The Gobi desert Mongolia – Recommendations
If you have booked a trip to the Gobi, or plan to go there, we recommend that you bring plenty of sunscreen, a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and drink lots of water during your Gobi trip!
But note evenings can be cold so also bring a decent fleece. Stopping in Sainshand is not recommended if you have an aversion to Heliophobia (sun) or Ornithoscelidaphobia (dinosaurs!).
Dornogobi Aimag (East Gobi Province) is a dry, rocky landscape located in the southeast part of Mongolia. It was founded in 1931. The size of the Aimag equals Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg and Sweden combined yet contains only 50,000 people. However, there are over 1 million livestock that are the backbone of the economy along with the Trans-Mongolian railway you came along in.
Dornogobi contains vast desert plains with occasional rock formations. The climate is extreme, ranging from -44 ºC in winter to +41 ºC in the summer. Rain and snowfall is slight but the good news is that there are on average 260 sunny days a year.
Despite the harshness of the climate there are 229 kinds of plants and wildlife such as wolves, fox, rabbit, marmots and deer. Under all that desert there are 30 different types of mineral including gold and marble. Almost everywhere you look there are stones of all different colors. Perhaps the most interesting stones are the dinosaur fossils that can be found in abundance along with petrified wood.
The famous 19th Century Mongolian educator and literary figure, Danzanravjaa, established this Monastery in the 1820s. The Monastery was an important center of the Buddhist red sect and the seat of the Gobiin Dogshin Noyon Khutagt – the “Terrible Noble Saint of the Gobi.”
An outspoken critic of the society in which he lived, Danzanravjaa fought against the rigid class and gender distinctions of his day. He devoted great efforts to the cause of public education, which he promoted at the Khamar Monastery through the establishment of an inclusive public school, theatre, museum and library.
To the north of the Monastery are a series of caves where monks would practice yogic exercises and meditate in isolation for 108 days at a time, hardening their bodies whilst expanding the physical and spiritual powers – give it a try!