Terelj National Park

Terelj National park Mongolia

The Terelj National Park is located in a spectacular valley at only 1.5 hours (80 kilometres) from Ulaanbaatar. This park is the closest to the capital compared with other parks, making it much visited by travellers who spend a shorter time in Mongolia.

Turtle Rock and Aryapala Monastery

The hilly landscape is dotted with pine trees and fascinating rock formations. One of those is the Turtle Rock; a rock in the shape of a turtle (which officially is called Frog Rock but it does not look like a frog).

Not far away from the rock is the picturesque Aryapala Buddhist temple and meditation centre. Walk to the top of the hill, where you can look at the inside of the beautiful monastery and have a wonderful view over the valley. Through this valley there is a path with Buddhist texts along the side. By turning a wheel, fate plays you a number that corresponds to one of these texts.

Sleeping in a ger

Terelj National Park is nice to visit as a day trip from Ulaanbaatar. But the most fun is of course to spend the night in a ger, the traditional house of a nomadic family. Because Terelj is more touristy than most other parks in Mongolia, you do not you sleep with the nomad families themselves. The ger camps are really set up for tourism, but it goes hand in hand with a bit more comfort and you still have the ‘ger experience’.

Horseback riding, hiking, swimming and climbing

Anyone who wants to ride a horse in Mongolia also gets the chance in Terelj. Rides often lasting one hour, with or without a private guide, are very common here. You can also make beautiful walks. Or looking to swim in one of the clear but cold rivers while roaming yaks observe from the shore. Specialized organizations can also arrange rock climbing for you in the park, but take care of this in advance before your departure to Terelj.

Genghis Khan Statue

The silver-coloured 40-meter Genghis Khan statue is a stone throw away from the entrance to Terelj. During most tours these higlights are therefore combined. The statue of the famous warrior on his horse adorns many postcards and travel books about Mongolia.

Terelj National Park is a great stop if you have limited time in Mongolia. We noticed that most of the people who made a stop on the Trans-Mongolian train journey spent a few days at Terelj, instead of going further into Mongolia. Because of the distances and unpaved roads, you need more than a week’s time (see our tips on travel planning in Mongolia). We ourselves had more time and also visited other parts of the country, but found the trip to the Terelj National Park worthwhile. Because of the diversity in Mongolia, the nature here is very different, a lot greener than for instance during our Gobi Desert tour.

Travel routes with Terelj National Park

Other tips in Mongolië

Ulaanbaatar

Genghis Khan Statue

Khustai National Park