Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Terelj Terelj

Discover the Majestic Beauty of Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Wondering what treasures lie within the rugged folds of Gorkhi Terelj National Park? Located just a stone’s throw from Ulaanbaatar, this natural sanctuary gives a taste of Mongolia’s untamed beauty and cultural richness. Venture through its pine-dappled valleys or meet the residents—both human and wildlife—and their stories. This guide is your compass to navigating the park’s highlights and the logistics of your trip. We recommend to spend two to four days in Terelj and the sourounding areas to enjoy this unique and picturesque nature.

Key Takeaways

  • Gorkhi Terelj National Park is a prominent natural attraction near Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, known for its beautiful landscapes, unique rock formations like Turtle Rock, a rich variety of wildlife, and opportunities to experience traditional nomadic culture.
  • The park is accessible with a range of transportation options including car rentals, bus services, and private tours, offering flexibility for different budgets and preferences. Accommodations vary from luxury ger camps to living with nomadic families, providing immersive cultural experiences.
  • Gorkhi Terelj National Park offers a variety of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, hiking, rafting, and dog sledding, suitable for different interests and skill levels, which can be best enjoyed between June and August when the environment is most vibrant.

Unveiling the Wonders of Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Scenic view of Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Gorkhi Terelj National Park is a prominent tourist attraction in Mongolia, renowned for its stunning scenery, varied wildlife, and enriching cultural encounters. This beautiful destination, located just 55 kilometers east of Ulaanbaatar, offers a unique experience for nature enthusiasts.

Its verdant valleys, rugged mountains, fascinating rock formations, and picturesque alpine scenery contribute to its reputation as a must-visit destination for rock climbing enthusiasts.

Breathtaking Landscapes

Valleys, mountains, and forests make up the impressive natural landscapes of the park. It’s also renowned for its captivating giant granite rocks, particularly the 24-meter tall Turtle Rock, which stands prominently amidst the pine forest. These granite rock formations have been gradually shaped over centuries, adding to the park’s awe-inspiring presence, including the famous Praying Lama Rock.

Diverse Wildlife

Wildlife in Gorkhi Terelj National Park

A variety of wildlife, from boar and red deer to foxes and wolves, find sanctuary in the beautiful park, which the national park covers, along with numerous birds of prey.

The best time to observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is between June and August, when the green meadows are in full bloom.

Journey to Gorkhi Terelj National Park: Transportation Options

Numerous transportation options make the journey from Ulaanbaatar to Gorkhi Terelj National Park a breeze. Whether you prefer the freedom of renting a car, the affordability of taking a bus, or the convenience of a private tour or car service, you’ll find a transportation option that suits your needs.

Renting a Car

Renting a car is a viable option if you value flexibility and convenience during exploration. The park is just 80 kilometers from Ulaanbaatar, and a variety of vehicles, both manual and automatic, are available for rent. The cost of renting a car can range from $100 to $250 per day.

Driving to Terelj

AVIS is the superior car rental company in Ulaanbaatar. You can rent the car in Ulaanbaatar downtown in the Shangri La Hotel and Mall or at the Ulaanbaatar International Airport.

Bus Travel

If you’re looking for an economical and eco-friendly travel option, the bus is worth considering. The bus fare from Ulaanbaatar to Gorkhi Terelj National Park is a mere 2,500 Tugrik. Services depart daily at 4pm from the center of Ulaanbaatar at Durven Zam on Peace Avenue, with additional trips available at 12:00 and 16:00.

Private Tours to Terelj

Choosing a private tour or self drive tour package to visit Terelj from AVIS ensures a comfortable and personalized travel experience. Tours include an English-speaking driver upon request or can be done as a self drive tour. Other inclusions are overnight stays at the best hotels in Terelj and activities like horseback riding.

Private transportation options also offer unique experiences like a picnic along the Tuul river and the opportunity to stay in a traditional ger dwelling.

Immerse Yourself in Traditional Nomadic Life

Beyond its stunning sceneries and abundant wildlife, Gorkhi Terelj National Park is also about the local people and their culture. Staying with a nomadic family or in a ger camp allows you to experience traditional Mongolian life firsthand.

Ger Camp Accommodations

Terelj Ger Camp

Ger camps in Gorkhi Terelj National Park provide various lodging choices, catering to both budget-conscious travelers and those desiring more luxurious setups. With numerous ger camps available, including tourist camps, whether you prefer a basic setup with limited amenities or a luxurious ger camp with modern facilities, you’ll find an accommodation option that suits your needs. To reserve accommodations, you can utilize online booking facilities available on the websites of specific ger camps or platforms like Glamping Hub.

Living with a Nomadic Family

Staying with a visiting nomad family offers a unique opportunity to:

  • Learn about their traditions, customs, and way of life
  • Participate in their daily activities
  • Sample traditional Mongolian meals
  • Gain firsthand knowledge about their customs and traditions

Must-See Attractions in Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Iconic Turtle Rock in Gorkhi Terelj National Park

In addition to its stunning landscapes and thrilling activities, Gorkhi Terelj National Park boasts several must-see attractions. Two of the most famous ones are the iconic Turtle Rock and the serene Aryabal Meditation Temple.

Turtle Rock

Aryabal Meditation Temple in Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Turtle Rock is a renowned rock formation in Terelj National Park. It bears a striking resemblance to a turtle and holds great cultural significance in Mongolian tradition, representing longevity and wisdom. Thus, it underscores its prominence as the park’s symbol.

Aryabal Meditation Temple

Aryabal Temple Terelj

The Ariyabal Meditation Temple, also known as the ariyabal meditation temple, is another must-see attraction in the park. Situated on a steep hill close to Turtle Rock, this serene Buddhist temple provides captivating vistas of the adjacent scenery. Its distinctive architecture and the presence of 108 small stupas and 108 prayer wheels contribute to creating a tranquil atmosphere, making it an ideal setting for meditation.

Thrilling Adventure Activities in Gorkhi Terelj National Park

Adventure activities in Gorkhi Terelj National Park

For the daring and adventurous, Gorkhi Terelj National Park offers a wide range of thrilling adventure activities. Some options include:

  • Horse riding
  • Hiking
  • Rafting
  • Dog sledding

You’re bound to find an activity that gets your adrenaline pumping.

Horse Riding Adventures

horse riding Terelj

Horse riding is a popular activity in the park. Several horse trekking routes are available throughout the national park, providing an opportunity for visitors to experience the magnificent landscapes while riding on horseback in national parks.

Horse riding tours are designed to accommodate riders of various skill levels, including both novices and seasoned riders.

Hiking Excursions

Hiking is another popular activity in the park. There are numerous trails available, ranging from the beginner-friendly Turtle Rock route to the more challenging trek to Aryapala. During your hikes, you may encounter various types of wildlife, such as:

  • brown bears
  • a diverse range of over 250 bird species
  • boar
  • red deer
  • roe deer
  • foxes
  • wolves

Rafting and Dog Sledding

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, you might want to try rafting on the Terelj or Tuul River. Rafting can be enjoyed during the summer months of June to August, and several companies offer guided tours.

If you’re visiting in the winter, why not try dog sledding on the frozen river for a unique and exhilarating experience.

Essential Tips for Visiting Gorkhi Terelj National Park

A few essential tips can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable visit to Gorkhi Terelj National Park. These include:

  • Knowing the best time to visit
  • Packing appropriate clothing and gear
  • Respecting local customs and etiquette
  • Following driving directions to the park

By keeping these tips in mind, you can make the most of your visit to Gorkhi Terelj National Park.

Ideal Time to Visit

The best time to visit Gorkhi Terelj National Park is during the summer months. Especially between June and August, when the park is most vibrant and its attractions are easily accessible. However, it’s also worth noting that the rainy season commences in May, which can enhance the park’s beauty, intensifying the vividness of the greens and making the landscape even more captivating.

Packing Essentials

When preparing for your trip to Gorkhi Terelj National Park, be sure to bring along the appropriate clothing for the season and sturdy footwear for hiking. It’s also important to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and a reusable water bottle. It may be necessary to bring additional items such as hiking boots, a swimsuit, and a camera, depending on the planned activities. These can enhance the overall experience and ensure that you are well-prepared for any adventure.

Respecting Local Customs and Etiquette

Respecting local customs and etiquette is important when visiting Gorkhi Terelj National Park. This is crucial for having a positive and enjoyable experience in the area. Visitors are expected to dress modestly and keep noise levels low, while also showing respect for the local wildlife..

When engaging with nomadic families or visiting religious sites, it’s important to follow cultural norms and adhere to any additional customs.

How to drive to Terelj from Ulaanbaatar

If you’re driving to the park from Ulaanbaatar, the journey is relatively straightforward. The park is just 80 kilometers from the city, and there are toll roads on the route.

Notable points of interest along the way include Turtle Rock and Aryabal Meditation Temple.

How to drive to Terelj from Ulaanbaatar International Airport

If you’re arriving at Ulaanbaatar International Airport, the park is only a short drive away. The approximate distance is 58.1 km, with an estimated driving time of 1.5-2 hours.


Gorkhi Terelj National Park offers an unforgettable experience, combining stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a unique glimpse into traditional Mongolian nomadic life. Whether you’re exploring its breathtaking terrain, engaging with local customs, or embarking on thrilling adventure activities, the park promises to leave you with lifelong memories. So why wait? Start planning your trip to this beautiful destination today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Terelj national park famous?

Terelj National Park is famous for its outstanding rock formations, including the 24-meter-tall Turtle Rock, which is a must-see.

What animals are in Gorkhi Terelj national park?

The Gorkhi Terelj National Park is home to wolves, brown bears, marmots, and other wildlife, as well as herding families. These animals and humans coexist within the park.

How to get to Gorkhi Terelj national park?

You can easily reach Gorkhi-Terelj National Park from Ulaanbaatar by taking a rental car from AVIS in the Shangri La Hotel or at the Ulaanbaatar Airport and drive for less than two hours along the modern highway to Terelj.

What type of rock is turtle rock in Mongolia?

Turtle Rock in Mongolia is primarily composed of sedimentary rocks, such as sandstone and shale, reflecting the country's geological history. These rocks encapsulate specific moments in time.

What are the must-see attractions in Gorkhi Terelj National Park?

You must visit the iconic Turtle Rock and serene Aryabal Meditation Temple in Gorkhi Terelj National Park for a unforgettable experience.