Location: 775 km northwest of Ulaanbaatar in the Alag-Erdene soum of Khuvsgul province.
Features: Mongolia is part of the Amur river basin that contains more than 300 rivers and 26 large lakes. The seemingly boundless Khuvsgul lake, which Mongolians call ‘Mother Sea’, has a secret trail that you can walk along. The lake is 2 million years old and makes up 0.4 percent of the world’s fresh water reserves. Its deepest point is 262 meters. During sunset, the lake looks like a clear mirror. When the sun rises the lake sparkles like the colors of the rainbow. Khuvsgul is the deepest and largest fresh water lake in Mongolia. During the harsh, cold, winter the lake attracts visitors with its calmness. The annual Ice Festival provides a unique opportunity for people to experience the lake when it’s frozen and take part in a range of Mongolian games. A visitor to the ice festival, Joanne Baxter, shared her experience: “I really liked the Ice Festival. The amazing clean water of the lake looks like crystal, when it’s frozen. I never imagined what can be done here, how hard the ice is and how tolerant it is in warm weather. When I saw how people rode yak carts, many games were organized and heavy luggage was carried on yak carts on Khuvsgul lake’s ice, I had a feeling that this ice never melts. Making a bonfire on the ice just shocked me. Are you also surprised that the fire doesn’t melt the ice? Of course, after a few hours the bonfire area became water. But that ice was as thick as fire resistant construction material. We visited an ice bar with ice furniture. It was truly amazing to see how the ice was made into all those shapes.