Autumn travel is for colour, culture and smaller crowds – as these six destinations prove. When Britain’s summertime ebbs away to autumn,
The capital of Mongolia is a sprawling city set in a green valley fringed with mountains, although it has a compact centre set around Sukhbaatar Square. The city was founded in 1778 and called the City of Felt, it became known as Ulan Bator which means ‘Red Hero’ in 1924 when it was under Soviet control. The Soviet influence is apparent in the apartment blocks and factories of the outskirts, most notably in the huge power station, although this is mixed with some pleasant places to explore in the centre of the city.
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The Terelj National Park is a popular day trip for both residents and visitors to Ulan Bator. It lies at an altitude of 1,600 metres with a landscape that varies from Siberian taiga forest to grass steppe. Three river systems have their sources in the protected area; the Tuul river which flows into Lake Baikal and continues to the Arctic Ocean; the Onon; and the Kherlen, which flows east to join the Amur river before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The alpine landscape is magnificent, with green pastures and rocky outcrops, offering the perfect introduction to the landscape of Mongolia.
As Mongolia's largest city, and the country's only settlement of significant size, Ulan Bator has understandably become the country's cultural centre. The National History Museum, located near the vast Chinggis Square (formerly Sükhbaatar Square) features a hall dedicated to Mongolian history, its folklore and traditions, including an interesting display on Mongolian costume and other artefacts from the age of Genghis Khan. The Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts displays Mongolian art from prehistory through to the early 20th century. The museum takes its name from the creator of the collection's most significant exhibits, the sculptures and paintings by Undur Geghen Zanabazar (1635-1723), one of Mongolia's greatest artists. Gandan Monastery was once the only Buddhist monastery allowed to operate under communist rule, and even then only as a showcase to foreigners. Today there are 150 resident monks, and visitors can tour the monastery and see the statue of a bodhisattva (Buddhist saint). A short drive south of the city is the winter palace, which was previously one of the residences of the Bogd Khan (Emperor of Mongolia). The palace has survived virtually intact and is now preserved as a museum with many of the Khan possessions on display, including the throne, robes, and a collection of art and taxidermy.
Avoid seasonal extremes, enjoy sweet-scented blossoms and spend Easter somewhere new, when you travel in spring. As winter thaws and new life
Whether you wish to embrace the season or escape it, these destinations guarantee an unforgettable winter journey. Contemplating a winter holiday? Then
Truly exclusive and exceptionally luxurious.
Very high class accommodation with superb facilities and service.
High standard accommodation, service and facilities.
Good standard accommodation, service and facilities.
Clean and comfortable with en suite bathrooms but limited facilities.
Very modest with shared bathrooms and minimal facilities