On the way to the Gobi desert
For travel in Mongolia, especially in the Gobi, it is difficult to do on its own. Indeed, the means of locomotion as well as roads are not common outside of the cities and main lines. I confess that when I write these lines, I know you you are saying that it is still possible to reach a place. But here, we’re talking of Mongolia, an area covered with steppes with a nomadic population. I must admit it is very different from what we have already seen. Most of the places to visit, White Stupa, the dunes of Kangorym, the Flaming Cliff, etc… are difficult to access and difficult to find. To go to certain places, you must ride in the desert without any indications during more than 5 hours and turn left at a certain time, but here I confess that I don’t know how to specify part saying: “after the rock, resembling a turtle”. You can imagine the history to go from one point to another.
How to access?
In short! It is more than necessary to get around the Mongolia through a turn. There are a large number, but I can advise you
You have several choices then, either you take a driver, which is likely not to speak English and you must feed during your trip. Either you take guide + driver and it’s them who organize you the trip by offering different visits. Good as we can expect the price is different, but it’s up to you to see. With the guide that will be organized from A to Z with suggestions if you want to see something specific or make the horse, camel, etc… While with the driver you’ll have more freedom and you can decide to camp two days in a place or go hiking. See for yourself. Do not expect to travel for few in Mongolia, is not so simple.
To reduce the price, it is advisable to share the course with other travelers. So I found myself making the trip for 9 days with two Germans and two Finns. To find colleagues and divide the price, you can easily find proposals or put an ad on Couchsurfing or Travel Cheap facebook group in Mongolia.
For the majority of trips, you go in Russian van that are very old. But they hold the road and the trip is pleasant enough (if you don’t count the bumps). Right after, there can be trouble, for me, every time I had to help push the van to start.
If you want to know the geology of the Gobi, follow this link!
When you arrive in the Gobi desert it is not expected to see such a landscape. In fact, forget the idea of sandy desert, here the ground is Rocky with some vegetation trying to survive.
We arrive at the cliffs of White Stupa. These cliffs allows a clear view of the surrounding area of the Gobi desert. On the cliffs you can easily see the different levels of the oceans during ancient geological times that are the purple lines on the photos.
More lucky us, we have a Storm chasing us. So we have the opportunity to come to us the storm such a Mad Max movies.
Arrival at the yurt for our first night we have the leisure to experience the storm with a beautiful Sun, this allows us to see a double rainbow. Too much class!
It is necessary to know that when you arrive in a yurt, the family always welcomes you with a cup of tea or a dirty milk tea (it’s not that bad) and small cakes. So now you have a choice, either it’s hard cakes or cheese. And there to pay attention, because camel cheese is pretty special! Let’s say that it is very strong and rather acid here.
There are many traditions in Mongolia. From most of chamanismes traditions, it is always necessary to pay attention and learn the basics. For example, always eat with the right hand so that to use with. Never moving to the centre of the yurt between the two pillars and always sleep the feet towards the exit (right after it’s also to the exit, this is where it’s getting colder, so it’s also an idea of comfort). There are others that you will learn during your trip, because every family has different traditions. You should know that a gift is always welcome and if it’s a bottle, you can expect the drink with the family until ‘ at the end.
The gorges frozen
Then we went to the frozen gorges. A place where hiking looks awesome for several days. You can reach the top easily and relax in the valleys where the water flows. You have everything you need to have a great adventure. Called the frozen gorges, because during the winter the beginning of spring, you will have the opportunity to see a lot of ice.
The sand dunes of Kangorym
After that, we headed to the dunes of Kangorym. You can expect to ride for 30 minutes and it will be not as simple as that! But to the top you have a beautiful landscape. I strongly advise you to go for the sunset, you will have a wonderful view on the dunes, mountains and desert.
The Flaming Cliff are cliffs with many fossils of dinosaurs. They are known worldwide by the numerous finds of dinosaur fossil record. In the 1920s, Roy Chapman Andrews was the first Explorer to discover fossils of dinosaurs of the Gobi desert. He is best known for having been the first to have discovered a fossilized dinosaur egg.
There was discovered the fossil of a Velociraptors fighting a Protoceratops. When the dinosaurs died in the Flaming Cliff, they would quickly die. They were buried by sand as the fossil of a mother trying to protect her eggs in the sand
During this trip, we stayed in yurts. If this is your goal, don’t worry, because there is nothing else except yurts. You won’t find that very rarely houses set as we imagine it. In addition, you will often be in contact with the family managing the yurts. You can expect good times in their company.