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amazing sand dune and camels

TOP DESTINATIONS OF SOUTHERN MONGOLIA

The Mongolian Gobi Desert is the largest dinosaur fossil reservoir in the world. The Gobi Desert is a vast, arid northern China and southern Mongolia region. The Gobi is known for its dunes, mountains, and rare animals such as snow leopards, black-tailed deer, marten, lynx, wild cats, antelopes, and two-humped Bactrian camels. 

The region is especially essential regarding dinosaur fossils from the late Cretaceous period, the last of the three main periods of the dinosaur age, representing dinosaur evolution's final phase. There are lots of exciting things to discover from the Mongolian Gobi.

camels caravan and sand dunes.

KHONGOR SAND DUNE 

Khongor sand dune is one of Mongolia's largest and most spectacular dunes, standing as high as 200 meters above the ground, 7-8 km wide, and 180 km long. The dunes rise between the Altai Mountains to the south and stream and oases on the north side with lush green.

Climbing the dunes is breathtaking, not only for the view at the top. It surprises climbers that the dunes make a singing sound while you climb.

Khongor sand dunes are also known as singing sands.

Once up on the top of the dunes, people's or animals' sound is heard clearly. The people and the cars on the dune's slope will look like tiny bugs. Many tourists visit the Mongolian Gobi.

The sand dunes make you feel extraordinary comfort and infinite peace. For example, some tourists visit the South Gobi to see a sunset and a sunrise from the sand dunes' top. You will have a great experience visiting the Mongolian Gobi Desert.

YOL VALLEY "VULTURE CANYON"

Another wonder of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia is Three Beauties of the Gobi, a massive rocky mountain. This mountain has steep rock walls, and a river flows through between the rock walls. The mountain gorge is named after a bearded vulture called Yol in Mongolian. The length of the Yol Valley is 8 km. 
The valley is elevated 2800 meters above sea level and covers an area of 64 square km. The Yol Valley forms a gorge that is deep and narrow. The ice field reaches several meters thick by the end of winter and is several km long. Ice could have existed for a whole year in the past years, but the modern ice field tends to disappear by September due to global warming. This area has been the main attraction of tourists for many decades. However, it is broad at the entrance; it narrows gradually into a remarkable gorge.

Although the sun shines a lot in this sight, the canyon remains dark, and some of the cliffs are 200 meters tall, so the bottom part of the river remains nearly all year long, covered by a thick layer of ice. When tourists walk through a narrow valley, they greet and talk to each other. 

Ice at Yol valley in Mongolia.

BAYANZAG FLAMING CLIFFS

Bayanzag Flaming cliffs and blue sky.

The Gobi desert is rich in native saxaul trees called “Bayanzag,” which means many saxaul trees. “Ulaan khavtsal” is a Red shore of clay formations formed because of wind and rain for thousands of years. It has a unique 5 km wide texture and is approximately 8 km long. 

American paleontologists found dinosaur bones and eggs in the area while researching a trace of ancient people with his crew in 1922. Thus, they saw random fossils in Bayanzag. While they were going from Beijing to Uliastai in Mongolia, expediting for 1600 km, they got lost on the way. Roy Chapman and his American friends were surprised and screamed with joy. Many discoveries were made by American paleontologist Roy Chapman Andrews and his team. They first excavated in 1922; it is renowned worldwide because of the number of dinosaur bones and eggs found in the area while he was researching traces of the ancient people. That is why they contributed to Bayanzag's "Flaming Cliff" becoming famous worldwide.

The team fell in love with the discoveries and came back to do the excavation in Bayanzag. At 3rd time, the team discovered dinosaur nests with an egg and three new kinds of dinosaur eggs by stealing and eating Oviraptor. The Americans analyzed the eggs and found the first trace of dinosaurs, called giant squid, laid eggs in the Mongolian desert, discovered in Bayanzag. This dead trace press is extremely rare, making flaming cliffs unique worldwide. 

HERMEN TSAV

In the Gobi, natural miracles are countless, and one of them is named Khermen Tsav, a wonderful canyon made of red mud rocks. The spectacular rocky formations of Khermen Tsav are located North of the sum of Gurvantes, in the extreme Northwest of the province of Omnogovi, between Mount Sharig at the North and Mount Altan in the South. Khermen means "wall" and Tsav means "fissure". Thousand of years of erosion formed this majestic canyon, in which rocks are balanced 30 meters (98,43 feet) above ground.

The canyon stretches 250 square kilometers (96,53 square miles) and is 200 meters (656,17 feet) deep, but between the lowest point and the highest one, there is a difference in height of 1000 meters (0,62 mile). The colors are a gradation of reds and will delight the photographers. The first dinosaur skeleton was found in that place. The scientists agree that 200 million years ago, the place was covered with an inner sea. The American archaeologist Roy Chapman Andrews named this place "The End of the World".

Khermen Tsav is famous for its natural beauty, as well as for its bountiful underground fossils of dinosaurs. Besides it's not unusual to find some in the place. At the foot of these sand cliffs, the ground is fully covered with saxauls. From Dalanzadgad, you'll have to drive 400 kilometers (248,55 miles) on one of the worst tracks of the Gobi. This very isolated area is located on none of the classical tourist tours. Still, the reward deserves the effort: you'll be alone in a scene worthy of the American great canyons.

Khermen Tsav Canyon
Amazing nature of Mongolia

THE NEMEGT FORMATION

The Nemegt formation is a geological formation from Mongolia’s Gobi Desert that dates back to the Late Cretaceous. It lies on top of the Barun Goyot formation and sometimes collapses into it. It is made up of sediments from river channels and contains fish, turtles, crocodilians, birds, and a rich dinosaur fauna. It was associated with a wetter environment than when preceding strata were deposited, and there appears to have been some forest cover.

The Nemegt formation’s exact age is uncertain, however it is estimated to be Maastrichtian or maybe late Campanian in age, spanning around 76-65 million years. The presence of Saurolophus, a taxon also found in Alberta’s Horseshoe Canyon Formation, could indicate a 70 million-year-old Early Maastrichtian age.

TSAGAAN SUVRAGA "WHITE STUPA"

The scarp of Tsagaan Suvarga is located southwest of the Dundgovi province. It is a sheer 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 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.” 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. Because it faces eastward, it is common for animals to fall off and die when there are storms.
Two famous caves lie 7 km to the east of the white stupa. They are called Khevtee Bosoo agui (Lie and Stand Cave). They are titled “lie and stand caves” because some parts of the cave are tiny; you can only crawl, but other areas are enormous so that you can stand up.

Tsagaan Suvrag - White Stupa- South Gobi and blue sky

BAGA GAZARIIN CHULUU ROCKY FORMATION

Baga gazriin chuluu rocky formation and the sun is shining

The astonishing granitic formations of Baga Gazariin Chuluu," stone of the little place," are located northwest of the province of Dundgovi, in the heart of the steppe, 250 km (155,34 miles) towards the south of Ulaanbaatar, in the sum of Delgertsogt. At the height of 1751 meters (1,09 miles), they form a granite canyon erected in the heart of the steppe. 
The erosion polished the rock faces of the cliffs. You may see the inscriptions on the rock written by two venerated monks who lived there in the 19th century. Some of the canyon's lateral entries are not very accessible, but most of them permit visitors to enter and make beautiful hikes in this rocky maze.
We can visit the site, the ruins of an old temple dating from the 17th century. We can see a deep, narrow hole. There is a little spoon on the rock for the people to wash their eyes with the sacred water. The stagnating rainwater could treat ocular illnesses.

IKH GAZRIIN CHULUU

Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is the largest part of the granite area of Mongolia. Located in Govi-Ugtaal and Bayanjargalan soum of Dundgovi province, Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is a beautiful rock formation in the Gobi desert. There are over 40 caves in the area and they are easy to access and close to each other, making it ideal for hiking.

One of the caves named Olgii, according to local people used to be full of mysterious books and scriptures. The highest point of Ikh Gazriin Chuluu is Yurlug Mountain with 1706 meters in height. You can find several minerals such as pure crystal, cloudy crystal, jade, chalcedony, fluorite, bezoar, and shale in the area.

Around 30 types of medicinal herbs like roseroot, silverweed, and locoweed grow here, meanwhile, over 20 species including whiskered bat and common bat inhabit Ikh Gazriin Chuluu. Ikh Gazriin Chuluu became a government-protected area in 2003 due to its unique landscape. It covers almost 600 square km and is located 80 km to the south-east of Mandalgovi, the center of Dundgovi province.

ikh gazariin chuluu rocky formation and sky

THE ONGI RUINED MONASTERY

Ongiin_khiid temple and stupas

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 Ong River. The older southern complex consisted of various administrative buildings and 11 temples. The northern complex built in the 18th century consisted of 17 temples, among them one of the largest temples in Mongolia. The

Ongi monastery grounds also 4 Buddhist universities and could accommodate over one thousand monks at a time. During the 1930s, communism spread throughout Mongolia. As part of their ideological campaign and rise to power, communists arrested most monks around Mongolia. In 1939, the Ongi monastery was destroyed, over 200 monks were killed, and many surviving monks were imprisoned or forced to join the communist-controlled army. The water from the river was rerouted to support local mines run by the Communist government. When the river dried out, Local communities were forced to leave the surrounding areas of the monastery. Other monks escaped certain death by becoming farmers and typical workers. With the departure of both monks and locals, the Ongi monastery seemed destined to disappear.

However, after Mongolia's democratization in 1990, three monks returned to the Ongi monastery, where they had begun their Buddhist education as young children some 60 years prior. These monks started laying a new foundation upon the old ruins, with a vision to restore the Ongi monastery and revitalize Buddhism in Mongolia. Around the Ongi monastery, there are some tourist camps.

BUUN TSAGAAN LAKE 

Buun Tsagaan Lake is the largest lake in the Govi region within southern Mongolia, and this lake constitutes a major portion of the region’s surface water resources. Located in Baatsagaan Soum, Bayankhongor province. This saltwater lake is fed by the Baidrag River which takes a source from the Khangai mountain range. The Lake Valley consists of Taatsiin Tsagaan Lake, Adgiin Tsagaan Lake, Orog Lake and Buun Tsagaan Lake. Out of these lakes, Buun Tsagaan Lake is in the top 10 biggest lakes in Mongolia by area with its 11km width and 24km length.

The lake looks white from afar, hence the name Buun Tsagaan which roughly translates to Whole Bunch of White. The main attraction of the lake is the birds. There are 96 species of bird migrating over Buun Tsagaan Lake which makes a great spot for bird watching. The most notable ones are the Dalmatian pelican, the swan goose, Pallas’s fish eagle, the relict gull, the Houbara bustard, and the Asian dowitcher.

Buun Tsagaan Lake and blue sky of Mongolia

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