The clay from the former shores , hills , and soil of the Cretaceous period look like they are on fire during the sunrise and sunset . You may feel like you are on a different planet. But it’s actually the southern region of Mongolia or Gobi desert. Dinosaur fossils from millions of years ago still can be found here.
Most are small and often hidden by Saxaul forests, which are ubiquitous with the Gobi , so you may pass them by without noticing. Desert plants look dry and withered but capable to store rainwater for a long period of time due to their tenacity to survive in arid lands.Even though the footprint you made in a sand dunes can be erased by a wind , but the footprint of the Gobi Desert will stay in your heart forever. 1. Bagagazriinchuluu (Granite zone)
Location: Located in Adaatsagsoum of Dundgobi province, 240 km from Ulaanbaatar.
Features: The highest point is Tahilgat Mountain (1768m) in the Northwest part of the stone massif. Over 20 kinds of medicinal herbs and many species of animals such as Wild mountain sheep, Ibex and Marmot exist here, Surtiin Am is one of many beautiful places in the BagaGazriin stone massif. This is a narrow canyon with asp, birch, white wicker and elm tree, as well the ruin of a stone temple and the site of 2 yurts where monks lived and meditated since the seventieth century.
Location: Located in Ulziitsoum of Dundgobi province, 420 km from Ulaanbaatar.
Features: TsagaanSuvarga is a natural formation that looks like ancient city ruins, located in Luussoum of Dundgobi province. Its highest point is 30 meters, and its length is 400 meters. During downpour water flows from its vertical walls, and it looks like a huge waterfall.
Location: Yol valley is located 56 km from Dalanzadgad city.
Features: It is the deep, narrow mountain gorge (valley) in Gobi GurvanSaikhan Mountain. This gorge is 2800m above sea level, covers about 64 sq km area, about 40 km long and up to 200 meters high. The gorge is named after the Lammergeier, which is called Yol in Mongolia or well known as a White Bearded Vulture in the World. Yol is the very rare bird and lives only in Central Asia, high in 1500-3000 meters, and nests at least 2000m above sea level. The valley blocked from sunlight and contains thick ice layers throughout the year, but, recently, because of global warming ice melts down in late summer.
Location: 790 km southwest of Ulaanbaatar in the Sevreisoum of Umnugovi province.
Features: The Khongor sand dunes lie from northwest to southeast. The dunes are 27 km at its widest covering 965 square km in total reaching 200 meters (650 feet) in height. While the southern part of the dunes are rocky and mountainous, the central part is barren with no plants and northern part has several oasis. The contrast is amazing. On a windy day, the sand will rise up in a storm and you won’t see anything around you, but on a calm and sunny day it glows magnificently in the sun. It’s truly one of Mother Nature’s wondrous creations. The widest section of the Khongor is nicknamed the singing dunes, because when you climb them (which is a challenging hike), the sand will squeak under your feet making a singing-like noise. If you lie down in this part of the dunes, you will hear the sound close to that of a plane that is the sound of hot sand scrolling in the wind.
Location: 100 km from capital city of South Gobi province.
Features: This is the place that made the Gobi desert famous all over the world. During the 1920s, a research expedition led by American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews found dinosaur eggs, a rhino-like huge dinosaur skeleton, and a parrot-nosed dinosaur. Famously the explorer happened upon the find when he fell down a cliff. Bayanzag spreads across 8 km in a valley of the Arts Bogd mountain range. When the sun sets, Bayanzag’s cliffs are breathtaking in their beauty with red clay almost glowing. One might say only gasp, “it’s flaming” – which is how it gets its name.
Location: 570 from Ulaanbaatar, in SaikhanOvoosoum of South Gobi province.
Features: Ongi temple is located on the bank of the Ongiriver. This river is one of the longest rivers in Mongolia and the longest and the biggest river in south Mongolia, 435 km long and flows into Red Lake. A Monastery founded was in 1660 and consisted of two parts, on the south bank of the river and on the north bank. During its thriving time the monastery had in total 28 temples and about 2000 monks. Monastery ran four religious universities and could educate over 1000 apprentices at a time. Regretfully, this monastery also completely destroyed in 1930’s under the Soviet regime and over 200 monks were killed. Other monks were forced to serve in communist army, and only a few monks could become ordinary workers. After the fall of the Soviet Union, former students of the monastery returned to the monastery and started to practice Buddhism again.