Blogs from Mongolia, Asia

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Asia » Mongolia » Terelj July 2nd 2023

Our last day in Mongolia was going to be quite busy until our late afternoon flight. I think we all skipped breakfast, a couple people sick (I personally think it was the milk tea from the camp, but not sure, I just can't imagine drinking too much of it is good on your stomach if you are not used to it). E and H picked us up from the hotel, bags packed and we made our way to our first stop. Chenghis Khan Just outside Ulaanbaatar is the largest equestrian statue in the world. The statue is located where legend says he found a golden whip and is pointed to his supposed birthplace. It was constructed in 2008 and is a stainless steel structure 10m. Below the statue itself is a museum, which was actually quite ... read more
Chenghis Khan Temple Complex
Aryapala Temple
Aryapala Temple

Asia » Mongolia » Kharkorin June 30th 2023

Our next adventure took us about 4 hours to the west to the town of Kharkorin, the location of the former capital established by Chenghis Khan - Karakhorum. Erdene Zuu Monastery Our first stop was the Erdene Zuu Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery constructed in the late 16th century. We were told we had 90 minutes here, which seemed like a lot, but there was actually quite a bit to see and we wound up a bit rushed, or at least, I was. It was originally intended for the surrounding wall to have 108 stupas, 108 being an important number in Tibetan buddhism, but I did not count. It was also constructed using ruins from the old capital, which did not last long. At its peak, the monastery held 62 temples and housed over 1,000 monks. ... read more
Kharakorum Museum
Bactrian camel camp
Monument to Mongolian Empires

Asia » Mongolia June 28th 2023

The second half of the trip was joining our Trekkup group travelling to Mongolia. I had heard that this was a great trip from a few people, but no one could really tell me the details as to why. I got it later - it was just beautiful country, fun to camp in the gers, good (meat heavy) foods, friendly people, and just so peaceful. But there was no one moment that stood out above the rest really. It was all just a good time - we did a lot, yet it was a good, comfortable pace. We also travelled with a small, good group of five people, including our super friendly hyper guide E and our funny awesome driver H. Leaving China First thing was to get to the airport for our flight. I think ... read more
Mongol Nomadic Camp
Mongol Nomadic Camp
Mongol Nomadic Camp

Asia » Mongolia » Khovd December 30th 2020

Had I not been asked to join a photography trip, I would not have gone to Bayan Olgi, the Western part of Mongolia bordering with Kazakhstan at the end of August last year. Getting the visa was without a drama as the Mongolian Embassy in Jakarta was thinly staffed. After much of persuasion, we managed to get our visa in time and left for Ulaanbataar, transiting in Hong Kong. It was great to be back at Ulaanbaatar as I could see the development progress in such a short time. I did recall there were not many tall buildings seen during my visit years ago, during which main roads had potholes. This time, the traffic was heavy, tall buildings sprang and roads were nicely paved. It was amazing to see how coal did to the economy. Mongolia ... read more
Eagle Hunter in Action
Eagle Hunter
Kardibek with his horse

Asia » Mongolia » Dornogovi December 31st 2019

I can feel the low temperature decreasing as I climb up higher altitude. I stand still, observing those amazing landscapes surrounding me, and I continue to inhale the freshness of -14 degrees while the sun illuminates my face. Oh, Mother Nature, where shall I begin to describe your beauty... Mongolia 2019.... read more
Mongolian's mountains in winter

Asia » Mongolia » Kharkorin November 24th 2019

Having the lowest population density of any country on Earth has always made Mongolia extremely appealing to Magdalena and me; this is the reason why when living in Newcastle we often chose to go hiking in the invariably empty Cheviots, the UK’s least visited national Park, as opposed to the much lovelier but also much busier Lake District. Every Mongolian square kilometre averages just 1.9 people, compare that to 274 people per km2 in the UK, 334 per km2 in Japan, which I now call home, and a thoroughly cosy 18,960 per km2 in list-topping Monaco. A consequent highlight of Mongolia’s emptiness is that you can pick a direction and walk. You will see more wildlife than humans, more animal tracks than vehicle tracks, and hear more bird song and animal noises than mobile phone social ... read more
The 8 Lakes horsetrek in Orkhon Valley
The 8 Lakes horsetrek in Orkhon Valley
The 8 Lakes horsetrek in Orkhon Valley

Asia » Mongolia » Gobi Desert August 26th 2019

‘Actually the Gobi isn’t a desert at all’, says Chimeg, ‘it is a semi-desert.’ Chimeg is our guide. She will guide us during our one week trip across the Gobi desert. And she is right. The pictures you usually see make you believe that Gobi desert consists of sand dunes. That is misleading. The sand dunes are only a little part of the Gobi desert. Very photogenic indeed, but the Gobi is mainly a monotonous steppe, frightening even as you can easily lose your bearings. Sometimes you may even ask yourself what for you are here actually. Well, we come here to see the Flaming cliffs, the spot where Roy Chapman Andrews found his dinosaurs, to see the ancient rock carvings and the ice filled gorge at Yolin Am. These are the hotspots of the Gobi, ... read more
Near the old monastery at Baga Gazriin Chuluu
Ibex at Yoliin Am
Near the petroglyphs at Khavtsgait

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar August 25th 2019

Day 27 to 30 of 80 Footsteps of Chinggis Thursday we had booked ourselves a guided tour out of the city to reach a Chinggis (Ghenghis to us westerners) Khan monument and a National Park. We wanted to make a day of it so chose a tour with a couple of extras rather than a quick out and back. Just as well really. The route to the statue was about 65 km out of town. Regrettably, though, they are rebuilding the main highway in that direction so all traffic, both directions, is being diverted onto the roughest, unpaved, rutted, gravel track - a bit like the 2 border roads we encountered in Georgia /Armenia. But with 'rush hour' volumes of traffic, many of them treating the whole width of the road as a dirt race track. ... read more
Grand plans
World's biggest boot
Up close

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar August 25th 2019

Day 27 to 30 of 80 Footsteps of Chinggis Thursday we had booked ourselves a guided tour out of the city to reach a Chinggis (Ghenghis to us westerners) Khan monument and a National Park. We wanted to make a day of it so chose a tour with a couple of extras rather than a quick out and back. Just as well really. The route to the statue was about 65 km out of town. Regrettably, though, they are rebuilding the main highway in that direction so all traffic, both directions, is being diverted onto the roughest, unpaved, rutted, gravel track - a bit like the 2 border roads we encountered in Georgia /Armenia. But with 'rush hour' volumes of traffic, many of them treating the whole width of the road as a dirt race track. ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar August 21st 2019

Day 24 to 26 of 80 Small mild panic on Monday morning as we arrived early at the station to find our train not listed but train times either side of ours were. Unable to find an english speaking railway person, we started to wonder whether there was something up with our train. But a more thorough search of the station showed a side room listing the long-distance trains, including ours. Phew. Ulaanbaatar is around 500 km from Irkutsk, as the crow flies. Regrettably trains don't fly so by the time it has travelled 150 km from Irkutsk to reach Lake Baikal which is only 70km south, taking 3 hours in the process, and then overshot to past midway along the southern shore for a stop at Ulan-Ude, where the Trans-Mongolian splits off from the Trans-Siberian, ... read more
Baikal
Baikal circum-lake steam train
Mongolian graveyard




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