Mongolia but not in a Rover


Well-known member
My wife and I just returned from a 23 day trip to Mongolia.
It was an amazing trip.
We decided on a guided trip due to the language barrier and remoteness.
We drove a diesel 2009 Nissan Patrol DX for 5100 kilometers. We had a guide vehicle in the lead as road signs are almost non existent or written only in Cyrillic. Many tracks that lead in the general direction of your next destination sometimes converge again or diverge into parts unknown or a herder's Ger. We brought along a GPS with roads of Mongolia loaded. Most tracks were shown but several were not. A couple of detours as the guide found out from the locals that some routes were not passable.
We had 4 flat tires, 2 suspension bushing changes, the guides truck lost the bushing on a lower shock and had to have a suspension part welded.
The Patrol is very capable truck, however I did not like the long hood and front over hang when dropping into dry washes,streams/rivers or cresting steep hills.

We started in Ulaanbaatar (UB) driving west visiting Hustai National Park and several lakes on the way to the mountains of Altan Bogd on border with Russia and China. You need a special permit from the Mongolian Border Patrol to be in the area. We camped a majority of the time occasionally staying in Gers at small tourist camps.
From there we drove to the Jargalant Mountains, then on to Kherman Tsav a paleontological site in southern Mongolia, from there on to Khongoryn Els the dunes of the Gobi, on to the Flaming Cliffs, White Stupas and back to UB. Driving in UB is an experience all its own. Very aggressive drivers in a very traffic congested city.
The major roads connecting the Provincial Capitals may start out as paved roads then turn into dirt tracks then back to pavement again but somehow Mongolians in Toyota Prius's, Hyundai's, buses. trucks and tractor trailers negotiate the roads. The roads may be paved but are often pockmarked with craters in the pavement and herds of goats, sheep, horses, cows, yaks or camels randomly crossing the road.
Off road tracks between towns can be rough and rutted or smooth as you cross the steppe, We drove in sandy dry washes, deep sand, a little mud and had many stream/river crossings Other than on the paved main roads Mongolians do not believe in culverts for streams or rivers ( a few bridges) and at times their roads make our Forest Service roads seem like the interstate.
Land Cruiser, the Russian UAZ 452 Van and UAZ 469 Hunter dominate the 4x4 market. Toyota, Hyundai and Kia the cars and Hyundai the small work trucks

Along the way we were able to see ancient burial mounds (Balbals). Turicks ( carved stone human figures) and Deerstones. Visited a couple of museums and Monasteries
We visited a Kazak who hunts with Golden Eagles and explored a couple of petroglyph sites.
We saw camels,Mongolian Gazelles, Ibex , Red Deer and the Prezwalski Horse as well as many new bird species.


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