Mongolia is so incredibly different from everything we know.

The population density of Mongolia is about 1.7 people per square km. Its size is almost 3 times that of France.

Most of the people live in the capital, Ulanbataar, leaving the rest of the country pretty much empty. Empty and silent. And strangely beautiful. Maybe it’s the perfect silence, maybe it’s the solitude or the vast emptiness that surrounds you. Most of the time you’ll find yourself looking around and seeing nothing but a plateau full of pebbles  and some barren mountains in the distance.

Or maybe it’s the surprise of finding a nomadic family in a ger in the middle of nowhere, with the closest neighbours many miles away. How and why do they live in such isolation is a question for which I have no answer.

In an increasingly overcrowded and complex world, it’s hard not to be enchanted by the strange solitude and the simplicity of the Gobi desert.

The image below was taken at sunrise in one of the few places with actual sand dunes.