10 Reasons You Must Travel Mongolian Gobi Desert
‘What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well’. Antoine De Saint Exupery
Mongolian Gobi Desert, the largest in Asia and 5th largest in the world, desert themselves symbolizes dryness, maybe lack of waters. There is statistic every traveler and adventure seeker who arrived in Mongolia, don’t skip Mongolian Gobi Desert. However, Mongolian Gobi Desert is not only Desert, but it also has a secret history with so much to tell and hides unbelievable beauties that only hides in it.
So here’s the 10 reasons why you must travel Mongolian Gobi Desert and why it must be on your bucket list if you’ve never been to Mongolia before.
10. The perfect place to meditate and ponder where your life is going
Walking through Flaming cliffs in Gobi Desert Mongolia, you’re reminded all around you how everything returns to dust and sand in the end, and how important it is to celebrate the brief moments of life that we have. Some fossil sites have oases and lakes and serve as a refuge and grazing land for wild animals, which makes this landscape even more beautiful.
Flaming Cliffs –Bayanzag in Gobi desert
The name ‘Flaming Cliffs’ given American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews in 1920's during Central Asiatic Expeditions in the Gobi Desert and Mongolian name Bayanzag are already world-famous among paleontologists and tourists. It is located in the territory of Bulgan soum of Umnugovi Province.
9. Feel the silence of Khongor Sand dunes in Gobi Desert
In the silence of the desert, you can find new perspectives and insight into who you are and what you want. Climb a Singing dune, known as Khongor sand dunes, watch your breath and let your mind empty you. The highest point of the dune can reach up to 800meters /2624 feet/ but most areas about 300-400 meters in height.
Reaching the top of the dune can look so easy, but it is quite challenging and every step you making is worth the effort. After struggling against slipping sands, you will get a reward for a view of the desert at top of the Sand dunes.
The view is amazing and stunning at the top the dunes and it is breathtaking to see nature formation in Gobi desert. For photographers, climbers and even bikers must challenge their skills and feel real adventure in there. One of interesting activity you can explore in there is to jump on the sand to get down as far as you can. It is safe even if you fall because there is no rock and stones in the dunes. During summer, Khongor Sand dune becomes the venue of Gobi Naadam festival and it is considered the biggest Naadam festival in the Gobi.
8. Welcome to the home of the largest dinosaur fossils in the world
The Mongolian Gobi Desert is the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world including the evolution of nature and wildlife and Cretaceous Dinosaur Fossil Cradle Sites contain dinosaur fossils, tracks, and footprints which belong to the period of 70 to 99 million years ago. The region is especially important as regards dinosaur fossils from the later Cretaceous period, which is the last of the main three periods of the dinosaur age.
The richest dinosaur fossil sites are frequently found in areas, such as Bayanshiree, Khongil Tsav, Amtgai, Baishin Tsav, Urulbu khudag, Shar Tsav in the Eastern part of Gobi Desert, Bayanzag, Tugrugiin Shiree, Zamiin Khond and Uuden Sair in the Central part of Gobi region and Ukhaa Tolgod, Nemegt, Altan Uul, Khermen Tsav, Bugiin Tsav and Guriliin Tsav in the Western part of Gobi region.
7. Eye-witnessing spectacular high mountains in the Gobi Desert
One of popular destination in Gobi Desert is Yoliin Am canyon- Valley of Eagles which located in Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park-62km northwest of Dalanzadgad city. While in your travel in Gobi desert, it is quite interesting to explore this high mountain rocky walls which is notable for deep frozen ice even for hot summer days.
It will be refreshing and smoothing in hot summer days in this valley which is completely protected by rocky walls against wind and heat of Gobi.
You have to walk on foot to explore and also can catch a small museum at the entrance of the valley. The valley is home to Argali, Ibex and many birds and other wild animals particular to the Gobi. You can also see yaks around the spectacular rocky mountain in the valley. It is not common to spot yaks in the Gobi region.
6. Exploring wonderful canyon made of red mud rocks
Khermen Tsav in Gobi Desert is called by Roy Chapman ‘The end of the world’. The ancient natural formations and structures of the Khermen Tsav fossil site vary in shapes and form an image reminiscent of castles.
They are registered in UNESCO wonderful natural valuable and a significant tourist attraction and many visitors come from around the world each year to see dinosaur fossils in the field and watch the sunset light up the red sandstone cliffs.
You can find some small oases and desert lizards, reptiles and insects around there.
5. Riding camel experience around Gobi Desert
Riding camel is the most common and suitable transportation, once you are here, you must ride camels and explore the real tastes of Gobi on the bump of the camel.
The Camels are domesticated and the saddles are hooked through their nostrils, it is safe to ride the camels and you do not have to worry. Especially, in dune areas, you better choose camels for your ride. There is a festival called Thousand Camel which honors and celebrates jewel of Gobi-Bactrian camels. The festival usually holds at the beginning of March every year and it is a great chance to see camel competitions such as camel parade, camel polo and cultural events at this festival.
The Gobi without camels is impossible, of course.
4. Photographing stunning sunsets where reminds of another world
Are you agree with there is no good travel photo album is complete without the token sunrise or sunset picture! The wonderful thing about sunsets is that they not only create wonderful colors in the sky in front of you but they also can cast a beautiful golden light that is wonderful for other types of photography.
Instead of relying upon the camera’s auto mode a sunset in Gobi is an ideal time to switch your camera into aperture or shutter priority mode and to take a variety of shots at different exposures.
As the sunset progresses keep an eye on other opportunities for shots around you (not just in front of you). You should get out there with your camera, prepare your shots for magnificent colors of sun and you might find a great opportunity for a portrait, landscape shot, macro shot, etc behind you in the golden light in Mongolian Gobi Desert.
After sunset, you can be ready to explore, capture amazing night photo shoots and set up camp, settle down under the star lite sky and enjoy and bonfire in Gobi desert. It is really dreamed land for adventure seekers and photographers.
3. Tarbosaurus Bataar – Asian T-rex
What if Dinosaurs are still alive, just like in movie Jurassic Park? Can you imagine that? Mongolia was Real Jurassic Park in the Cretaceous period, that’s why a countless number of various Dinosaurs’ skeleton, fossils, footprints and laid eggs consequently been founding from Gobi Desert. Nearly all specimens of Tarbosaurus are known from Mongolia and it is the only place where entire skeletons have been found. Tarbosaurus was a large bipedal predator, weighing up to five tonnes and equipped with about sixty large teeth.
The first skeleton of Tarbosaurus Bataar was found in 1946 by an expedition of the Paleontological Institute of the Academy of Sciences in Gobi Desert Mongolia. In 1955, the Russian paleontologist Maleev initially named the species Tyrannosaurus Bataar. Later, another Russian paleontologist, A.K. Rozhdestvensky, placed it in the new genus Tarbosaurus to emphasize its differences with its North American cousin Tyrannosaurus.
2. National Treasure of Mongolia
About 30m high cliff which is located north side of Bayanzag passing by south of Tevsh Khairkhan is called Tugrugiin shiree. One of several discoveries found in this area is two fighting Dinosaurs -Velociraptor and Protoceratops- apparently locked in combat, these two fighting dinosaurs were remarkably preserved in this action pose some 80 million years ago and found from Tugrugiin Shiree, 30km away Bulgan soum, Umnugobi province.
A sudden sand flow may have quickly buried these foes, capturing them in this fighting position. In 1971 a Polish-Mongolian team discovered this specimen embedded in the white sandstone cliffs of the southern Gobi Desert. It is considered a National Treasure of Mongolia. Now those fossils are preserved in Natural History Museum of Mongolia which is under reconstruction now.
1. Experience famous and warm hospitality of nomads
The stay and visit at nomadic family will be your favorite part of your travel in Gobi Desert, involving nomad’s daily activities will give you a very good idea of what life in the Mongolian Gobi is like.
Nomadic Mongolians have always opened their doors to anyone who passes through, and those still living the nomadic life continue to do so. When invited into a Mongolian home in the Gobi, you will almost always include tsutai tsai/milk tea/ and tsagaan idee (dairy sweets), and hoormog (fermented camel milk). The nomads are, definitely, one of the biggest reasons why you must travel to the Gobi. Plus you can hear Gobi epic stories and tales from elders.
Best time to Gobi Desert
Before you are planning to visit Gobi Desert, you should know weather conditions out there- truly hot, sunny, stormy, dry and windy. I believe everyone imagines the Gobi is hot. But if you plan clever, you can arrange your travel at the best time. Spring is quite windy and dry in the Gobi Desert. July to August is considered as hottest times of the year and temperature can reach up to +30C/ 86°F /, but it is only during the day. Around July to August, you can enjoy the Gobi Naadam festival on Khongor Sand Dunes.
For photographers and travelers who want to take the magnificent color of the desert, early morning & late evening, especially sunrise and sunset are brilliant times. Moreover, August to October is the most pleasant time to visit Gobi Desert and a little bit rainy, not so hot –especially everything will be colored in red, yellow and green as well. Since the Gobi has strong direct sunlight, make sure to take sunglass, hat, sunblock, wet wipes, necessary cosmetics, and good walking boots, long-sleeved t-shirts and also need some special protection for your camera and equipment from sand which could make damage.
How to travel to Gobi Desert?
Maybe many people may wonder about how to travel and how to get there. Almost everyone who comes to travel in Mongolia won’t go without exploring the famous Gobi Desert.
As mentioned above, the Mongolian Gobi desert is situated in the southern region of the country. You can visit Gobi desert by domestic flight at Dalanzadgad airport which takes about only 1.5 hours and spent more time exploring and enjoying time in there.
Another way to get Gobi Desert which is 532 km from Capital Ulaanbaatar is travel by car while sightseeing and stopping wherever you want in vast steppe of Mongolia which takes approximately 7-8 hours. If you have a car sick, take plenty of waters and some pills for motion sickness. However, the road to the Gobi Desert is not so bad while other destinations have really bumpy roads. Now, it is your choice to choose how to get there.
Gobi Desert has revealed just a piece of its secret of treasures and ancient stories until now. We don’t know what will come up in front of us in the future. But it is true that dinosaur fossils, skeletons, remains and rare findings make Mongolian Gobi Desert even more beautiful. It is our responsibilities to protect and save Gobi Desert and wildlife and especially that endangered flora and fauna which need special care and help.
We invite you to discover the unbelievable secrets of Gobi Desert with us and make your footprints on the sand where dinosaurs lived.