Mongolia is far-flung and little visited yet has much to offer, from the stunning scenery and wildlife of mountains and deserts to the emerging luxury hotels and restaurants of capital Ulaanbaatar.
History and culture abound in Mongolia and outside the main cities many Mongolians continue to live the traditional life of the malchin (herdsmen). Transporting their goods by camel and residing in portable felt and canvas tents, the nomadic lifestyle of modern-day Mongolia would still be recognisable to Ghengis Khan, the most famous Mongol of them all.
Mongolia's vast areas of wilderness, from the sprawling Gobi desert to the snow peaked mountains of the Bayan-Ölgi, offer plenty of scope for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts. Fishing, jeep tours, horse and camel riding, mountain biking and birdwatching are but a few of the activities on offer. Culture hunters are also well catered for with numerous temples and ruins to explore.
Infrastructure is poor and undeveloped in rural areas but the capital Ulaanbaatar is fast transforming itself into a modern city with international restaurants, luxury hotels, shopping malls and glass tower blocks - a sure sign of Mongolia's status as an up-and-coming Asian travel hotspot. But leaving the capital does not necessarily mean leaving civilisation; Internet is now available in small villages and it's not uncommon to see nomads toting mobile phones - a contrast that makes Mongolia an intriguing and rewarding destination to visit.