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“Back to Basics in Gobi Desert!”
Review of Gobi Desert

Gobi Desert
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$200.00*
and up
All-Inclusive Private Day Tour to Harbin Volga...
Ranked #14 of 111 things to do in Mongolia
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed August 28, 2014

My girlfriend and I made a 6 days trip to Gobi Desert from 17-22 August, 2014 via internet booking with a local guide - Travel Gobi.

The local guide is quick to response which is desirable but gather they may need to improve their papers documentation to assist the tourist for accounting/ insurance claims purpose. We have to request several times and seem still have difficulties to get things in order. No receipt for our paid travel will given.

Before our trip, our connecting flight via Beijing to Ulaanbaatar (UB) was cancelled and the airline scheduled us to much later flight. We have to reschedule all our plans and dates then on, all our flights delayed from 1 to 3 hours either for domestic or international flights. And this seems to be a common event, so be well prepared.

For this trip, we have a guide and a driver in a van and it seems the same for other group travelers that we met on the road (if lucky as there are more animals than humans on the desert!). We have chosen the "Standard package" for this trip but do not expect hot shower on daily basis or all tourist camps have the same standard. We stayed in the traditional ger which are decorated differently in each camp and have shared shower, toiletries facilities.

During the trip, we have to change our tourist camp daily as we need to travel long distance to get to the next destination and thus need to pack light. It is common to re-wear the clothes, so don't worry as all smell the same! Each driving may takes 1-3 hours or more on the roads, so one has to be prepared to relieve oneself in the vast nature. In additional, the weather temperature during our trip range from 8 to 33 deg basis. The trip can be pretty dusty and those who has allergy, do remember to take some medication in case needed.

Despite the remoteness of the places we went, it would seem quite safe for anyone to travel with a good guide and driver with good driving (land may seem flat but there are many terrains to overcome), navigational skills (as there is no sign board in the desert!)

Food wise was a bit disappointment as most tourist camps are now catered towards the taste bud of the tourists (western food geared towards Russian style) instead of presenting the local cuisines. Fortunately, we managed to taste authentic food served in local restaurant on our 1st day. The meat is good and sweet as they are fed with grasses in the nature and not animal feeds. And there are no fruits in the desert! So finish up your salad if being served in the tourist camp!

Otherwise, the vast unobstructed sky above the steppes, lush greenery, plots of potatoes harvest with bright glowing yellow color against the blue sky with clouds, wild bushes, cliffs, hills, terrains and untamed animals in the wild, roaming for their food, laze under the sky, gather to share the small puddle of waters, the enormous number of stars shining bright and the moonlight in the night have created a scenic memorable image that will imprint in your mind for long.

The 6 days trip to Gobi Desert is just a touch and go experience but was good for at least once in a lifetime! I would love to go back to Mongolia again if there is opportunity and next time, I will want to stay longer in each destination to experience the scenery and peacefulness rendered by the vast nature! Back to basics!

Date of experience: August 2014
5  Thank VastOcean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"gobi"
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"sand dunes"
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"tour company"
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"the owner"
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"bactrian camels"
in 4 reviews
"warm clothes"
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"an amazing experience"
in 3 reviews
"yol valley"
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in 2 reviews
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51 - 55 of 135 reviews

Reviewed August 23, 2014

While travelling in Asia for eight weeks, on a private tour arranged by AsiaTranspacific Journeys and handled locally by Nomadic Expeditions, a friend and I arrived at Ulaanbaatar Airport on June 24 and departed same on June 30, 2014. We spent four days in the Gobi by flying into and out of Dalanzadgad Airport on Huunu Airlines. We stayed at the lux Three Camel Ger Camp for three nights in a lux ger tent and spent one night in the Khongoryn Els area, near the sand dunes, that run about 60 miles through the Gobi ,at the Erdene Ger Camp in a basic wooden “cottage”.

Our travels in the Gobi were one of the major highlights of the entire trip for me. Traveling across the steppes down to the Gobi Desert did not conjure up images of Genghis Khan but I came away with a better understanding and appreciation of how the locals live. I was fortunate to have interface with some of them, first on scheduled home (ger) visits at Khongoryn Els area where we rode on camels, and then quite serendipitously while traveling across the Gobi on our return to Dalanzadgad when our driver and guide decided to randomly stop at a ger and chat with the family while they were milking their goats. Very interesting.

On the way to the Three Camel Ger Camp we had a chance to spend three hours walking in the Yol Valley National Park. We saw a few horses, some cows and many Pikas there. We hiked to the ice and snow formations that often last until late July in the park. After arriving at the Three Camel Ger Camp, we took a ride across the steppes to visit a nearby area, about one thousand feet above the desert, to a place called Khavtsgait to see some petro glyphs carved some time in the past. Quite Interesting.

The following morning we drove to the Khongoryn Els area we each rode on a Bactrian camel (two humps instead of one) where I had flashbacks to an unpleasant one hump camel ride in Morocco. However, the camels in Mongolia walked much smoother and everything went well. I was completely surprised to learn that we would be required to wear a bike rider’s helmet for the duration of the camel back trip. I thought that we were going to ride for a few hundred yards and return to the owner’s ger. After several miles, we reached the “singing sands” that were totally quiet. No wind to make them sing but there were dark clouds coming up behind and I could see a flash flood in the making.

Because of the anticipated rain, which ultimately passed us by, we returned to the owner’s ger by 4X4 land cruiser and spent some time inside chatting with him and his wife. The cook stove was fueled by wood and a small box was filled with pieces of scrub bushes from the area. Their beds were rolled up in the corner. Their satellite phones sat on a dresser along with an iPad and numerous electronic gadgets, i.e., a television set, a radio, etc. Family pictures lined a large mirror. There was no indoor toilet and I didn’t ask about their accommodation for that function but presume there was an outdoor something somewhere nearby. All of their children were grown and living nearby. They graciously allowed me to photograph their ger’s interior and the pictures are attached to this story.

The next morning we drove to the nearby “Flaming Cliffs”. The sky was dull, and, unfortunately, we did not get to see the beauty of this area in full sunshine. On our drive back to the Three Camel Ger Camp, our driver stopped suddenly at a ger, near the road, where the owners were milking goats. The husband and wife graciously stopped their work to chat about their flock of goats and their lifestyle. Further down the road, we came upon a vehicle and trailer with a man and woman and two children in the cabin. Both the vehicle and trailer were fully loaded inside and on top with all of their worldly possessions and including the ger. Asked if they needed help, they responded that they were just taking a break to let their dog run around a bit before they moved along to their new home location. They, too, agreed to let me take photos of their vehicle, attached.

During our time spent at the Three Camel Ger Camp, during which we never saw a single camel, there were plenty of animals grazing their way across the steppes. A large herd of cows, several herds of horses and numerous herds of sheep and/or goats grazed peacefully in the area. One sunrise was spectacular, photos attached, and the sky was cloudy much of the time that we were at the Three Camel Ger Camp.

On our final day, we returned very early to Dalanzadgad for a quick city tour and a flight back to Ulaanbaatar with life memories of our travels and experiences in the Gobi. Our wives will be happy to learn of our travels but they are unlikely to be envious of our experiences, far, far away from their comfortable houses!

Date of experience: June 2014
5  Thank photoguy66degrees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 10, 2014

Make sure you include this region on your itinerary - either as a fly in/fly out 2-3 day option or as part of a longer stay Wide open spaces, amazing mountains/hills, stunning sunsets and sunrises, the wonderful Flaming Cliffs (Bayanzag), Saxual forest(s), nomadic life, herds of camels, Yolyn Am ice/glacier, petroglyphs (rock paintings), Khongor sand dunes (perservere and get to the 300m top for a memorable view - and that child like descent!).......sit still, listen to the silence, let nature to come to you (incredibly tiny wildflowers, lizards, geckos, insects,butterflies), the majesty of a kite/hawk/eagle soaring above - and the warm hospitality of nomadic herders and tourist ger camps.

Date of experience: July 2014
3  Thank Lochie2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2014

The people of Mongolia are the most friendly, happy, welcoming folks
you will meet! The Symphony is outstanding. Five-star hotels in Ullanbator are excellent. There's no pollution, terrorists are non existent, & it is very safe. But, the country is not ready for tourism. Roads are terrible and the gers in the Gobi & in national parks need to have better bathroom and shower facilities for each ger instead of for a group, in a separate location. This trip costs too much and requires too much travel time to simply be on a camping trip in the desert. However, the gers are quite attractive. This is not for the faint-hearted. But, you will love the people! Let's hope developed countries do not destroy the innocence and charm of the considerate population. Oh, don't get excited about the Naadam Festival....it is not ready for tourists.

Date of experience: July 2014
5  Thank Vernene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2014

If life is to summarize this place, I would say that peace is with you, absurdly quiet, rugged landscape, beautiful, winter sun brightly Orange horizon, and horse ride or dromedary ride, meet nomadic people from near and your lifestyle, sleeping in the tenda "ger", feeling cold and heat, Eat and get used to what you have there. The most beautiful sky of the planet. I come back :)

Date of experience: October 2013
3  Thank alezita76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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