Mongolia has a lot of lakes, around 3500 in total in fact, and we are not talking about small lakes either. There are some seriously impressive lakes. However, while all lakes in Mongolia have something that makes them special, Khyargas Lake has to stand out. To put it simply, this is not a place you want to miss if you are travelling in Mongolia and you would be crazy if you ignored it if you are deliberately passing through the area on the way to another destination.
Khyargas Lake is located in the Uvs province and is about 1200kms from the capital of Ulaanbaatar, this lake has a lot to see. However, we should warn you that while spectacular, there are a few things you should know so your trip doesn’t turn into one of those days that you would rather not remember.
How to get there:
After the town of Songino you have roughly an hour and a half drive to Hüryee Deresenii Örtöö, which isn’t a town but the turn off to the lake if you wish to get to Khetsuu Khad Tourist Camp where you will find the brilliantly white rocky outcrops that make this lake an absolute gem, very selfie-worthy.
We should warn you from here things get interesting. Up to this point, you have had a paved road but from here it’s all sand! Khetsuu Khad Tourist Camp is located 46kms from the main road so we also recommend making sure you have plenty of fuel or a spare fuel tank handy. We almost got caught by this but if you have been travelling around Mongolia for a little bit you know you should have one spare.
As I was saying, from the main road it will be easy to follow the road to the camp as many others have made the road for you but our advice is, to avoid any area that is sandy. We highly recommend that you bring a 4WD vehicle for this destination, as there are several spots that are particularly sandy (I lost count of how many Prius I saw stuck, but it was in the double digits). Although we did see some Prius at the camp, you will be taking your chances if you don’t have a 4WD.
Khetsuu Khad Tourist Camp:
Once you have reached the camp you will be greeted by the splendid rocks that you have come to see and you won’t be disappointed. The camp itself is located after the public area which has toilet facilities present and a small camping area if you want to pitch a tent.
However, the best spots to see are located within the camp. You won’t be able to drive your vehicle into the camp unless you are staying the night, but you can see everything it has to offer.
Within the camp, there are several Gers and even small cabins as well as a restaurant that serves meals and not just to camp guests. Meals cost around 10,000 tugriks, which we thought was pretty good and I would have to say their fresh fried fish say a refreshing change of palet but their tsuivan was the best I have ever tried, and I take my tsuivan very seriously!
After an enjoyable lunch head down to what you have come for. Located at the bottom of the hill of the camp you will come across the iconic small cove where you can take a dip, busk in the sun and explore, and did we mention selfies, anyone? Make sure to check out the water hole and if you are a good swimmer make sure to swim out to the rocky outcrop just off the shore, which is rewarding.
This is also a great fishing spot, we’re not kidding, even a guy like me who normally hates fishing wanted to give it a try as you could see an abundance of fish from the shoreline! Around the small cove, you shouldn’t miss out on a few spots that many actually miss. Make sure to check out the wedged rock between the narrow cliffs, located above, left of the cove. It also has a hidden small beach there that we actually wished we had known about at the beginning when arriving as you could have it all to yourself and was just as nice.
Lastly, for those animal lovers out there make sure to also check out the bird population. You can get some spectacular pictures of the nesting cormorants perched on the cliff, flying in and out feeding chicks.
If I had any advice, make sure to spend the day here and explore first before setting up your beach towel and applying sunscreen.
We hope you enjoy this marvellous lake as much as we did.
Safe travels everyone!