The Mongolian desert is not all sand. Much of it is covered with scrub and gravel, pockmarked with salt lakes . . .
The desert covers a vast area and just driving through it can take days.
The chameleon like landscape can change from lunar, to Martian and back to planet earth in a matter of hours. Sometimes you feel like you are kicking the sand of another planet . . .
forms a large part of the Mongolia desert. But the desert is bigger than the Gobi!
My favorite desert area lies in the far North of Mongolia. The Buurug Deliin Els Sand Dunes cut through180 kilometers of the Mongolian landscape. Many animals live here: foxes, rabbits, gerbils, lizards, partridges, magpies, cuckoos, beetles and hosts more …
How to reach the Mongolian desert . . .
1. Book a tour—by far the easiest way to make the most of your visit.
2. Hire a driver—but read my tips below.
If you’re only passing through Mongolia, and are pressed for time, you can find patches of desert and sand dunes within a day’s ride of Ulaan Baatar.
But it takes several days in a jeep to reach the best desert areas . . .
Beware though! The Mongolian road system is virtually non-existent and the dirt tracks will give you an extremely bumpy ride. See my page on
to decide whether such a journey is for you!
Alternatively you can fly direct to your destination by catching an internal flight with one of the
Make sure you travel at a time with reasonable temperatures. See my
page for tips on the best time to travel here.
Where to stay . . .
I stay with nomads—some of the most hospitable people on earth. Yes, people live in the desert . . .
Or, you can book into a ger camp. But make sure you book plenty of time in advance.
Before you go . . .
For many, traveling to the Mongolian desert fulfils a childhood dream.
The experience gives you a sense of calm you can always retreat to when you’re home. Memories that will never fade …
But don’t go unprepared:
- Take a head scarf that you can use to cover your face when the wind whips up the sand into thousands of miniature missiles. Sunglasses are also a good idea …
- Don’t forget to take sunscreen and a hat—choose a hat you can secure to your head when the wind hits.
- Take several layers of thin clothing—the day and night temperatures can fluctuate a lot and it’s best to be prepared.
- If you head of without a guide, make sure you take plenty of water and dried food.
- If you hire a driver privately, make sure you choose a sturdy jeep with excellent suspension. The journey will be bumpy! Also make sure that the driver is well-equipped with spares and knows his way around an engine!
If you would like to know more about the Mongolian desert check out my
Return from Mongolian Desert to Outer Mongolia
Return from Mongolian Desert to Mongolia Travel Guide