Visit Siiilkhem Nuruu National Park
Silkhem Nuruu National park is located around 1700kms from the capital Ulaanbaatar. situated in the Bayan-Ulgii Province, of far western Mongolia, in the soum of Nogoonuur and Tsagaanuur. It is one of Mongolia’s pristine national parks and, bordering Russia’s own protected area. The park is about 140,000 hectares, so not exactly small. It isn’t only important for its biodiversity but also for its cultural and historical significance. If you get the chance you should definitely visit Siiilkhem Nuruu National Park!
How to get there:
You can approach the park from two directions, either from Ulaangom (which directly doesn’t have a paved road) or the more preferred route, which would be from Olgii to Tsagaanuur, a small town close to the Russian border.
To the park itself, there is no road and I wouldn’t recommend you take your Prius but if you have a 4WD you should be okay along the dirt tracks. You can always ask the locals at Tsgaanuur near the crossing for any helpful tips or advice. Even better you could hire a local tour guide in Olgii (which there are plenty of) to take you which are reasonably affordable and makes sure you won’t get lost.
Silkhem Nuruu National park offers a wide range of wildlife to experience, and if you are extremely lucky (I mean extremely) you could get the chance to see a snow leopard. This rare magnificent animal was once hunted for its fur but not is protected as a very rare species.
What you are more likely to see but still holds its own stature is the Argali sheep, which is still rare. They are estimated to be around 1500 so make sure you still have your camera ready. Lastly and more commonly seen in several parts of Mongolia is the Altai Marmont which is quite in abundance and makes for good wildlife photos. Although not endangered they are protected and you can face serious criminal charges if caught killing a Marmont.
If you are into rock art and carvings then this is for you. Three such sites have been discovered, dating back to 2000-3000 years old. These sites depict a variety of transition periods and there are deer-carved stones and burial sites that add to the scope of what you are able to see. These are also protected as world cultural heritage sites.
Other activities that can be included are horse riding, camping and camel riding to name a few.
Safe travels everyone!