Tourist attractions in Mongolian Gobi Desert

Tourist attractions in the Gobi Desert

Tourist attractions in the Gobi Desert

The Gobi Desert is a truly enchanting region, ever-changing with the seasons. In the summer, the Gobi turns green, with fantastic wide carpets of flowers of all colors. In the winter, The Gobi turns into one of very few places where one can see sand dunes all covered in Snow. We present to you the tourist attractions in the Gobi Desert.

1. Baga Gazriin Chuluu
Located in the Central Gobi, Baga Gazriin Chuluu (The Small Place of Stones) is a marvelous geological oddity, characterized by impressive rock formations, tall granites covering 300 square km, rising from the desert steppe. Its highest peak is 1768m above sea level. During the last decade, lamas have been at work reconstructing a monastery within the formation that was formerly one of Mongolia’s most important religious centers. Dating from the 15th century, the monastery was destroyed in the 1930s during the communist purges. As the area is quite rich in water sources, many nomadic families spend the summer here, and it is a great opportunity to visit nomads and learn about their unique way of life.


2. Tsagaan Suvraga
While in Mongolian language the name refers to a ‘white stupa’, this is yet another interesting geological phenomena of colorful sandstone, hinting on the rich mineral deposits hidden within the deserts soil- the trigger for the current Mongolian gold rush which have sparked the recent rapid economic development. Its cliffs rise to the sky at an angle of 90 degrees and are over 60m tall and lies approximately 400m. Tsagaan Suvraga offers an adventurous hike to a beautiful vantage point for a view over the colorful mounds.


3. Yoliin Am
A beautiful oasis deep in the Gurvansaikhan (“The Three Beauties”) mountain range boasts a unique phenomenon of “glacier in the desert”. Yoliin Am, Vulture’s Valley, is narrow in some parts and has a small stream. As its towering rocks do not let the sun’s rays reach the small stream at the creek’s basin, it is kept frozen during the beginning of summer (until early July usually). Hence, the place is commonly dubbed- The Gobi Glacier. Bearded vultures that live in the valley inspired the name Vulture’s Valley.


4. Khavtsgait Petroglyphs
Located on a magnificent viewpoint overlooking the vast Gobi Desert Plains, Khavtsgait is an ancient place of worship marked by tremendous petroglyphs dating back as far as 8000 years. Once you spot one rock painting on the way up, you'd be surprised by many more you will discover along the way. The highlight of this site is a single 2m-wide rock face with a number of scenes, detailing what looks to be everyday life of the ancient people: galloping horses, hunters, camel riders, wheeled carts and Mongolian gers (yurts).


5. Khongor Sand Dunes
Khongor is the longest sand dune in Mongolia. Stretching about 130 km long and rising 200m, the dunes are 3-5 km wide and cover 800 square kilometers. The dunes rise up between a spur of the Altai Mountains to the south. Once atop these mighty walls of sand, and if the breeze is blowing just right, one might hear the dunes beautifully sing. The rugged desert plants at the edges of the sands are beautiful in their own sculptural way, and the small creek running along its northern face creates fantastic photographic opportunities.

Gobi-Desert-Tourist-Attractions---Khongor sand dunes

6. Bayanzag
Known to westerners as The Flaming Cliffs, Bayan Zag (Rich with Saxaul) is famed for its red sandstone cliffs, which take on beautiful red and orange hues during sunset. It would definitely make you feel like taking a stroll on Mars’ red soil. The area is also recognized as one of the world’s largest dinosaur graveyards. In 1921, the American Roy Chapman Andrews discovered at Bayan Zag some of the most critical paleontological findings of the last century, ending an ages’ long debate on whether dinosaurs have been reptiles or mammals.

Gobi-Desert-Tourist-Attractions---Bayan Zag (Flaming Cliffs)

7. Ongi Monastery
Ongi monastery lies on the bank of the Ongi River- once the Gobi’s largest river, but today a trifling stream due to the ongoing mining activities. Built in the 18th century, the monastery had served as the largest Buddhist center in the Gobi Desert and was a home for over 1,000 monks. The entire complex has been destroyed during the anti-religious purges of the 1930s, led by the communist party. It is believed that some 200 monks were executed during these purges, and the surviving monks were forcibly conscripted to the Mongolian People’s Army. In recent years, efforts made by the local communities, and by the religious institutions of Mongolia, have resulted in the reconstruction of the main stupa and the first temple.

Gobi-Desert-Tourist-Attractions---Ongi monastery

Plus these tourist attractions, the Gobi Desert is home to various large mammals that are adapted particularly well to the extreme natural conditions. The Gobi desert is best visited during late spring (May-June) or early in the autumn (September-October) before the chilling winter takes over, and after the summer hit has subsided.

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