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A Mongolian National Park: Turtle Rock, Landscapes and a Camel

During our short stay in Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, not far from the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, we visited Turtle Rock, named for its resemblance to a turtle when viewed from a certain angle. Known locally as Melkhi Khad, this giant rock formation is a popular spot for visitors to the area.

Here are some photos I shot of scenes around Turtle Rock and the surrounding landscape.

Turtle Rock Melkhi Khad Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia

1. View of Turtle Rock

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Sheep Old Hut Landscape

2. Sheep and goats grazing near Turtle Rock

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Sheep Old Hut

3. Goats and sheep lick the walls of this derelict hut

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Horse Riders

4. Two riders on a horse. A common sight in Mongolia

Turtle Rock Melkhi Khad Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Old Hut

5. Another view of Turtle Rock

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Sheep Landscape

6. Landscape near Turtle Rock

Turtle Rock Melkhi Khad Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Family Friends

7. Group shot of family and friends in front of Turtle Rock. My older brother Matt is far left and younger brother Mike far right.

Turtle Rock Melkhi Khad Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Family Friends Close Up

8. My younger brother Mike (left) and friends Andy, Mark and Kerry from England

Some shots of a friendly camel for hire near Turtle Rock

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel 1

9. My new sister-in-law Anna petting a camel near Turtle Rock

Close ups of the friendly camel

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel 2

10.

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel 3

11.

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel 4

12.

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel 5

13.

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel 6

14.

Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Camel Saddle

15. Close up of the camel's saddle

Turtle Rock Melkhi Khad Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Ger Camp

16. Ger camp near Turtle Rock

Turtle Rock Melkhi Khad Gorkhi Terelj National Park Mongolia Horses

17. Horses and riders hang out near Turtle Rock

Also check out my series on Mike and Anna’s weddingMongolian contortionists and other posts about Mongolia.

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14 responses

  1. Maravilloso lugar. Es verdad parece una tortuga de piedra¡¡ El camello, estupendo¡¡ Me imagino que tú lo montaste, por lo que pude apreciar eres jinete apasionada…, bueno sigo tus pasos por el mundo mágico de Mongolia…
    Adiós Lucy…

    September 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    • jajaja sí es la verdad y es un país precioso! No monté ese camello pero sí en otro lugar. Saludos!

      September 9, 2011 at 9:04 pm

  2. Wonderful post! I ve seen a lot of documentations about Mongolia, the way of life there. The people are friendly, but I wish they would treat their animals, especially horses, better. I was shocked how rude they often are to them.

    September 11, 2011 at 10:38 am

    • Thank you wolke205 for taking the time to comment! I’m so glad you liked the post!

      Horses are an integral part of steppe life in Mongolia and Mongolians are very proud of them, treating them with respect. It’s a tough life out there. Horses are the livelihood of nomads and the only form of transportation for many. While in Mongolia I didn’t see any horses being maltreated.

      However, unfortunately there are individuals worldwide who don’t know how to treat animals with respect including in so called civilized countries.

      September 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      • Yes, they try to be respectful to them cause they couldn’t exist without horses, but it s horrible to see how they pull on the reins with hard hands, also they start riding the horses way too young 😦 I ve just seen a documentation of horse races in Mongolia (At a horse fair) for 1 – 2 year old Fillies 😦 There was a vet, but she couldnt do anything against them beating their horses to win. Many of them were lame after. Of course in so called civilized countries are enough of dumb people who are like this too.

        I m glad you didn’t see any horses being misstreated while you were there. Greets

        September 12, 2011 at 1:49 am

      • wolke205 I can see that you’re a real horse lover! I am too.
        In the UK they race 2 year olds. This is the youngest age allowed. Also, in the UK there is a famous race called the Grand National where horses have sustained severe injuries or died. In all horse races worldwide jockeys use their whip to make their horses gallop faster. So what I’m saying is that it happens worldwide so we can’t very well criticize other cultures while our own cultures are doing the same.
        I used to own an ex-racehorse, a thoroughbred. He’d been retired from racing at 5 years old because of an injury and this is very common in the racing world everywhere. Often their owners shoot them if they are unable to race them again as they can be very difficult to retrain and use as a normal riding horse. They have been bred and trained as a racehorse and are very highly strung. I had a lot of problems with my horse due to this.
        In Mongolia I rode an older horse that had previously raced in Nadaam and this horse was incredible and wanted to gallop flat out on the open steppe with no encouragement!

        September 19, 2011 at 10:03 am

  3. I love the photos, especially of the camels! Brilliant post!

    September 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    • Thank you so much thirdeyemom! I’m happy you enjoyed it!

      September 16, 2011 at 8:13 pm

  4. Big Brother Matt

    I remember this day well. It was quite a journey to get to the rock and sleeping in a ger was quite an experience as well. Glad we went in summer!

    October 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

    • Hey Big Brother Matt, this IS a surprise! It was an exciting trip, our first time out of UB and our first time sleeping in a ger. I wouldn’t want to be there in the winter though, especially sleeping in a ger even though those stoves throw out a ton of heat! Did you know UB is the coldest capital city in the world? I love the family/friend portrait in front of the rock! xxxx

      October 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

  5. When I first saw the pictures of this place on your blog I was instantly captivated by its unique resemblance to a turtle. I previously thought that Mongolia is only about vast savannah. But apparently there are much more to see. Then the night after I read this post of yours, I had a dream of going to Mongolia from Beijing (a pleasant dream, I must say). Great post and nice pictures!

    October 16, 2011 at 6:05 am

    • Thanks so much for your comment Bama. Much appreciated! I only spent one month in Mongolia but saw a diversity of landscape including lakes and forests not just open steppe. However, distances are huge. A trip from Beijing to Mongolia would be awesome! I hope some day you make your dream true!

      October 16, 2011 at 3:18 pm

  6. A great series from this interesting place. But I have a feeling that a stick through the nose is not very comfortable?

    March 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    • Thank you Bente! I agree, a stick through the nose can’t be comfortable but probably it’s the only way they can control camels. I have lots more photos of Mongolia to post. Just haven’t got round to it yet. I haven’t taken a look at your blog (or others!) for a long time so will check that out again. I loved your reindeer photos!

      March 21, 2013 at 9:51 pm

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