The valley in which Khan Khentii nestles is truly beautiful alpine scenery, replete with wild flowers of all kinds, bird life, stunning mists which swirl and lift slowly for hours after dawn, a rushing river and almost no human life. It's a 3+ hour drive half on farm tracks and half on dreadful half-paved roads from UB, so be prepared.
We went for the full-on experience: the private family ger camp where 2 small gers, along with a dining tent and a makeshift shower and toilet were pitched specially for us. This was real solitude: we ate our rather fine dinner, drank our wine and collapsed into bed by 9. Luckily we had a log fire lit in each ger for us, and plenty of blankets to more or less ward off the cold that's there even in July. I can't imagine winter. Point is, these were real authentic travelling gers, unlike those at 3 camels, but we were not real authentic Mongolian nomads and we felt the cold in the small hours, damaging sleep.
In the morning I watched the mist swirl for 3 hours, and damn near froze in the process: once recovered I walked up a nearby small mountain to get an even better view.
After a day though, my daughter developed a fever and we decided to leave a day early: we had done enough walks and the planned rafting seemed less attractive in the cold than we had hoped. This was a great experience for lovers of solitude and natural beauty, but for us 2 days and one night was enough. For some though, of a meditative bent and with no need for the internet, I'm sure you'd want to stay weeks.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Khan Khentii Backpackers Camp is conveniently located 55 km east of Ulan Bator. After passing a bridge on the Tuul River nearby the entrance of the Terelj National Park, drive 10 km further and you will see the Khan Khentii signboard. Turn right and drive over 200 m and you are at the Khan Khentii Backpackers Camp. ... more less