Summer Trip 2017 (Part 3): Unforgettable Gobi Tour
On June 29th morning, we were picked up by Sunpath Tour to their guesthouse. Doljmaa gave us briefing before starting the Golden Gobi Tour. I was so happy to see her after such drama happened with our Mongolian Visas. She helped my travelmate and me to get the approval from the Mongolian Ministry, otherwise the Mongolian Embassy in Jakarta wouldn’t grant us the visa. We got the visas just a week before my departure to Beijing (my friend joined the trip after a week later).
The tour this time had 2 groups with 2 different Russian vans, tough vehicles for the offroad trip. We got a 6-day splendid journey from Ulaanbaatar to Ulaanbaatar.
Day 1: White Stupa (Tsagaan Suvarga)
This breathtaking rocky formation in Ulziit Soum of Umnugovi province was our first destination. To explore the whole area, we needed to climb down and up on sandy trails that’re steep and sometimes slippery.
Then we stayed overnight at gers nearby.
Day 2. Yol Valley and Three Beauties of Gobi
Beautiful canyons, green land and little pond are parts of the Three Beauties of Gobi (Gurvan Saikhan Mountains), the famous mountains. The national park is situated in the west of the city of Dalanzadgad in Umnugobi province.
Day 3. Khongor Sand Dunes
The third day was our toughest trip since we needed to sit in the vans from morning to afternoon. But the suffering was worth the camel riding and Khongor Sand Dunes! Aye! My first camel riding experience! And having picnic lunch behind the cliffs was so nice.
I didn’t make it to the top of Kongor Sand Dunes, I guess it was because I was too tired and it was already 8pm too that the heavy wind often scratched my skin sharply due to I didn’t have my jacket with me. So I decided not to continue like others.
Day 4: Flaming Cliffs (Bayanzag) And Ongi Monastery
Flaming Cliffs or Bayanzag (that means “rich in saxaul”) are located about 100 km (62,14 miles) at the northwest of Dalanzadgad where in 1922, the palaeontologist Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaurs’ bones and eggs.
Next destination after Bayanzag was Ongi Monastery that’s located across Ongi river at the foot of Mount Saikhan-Ovoo of Dundgovi Province, in south-central Mongolia. It was formerly one of largest monasteries that could accomodate more than one thousand monks at a time before it was destroyed and more than 200 monks were killed in 1939.
Day 5: Horse Riding And Erdene Zuu Monastery
The horse riding was supposed to be done on 4th afternoon of the tour, but we were already tired and it was raining too then it was postponed to the next morning.
In the afternoon after several hours sitting in the vans, we had lunch in the city before visiting Erdene Zuu Monastery. Erdene Zuu that means Hundred Treasures was founded in 1586 by Altai Khaan, as the first Buddhist monastery in Mongolia. It was rebuilt in 1872 after the complex was destroyed in a war.
I had chance to rent a Mongolian princess’ attire in front of the monastery complex. A travelmate took some pictures of me posing in the attire, he thought I was a local and didn’t realize that it was me, lol. But after I said “USD 50 per picture, okay?” he finally realized. “Oh! Is that you?” :))
Day 6: Drive Back to Ulaanbaatar
Finally, our nomadic journey had to end on the 6th day. This trip had caused me an incurable heartache because I didn’t wish to fly back to Beijing. I really enjoyed the nomadic life, even with no shower at all lol.
Thanks to: Inne, Richee, and other fellas from the tour that took and shared the pictures with me, and for being joyful travelmates! And this one is a video that I made for my messy youtube channel.