Khövsgöl Nuur
Khövsgöl Nuur
4.5
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iamface
Aberdeen, UK1,725 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
the lake itself is very clean and big. since that is protected area, the water quality and near around also very nice. i see some person do a big boat visit some to do kayaking. all they enjoy of it. however, since i dont want to drop into the water(a bit cold) and always missed big boat schedule(and feel it a bit expensive). so that i just take walk around part of lake in several days. quite good. better to reserve more days at here to have slow pace visit of such beautiful lake.
Written 15 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

aria
Vero Beach, FL517 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Solo
Lake Khuvsgul

Upon seeing pictures on the net, I wanted to go to Lake Khuvsgul but the information on the net was pretty limited, and made it seem that the obvious choice was to join a pricey package tour to get there.

Here's how I did it as a solo traveler and hope the info below benefits other travelers as well.

Before my trip to Khuvsgul, I got a Mobilcom SIM card at UB. Everything at the Mobilcom center was in Mongolian but there was a lady who speaks English and appears to be the one who helps foreigners. The prepaid SIM card I got was 7,000 T.

I got a flight ticket from UB to Murun by asking a friend in UB to call the Mongolian Airlines office and asking him to go there personally while I was still in my home country. They gave a good price for that flight which cost about 240,000 T or $185 roundtrip. They are pretty strict about the weight restrictions, only 10 kilos of checked baggage & 5 kilos of carry-on so carry only essentials and leave the big luggage in UB.

I contacted the owner of Bonda Lake a day before by phone, and he managed an airport pick-up for me for 20,000T. The ride took 2.5 hours and the driver taught me to say "oppa" every time a big bump came which sent all of us flying. I later learned that it was a swear word when I used the expression in UB in my friend's car. She said it meant f***, not oops! LOL! Also, on that drive  just before dusk, I saw eagles, camels, and yaks.

 I stayed at Bonda Lake for two nights. Check out my review of Bonda Lake below.

After that, I moved to Garage 24 for another two nights. Also, the review is below.

The Khatgal area is in the south of Lake Khuvsgul , and is the most touristy part of the lake, with restaurants, camps and a ferry ride that goes through the lake. I went just after Naadam. It was busy enough but not too much, depending on where you are staying. The two camps I stayed at in Khatgal were not near the main road so it was quite peaceful and relaxing.

There are pleasant walks that can be had by the southern portion of the lake (although it gets better and better the further north one goes). The climb up the hill across from the lake offers a nice view. The restaurants in the area were only open at lunchtime and dinner time. The ferry ride in Khatgal was OK with a lot of locals, and sometimes the people watching was more interesting than the sights. The ticket is 15,000 T and it goes on a loop across the lake and back but doesn't go all the way to the end of the lake. There was a small nest on the ferry and it was fun seeing the birds swooping in and out.

A student group was going up north to the Blue Pearl Camp located between Jankhai and Toilogt. I managed to hitch a ride with them and paid 10,000 T to the driver. The drive was supposed to be about 20 to 30 km, but they did a longer, sightseeing route drive accompanying the students who were all on horseback. Because of this, I also managed to see the reindeers, a shaman, and get on a free horseride towards the end (one member was too tired to ride further). I had read about some reindeer people bringing down the reindeers to make money off tourists thus making the animals sick since they are not used to the new environment. The reindeers did look lethargic and unwell. I managed to get some quiet moments near these gentle animals without my camera and have a peaceful meditative moment with them. The group guide knew the shaman and told me to see the shaman inside his tent. He said a few words that weren't particularly clear, and I didn't feel that I wanted to participate in his tourism business. When prodded to give some money, I gave him a measly 2,000T since I didn't intend to see this particular guy anyway who I thought was more interested in getting money than spirituality. The few minutes of silent connection with the reindeers, however, were quite special and serene.

The free horseride went in the woods which was refreshingly mossy green and had an amazing scenery. The horse guide broke off a small branch filled with leaves and gave it to me to eat. The leaves tasted something like mint salad which was pretty good. After that we emerged from the forest to cross the highway. The view of the lake in the horizon at first sight was really breathtaking. Then, we were on Jankhai and then finally reached the Blue Pearl Tourist Camp.

Blue Pearl Tourist Camp

When I got to Blue Pearl, I could get a ger to myself and negotiate with the manager there who could speak some English. She told me it was $35 a night incl. all meals or $30 without meals. There aren't many meal options nearby so getting the full board deal was ideal and the price was really reasonable. I asked her the price in Tugrik for full board, and she said 39,000 T which was the equivalent of $30. It was cheaper to pay in Tugrik. She didn't collect my passport or noted my check in date. I stayed for 5 nights and upon check out, they had to ask me how many nights I had stayed because they were unsure. Another woman billed me, and I confirmed with her that I was paying full board. She charged me 35,000 T instead of the initial 39,000 T the manager had quoted. The manager saw the amount when she came in as the bill was being written. She didn't say anything. I had spoken to two Mongolian guests and they were paying a lower price than I was. Still, to get a ger all to myself, including all meals, and pay between $27 to $30 a night was a pretty great deal. This was the best camp I had stayed in among the 3 camps around Lake Khuvsgul. 

On my first day there, a jolly Mongolian kid came in my ger and didn't leave. She happily accompanied me when I handwashed my clothes in the shower room and chatted on merrily with me who didn't understand a single thing she had said. Her mom found her one hour later. After that, I was invited by a Mongolian mother and daughter in their ger for snacks and tea. They were pretty interested in me, a solo traveler. We chatted enjoyably as their English was pretty decent.

Two things that really made the trip less uncomfortable for me were my sleeping bag (the beds are really hard and lumpy at all camps and the mornings rather chilly) and earplugs (to not get awoken by noisy neighbors or yaks, goat, etc. chewing your ger in the early morning).

Also, the door of the ger can easily be opened outside even if you lock it when you're inside. It can be done by slipping ones hand in the ger flap and inside the hole to push the latch open inside. I knew this as I got an unwanted visitor the first night there while I was sleeping. The Mongolian driver of the van knocked on my door, and when I didn't answer because I was sleeping with earplugs on, he thought he could be bold enough to come in and invite me for vodka. Luckily, I managed to order him to get out and didn't see him since. After that, every night as an extra precaution, I use the fire burner's large scissor thongs to act as a secure fastener on the door which made me sleep in peace.

The hill just next to Blue Pearl Camp is a great place to see the lake and the surroundings from above. There is also a nice ovoo up there. There are some mosquitoes if you decide to linger longer or explore the woods in the area so putting insect repellant on is a good idea. The location of the camp was ideal for nice walks by the lake where I saw a local family pushing an ox cart to load it with water. I also saw lots of horses, yaks, sheep, and goat being herded daily by small kids. The cattle was always nearby and painted a perfect pastoral picture. The walk up to Toilogt about 5-6 km away was also very nice. Make sure to check out the other small lake you'll see at Toilogt. On the way back to Blue Camp, I saw a local with an inflatable kayak. With hand gestures, I asked him to give me and another traveler I met a ride. Afterwards, we gave him some money which we felt was reasonable since no deal was agreed on before. He accepted it and we went off on our way.

I could get fish from the restaurant at Blue Pearl almost daily. They have a menu but it's only in Mongolian and they only offered one or two meal choices anyway. So, I asked for fish for one meal of the day and the other one was a surprise. All the meals were pretty good except for the noodle dish that was bland. They give a chocolate bar after lunch and dinner but since I was by myself, they were pretty inconsistent, so I had to demand for my chocolate bar lots of times which I found amusing. Also, make sure you tell them about an hour before what time you're eating and what you'd like to eat. 

You an charge your batteries from about 9 to 11 every night at the restaurant bar area. No Internet at all, and they don't accept credit cards, so bring Tugriks or dollars with you. 

The shower was pretty inconsistent, so I had to check all 3 showers first before deciding which stall was functioning the most decently for that day. One night, the generator stopped and the lights went out as I was taking my shower. So it's always a good idea to bring your flashlight when taking a night shower.

Three days before my flight out of Murun, I talked to one of the guests there. He was by himself on a private tour and was flying out on the same flight and date with me. So lucky! I could also join him for two full days of sightseeing using his van. We went on the ferry at Khatgal the first day and the next day, the van went the furthest it could up north, and we hiked on the mountain and had perfect weather. The 360-degree views on top were just splendid. We also saw lots of small ovoos and colorful wildflowers everywhere.

Here are my reviews for the first two camps I stayed at by the southern part of the lake:

Bonda Lake

 The owner of the camp responded quickly to provide me pick up from Muron Airport a day before my arrival. The driver waited 1.5 hours more for more passengers to come but in the end it was just me. The fees for airport pick-up 20,000 T and  horseriding activity were pretty reasonable, esp. for those coming with 2 or more people. The receptionist was chatty and friendly. 
The shower needed some time to get hot and water was trickling down in two opposite directions, which made the water coming out in one much less and also wasting water. The water ran out the one time I used it while my hair still had shampoo. I bolted out and used the cold water they had in bottles by the outside sink. Since I was traveling alone, I wasn't given priority for having a ger the first night. I stayed at the lone wooden house which wasn't cozy or clean. The second night, since they had empty gers, they moved me inside one for the same price as the first night. Basically, they charge 10,000 T per person per night. The ger was much better than the wooden house but upon closer look, the sheets were unchanged and had some human hair by previous occupants. Small insects/ spiders were also hopping on the bed that was set up pretty low to the ground. This could have easily been a much better experience if they would thoroughly clean the ger and change the sheets. The first night, there were some big groups who made a lot of noise and played loud music. I had my ear plugs which saved me and I could sleep. Also, I had my sleeping bag with me which made the dirty sheets and very hard bed tolerable. You can get free tea and use the Internet if the owner is around since you have to connect using his laptop. The food served was OK. I used this camp as a jumping off place for going further north in Khuvsgul. For this, it was rather good as the owner speaks adequate English and was able to provide pick up from Muron. The horseriding activity he proposed and the visits to his relatives who live in the countryside also sounded good. I didn't take them as I left after the second night to go to another camp, which I discovered after talking to some other travelers walking in Khatgal. The staff in Bonda Lake were quite nice and friendly. They need to make the accommodation much cleaner and make the shower experience much better though. 

Garage 24

As a solo traveler, I found this camp while walking in Khatgal and meeting some fellow travelers who raved about this camp. The two sets of travelers I met could occupy 2 out of the 3 gers available at Garage 24. I was looking for a ger stay so I talked to the owner who promised me a ger the next day after the 2 people I met leave. I came the next day with my bags only to be told to wait for 2 hours since the ger was being cleaned. At last, the owner told me it was ready and showed me NOT a ger but a bed in their bunk room for about 9 people. The price they charge is 10,000 T pp whether you stay in a ger or a bunk room. I refused the bunk room since it defeated the purpose of having to move there to stay in a ger. Later on, a big high school student group came in and I would have shared this room with the noisy group of mostly boys. I pitched my tent instead. They charge 4,000 T for pitching your own tent. I woke up at 5 am because it was just too cold in the early mornings in Khuvsgul. This was late July. I had asked the other German traveler to go with me and talk to the owner to make it clear I could stay in a ger. She said of course, and the next day, I gathered my bags to move to a ger which she said I might have to share with other arriving guests. No problem as the ger was much more comfortable than the bunk room and only had 4 beds. A few hours later, she changed her mind again, and asked me to move to a ger occupied by the 2 Germans who I met earlier. They were paying 10,000 T each for their ger of 3 beds. With me in there, the owner could get 10,000 T more with no sacrifice on her part. I was hesitant because these 2 girls would have had a bigger space without me for the same price they were paying.
The shower at the camp was consistent with its hot water and I was advised that the shower near the window is the better one. 
The food served was really good by Mongolian standards. However, several times, the food order was forgotten or delayed, resulting not only in an hour wait (which they tell guests to expect) but between 2 and 3 hours wait. This camp doesn't favor a lone traveler who would like to stay in a ger and get the food they ordered in an hour. They give more priority to big tour groups who seem to come in droves every day. A group of 4 young French travelers were asked to give up their bunk room when another big group arrived and to transfer to the external wooden house for free. They woke up frozen in cold the next day.
The camp is a great place for meeting other travelers and the common room is a good place to sit in front of the fireplace and exchange stories with other travelers. Also, the balcony is a good place to sit back and relax.  
I managed to get a lift further north with a group going there, and paid the driver 10,000 T. There were packed sandwiches for the student group going up north and I was given one too by the camp owner which was pretty nice since food options are limited. She said that their sister camp up north, Nature's Door, was packed and had no place for me. She told me I may have to stay in a tent with a smile on her face. Well, no problem at all because I stayed at Blue Pearl Camp which had a lot of gers and could give me finally my own, comfortable ger. 

--- The trip to Khuvsgul was spectacular and I was so happy I could do all the things I had wanted to do there and experience the special qualities of the area. Above all, this was the first trip I ever did which was completely flexible. I could enjoy the lake and its surroundings fully at a fraction of the cost that tour agencies who speed by Lake Khuvsgul were charging. Happy travels and may the information here help you in your adventures! --- 
Written 2 August 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dan K
Berlin, Germany14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Solo
Hello I have been Mongolia 2 times I have been in Gobi and at lake Khovsgol.Also in April and May.I mostly has loved Khovsgol lake in the north.If you will go Mongolia don't forget visit that amazing lake and nomads in the area!I stayed there with the family at Mongolian farm for 20 days..It was amazing...Also I had chance to ride horse up to the Lake...Anyway if you decide to go there you can mail me on power_eco@ymail.com I can give some informations,contacts and days how was there....Mongolia is amazing country...Land of nomad home of asia...I did it in very low cost..reindeers,darhad nomads all there.end of may and beginn of june nice time..we had snow,rain,some days bad weather.../mostly in spring/end of May and beginn of June summer comes truly....for more fotos please contact on the mail please

okay all the best

have a nice time in Mongolia
Dan
Written 1 January 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

huong l
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam141 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2013 • Friends
We stayed at in the traditional gers for 3 nights by the Khovsgol Lake and really enjoyed the scenery there. The weather is cool in July and may get cold at midnight. We could go hiking up the hill to have a beautiful scenery of the whole area, watch the beautiful, colorful sunrise/sunset and specially the most stunning view is when you could see the moon so big and red rising up by the lake at night. Some might find it difficult and tiring to travel long hours in the grass lands but I think it's worth to travel to the lake. I will never forget the experience in Mongolia and wish I could come back one day. Highly recommended.
Written 30 June 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MarciTravels
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic521 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2014 • Friends
We spent a few days here and after having travelled through Gobi, the north area with the Khovsgol lake is very heavily populated and much visited by tourists, evidenced by the plentitude of hotels and ger camps around the lake.

The weather around the lake is cooler due to the altitude so wrap-up warm and plan your visit from end June to avoid facility inconveniences like frozen water in the pipes.

Boating, hiking, horse riding, quad biking, swimming are some of the activities you can do and we enjoyed all of them, except swimming from which we chickened out (the water is around 0 so not my cup of tea).
Written 2 July 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

headwest2014
Minneapolis, MN6 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2014 • Couples
The hotel itself was fine, but the management was horrible. We've been traveling for a year and a half and this was easily the worst experience we've had. The manager was interested in promoting her new hotel, unrelated to Garage 24, and helped us find a guide for a horseback trip. This guide did not bring food, warm clothing or adequate supplies for the trip. He also made us feel unsafe a number of times. When we returned from this outing she did not appear interested and instead started told us the owner was mad that we didn't show up and use her guide. This was all very confusing and strange, because we did show up, we were given a guide and the owner told the manager to pick us up from the bus. (A service we did not ask for and then were surprised at the high rate she charged us.) It seemed many times that Agi was wrangling up business for her husband who was without work. Who also one night when drunk told a table of foreigners that he did not like their country. All very petty things, but ended up leaving us with an overall feeling of disgust. They also seemed to have a difficult time keeping track of money and the husband got mad when he was confused about a bill - he said we were taking his money. We implored him to call the guesthouse to sort it out. He had the decency to act embarrassed when he realized his mistake. There are plenty of guesthouses opening up in the area that deserve a chance. Garage 24 seems to have gotten a bit complacent with being listed in the Lonely Planet. That being said the man and woman who actually do all the cooking and work at the hotel were very sweet. But the management is bad enough to ruin your trip. It all seemed very amateur and unprofessional. They have a book that patrons comment in. The older posts are all positive, where as many of the newer ones illustrate some of our same complaints.
Written 8 June 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

5Nina
Edinburgh, UK6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Friends
Khovsgol Lake is my favourite place in Mongolia! I visited it in a group of fifteen and our itinerary consisted of five days of horse trekking and four days of foot trekking. The landscape in this area of Mongolia is absolutley stunning and an absolute must see!

On our return from our trek we stayed at a local hostel, Garage 24 which was superb. The food was delicious and it was a treat to have fantastic pizzas, chips, soup, pasta etc. as well as having the option to have some typical Mongolian food. They were also able to prepare sandwiches as a pack lunch which was also very handy. A hot shower (which was mostly hot) and an actual toilet (a sawdust toilet but very clean) was also very well recieved. There are also international chargers too where you can charge cameras, phones, ipods etc. There were also big basins to do laundry in which was very handy. The beds were a bit uncomfortable however but fine once you get used to it. There was also a short power cut on our visit but the staff were quick to hand out candles and this just added to the fun of the place.

What makes Garage 24 so special though is the atmosphere. You come in on a cold night (with beautiful stars in the sky might I add) to a cosy fire, couches and lots of friendly, interesting travellers to chat with. The staff are also friendly but only the owner, Oggy, speaks English. However she is lovely and took good care of our group.

My favourite day of our thirty day expedition was had here. As well as enjoying all the things metioned above, we had a brilliant water fight with the lovely kids who live at the hostel. Following this, I ventured up the hill at the back of the hostel for some spectacular views!

I was very sad to leave this place, especially the kids. I absolutley recommend this place to other travellers: tasty food, warm showers, toilets, great atmosphere, stunning views and great fun to be had. What more could you ask for?
Written 1 September 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

aviel a
Tel Aviv, Israel598 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2017
Got here after a long way on the bad roads of mongolia, and this was amazing the difference between the steppe all the way till the lake, and then in this area a change to many trees (and also many arid places). The atmosphere was calm, and it really felt like the vacation place of the mongols.
Written 16 September 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tom GJ
Rockhampton, Australia103 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2016 • Couples
I have never ever seen a lake that clear. n a good day you can see the ground up to 40m deep. I is certainly a must see when you are in Mongolia
Written 27 September 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kforkai
Hong Kong17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015
We spent three nights staying in a ger camp by the Western shore of Khovsgol Lake and loved the idyllic experience. The lake is beautifully serene, especially when viewed from the slopes of the hill behind our camp at sunset. We rode horses along the shore one morning and spent other times reading in the open. This wasn't the pristine outdoor adventure one hears of Mongolia, but it was ideal for our short visit. We were reluctant to leave.
Written 4 October 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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