Baina uu UlaanbaatarMay 5 in Mongolia
As Moon already had her next tours planned I decided to spend the next few days in a hostel. So I checked into the Golden Gobi, Ulaanbaatar’s main hostel where we met loads of international travellers.
The first day in the city Moon actually organised for our camel group to have a final day trip together to the giant Chinngis Khan (not Ghengis people) and Terelj National park both of which were only an hour from the city. The statue is the largest statue of a horse mounted person in the world, standing at 40m, and you can even climb up to the head of the horse. Its a pretty bizarre statue if I’m honest, this giant shining silver building in the middle of a green valley. Well as Joanna Lumley visited it on her Trans Mongolian tour I obviously had to see it. After the statue we drove to the national park, which I can only describe as a mini New Zealand with a few Tors thrown in for good measure. It was green and mountainous with lots of rock formations (and loads of ger camps too). We walked around, climbed some rocks and took loads of pictures. We also went to yet another monastery which was tucked up in one of the mountains. As we climbed up to the monastery we read the numerous mantras which lined the path. The monastery itself was designed to resemble an elephants head with the steps up to the entrance being its trunk. As far as monasteries for this was probably one of my favourites as the setting was really peaceful and we were the only visitors. After the visit we headed back to our driver and headed back to city. A great way to spend a day after being in the desert for a week!
The next two days I spent with a Brazillian guy, Gustavo, who was in UB on a visa run from Irkutsk, Russia where he was working as an English teacher. The first day we walked to the big soviet statue on a hill in the south of the city, which he said three years ago was surrounded by greenery but was now being heavily developed (which seems to be Mongolia in a nutshell, especially around the cities). The next day went to the main Buddhist monastery complex in the city, which was very busy with people when we arrived. Judging by the decked out Buddhist version of the Pope Mobile parked outside there was possibly someone important visiting. Unfortunately we never found out who. After the temple we went to one of UB’s vegan restaurants, Luna Blanca, and I had my first proper sit down meal of the trip, and boy was I not disappointed. I had what I can only describe as Mongolia’s vegan version of a Cornish pasty (minus the potatoes, and meat obviously) and some Russian dumplings. Yum Yum.
The next day I spent with a Dutch girl, Lindy, who had been living in Beijing for the past three months (she gave me lots of great tips about China). We walked around the main square of the city and to yet another Buddhist temple (they are starting to merge into one for me). And of course paid another visit to Luna Blanca (when you find good vegan food you lap it up!).
My final day in the city was very uneventful. I bought my train ticket to Beijing (they only release them the day before – bit stressful). Sent some postcards (look out Harri and my Coombe Girls). And paid a final visit to Luna Blanca (seriously it was so good!).
So there you have my two week stay in Mongolia, a country with one of the most welcoming people I have ever met and some of the prettiest landscapes I have seen so far
Tomorrow its another early start to catch my train. But the next stop is Beijing guys!
Until next time