In August’22, a mélange of curious travellers ventured deep into the Gobi desert of Mongolia with Nomadic Road. Five nationalities, diverse cultures, motley stories, and one common passion — to explore uncharted territories, to welcome the unexpected.
Part of the group was Santosh, a retiree from Bengaluru, and an aspiring travel writer. Blending aspirations with his colourful experiences from Mongolia, Santosh wrote about his intrepid journey, ultimately seeing the piece published in Condé Nast Traveller India.
“I am unable to sleep that evening. The images of the past two weeks come flashing to me. I pour myself a shot of Chinggis Khan vodka and step out of my ger. I inhale the fresh air of the steppes deeply. The sky is star-studded. Suddenly I see a shooting star. I close my eyes and make a wish.”
For many 4x4 enthusiasts, Mongolia is a road trip destination that lingers in their dreams. On our Gobi Tour Mongolia, explorers seize the wheel of their Nissan Patrol 4x4s, making their way through dirt roads, arid riverbeds, rocky trails, and mountain passes of the Altai range. And just when you’re not expecting it, these rugged terrains give way to what Santosh beautifully describes as "endless carpets of grass."
Enhancing the allure are ancient fossils, the tranquil refuge of Zavkhan River's flowing waters, the grandeur of Khongoryn Els, and the flaming-red cliffs. It’s magical — an experience that deserves to be experienced by every curious soul out there.
When one thinks of Mongolia, the mind often conjures vast expanses of endless nothingness; an image dominated by sweeping deserts and a perceived monotony. While true, these visuals only scratch the surface of what this enchanting land has to offer.
Mongolia is road trip destination brimming with surprises, where the landscapes are as varied as they are breathtaking. The topography morphs effortlessly, guiding explorers through deserts, steppes, and mountainous forests — as if Mother Nature herself is playfully revealing all her hidden marvels.
In fact, Mongolia's vast treasures have inspired Nomadic Road to craft not one, not two, but three unique expeditions to the country. While two of them delve into the Gobi desert of Mongolia, the third embarks on a brave, frosty exploration of Western Mongolia's winter wonderland.
Could we have condensed the three expeditions into two, thus covering more ground? Perhaps. But would the experience then, be as enriching? Likely not. Our planet has so much to offer that for those with a hunger to travel, life often feels like a constant battle against time. But some experiences only truly unfurl when you embrace a slower pace.
In his story about Gobi Tour Mongolia, Santosh describes his tête-à-tête with Mongolian welcome rituals involving snuff bottles, his chance sightings of the rare Mongolian wild horses, and his conversations with locals, where language barriers crumbled in the face of humanness.
“We are visiting Baatar, a camel herder, at Umnugovi, deep in the Gobi desert of Mongolia, to experience first-hand the life of a camel herding family and, of course, to ride his two-humped Bactrian camels. Baatar knows no English, but his broad smile exudes warmth.”
A slow pace presents a chance to completely immerse yourself in a place — a door unlocking deeper insights into the culture, history, and way of living of many a person.
As for Mongolia, little has changed since the days of Chinggis Khan. The country is home to one of the last surviving nomadic societies that, even in the 21st century, lead a life in sync with the changing seasons. They live in gers, traditional homes that can be effortlessly disassembled and reassembled, leading their animals through seasonal migrations.
In a way, these are nothing but ways of ensuring survival in a landscape that demands adaptability. As you share in the nomads’ daily routines, you may stumble upon a newfound appreciation for the essentials; a profound sense of gratitude. It’s humbling, to say the least. In fact, the moniker 'Nomadic Road' draws its inspiration from these very wandering herders of Mongolia.
This, along with all the reasons listed above, is why Gobi Tour Mongolia is one of Nomadic Road’s classic signature expeditions, conducted every year. It was also the first expedition we ever curated and executed.
4x4 adventures with Nomadic Road are not for those who prefer to function within the contours. They’re not for those content with mere checkbox tourism. The truth, though it may be a cliché, is that the journey itself is the true essence of our odysseys.