Tag Archives: mongolia

Dinosaurs, temples, and one too many a car – in Ulaanbaatar.

Farewell Gobi. Time for us to wrap up Mongolia – so we headed to its capital…

The whole population of Mongolia clocks in at around three million folks. Around half of those all live in the capital – Ulaanbaatar – which means, incidentally, ‘Red Hero’. Yes, a big city it is, and there’s plenty to see here too. We started, perhaps logically, with a Buddhist temple of worship – the Gandantegchinlen Monastery.

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For the remoteness connoisseur: an overnight stay in a Mongolian yurt – a ger.

I anticipate a few logical questions re our lodgings during our few days in Mongolia: what kind of yurts (in Mongolian a yurt is a ger, btw) did we stay in while in the Gobi Desert? Were they comfortable? Were they cozy? Were they warm? Were the beds comfy? Was the home-made bread tasty? Were your hosts hospitable?…

Ok; herewith, what I found out about yurts ->

First off – perhaps the most striking thing about yurts: the fact that you must enter or leave one with the right leg first! The same goes for hands, as in – you must give something to or take something from someone inside a yurt with the right hand – never the left. Such are the nomadic customs round here. I’m sure there are plenty of others, but we only got to find out about the main ones.

The second most striking thing: what you’re served to drink in a yurt – camel kefir! Tasty it is too. Goes down real well with freshly baked pita bread.

Generally, your nighttime experience in the Gobi Desert may be comfortable – or not. For example there are cozy nomad’s yurts with camels and goats tethered next to them; staying in one of these is comfortable. You may, instead, find yourself lost in the steppe with no map, compass or sat-nav; such an experience at night is the uncomfortable, scary variant ). The third variant is staying at the equivalent of a five-star hotel in the Gobi Desert, for example at Three Camel Lodge. As you can see – this is another comfortable variant.

Here it is!

Oh my Gobi: you can’t get more ‘middle of nowhere than this. I wonder, is this the world’s most remote hotel?! Certainly one of them!

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Gobi: lazy afternoon – treading barkhan dune.

Cайн уу folks!

Herewith, another installment from the one and only Gobi Desert, southern Mongolia (btw, did you know it also stretches into northern China?). Flat, vast, middle-of-nowhere, bewitchingly beautiful, in places – marvelously magical. Steppe, mountains, valleys, dunes… and barkhans. What, Hans?! Barkhans! These are a particular type of dune – crescent-shaped ones. Here they are – the magnificent Moltsog dunes.

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Gobi Desert: the red rocks of Bayanzag.

Hi folks!

It was a bright, clear morning, and it was time to head further along the route of our express-journey across the Gobi Desert. Next port of call – the Flaming Cliffs, aka Bayanzag.

It’s around about here where many dinosaur bones and even whole dinosaur skeletons have been discovered. And the internet tells me it was here where the first fossilized dinosaur eggs were found. Yes, I think that’s highly likely: I’m sure they could have simply fallen out of these here red-rock cliffs that were eroded over the years to expose them. And anyway, besides their usefulness to prehistorical studies, these red rocks and cliffs are also delightfully beautiful – and very reminiscent of Utah. U.S.A.:

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Okey-dokey – let’s chopper over the Gobi.

And now for more Gobi desert.

The Gobi is a huge desert consisting of several regions. It occupies Mongolia’s southern and south-western territory and a considerable part of central northern China. We only saw a small portion of it in southern Mongolia, but that was more than enough for our first visit. I can’t stress it enough: the Gobi is absolutely magical in gentle summer weather, and I highly recommend that everyone sees it with their own eyes. There are vast, infinite spaces. I want to say it’s where the horizon goes beyond the line of horizon’!

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Full-on Gobi experience!

My summer schedule has whirled into a frantic tornado. It’s only likely to ease up … at the end of October :) It was only 16 days ago that I returned from my trip to the Kurils, Sakhalin, Komandorski and Kamchatka, and since then I’ve been on a round trip to Malaysia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. And now my suitcase is packed and I’m ready to fly again…

There are still about 5,000 photos “in the pipeline”. It’s scary to think when that backlog may get cleared up, especially considering the very interesting places in my upcoming world travel plans. They’re the kind of places that leave a lingering imprint in your memory – and photos on the internet. However, it’s now time to catch up on some old stuff.

There was one place on the planet that I had long been dreaming of visiting – the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. I’ll add some stories later. For now, I just want to post a selection of some of the very best photos. Here you go!

Endless wilderness…

Read on…