The southern Mongolia is widely known for its Gobi Desert, one of the world’s most unique ecosystems and best kept secrets. The region is famous for its unique nature formations, many places of real dinosaur fossils, and many endemic flora and fauna. The area is often thought as a lifeless endemic flora and fauna. The area is often thought as a lifeless empty desert, but is actually, mostly steppe, inhabited by camel herders and is rich in wildlife. The scenery in the Gobi Desert is truly amazing with colorful earth cliffs, sand dunes, occasional oasis and wide steppe with dancing mirage faraway. The Gobi is also the home to the two humped Bactrian camels and there is plenty to photograph: herds of gazelles and sights of the rare Asiatic Khulan (wild donkey), birds etc. And the eastern end of Altai Mountains “Gurvan Saikhan Mountain” towers the Gobi.
Key destination: The Gobi National Park, Bayanzag Flaming cliffs – world’s richest dinosaur site, glacial canyon of Yoliin Am, the 180 km extensive Khongor sand dunes, legendary Ongi monastery ruins, natural petro glyph gallery & white earth cliffs at Tsagaan Suvarga, stunning granite mountains of Ikh & Baga Gazariin Chuluu, sand dunes of Moltsog to name a few.
Activities: camel riding, hiking, trekking, wildlife, viewing, bird watching, nomadic culture experiencing, 4x4 driving, biking and horse riding.
The Gobi Desert
The Gobi is the most mysterious place on earth The Gobi invites you to reveal its secrets. This region is famous for its unique natural formations, many places where you can dig and find real dinosaur fossils, flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world. The area is often believed to be a lifeless desert, but is actually mostly steppe, inhabited by camel herders, rich in wildlife. It is home to the 2 humped Bactrian camel and there is plenty to photograph - impressive herds of gazelles & sightings of the rare Khulan (Asiatic wild ass).
Introduction to Bayanzag
Bayanzag, which in Mongolian means 'a place of many saxaul bushes', was first called 'The Flaming Cliffs' by Roy Chapman Andrews, the American dinosaur hunter and adventurer who made vital finds of dinosaur eggs and skeletons at the base of the vivid red bluffs, which stand alone in a vast empty expanse of land and sky. Chapman himself was something of a rogue - said by some to be the man on whom the film character 'Indiana Jones' was based. He lived an adventurous, self-aggrandizing life across much of this part of the world. At Bayanzag it is the landscape, in addition to the rich dinosaur history, which is very impressive - an intense evocation of Mongolia's great emptiness.
The Khongoriin Els sand dunes- The largest sand dunes of Mongolia
An extensive dune formation, Khongor Els runs for 180 kilometers across the front of the Gobi-Altai mountains - formed by deposits of sand dropped into the lee of the mountains by centuries of storms. The dunes, rising to heights of 2600 feet, stand out in light sinuous sand shapes against the dark rock of the mountain and the surrounding desert plain, At the base of the dunes runs a sacred river, bringing a flourish of green growth to the desert scene - the nomads bring their herds of cashmere goat and horses to drink at this oasis. The scenery here is simply spectacular.
Yolyn Am - the Vulture’s Gorge
Yolyn Am, 'The Vulture's Gorge’, commonly called Eagle Canyon by travellers, is a striking gorge in the deep desert, remarkable for the microclimate that its formation creates. Sheer rock walls, up to 660 feet high, keep out the light and the heat, whilst four waterfalls pour into the canyon, chill as they leave the sun, and freeze. Yolyn Am is lined with ice almost year-round and at its narrowest point only two people (or animals - the canyon is a favored haunt of the wild Ibex and Argali) can pass abreast. Descent into the canyon is on foot or on horseback if you'd prefer.
Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National park
Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National park is located in west Dalanzadgad of Omnogobi province. The National park covers an area of 4.100 square kilometers. The national park includes Yoliin-Am Strictly Protected Area.
Gurvan Saikhan includes the highest diversity of plant and animal life in the Gobi Altai with over 620 species of flowering plants and all 52 species of mammals that are found in the Gobi desert region. The park surrounded by low plains, the mountains rise to 2200-2600 meters above sea level.
The Nemegt, Hermen tsav, and Bayanzag flaming cliffs, the sites of numerous important dinosaur fossil discoveries, also lie within the park.
Dundgobi or the Middle Gobi province Along with natural riches the aimag is endowed in coal, copper ore, iron ore, fluorspar, nephrite, jade, graphite, marble and chalcedony. The main branch of the economy is animal husbandry.
Baga Gazariin Chuluu is a granite rock formation rises up from a middle of dusty plains at the height of 1,768 m. Rock carvings made by two revered lamas who lived in 19th century are worshipped by the locals and other pilgrims from other parts of the country. A cave with an underground lake is nestled in the heart of the mountain.
Ikh Gazariin Chuluu towers the golden steppes of Middle Gobi province and is a pride of the locals. This amazing mountain is mentioned in the Secret History of the Mongols, the only true book about Genghis Khaan’s life. And the mountain is a home to the nation’s most beloved singer Mrs. Norovbanzad, who helped to introduce the Mongolian long song to the world. In 1993, she won the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in the category "Arts and Culture".
Ongi Monastery complex was once the biggest settlement in southern Mongolia with 500 monks and 2 monasteries on the 2 sides of the River Ongi. Despite the monastery was destroyed completely by the Mongolian KGB in 1937, there’s plenty to explore and photograph.
The Duut Rock inscriptions have been surprisingly well preserved in view of the fact that the 30 line poem was carved by Prince Tsogt Taij in 1636, a well-known poet of 17th century.
Tsagaan Suvarga is amazing white cliffs made of earth. It was one time beneath the sea and is rich in marine fossils and clamshells. There are also numerous ancient rock paintings nearby, which are well preserved.
Zorgol Khairkhan Mountain
Zorgol Khairkhan towers the green steppes of Tov province (Central Province) and is a pride of the locals. This amazing mountain is mentioned in the Secret History of the Mongols, the only true book about Genghis Khaan’s life, together with its Lake Hari which is translated as Lake of Strangers. Travelers sometimes glimpse rare wildlife like Lynx and Ibex here.
Dornogobi or Eastern Gobi province is situated in the South-East of the country and borders with China on the South. The area is famous for medical herbs such as liquorice, cuscuta austrails, and annual, perennial species like wild leek, saksaul, elm, allium mongolicum and saftwort. The wildlife representatives are wild horse, wild ass, wild sheep, ibex, black tailed antelope, white antelope, and lynx.
Sainshand is 463 km from Ulaanbaatar city and is a key international railway hub linking Moscow-Ulaanbaatar-Beijlng. The aimag has reserves of fluorspar, oil, and bituminous coal. In the 1950s, oil was extracted at the Zuunbayan soum and, at present, a plant is being built to reinstate the oil extraction.
Dornogovi is home to Noyon Khutagt Danzanravjaa(1803- 1856), a distinguished writer, composer, painter and healer. Sainshand has a museum with collection of gifts presented to Danzanravjaa by Chinese and Tibetan leaders, costumes used in his plays, Buddhist statues presented to him by the 10th Dalai Lama, and some of his paintings. He was also very interested in traditional medicine, so the museum has a collection of herbs.
Khamar Monastery has always been referred to as the energy center of Mongolia where locals believe that there is a living god. The image of the god is sewn into a carpet decorating the main hail of the monastery. The original monastery was built in 1821 by Danzanravjaa and destroyed during the religious purges. The surrounding landscape has caves for meditation where Danzanravjaa retreated with his students.
The monastery is located in Dornogobi Aimag which is 456km from Ulaanbaatar. The Khamariin khiid was founded by Danzanravjaa who was famous educator and poet during the 19th century of Mongolia. Before from 1938 the monastery had four main sections those were named Baruun khvree, Zvvn khvree, Tsohon and Dvinher and over 80 monks but the monastery was completely destroyed by the military in 1938 during Mongolia's religious purge. Khamar Monastery was re-established in 1990s. Currently two small ceremonial temples and several religious monuments have been reconstructed, with more than ten lamas now in residence at the monastery.