Among the mountain steppes and grassy lands of central Mongolia rests Ugii, a beautiful freshwater lake. It is one of the biggest lakes in Mongolia with 27 km squared area and an average depth of 6.64 m; some sections going as deep as 15.3 m while its coastal length reaches 23.5m.

This lake is fed by the Khugshin Orkhon and flows into the Orkhon River. The ruins of Khar Balgas are only accessible by road from Tsetserleg to Ulaanbaatar. The coastline features delicate sand and whetstone, soft waves, making it an ideal spot for a boating adventure.


Ugii Nuur is the closest town to the lake, at about 25 km away. The lakes are 360 km west of Ulaanbaatar, 80 km northeast of Kharkhorin and 95 northwest of Elsentasarkhai semi-desert. 130 km from Tseserleg town in Arkhangai province.


The climate in Ugii Nuur is continental, meaning it’s cold and dry in winter and warm and wet in summer. Precipitation usually falls as snow since the average temperature is below freezing for 6 months out of the year. In late October, the lake starts to freeze over and by mid-November it is usually entirely iced over.  Ice sheets form over Ugii Lake between November and May.

Things to do in Ugii Lake

Ugii Lake is the perfect destination for those who love leisurely holidays, weekends away, and bird watching. Leisure travelers can enjoy staying in a traditional ger near the lake, hiking, horse riding, fishing, boating, visiting the information center, and common bird watching.

Fishing in Ugii Lake

Anglers will find an abundance of Perch and Pike at Ugii Lake. The lake is 7km long by 5km wide, with an annual fish harvest of 50-80 tons. Swan Goose, White Spoonbill, and Dalmatian Pelican are only a few examples from the 150 different species birds found in or near the lake.

Additionally, there are 14 types of fish present 27 kinds of floating plants 48 species varieties of animals that live on or near the surface. Ugii lake’s diverse wildlife makes it popular among tourists and researchers alike.

Bird Watching in Ugii Lake

Lake Ugii is a noted destination for bird enthusiasts, as it is home to approximately 150 different species of aquatic birds. These include rarer finds such as the cape barren goose, the spoonbill, and Dalmatian pelicans, in addition to more common ducks and cranes. The lake also plays host to a water bird research station.

As its name would suggest, the bluish-green waters of Ogii Lake make it an ideal breeding ground and resting spot for many migrating waterfowl–so much so that it has been included on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Bird watchers will enjoy a day in the wetlands south of the lake, where they may see pelicans, geese, teals, eagles, kestrels, cranes and more. Be sure to bring your camera and binoculars to get good views and record your sightings.

Legend of Ugii Lake

There was once a beautiful daughter named Ogii who grew up and fell in love with a local horseman. One day, the daughter’s servants found out about their relationship and gossiped about it to her rich father and mother. 

The rich father refused to let his daughter marry the poor horseman, so he made her marry a wealthy man instead. But shortly after, while Ugii and the young horseman were meeting at their date spot, the nobleman’s servants came to arrest him– intending to kill him. The young man said his final words to Ugii: “I will become Avzaga Khairkhan mountain in my homeland, and I will give you a beautiful lake.”

The elders say that when the daughter cried for her beloved boyfriend, her tears turned into a lake. They say that since then, the fog from Ugii Lake has risen and reached Avzaga Mountain.

Thus, the saying goes, “Ogii Lake is guarded by women, and if a woman is immersed in it, she will suffer.” Then locals worshiped the surrounding Bayart Ovoo, Tsagaan Ovoo, and Altangerel Ovoo to soothe Ugii lake.

Hello. My name is Anujin. I was born and raised in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. I am senior writer at CorrectMongolia, where I share the culture , tradition of my country.

If you have questions about Mongolia, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll be happy to help in any way that I can!

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