How to organize a trip by car through a real desert?

How to organize a car trip through a real desert?

Hotels and campsites can be found along the main roads and close to the most popular attractions. There are places to stay in Ulaanbaatar and its suburbs, as well as in the ancient capital of Mongolia, Kharkorin, but the deeper into the desert, the fewer options for accommodation.

The best way to get around the country and the desert — on SUVs. While public transport exists and is fairly cheap, it won't get you very far.

There are many agencies that specialize in offbeat tours and adventure travel, and if you don't have potential travel companions, that's where you should go.

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Traveling alone or even traveling with four people in the same car — not an option for Gobi for security reasons. There must be at least two vehicles in the caravan.

In addition to camping equipment, clothing and food, other things are important to remember: take medicine, plenty of water, spare tires and fuel for the car.< /p>

It is useful to learn at least a few common Mongolian words and phrases. There are practically no native English speakers in the desert, and if you do not have plans to hire a local guide, be sure to learn words such as “water”, “fuel”, “toilet”.

All maps and necessary Apps must be downloaded for offline use. Find out beforehand how to use them without the Internet, because there may not be a good mobile connection in the desert.

The best time to visit the Gobi Desert — from April to mid-June, when the weather allows you to comfortably camp.

What to see?

Canyon Hermen-Tsav — a 20 km long canyon, which was formed from red clay rocks as a result of erosion. The height of the rocks reaches 200 m. In the center of the canyon there is a green oasis, invisible from above. At the beginning of the 20th century, a paleontological expedition worked there, discovering many dinosaur skeletons and fossilized eggs. The search for such artifacts continues to this day.

Flaming rocks (Bayanzag) — famous Martian landscapes. They were also created by nature from red mud. This is perhaps one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Gobi Desert, and small campsites can even be found nearby. The drive from Bulgan town is only 15 km, so this is a good option for a day trip if you prefer to spend the night closer to civilization. People come here for sunsets: in the light of the setting sun, these views take on truly cosmic colors.

Khongoryn Els — the highest sand dunes of the Gobi. It is rare to see yellow sand in this desert. The Gobi mainly consists of rocky plateaus, and the sandy part makes up no more than 3 percent of its territory. All the more remarkable are these golden dunes. Sand deposits extend for 15-18 km, reaching 300 m in height. The dunes are located on the territory of the Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park and border the Gobi Nature Reserve.

The Yolyn-Am Gorge is located on the outskirts of the desert, and this is a great place to change perspective: the gorge is much cooler than the desert and is covered with snow almost all year round. The valley is located at an altitude of 2,109 m and is surrounded by 2,815 m peaks. It is a great place for hiking or horse riding.

Camps and facilities

Level service in Mongolia is getting better every year, and places where yesterday there was no road can today have both sidewalks and hotels. 

Decent hotels are located along the main paved roads in the north of the country, and in popular tourist places there are sites for tented camps. The latter lack amenities: expect no shower at all, and a toilet — on the street.

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