Mandalagovi Gobi
Desert | Mongolia
Travel Guide

Mandalagovi Gobi Desert

Location
Mandalagovi
Getting There

With one foot seemingly in the Gobi Desert and one on the Mongolian Steppe, the exciting town of Mandalagovi sits on the path for many heading to the heart of the adventurous Gobi Desert.

mandalagovi


Location

Located at the heart of Dundgov (middle Gobi) Aimag this area is somewhat mistakenly named as it sits more to the north of the Gobi region.

From the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar, Mandalagovi lays directly south connected by a 300 KM paved road. 


Mandalagovi

Although it is now the capital of this desert region the City is quite young only coming into existence in 1942, even then it was only a collection of around 40 gers (tents).

Since 1942 Mandalagovi has grown into the home to approximately 14,000 people. 

Nearby was once the winter palace of Ögedei Khan, Genghis Khan's son and ruler of the Mongolian empire although nothing remains today.

The city was to see growth during the Soviet period as money, and light industry was introduced. Unfortunately these days the factories have all but gone along with the money. 

Mandalagovi tends to be a stopping point for the big tracks and business people on the way to the large mines deep in the desert. As a consequence, there are a few hotels around the town, although these tend to be more business aimed. 

However, For any visitor, Mandalagovi is a worthy stop on a longer journey:

  1. Much of its soviet architecture has survived, from the old city square and surrounding buildings to the once important monuments. On the hill behind the City is a Monument dedicated to Soviet Mongolian friendship. If the Soviet period is not to your liking, the statue also gives an excellent excuse to stretch one's legs. Those that climb the steep hill are rewarded with views over this ageing town and desolate area.  
  2. As with most provincial capitals, this one houses the Aimags regional museum, a mix of typical soviet-style presentation and an attempt at modernization those with interest in the region will enjoy. The highlight of this museum is a 17th-century bronze Buddha made by the great Zanabazar, who was famed for his intricate work. The Buddhist Tanka paintings are not to bad here either. The usual museum guide who follows and gives a rundown of the dustiest exhibits tends so spend longer than needed talking about the circumcision knives. 
  3. Before 1937 there were over 50 Buddhist temples in the region although these were all destroyed during the later purges. Since 1991 some temples have started to appear again in Mandalagovi Dashgimpeliin Khiid is the resident monastery. Now home to around 25 monks this low key affair is open every day apart from Thursdays.  Morning prayer at 10 AM is the best time to visit, although if you're passing through your more likely to be here around midday. 

Getting There

The improved road from Ulaanbaatar was completed in 2013.

It now takes around four hours to reach here by car. There is an airport just south of the City which does have flights to the capital; it only takes 30 mins flying time.

If your thinking of flying, most people opt for flights instead to Dalanzagd as its closer to those famed desert tourist sites. 

Ulaanbaatar - Mandalagovi 274 KM road.

Prvate car/ 4X4: 4 hrs  

Public bus: 5-6 hrs 

Mandalagovi – Dalanzagd 300 KM 

Private car/ 4X4: 6-7 hs 

Public bus: 8-9 hrs

When looking at the journey times, it can seem a long slog. Although its always a sobering thought to think that before the road, a camel or horse would take seven-eight days.

mandalagovi



Koryo Tours
Mongolia Tours

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