Travel writer and photographer Nellie Huang shares her best pictures of vast and beautiful Mongolia. 

Mongolia. Its name alone evokes a sense of mystery. Even in today’s highly connected world, this distant land remains relatively remote, far-flung and largely unexplored.

Traditional Mongolian gers (tents) dot the vast steppes while sand dunes rise from empty deserts and snowcapped mountains loom over lush green grasslands. Every turn on the road reveals a different landscape.

As a travel writer, I’ve visited more than ninety countries on all seven continents. Few have come close to Mongolia in terms of natural beauty. It is a special place, especially for those who love nature and wilderness.

On my recent trip to Mongolia, I spent two weeks traversing the country, from the capital city of Ulaanbaatar to the steppes of the Dundgovi Province region. I explored the sand dunes of Khongoriin Els in the south and made a loop to the Tsenger hot springs area and Hustai National Park. Here are 20 of my best images of Mongolia.

A Gobi camel

A Gobi camel, Mongolia, Asia – by Nellie Huang

A wild horse grazes in Hustai National Park

Wild horses in Khustai National Park, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

The view from the Great Imperial Map monument, Karakorum

The view from Great Imperial Map monument, Karakorum, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

A stupa at Erdene Zuu Monastery

The golden stupa at Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia – Nellie Huang

The steppes of Bag Gazariin Chuluu

The steppes of Bag Gazariin Chuluu, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

The golden sands of the Gobi Desert

The singing sands of the Gobi Desert, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

The 108 stupas that surround Erdene Zuu Monastery

Stupas at Erdene Zuu Monastery, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

The Khongoriin Els sand dunes, Gobi Desert

Sand dunes in the Gobi desert, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

Off-road in the Yolyn Am Valley

Off road in Yolyn Am Valley, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

The Buddhist monastery of Ongiin Khiid

Buddhist Monastery, Mongolia, by Nellie Huang

Sunset in the northern grasslands

Sunset in the Northern Grasslands, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

Rugged terrain surrounding Ongiin Khiid

Plains and mountains in Mongolia, by Nellie Huang

Orkhon Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Mongolia's UNESCO heritage site, Orkhon Valley

Nomadic families live in traditional gers on the steppes of Mongolia

Mongolian nomads – by Nellie Huang

A farmer on horseback herds his goats

Man on horseback with grazing cows, Mongolia

Driving to Yolyn Am Valley, Gobi Gurvansaikhan National Park

Gorgeous valley of Yolyn Am in a national park, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

Bayanzag or “Flaming Cliffs”, where the first discovery of dinosaur eggs was made

Dinosaur eggs discovered in Bayanzag, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

A river that snakes around Ongiin Khiid

A river snaking through Ongiin Khiid, by Nellie Huang

A nomadic Mongolian in Tsenger

A nomadic Mongolian in Tsenger, Mongolia – by Nellie Huang

A lake outside of Karakorum

A lake outside of Karakorum, Mongolia – Nellie Huang

For more photographs by Nellie, see her travel blog. Copyright © 2015 for all images belongs to Nellie Huang. Compare flights, find toursbook hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.