Mongolian men and women pray and make offerings at an Ovoo near the Lake Khovsgol Ice Festival in Khatgal, Mongolia.
Taylor Weidman—LightRocket/Getty Images

The little sister of Russia’s better-known Lake Baikal, Mongolia’s extraordinary Lake Khovsgol has all of the beauty and none of the crowds (at least for now). At depths close to 900 ft., this astonishing ancient body holds about 70% of the nation’s fresh water. A new airport south of Ulan Bator will triple existing capacity this year, and the plan to add nonstop Mongolian Airlines flights from the U.S. is set to make the “Blue Pearl of Mongolia” more accessible than ever before. —Yulia Denisyuk

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