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The Gobi Desert has been made famous by countless travelogues dating back to the days of Marco Polo. Its reputation for extreme weather and harsh conditions are not unfounded but these days plenty of travelers venture into the Gobi and survive to tell the tale. American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews put the Gobi on the map in the 1920s when his expedition uncovered hundreds of dinosaur fossils. Modern day dino-hunters can follow in his footsteps and search for bones at the Flaming Cliffs and other spots explored by Andrews. A tour of the Gobi also includes Vulture Canyon, a steep gorge that contains ice nearly year round, and the Singing Sand ...

The Gobi Desert has been made famous by countless travelogues dating back to the days of Marco Polo. Its reputation for extreme weather and harsh conditions are not unfounded but these days plenty of travelers venture into the Gobi and survive to tell the tale. American explorer Roy Chapman Andrews put the Gobi on the map in the 1920s when his expedition uncovered hundreds of dinosaur fossils. Modern day dino-hunters can follow in his footsteps and search for bones at the Flaming Cliffs and other spots explored by Andrews. A tour of the Gobi also includes Vulture Canyon, a steep gorge that contains ice nearly year round, and the Singing Sand Dunes, which emit a low hum when the wind whips across them. Transport into the Gobi is usually by hired jeep as public transportation is rare. The eastern Gobi, however, can be reached by train as the Trans-Mongolia line heads through the desert towards the Chinese border. It’s possible to get off the train at Sainshand and then go by jeep for 30km to Khamaryn Khiid, a Buddhist retreat and monastery built by Mongolia’s most beloved saint Danzan Ravjaa. Of course, no journey to the Gobi would be complete without a ride on a shaggy (and smelly) Bactrian camel. Tour operators can organize overnight camel treks into the desert.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    June to October