Mongolia is a country located in Сentral Asia surrounded with its only neighbors - China and Russia. With only 3 million people living on a territory 19 times bigger than Austria, it is a country of the lowest density of population in the world. Nearly a half of Mongolians live in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, while about 30 % of the population still live as nomads. This leaves a curious tourist a lot of space to explore. Due to its remote location Mongolia remains untouched by tourism and allows you to enjoy its beautiful landscapes of endless velds and majestic mountains, to have a closer look at the country’s history and its people’s culture, to experience the traditional way of life. If you decide to explore this unique territory, visiting the Gobi Desert in the south of the country is a must.
To visit the Gobi Desert you will need a tourist visa for Mongolia which allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days. The starting point to travel through the most interesting sites is Dalanzadgad which you can reach by plane from Ulaanbaatar within 90 minutes. From there, you can go on a day trip to the Flaming Cliffs and Yolyn Am.
Since the first-ever scientifically confirmed discovery of the dinosaur eggs in the 1920s, many paleontologists have been attracted to the Gobi. The majority of later discoveries of numerous fossilized dinosaur and mammal skeletons were made at a site called the Flaming Cliffs (Bayanzag) in the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park. The largest national park in Mongolia of nearly 27,000 square kilometers got its name from the Gurvansakihan (The Three Beauties) mountain range. And how beautiful it is! The spectacular red sandstone cliffs and gorges, together with the appeal of important paleontological findings and the Jurassic Park atmosphere have made the Flaming Cliffs one of the most popular spots for tourists visiting the Gobi.
In Yolyn Am, or the Valley of the Eagles, you can enjoy hiking exploring the majestic scenery and observing the vultures, eagles, and wild Argali sheep.
If you are up for some classic desert adventures be sure to visit the Khongor dunes. The dunes are 27 km at their widest and about 200 heigh. The diversity of the scenery is unbelievable — the south of the dunes is rocky, the central part is dry without plants, while in the north there are several oases. The magnificent glow of the sand on a calm and sunny day will make for a memorable sight. The widest part of the Khongor is also often called “the Singing Dunes”. Go for a walk on the dunes and enjoy the sound of the sand squeaking underneath your feet, almost singing.
Visiting the Singing Dunes takes a 6-7-hour drive from Dalanzadgad in one direction, but it will bring you an opportunity to interact with the local nomads who can provide you with accommodation and organize camel rides. Spend the night at a local family’s ger (a Mongolian yurt), enjoy the silence of the desert and just gaze at the beautiful night sky. Far from civilization the Gobi rewards its visitors with a unique view of the Milky Way and myriads of stars. Also, be sure to wake up early in the morning to observe the sun rise over the dunes. For a moment you might think you are on a different planet.