[travel] day 75: Mongolia

Landlocked between two of the largest countries. Such natural beauty. Mongolia. It isn’t on many people’s travel lists but should it?  Mongolia isn’t for the travelers that are looking for a light vacation.

Endless

Endless

You have to be willing to sleep on various mattresses, sleep with the fire and wake up freezing, not shower for a week, eat meat (mutton, beef, horse) at every meal, have hardly any vegetables or fruit during your trip, expect your car to get stuck in the mud, and live through all 4 seasons within three weeks of travel.

But if you are willing to live a grungy life for your time in Mongolia, it is magnificent. The rolling hills to the never ending scenery.

The city of Ulaanbaatar is ‘developing’. The roads are horrible, more potholes than actual road. This city is the largest in Mongolia but a far cry from a city life that most are used to. There are random sky scrapers here and there. A few museums that are severely outdated. Cars are from Russia, Korea or Japan which means that the drivers are on the right AND left side…..this leads to disastrous traffic and driving. Fruit and vegetables are going to be the most expensive thing that you would spend your money on except for cashmere. But definitely worth the money if you want to be able to digest your food on your trip.

Homemade dried yogurt.

Homemade dried yogurt.

I ventured off in a Korean van for the ride of my life with three strangers that became friends by the end of the trip. We went on a ‘tour’ with Khongor Guest House.  A guide and driver, and everything was included except for fruits and special drinks (anything besides water) along with a few hidden charges. But overall a good tour to go on if you have no idea what Mongolia will have in store for you, which is almost everyone that comes to visit.

What to expect:

  • People live in fenced areas & the animals run freely 
  • Horrible traffic especially going into the city
  • Bumpy dirt roads, if you get car sick or remotely car sick….buy motion sickness pills.
  • Wet wipes are your favorite friend. Showers are few and far in between. Have enough to wipe down your whole body with.
  • Bring a warm jacket. It will be cold during nights.
  • Multi-Vitamins. I randomly got some in Seoul before I went to Mongolia and they saved me and my travel mates. There is a lack of variety in food.
  • If you are vegetarian or vegan, make sure you stock up yourself on food you can eat.
  • Ride a horse. It is so much fun to run freely with no trails or gates. Just a destination.
  • Exchange money once you get to Mongolia. The exchange wasn’t bad and you can do it in the State Department Store on the first floor near the jewelry.
  • Bring your own toilet paper if you go outside of Ulaanbaatar.
  • If you are a germ-a-phobe then make sure that you bring a sleeping bag liner if you don’t bring your own sleeping bag.
  •  Enjoy one of the last countries that still live a nomadic life.
  • Taste the meat, it is so different than the ‘meat’ we are used to eating. It is lean, muscular and has the taste of the earth. The way it should taste like.
  • The guide will feed you without telling you what kind of meat it is and she may come back just to surprise you and tell you that you just ate horse. Don’t be surprised and don’t refuse to try it. It was quite delicious.
  • Be open minded and find inner peace when you are out in the middle of no where. It is amazing.

cheers and happy traveling.

mao.

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