Mongolia. Sands Mongol Els, sandy dune desert, bright sunny day

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mongol Els


On the road from Kharkhorin to Ulaanbaatar, one surprising sight that livens up a fairly boring stretch of road is the sand dunes of Elsen-Tasarkhai. Better known in Ulaanbaatar's tourist industry as Mongol Els, these large dunes stretch for some 70km, and are worth stopping off at if you're not planning to visit the much more spectacular Khongoryn Els in the Gobi Desert.

The dunes are located on the approach to Khögnö Khan Uul Nature Reserve. At the turn-off to the sand dunes there is a group of camel herders who hang around and sell camel rides. Expect to pay T5000 to have your photo taken on a camel, or T10,000 for a one-hour ride across the dunes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Mongolia attractions

1. Erdiin Khambiin Khiid

6.61 MILES

At the southern foot of the mountain are these ruins, with a couple of new temples and the remains of one older temple. About five monks reside here in…

2. Övgön Khiid

7.42 MILES

These 17th-century ruins are a lovely 45-minute (2km) walk along a rocky path (follow the pink dots painted on the rocks) up the valley to the right of…