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Mongolia: Bayanzag, Kharakhorum, Khongar Sand Dunes, Khustai National Park, Ongi, Ulaanbaatar, Yol Valley

Yol Valley, Mongolia: Where eagles dare
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief

Towards Yol Valley, Mongolia

Today would be our last and longest drive of the trip. It would be 8 hours before we reach Yol Valley and to our destination for the night at Dalanzadgad.

Yol Valley, Mongolia For the first few hours we drove parallel to the sand dunes. And then turned towards the Yol Valley.

Yol Valley, locally Yolyn Am is a deep and narrow gorge in the Gurvan Saikhan Mountains of southern Mongolia. The valley is named after the Lammergeier, which is called Yol in Mongolian. The Lammergeier is an Old World vulture, hence the name is often translated to Valley of the Vultures or Valley of the Eagles.

Vehicles need to park at the beginning of the valley. From thereon, it's a nice trek. Horses and bicycles are also available. It's a comfortable 5-kilometre return journey to the first sheet of ice. Though in the middle of the desert, the gorge is so deep and narrow that sunlight never reaches the base; thus the chill and the ice formation. The ice field reaches several meters thick by the end of winter, and is several kilometres long.

It was an hour's drive from the valley to our last ger camp - Gobi Oasis Ger Camp.

Towards Yol Valley, Mongolia Early next morning we took a flight from Dalanzadgad to Ulaanbaatar. Straight from the airport we drove for about 80 kilometres to the Chinggis Khaan Statue Complex. After spending a few hours out there, we were at our hotel Shangri La.

That evening the farewell dinner was hosted at Hazira, an Indian restaurant by our tour company - a fine end to a memorable trip.

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