Central Mongolia and the Gobi – a photo journal

I’m going to try and do something different with this post – instead of waxing lyrical about how amazing Mongolia is, i’m going to show you in the form of a photo journal. Hope you like it!

I spent 9 days in Central Mongolia and the Gobi and my expectations were met on day one and exceeded everyday after that!

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One of the numerous bronze statues in honour of Genghis Khan, located in Central Mongolia. Genghis Khan is big business here. The world’s largest steel statue of him is located on this site. 

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Aryapala Monastery in Terelj National Park. Beautiful monastery devoted to meditation located on the side of a mountain. 605 of Mongolia is Buddhist so you will stumble upon numerous such monasteries.

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 Terelj National Park about 90 kms outside UB. As you leave Ulaan Baatar (UB), say goodbye to basic infrastructure like showers and western toilets! Character building!

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We drove about 2800kms in 9 days and this is probably the only stretch of paved road we were on as we approached the Gobi. The landscape is becoming increasingly sparse. The wide open, flat land is referred to as steppe land. Nothing but big, open skies and flat, green pastures for miles!

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Our trusty Russian van that carried us for 1000’s of kms through Central Mongolia and the Gobi. Most of the driving was on dirt track and we literally bounced around for hours. Regardless, this van pulled through, never breaking down. Honestly, I don’t think many modern SUVs could do what this chap did!

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The equivalent of a Mongolian highway. I think I have spinal compression from all the bouncing around!

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Our van missioning along the steppe to come and fetch us. 

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This area is called the ‘White Angels’. The dunes aren’t particularly soft and sandy but the colours of the sand are remarkable. Personally, I think me being in this photo improves the scenery 🙂

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More steppe land near the White Angels. Apparently this year has been a particularly green year in the Gobi. It still got very warm though!

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A herd of camel’s owned by the family whose Ger we stayed in one evening. The moon came out to surprise us too!

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Full moon in the Gobi

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The sunsets in the Gobi are something else, aided by the vast expanse of steppe and nothing interrupting the view!

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Although the primary Nadaam Festival in Mongolia happens in Ulaan Baatar and I missed that festival, many of the local towns and villages have their own Nadaam Festivals and we were lucky enough to stumble upon one such festival. Here, we watched a young boys 13 km horse race

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A Pikachu – I didn’t know this was actually an animal and not just a Pokemon!

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One of the family-run Gers we stayed in. Surprisingly comfortable and warm! A Ger is effectively the nomadic Mongolian style of living as they are very easy to disassemble and relocate as part of the nomadic lifestyle.

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More beautiful landscapes in the Gobi 

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My new friend in the Gobi – I spent a day chasing this chap around the desert!

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Camel riding in the Gobi. 

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The sunset from the top of the Khongor dunes in the Gobi. Climbing the dune was super difficult – they are massive and the fine sand makes climbing them tough. But it’s totally worth the hour of exertion for the views at the top!

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Rolling sand dunes in the Gobi

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Me improving the scenery

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Sunset at the Khongor dunes

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Sunset at the Khongor sand dunes

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You will see herds of roaming camels, horses and goats all over rural Mongolia. Some wild and some not. I don’t think you will drive for more than 20 kms without seeing such a herd.

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The Faming Cliffs in the Gobi. This is a famous Dinosaur excavation site. Mongolia has the second biggest stash of dinosaur fossils after the States. Sadly, the country doesn’t have the resources to properly excavate them yet.

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Another shot of our trusty soviet built Russian van!

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The Ger we stayed in during our last night in the Gobi before re-entering Central Mongolia. 

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We came across this vulture enjoying a feast of lamb. Massive wingspan!

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A herd of goats in the Orkhon Valley in Central Mongolia. It’s green and lush here, and freezing in the evenings! We had fires burning in our Gers to keep warm in the evenings and mornings.

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One of the beautiful Buddhist temples at the Erdene Zuu Monastery in Karakhorin

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Boundary walls of the Erdene Zuu Monastery in Karakhorin

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An oasis we passed by en route back to the city

9 thoughts on “Central Mongolia and the Gobi – a photo journal

  1. SENSATIONAL!!!!! The 5 !’s are for pics that touch each of the senses. Not overlooking the 6 th ,here comes the extra !- for capturing so much of desert magic,mystery and mood (those pics of sunsets, full moon,rolling dune.)

  2. Amazing! Just been reading Ryan Sandes account of the Gobi trail run and now I can picture it. Awesome pics

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