia - Altai Tavan Bogd towers 4,Altai marmot, rabbit, fox, wolf, golden eagle, sand grouse, saker falcon, kite and giant condor frequent in localities abundant in rocky cliffs and escarpments separating the eastern border of the region. The largest lakes are rich in graylings and Siberian yellow fishes.
Research finds such as stone monument from the Bronze Age, deer stone, man stone, ancient burial sites and hunting tools used in the old and new Stone Age have evidenced that the Altai region was inhabited by humans several hundred thousand years ago.
Today the region is inhabited by Kazaks, Tuvas, Uriankhai and Mongolians who retain their own peculiar customs and tradition. The local herdsmen move from one pasture to another, stay in Ger during summer, but live in a log or mud house in winter. Muslim Kazaks, who make up the majority of local population, worship Islam, but Tuvas revere the shamanism until the present day to protect the virgin Mother Nature.
Ulgii is the central town of Bayan-Ulgii aimag. It is obvious there is a significant influence of the Central Asia on the local history, culture, customs and architecture. The majority of buildings in the town have been built by Kazakh architects. Even the town market differs from the Mongolian market. The town has about 3000 population; more than 90 per cent of them are Kazakhs. A tour to Altai Tavan Bogd starts from the town, Ulgii.
There are a number of weekly flights to Bayan-Ulgii from Ulaanbaatar that carried out by MIAT, Aero-Mongolia. A new company “Ulgii Trans” has begun its service starting from the summer 2007. It would take 3 to 4 days for anyone who wants to travel by car. The place is suitable for mountain climbing, trekking, horse riding, photography and videography tours. Teams of both local and international mountaineers climb up Mt.Tavan Bogd every year.374 meters above the sea level, overlooking the borders of Mongolia, Russia and China. The five summits towering among the mountains easily explain the name “Tavan Bogd” (Five Bogd). Eternal snow and glaciers over the peaks of Tavan Bogd make the mountain magnificent and require endurance and high level of physical capability from mountaineers.
The Altai Tavan Bogd is located in Bayan-Ulgii aimag 2000 kilometers westward from Ulaanbaatar. The Altai is an ideal destination for adventurous mountain tours. One would find the highest mountains in Mongolia, glaciers, snow-covered plains, high mountain ridges, forests, lakes, river valleys, also rare animals such as wild sheep (Argali) and goat (Ibex), snow-leopard and saker falcon, moreover stone monuments of the Bronze Age, and ancient Turkic man stone.
The Altai, one of the Altai Sayan mountain prongs extends in the northwest direction from Tavan Bogd along the Chinese and Russian border up to Kazakhstan. The Sayan Mountains lie extending in the opposite direction up to the Baikal Lake. However, the Mongolian Altai range lies pushing forward the Great Gobi desert in the south-east direction. One can observe an interesting ecological formation.
Anyone traveling to this place remains happy. As the Altai Sayan ecoregion retains its specific original nature, it can be said that the region represents a great “empire” containing glaciers, snow-covered valleys, lakes, high mountain peaks, gorges of rocky cliffs, dried up valleys, forests, plains, Gobi desert, rivers and marshes.
The natural complex of Altai Tavan Bogd occupies 636,161 hectares of mountainous highlands. There are more than 100 eternal snow-capped peaks towering
over 3000 meters above the sea level. The fresh water streams running through the mountain valleys and high mountain ridges flow into the Hovd River, the largest river in Bayan-Ulgii aimag. The Hovd River, which takes its source from Dayan Lake, flows by way of the Great Lakes region across the open valleys and rocky gorges before emptying into a freshwater Lake Khar Us. Glaciers coat the flanks of the highest peaks. The largest glacier of the Altai Tavan Bogd covers approximately 23 sq km.
The region exhibits more than 2500 plant species. The snow-capped and glacial peaks are surrounded by high steep ridges full of flowers. Downward on the lower slopes are found shrubs, undershrubs and mosses extending to the coniferous forests. The landscape combined plains with forests gradually turns into Gobi desert, making up the large portion of Bayan-Ulgii aimag territory. These geological changes are amazing. One can observe a radical contrast whereas the blocks of stone side of a glacier is covered by snow, and the other side is full of different flowers.
The regional climate is severely continental. The daytime temperature in winter is bitterly cold, sometimes reaches minus 40*C. The highlands have a lot of snow, small rivers and streams get frozen in forestless areas. The summer days are warm, even hot, however it may snow anytime even in summer. The rainy season lasts from mid-July to September.
Regional distribution of animals varies due to the natural conditions. While ibexes and argali jump high up the rocky cliffs, rabbits go here and there among the blocks of stone. One can come across Altai snowcock, rare bird found only in Mongolia. The forests and plains harbor otter, deer, brown bears, lynx, wolverine and marten foina.