Kyakhta > Ulanbaatar 320km Mongolia
The border crossing took about 3 hours but was just a process, no problems. I think we had our passports checked about 8 or 9 times.
We are actually riding In Mongolia!! And it doesn’t take long before we are saying WOW re the scenery. I said to Charlie that it looks like the entire land is covered in velvet (I know, weird). It has no harsh features but the beauty is something unique – am loving even the first day. The photos just don’t capture it.
The animals own the road here and we really have to keep our eye on them because they will just walk out in front of you.
The drivers take huge risks in passing, I am surprised there are not more accidents. Many of the cars here, as in Russia, are right-hand drive so they have to come right out from behind a truck to see if the road is clear, often it’s not and we have seen many a near miss.
We stopped for something to eat but first we had to work out the Mongolian word for café. That sorted we were presented with the menu, different alphabet of course.
The girl showed us 3 options off the menu, one sounded like it could be goulash so we opted for that – was very tasty.
The population in UB has grown hugely recently and the infrastructure hasn’t been able to keep up. Consequently the city is constantly one long traffic jam, 5 lanes of cars over 3 lanes of road darting everywhere. I have no problem now riding in this sort of traffic, plenty of experience in South America.
Our “room” for the night
We are staying in a ger in a popular overlanders Guest House – the Oasis. We have been chatting to other riders from around the world and getting their info on the road ahead. The Chinese have been making fast progress in tarsealing the roads as they want the availability to transport their goods to Russia and Europe. We had been thinking about taking the more scenic central route cutting down from Tosontsengel to Altai but apparently this area is very physically and mentally difficult. The guys we were talking to were in their 30’s, and when the panniers bounced off one of their bikes they decided to hire a guide to show them the way through – so not a route we are keen on. The next option had about 200km of sand and another young guy also said it was very hard and exhausting – hmm not keen on that either, doesn’t sound like fun!! So still deciding our options.
There’s a good mechanic next door so Charlie has arranged for an oil change for both bikes.
The first day we just stayed at the Guest House then the next we rode out to the huge Genghis Khan monument about 50km out of town. The Mongolian Empire was apparently the biggest empire that has ever been established, started under GK.
In the afternoon we caught a taxi into town. You just stick out your hand and anybody passing who wants a bit of cash, stops. Not necessarily a taxi driver.
View of the traffic from our taxi – it was like this all around us from every direction.
Central square – it was Graduation Day so many people were dressed up.
Modern architecture too