The Trans-Mongolian Railway line serves as the lone life-sustaining artery for the small and shrinking town of Zamyn-Üüd (Замын-Үүд) in the Gobi Desert. Be warned: this is hardly the multicultural Sino-Mongo mingling you may have hoped for, partly because this border is political and not cultural. The Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, on the other side of the line, is an extension of the Gobi and Mongolians consider its residents their brothers and sisters.
Most of the town’s activity can be found around the square in front of the train station. The chief attractions here are the disused water fountain, some outdoor pool tables and grabbing a bite at one of the many eateries that cater to transit travellers killing time. The town seems perpetually under construction with scaffolds on torn-up buildings, workers swarming everywhere, but not much work getting done. Still, the droves do pass through.