Darkhan, which is also referred to as Darkhan and Darchan in Mongolia, is located just Northwest of Ulaanbaatar. The city is a large industrialized one, built in the 1960s with the help of the Soviets and other Socialist countries from Europe at the time. The town itself is catered around a very industrious backdrop, however recently tourists have begun to visit the town, often via overnight trips from Ulaanbaatar. For those visiting, there are several interesting sites to be viewed that are scattered throughout both the “Old” and “New” town districts. In addition to these sites, Darkhan also has a wide range of restaurants in the city enter, including Russian, Chinese and Mongolian options.
Morin Khuur Monument
Located across from the Seated Buddha statue where both New and Old Darkhan meet, this famous landmark in a monument in testimony to the morin khuur, or horsehead fiddle. This traditional Mongolian bowed stringed instrument is one of the most important musical instruments of the Mongol people and is considered a symbol of the Mongolian nation. The monument itself is located atop a hill and visitors are encouraged to visit at sunset for amazing views of the city from this location. From this location, it is also possible to cross a short bridge to a nearby park which is well kept and welcoming of visitors.
Located nearby in the district of Selenge Province, this city is on the border with Russia and is considered a Fee Trade Zone. Originally a trading post across the Kyakhta River from the Russian town of Kyakhta during the Qing rule of Mongolia, the small outpost was key in the Kyakhta Trade route, a famous route of trade between Russia and China through which Mongolia was included. The area is most famous for its trading of Siberian furs and for Chinese cotton, silk, tobacco and tea. Many of the original structures built during this trade period are still in existence today.
This functioning Buddhist monastery is located in the centre of Old Darkhan along one of the city’s main streets. Visitors will enjoy seeing a very active monastery, including many young monks who are in training on the grounds. The grounds include small grassy areas for those looking to meditate or enjoy a quiet book. The location is not considered a pilgrimage site, however as it is close to the train station (within a 10-minute walk), it is highly recommended for visitors of Darkhan. There is currently no fee for entering the monastery grounds.
Gorkhi-Terelj National Park
One of Mongolia’s famous national parks, Gorkhi-Terelj includes a tourist zone that specifically caters to those looking to enjoy an authentic Mongolian campaign experience. Located a bit of a distance from Darkhan to the East and close to Ulaanbaatar, the sprawling park covers nearly 3,000 square kilometres. The park offers an amazing natural backdrop for hiking, rock climbing swimming, rafting and more. Horseback riding and even dog sledding (during the winter months) are offered here. Those looking for a more pristine experience should travel to the northern part of the park (closer towards Darkhan) to experience less tourists (although also less touristic activities). There is a small admission fee for those entering the park.