Blogs from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Asia - page 5

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Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar March 12th 2014

Geo: 47.9159, 106.918We are now back in Ulaanbaatar, the coldest capital in the world or so our guide says. The temperature ranges from -49c in winter to 38c in summer although at the moment it seems a comfortable -5c.Driving out of the city we noticed a car with red flags on it, "it's a car with no driver" says our guide, what she means is a learner.We visited the National Park about 50km from the city, it is a stunningly beautiful landscape for visitors although I am sure it is a harsh environment for the nomads who live there. In the winter they move their animals to lower pastures where they have stockades for the animals (there are predators like wolves), whilst there the children attend school. In the summer they move up onto the mountains ... read more
Our Yurt
Meditation Centre
A Real Yurt

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar March 12th 2014

Geo: 47.9159, 106.918I have no idea if any of you are finding this blog in the slightest bit interesting (we have noticed the number of hits has risen, any feedback would be appreciated) but I have had a request for more Mongolian photographs so here are a few before we get on the train.Turtle rock looks just as the guide book says. The shrine is just like those in India, they spend a lot of time and effort creating the shrine, people make offerings but along comes a workman and puts a great big fuse box right next to it but no one takes the slightest umbrage.... read more
Meditation Centre
The view from our camp site
Shrine

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar March 11th 2014

Geo: 47.9159, 106.918Ulan Batar, or perhaps Ulaanbaatar, depending on which atlas you read, is the capital of Mongolia. The country has a population of 3 million of which one million live in the capital most of whom are currently stuck in a traffic jam. There seems to have been a sudden increase in disposable income and insufficient road capacity to cater for all the cars. They don't have a metro system so chaos reigns. Mongolians nominally drive on the right but half of the cars are imported second hand Japanese cars which are left hand drive. By far the most popular model is the Toyota Prius, the only explanation our guide gave was because petrol "is so expensive in Mongolia", it's about 75p a litre so there must be some other tax break either here or ... read more
Apprentice Monks
Roof

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar March 10th 2014

Geo: 47.9159, 106.918I got in a bit of a flap over getting up at 4am for our train to Mongolia (Gill doesn't seem to worry about such things). The problem was my mobile phone screen packed up so I could not unlock it and set the alarm clock. So I set a wake up call on the hotel phone but did not get the warm feeling the time set was correctly, I also found an alarm function on the TV and set that as well. After much poking around with the dreaded iPad I found an alarm function on the clock app but as I have never used this and nothing on the bloody iPad works as you would expect I was not confident about that either.So with three alarm clocks armed you would think I ... read more
How to use a toilet
The Train to Mongolia
Electric Train but Coal Carriage

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar October 18th 2013

We are heading south...to Beijing...and enjoying our last few hours in Ulan Baator. Back to the city...the people at Tuul River Lodge booked us in a guest house bang in the middle of the city. For info, it is called Zaya's, and I could only recommend those guys. Only proper western style hotels here are the Kempinski and the ramada...and they are not the best! Guesthouse...looking like a youth hostel...but we had a full flat for ourselves just one floor below...and for 50usd, that's a true bargain! We went to explore the city before it was getting dark. We had crossed it by car....new buildings everywhere mixing with Soviet style and soviet style housing...nothing really exciting. As the guest house is right in the middle of the city, it's easy to visit the main square, as ... read more
Last sunset in Mongolia...
On the way to Beijing...
At the Chinese border....

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar October 10th 2013

Mongolia has transformed fairly smoothly into it's present democratic state after almost 70 years of communist rule. But, the first stop on my whirlwind tour of Ulaanbaatar's few museums was the 'Victims of Political Persecution Memorial Museum', housed in the residence of Peljidiin Genden the former president (and prime minister) of Mongolia who was executed by Stalin for refusing to execute 'the enemies within'; the lamas. His house was turned into a museum by his daughter, Tserendulam. The wooden, two-storey house is very close to the parliament building. It looks old. The painted wood has faded and chipped, the grounds are overgrown with weeds, and when I try to get in the door is locked. An old man appears from around the corner, and we chat for a moment in Russian. He lets me in, and ... read more
Temple
Temple
Column of temple

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar October 9th 2013

Ulan Bator - nichts fuer schwache Gemueter. 5 Minuten auf der Strasse unterwegs und es wurde schon mein Allerwertester von einem Passanten begrapscht und aggressiv gebettelt (umgeben von Kleinkindern, die zuerst nett nach "money" fragen und dann den Tonfall schnell aendern.). Im Reisefuehrer auch eindruecklich ein Foto, das einen kleinen Jungen zeigt, der in einem Kanalisationsschacht geschlafen hatte (da viel waermer als die bis zu -30 Grad oberhalb, hier in der kaeltesten Hauptstadt der Welt). Ulan Bator scheint mir trotz alledem (Durchschnittsverdienst 250 Dollar pro Monat) sehr stylish - jede/r ist perfekt angezogen. Und auch wenn wenige Englisch sprechen, haben wir (travel buddy Rafael und ich) mehrmals gehoert, wie unabhaengig und stark die Mongolinnen sind. Allein im Restaurant essen zum Beispiel? Ganz normal. Auch beim Bier zeigt das Land eigenen Willen: drei der vier Biere, d ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar September 25th 2013

'...charging along like troops in a battle All through the meadows the horses and cattle...' The evening sun shown itself like a big flashlight flashing every few seconds from behind the trees. We were passing through inner Mongolia. The constantly changing shadows, along with Stevenson's lines made it visually rhythmic. Willy too was lost in thought. ''It came to me in a dream you know'', he said suddenly in his deep and soft voice. He was still looking out the window, the flashlight lighting up his face in a warm glow. A moment later, he was in shadow again, he turned to me and continued. ''Going to Russia, Mongolia and Sheena (China) in this train''. I smiled back. Meet Woditsch Wilhelm. He is 78 years old and is from a small village in Germany. He is ... read more
Trans Mongolian Railway
Chinese mountains right out of an ink painting
Hello Willy!

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar September 6th 2013

Hustai National Park is about 100km outside Mongolia's capital Ulan Baatar. There are, of course, tours that go out there but I like to do things by myself because it's more fun and cheaper. I had started by emailing the Hustai National Park Trust to see if I could book a ger (a Mongolian tent, called a yurt by Russians). I also knew they had a staff mini-van that went to the park and back every Sunday and Friday, in which tourists could ride. The van costs US$30 return which is not cheap, especially considering the van is going there anyway, but still cheaper than a tour. A ger cost US$69 per day including three meals. I was going to take my own food so the price of the ger was instead US$31 per day. Oddly ... read more
my ger at Hustai
inside of my ger at Hustai
scenery

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar September 1st 2013

And now I'm in Mongolia! It is quite exciting. Some places in the world I've always wanted to go because just their names make me salivate. Borneo and Sulawesi I have got to already. Tierra del Fuego I haven't. Mongolia I think might be the most exotic-sounding of the lot and I'm finally here. I took a bus from Ulan Ude for twelve hours to get to Mongolia's capital city Ulan Baatar (it's had all sorts of variations in its spelling over the years, but Ulan Baatar seems to be the current one). Russian customs were pretty straightforward, if overly long because they had to process the entire bus. Oddly enough all luggage was x-rayed which is a bit weird when leaving a country by a land border. Presumably they were checking to make sure nobody ... read more




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