Located in the frontier zone of East Asia between northwestern China and Siberia, Mongolia has an area of 1,566,000 sq. km (604,800 sq. mi). Mongolia has a 3485 km- (2165 mi-) border with the Russian Federation in the north and a 4670 km- (2902 mile-) border with China in the south.
Mongolia is a high and dry interior region characterized by internal drainage. Several major landform regions can be identified: mountains in the north and west; a basin region in the northwest; and a large, arid plateau - the Gobi - composed of steppe and desert in the south and southeast.
Mountains dominate northern, central, and western Mongolia, and these peak at more than 3,600 meters (12,000 feet). The highest point is the peak of Tavan Bogd, in the Altai Mountains, at 4374m (14,350ft) high. The lowest point, Khukh Nuur lake, in the east, lies at 560m (1820ft). Generally, the mountains trend along a northwest-southeast axis. The major mountain system is the eastward extension of the Central Asian Altai Range. A volcanic zone exists along Mongolia's northern boundary with Russia.
There are dozens of lakes in the country and numerous rivers, of which the Orkhon is the longest at 1124km (698 miles). Most of the rivers and streams disappear into salt lakes, marshes, or desert sand, though a few major streams and rivers in the north flow into Siberia and empty eventually into Lake Baikal. A varied and interesting animal and bird life inhabit the many lake areas, especially those in the northwest.
Mongolia is a remarkably sunny country that enjoys in average 280 sunny days in year being nicknamed as the “Land of Blue Sky”. While the country re-known for its cold winter (it can be as cold as 30°C below zero), Mongolian summer is very warm with an average temperature 20°C above zero. Because of its continental location and high altitude, temperatures can vary, especially in the Gobi desert and mountains. There is great fluctuation in temperature on a seasonal as well as daily basis. Precipitation varies by location and ranges from as little as 5 cm (2") a year in places within the Gobi to as much as 50 cm (20") in the northern and central mountains. It is necessary that you bring a warm sweater and a rain jacket along with a sunglasses and hat.
Plants and animals of the country reflect the extreme climatic conditions. In the northern and western mountains are found forests of such northern deciduous and coniferous trees as birch, aspen, poplar, larch, cedar, spruce, and pine. Grasses are common in the steppe zone and plain, and these give way to desert plants or little vegetation in the Gobi. Such wild animals as lynx, bear, musk and red deer, and snow leopard abound in the northern mountains. Marmots and gazelles are common in the steppe, and wild horses, donkeys, and camels are found in the steppe and near-desert zones.