Mongolia June 2-24, 2009
Vast Expanse of Nothingness
Driving through the Gobi Desert for 11 days on a Jeep Trek was amazing. We loved all of it–well the 2 showers in 11 days while living in tents called Ger was unique. We were able to participate in daily life: shaving camels, making cheese from goat milk, herding the goats, making noodles and chopping wood.
At times, it felt like an animal safari, we saw huge herds with their babies and surprising to us no fences to be seen anywhere. The camels, sheep, goats, yaks, horses and cows were roaming everywhere. I have never seen so many animals. We heard a sheep symphony on a mountain when we passed about 300 animals all bleating to each other.

On our trek we drove 2 days south of the power lines, many of the Ger have a solar panel to charge their cell phones and televisions. We drove through rain, hail, sun, clouds, and a huge dust storm to get to incredible sights like Yolin Am (Ice Canyon) where there was ice covering the river in June, Bayanzag (Dinosaur Canyon) where Ray Chapman Andrews uncovered 70 camel loads of dinosaur bones, and Tsagaan Survarga (Flaming Cliffs) which are beautiful colored cliffs where all you can hear is the wind. But the highlight after 5 days of driving 5-9 hours a day were the sand dunes. We were lucky to be able to hike
to the top of the dunes twice. They are 180 km long, 3km wide and 30 m tall. It is incredible…you have to go!

Mongolia by Lisa Niver

Ulaan bataar and Terelj
We spent most of a week in the capital and in the National Park, Terelj. We had power outages, no hot water, and saw urban sprawl. We definitely recommend you spend your time in the desert. We want to go back to see more in the North especially Khovsgol Lake and the Amarbayasgalant Monastery.

View the MAP of our trip


We took the overnight bus and the overnight train to get from Beijing to Ulaan Bataar, it took us 46 hours of traveling. Our 11 day trek had some long days on track with no road and no signs or directions. Oogii was a great driver with GPS in his head! He stopped at lots of Ovoos and we joined in the circling three times and adding rocks to the piles.

We saw Erdeen Zuu when we were in the old capital city, Khortum. It was the first Tibetan Buddhist Monastery built in Mongolia. A Mongolian king named the Dalia Lama (it means ocean which in this desert is high praise).


Thanks for reading about our trip! We really appreciate it! We are now home in Los Angeles!
Happy 4th of July! George and Lisa


Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 countries on six continents. This University of Pennsylvania graduate sailed across the seas for seven years with Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Renaissance Cruises and spent three years backpacking across Asia. Discover her articles in publications from AARP: The Magazine and AAA Explorer to WIRED and Wharton Magazine, as well as her site WeSaidGoTravel. On her award nominated global podcast, Make Your Own Map, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors, and as a journalist has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty-two times. Named a #3 travel influencer for 2023, Niver talks travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, her YouTube channel with over 2 million views, and in her memoir, Brave-ish, One Breakup, Six Continents and Feeling Fearless After Fifty.

One response to “Mongolia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We Said Go Travel