The Wonders of Mongolian Gobi Desert
The Mongolian Gobi, also called Gobi Desert, is a great desert and semidesert region of Central Asia, including the southern part of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia.
The Gobi means a ‘Waterless place’, and not like people’s imagination, Gobi is a lifeless empty desert but the land of steppes, grassland, sands, mountains, rich with wildlife.
The Mongolian Gobi Desert is the largest dinosaur fossil (skeletons) reservoir in the world. The region is especially important as regards dinosaur fossils (skeletons) from the late Cretaceous period, which is the last of the main three periods of the dinosaur age, representing the final phase of dinosaur evolution.
With full of historical sites, beautiful land, rich wildlife of two-humped camels, snow leopard, Mongolian wild ass, mountain sheep and gazelles, UNESCO designated the Mongolian Gobi as the one of the largest Biosphere Reserve in the world in 1991.
Almost half of the tourists who visited Mongolia went to gobi to explore its wonders. And they are never disappointed. So what makes Mongolian Gobi that wonderful?
Gobi Gurvan Saikhan National Park
Stretching from the border with Bayanhongor almost to Dalanzadgad, the 2.7million hectare Gurvan Saihan National park is the highlight in the Gobi.
Gurvan Saikhan means the” Three Beauties” containing mountains, dinosaur fossils, sand dunes, rock formations that are kept ice for most of the year. There are over 200 species of birds, over 600 kinds of plants and many animals, such as ibex, snow leopard, black-tailed gazelle, and argali sheep.
In the park, there are many tourist attractions such as Eagle Valley, Flaming cliff, and Khongor Sand Dunes.
Eagle Valley - in other Yolyn Am
Eagle Valley ( Yolyn Am ) is located on the eastern side of Gurvan Saikhan mountain, only 40km from Dalanzadgad city. The Beautiful valley is surrounded by sheer rock walls rising over 2600m above sea level.
This picturesque valley is an amazing natural creation where snow and ice exist even in hot summer, which was originally established to conserve the birdlife in the region. The breathtaking, dramatic scenery makes it one of the most beautiful places in Mongolia.
There is a small nature museum at the gate on the main road to Yolyn Am has a collection of dinosaur eggs and bones, stuffed birds and a snow leopard. There is also an ethnography museum in a ger, which is worth a visit.
The surrounding hills offer plenty of opportunities for some fine, if somewhat strenuous, day hikes. If you are lucky you might spot ibex or argali sheep along the steep valley ridges.
Flaming Cliff - Bayanzag, the land of dinosaurs
Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs) is also known as the “Land of Dinosaurs” is a picturesque rich saxual forest that is world-famous for dinosaur remains. Dinosaurs inhabited Bayanzag over 70 million years ago. In the1922s, Roy Chapman Andrews, who is an American paleontologist from New York found the first dinosaur nest of Paleontological findings in the flaming cliffs.
This area is like real-lives Jurassic Park, as you walk on the land where dinosaurs once lived. You can also experience how their strong winds have sculpted areas of Bayanzag and how the cliff looks like flaming during sunset.
Singing dunes of Khongor
Khongor Sand Dune (Khongoryn Els) is the largest and most spectacular sand dune in Mongolia, which reaches a height of 800 meters, 20 km wide and 100 km long. The Sand dune is at the northwest corner of the range.
The views of the desert from the top are wonderful. Alongside the sand dunes is an oasis through the Khongor river flows. The sand dune is called Singing Dunes by local people because the tons of sand shifting in the wind create a sound like a distant aircraft.
This dramatic scenery features many colors of nature as a white sand dune, the light green grass, red-blue mountains, and the eternal blue sky.
Two-humped camels riding through the sand dunes area would be a great way to enjoy the landscape.
Ongi Steppe has lots to offer you. The large steppe of Gobi is decorated by the longest and biggest river of Mongolian Gobi, Ongi River, and both sides of the river there is a twin temple of the Ongi.
Ongi River is one of the longest rivers in Mongolia, has 435 km of length and flows into Ulaan Nuur. A river takes source from the Khangai Mountain range in Ovorkhangai Aimag.
Formerly one of the largest monasteries in Mongolia, the Ongi monastery was founded in 1660 and consisted of two temple complexes on the north and south banks of the Ongi River. The older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings as well as 11 temples. The northern complex built in the 18th century consisted of 17 temples-among them one of the largest temples in all Mongolia.
The Ongi monastery grounds also 4 religious universities and could accommodate over one thousand monks at a time. But during the 1930s the monastery was completely destroyed and over 200 monks were killed by the communists. After the democracy of Mongolia in 1990, monks returned to the Ongi monastery where they had begun their Buddhist education as young children some 60 years prior. These monks started laying the new foundation upon the old ruins, with a vision to restore the Ongi monastery and revitalize Buddhism in Mongolia.
Staying under a billion stars, the dream will come true only in the Boundless steppe of Ongi. That’s why Ongi Steppe and the river, the temple have to be on your travel list. Ongi Steppe is wild, huge stretches, the perfect place to camp. You can be alone in your little corner of natural paradise, by a river of the desert, in the sound of nature, with the stars as unique neighbors. While camping you can enjoy gazing stars since there is no light pollution, having a bonfire.
Tsagaan Suvarga - Wonder Gobi
The scarp of Tsagaan Suvarga is located in the southwest of the Dundgovi province. It is a sheer rainbow-colored slope that was an ancient seabed that featured a sedimentary structure that was created over millions of years. It is interesting to see this slope because it faces toward the eastward of the sun. It also appears to be the ruins of an ancient city from a far distance.
That is why it was called the “White stupa”. Because it faces eastward, when there are storms, it is common for animals to fall off and die. This formation is over 60m tall at its highest point and continues for an impressive length of 400m. The stupa rises to the sky at an angle of 90 degrees. After pouring rain, the torrent of water that flows down the stupa looks like a massive waterfall.
The White Stupa looks like just a flat steppe from the west side but then suddenly you will be standing on top of the slope.
Not just by its nature you will be amazed by people of Mongolian Gobi.
The Gobi Desert has one of the most hospitable people. Nomadic people always lack visitors in their huge steppe. Therefore, always welcome visitors pleasantly and give you food and lodging if you need it. They will respect you as a guest and are ready to teach you how to survive in the Mongolian Gobi.
Mongolian travel will never stop amaze you with its wonders of Mongolian Gobi.