Mongolia Travel Blog

Mongolia as a country has always tempted me almost ever since I started travelling. The lure of vast landscapes far away from human infestation, being by yourself discovering new territories and pioneering your own trail is every true traveller's dream. I fulfilled this dream on September-October 2014 when I travelled to Mongolia.

Mongolia – Day 4 & 5 Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur and the Volcano

At end of day sleeping at Shine-Ider, I informed my motel owner that I wanted to find a cheap transport to Terkhiin Tsagaan Nuur. At 1:00AM I heard a knock at my door. It was the motel owner with a bus driver drew a van on a paper who claimed he could take me to the lake via Markhaj where he was dropping off the locals. I got out and got into his van with a bunch of other local families. The van dropped off people at Markhaj and then it stopped at his home. His wife who spoke broken English while referring a English-Mongolian dictionary told me that I must stay at their home at night and the driver will take me to the lake. I was upset, bloody communication gap!! With no choice late at night I slept in the ger in their compound. They did not charge me for it. next day after serving breakfast I asked about the plan on when the driver will take me to the lake. This is where I was acquainted with the traditional Mongolian lack of respect for time. They hung around till 12:00 in the noon and then the driver realized that he couldn’t find any customers for taking to the lake and jacked up the price to 200,000 from 20,000. I was not ready for it. I said no way and wrote down my own price on paper at 100,000 Tugrik which was higher than what we earlier agreed but the maximum I was willing to pay. She explained that it was a 150km drive, and the driver joked mockingly that the...

Mongolia – Day 2 & 3 – Khövsgöl Nuur(Lake Khövsgöl) and Mörön

At the end of my bus journey from Ulaanbaatar I arrived in the town of Mörön at around 4:00AM. There is no bus stand but it was my luck that I made one mongol friend who spoke english along the way. His name was Oogii. I checked with oogii how I might get to Khövsgöl Lake and he told me he was headed in that direction with his mother for some official work. He suggested hitchhiking was the cheapest way to get there. The other option is to take a taxi which will cost upwards of 100,000 Tugrik. Being with locals I was excited to travel the local way and agreed to hitch-hiking idea. We waited at a hotel reception(it was cold outside) till it was early morning and walked out towards the northern outskirts of the town in direction of the paved road going towards the lake. Once we reached the edge of the town we waited for vehicles which we might flag down. Half an hour or so later a small open truck finally agreed to our price and took us on board. We got in and headed out. 30-45 minutes out the truck took a detour and went off the paved road. Oogii’s mother,who didn’t  speak english suggested through hand motions that it might be a shortcut(Mongolia is a safe country, and muggings and robberies are unheard off in the countryside so we weren’t worried much). After some time Oogii’s mother talked to the driver and asked her something in mongol, looked at me grinned and stuck her tongue out in a “oops” kinda way. I knew there was a muck...

Mongolia – Bus Ride from Ulaanbaatar to Mörön

Bus ride from Ulaanbaatar to Mörön. The first part of my Mongolia Adventure. The ride takes around 12 hours in summer. The Mongolian music plays throughout the journey on most buses. It takes some getting used to like almost any other music but after the trip it also induces nostalgia for this country for me. 🙂 I happened to see some music videos and almost all of them show Mongolian scenery, horses running around, lakes and sometimes oddly battle tanks rolling through plains in atleast one such song and in foreground there is a guy or a girl making emotional and patriotic-ish gestures as he/she lip syncs with the...

Mongolia – Day 1 – The adventure begins!! Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator) and bus to Mörön

I packed my bags and took the Mongolian Airways Flight(MIAT) to Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia from Singapore. The airline had launched a new route and was giving away discounted tickets for around $800 return, an opportunity I grabbed immediately 🙂 I landed at Ulaanbaatar early in the morning around 4:00 with no hostel/hotel reservations. I found two canadian tourists and asked them where they were staying and shared a taxi ride with them to Mongolia Vision Guest house. Some of the expensive-ish guesthouses and hostels in UB charge in USD. When I say expensive I mean $10 per night which is the higher range for a backpacker hostel in UB. the cheaper ones charge in Tugrik and cost 10000-15000 Tugriks a night. I caught a quick nap and woke up early to start my journey. I did not want to spend a lot of time in UB in the beginning. This is the smart thing to do in mongolia as timelines get easily disrupted during travel through countryside and it is good to spend the last bit of your travel in UB as a emergency buffer. I quickly went through a few travel options on a map, I couldn’t quiet make up my mind on the exact travel path but I tried to decide where to go next and make a note of the places I might be interested in overall.I still couldn’t quiet make up my mind and decided to go find some essentials before deciding the next path and heading out in the countryside. The popular place in UB to buy stuff from is the four...