Larger than the area of Switzerland, the Gobi Desert lies in the southern part of Mongolia and crosses the border into northern and north-western China. Unlike the Sahara, there are few sand dunes in the Gobi. Instead, the terrain of the world’s fifth-largest desert features rocks and gravel plains. Moreover, the Gobi is a cold desert, - frost is common and even snow is not unheard of. The low temperatures are the result of the desert’s northern latitudes and its location on a plateau at least 1,000 meters above sea level. Despite the harsh conditions, many animals live in the desert, including black-tailed gazelles, marbled polecats, Gobi bears, and Bactrian camels.
The Gobi Desert was historically a part of the great Mongol Empire and the location of a number of cities along the Silk Road. Due to the lack of modern roads in parts of Mongolia, travellers should consider using a tour company to visit the desert. Tourists who want to go dinosaur hunting venture to the north-western parts of the Gobi, a source of many ancient fossils, including precious dinosaur eggs.