Blogs from Mongolia, Asia - page 7


Asia » Mongolia June 13th 2013

Tour started with the usual faff that these things start with - waiting for ages, then suddenly rushed introductions, hurriedly loading the van, and setting off without having a moment to consider. The weather (severe snow and cold in winter, hot summers) and the lack of historical investment means that roads in Mongolia are generally not in a state conducive to long drives. Outside of the capital there is just one tarmac-ed road, which we will not travel on until the end of the tour. All other roads are dirt tracks, regularly punctuated with ditches and holes. I always have to be semi-alert for the frequent occasions when the van lurches violently to one side or suddenly pitches us forwards, so I am unable to sleep when we are on the road, even though we travel ... read more
Our van en route
Stuffpile on the seat in front

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 31st 2013

I had hoped to treat myself to a final blow-out meal to celebrate my last day in Russia, but sadly but the time I got back from Taltsy I felt pretty unwell and just went straight to bed. I also had to be up at 4am to catch my train. Getting up was painful but I had moved specially to a hostel near the train station so my walk was only 15 minutes, and fortunately finding the train and my berth was very straightforward. I still didn't feel well, so it was not a very fun journey unfortunately - I mostly just read in my bed. I was sharing my cabin with a man who could not understand a word of what I said in Russian no matter how clearly I tried to speak. Obviously I ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 31st 2013

Tomorrow I will embark on a 12-day tour of the Gobi desert, with two people I hardly know at all, an Italian guy and a German guy. Today I spent a day enjoying being able to eat for the first time in a few days, sorting out what I did and didn't need to take (I am leaving my two dresses and one pair of heels at the hostel) and thinking about not having internet or phone access for the next 12 days. This led me to consider how internet-dependent I am, and that maybe it is not such a bad thing to have enforced separation from outside communication. I also went for a walk down Peace Avenue, the main street in central Ulaanbaatar, which is pleasant enough, not beautiful but interesting enough buildings and shops, ... read more
Chinggis Khaan's guard

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 31st 2013

Thankfully feeling much better today, though still a bit weakened, so another quiet day. In fact I spent most of the afternoon joining a tour to the Gobi desert, which was much more complicated than I had anticipated. Most travellers in Mongolia join tours to see the country, as the infrastructure is limited - there are public buses, but the system is complicated unless you are a native (for example, there is usually one bus a day or every other day to most places, but the departure times are unreliable - buses leave somewhere within a 2-hour timeframe - and the don't leave from a particular point, you flag them down by the side of the road, but they don't have numbers or anything that tells you their destination, so you just have to "know" which ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 31st 2013

Woke up feeling no better than yesterday so sadly another day spent mostly in bed. I did go for a ten minute walk around a small local square and saw the circus building, a giant buddha, and some very cute children - the oldest couldn't have been more than 5 years old - performing some traditional Mongolian songs and dances on a small stage surrounded by adoring parents, for what reason I don't know. Also went back to the State Department Store for more supplies. This is the main "Westernised" store in Ulaanbaatar, a huge old Soviet-style building on 7 floors, and it sells almost everything you could think of. There is a supermarket and banks on the ground floor, then the other floors are like a cross between Debenhams and Argos. There is even a ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 31st 2013

After nearly 8 weeks in Russia, it was exciting to arrive in not just another country, but another continent! Ulaanbaatar is very geared to tourists and whichever guest house you have booked with will meet you at the station or airport, so I was speedily picked up and driven to the hostel, which was a relief as the train arrived at 6am and the area around the station is, to be honest, pretty horrible. Ulaanbaatar is the only city in Mongolia, half the population lives here, and the economy is the fastest-growing in the world relative to the size of the country (or so I was told). The result of this is that Ulaanbaatar is currently a building site, especially on the outskirts, as development accelerates. It is interesting but not pretty to look at and ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 23rd 2013

Who stole the dinosaur? And THIS IS NOT A JOKE. We arrived in Ulaan Bataar (UB) just a day AFTER the smuggled dinosaur fossils were returned to Mongolia. May 18 was thus declared the new National Dinosaur Day. Yey! But wait, where would they put all these dinosaurs? The Mongolian Museum of Natural History The Museum is said to be the oldest Museum in Mongolia, and it shows. The paint has peeled off many parts of the white building that now looks like an abandoned structure from the Soviet period. As soon as we entered, we set out to look for the resident dinosaur fossils and eggs. T-Rex was "fully assembled" in a hall with poor lighting. It won't be lonely for long. And it would soon have a new home. The Mongolian government announced it ... read more
Museum Needs TLC
First Dinosaur Eggs Off Gobi
A Dino's Tubular Bone

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 20th 2013

Mongolia wasn't in my (immediate) plan. But as it turned out, me and my 3 other friends found ourselves here in late May, and happy we made the trip. It would have been more adventurous to take the Trans Siberian Train from Moscow to Ulaan Bataar on the way to Beijing, but such is one plan we have long dropped. If we were younger, perhaps. At our age and disposition, we'd rather fly. So much is happening here especially in Ulaan Bataar with quite a number of high-rise buildings under construction. With 70% of the 2.7 million Mongolians still living in "gers" (circular tents for nomadic Mongolians) and nearly half of that in the city, I wonder who's buying up these condominium units in UB. And if they so move to these modern housing units, who'd ... read more
The Herdsman and His Mobile Phone
World's Largest Equestrian Statue
Turtle Rock in Terelj Park

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar May 10th 2013

Irkutsk- a short 20 hour train journey for our final destination in Russia. Its known as the Paris of Siberia. We got our first Russian compliment on the bus by someone claiming to be a football player!.. 'you look mighty beautiful' then was finished by 'for this hour of the morning' .. so quickly became much as we weren't expected to be complimented we've realised Russians neither compliment nor smile! On arrival to Irkutsk we found a hostel- again someones apartment, but this time it wasn't a dorm but was a bunk in someones lounge/office.. and seperated by a wardrobe and a piece of cloth hanging up. Didn't mind too much except at 1am when the women still was sat the other side with the light on.. being on the top bunk shining right in ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Terelj November 26th 2012

23 novembre 2012 Le Trans-Mongolien, c’est 7858km, de Beijing à Moscou, en passant par la Mongolie. Le Trans-Mongolien, c’est 3 pays, 3 cultures, 3 histoires, 3 architectures, 3 gastronomies, 3 langues, 3 visages. Mais je ne peux dire 3 paysages, parce qu’il défile et change constamment, surtout de Beijing au Lac Baïkal en Russie. D’où j’écris, une tasse de thé et un morceau de poisson fumé à mes côté, acheté sur le quai de Slyudyanka. Voici donc comment a débuté cette aventure que j’attends avec impatience, depuis que l’idée de faire ce long voyage nous est venu! Nous quittons Beijing à 8h05 le matin, en compagnie de Liz et Mich, un couple Austro-Canadien, et de Mickael, un canadien de Halifax. C’est drôle qu’on soit autant de Canadiens pour faire un voyage semblable à ce qu’on peut ... read more
La mongolie depuis le train
Les yourtes
Malaxage du sang

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