I wrote about Mongolia in November 2013, but today I went back through my sketchbooks to share some pages. What I remember the most (with distance) from Ulaanbaatar was the arrival on the train with a group of Portuguese who brought food that I had not seen or tasted for many months. The transmongolian cabins varied from class to class and were all very simple. It smell railways, old carpet, bathroom, or if the windows were open it smell nature.
During the journey from Irkutsk (Russia) to Ulaanbaatar, there were several stops. Some were longer than others. During that time, I could buy instant nuddles, chips, crackers … all things that the locals sold at a high price, for those who wanted to kill some hunger.
The hostels are the ideal place to find tours to the Gobi Desert, Lake Khovsgol or the downtown area. It is quite easy to arrange company among other travelers to share the cost of hiring the vans and meals. My group consisted of 6 women and 6 men. We went in 2 vans and the discomfort was immense …
On one of the first nights on our way to Lake Khovsgol, we were caught in a storm! Our guide took part of the group for a nomadic tent, so we were safer. The lightning was so strong that would illuminate the whole tent. I was fortunate to sleep in the tent with the Mongols, but I believe it was not an easy night for those who stayed in the tents outside.
This was the inside of the mythical vans. There was little space for our legs, it was uncomfortable, which could be easy to bear if it wasn’t for the amount of hours we spent inside them. To kill time, we played the riddles, talked to each other about our travels and of course, we took pictures.
I was always curious to know what the desert would look like? … but the Gobi desert did not surprise me because it wasn’t a desert to lose sight of. What I loved most from this experience were the nights when you could see the starry sky and camel riding, which turned out to be quite easy to “drive” and run.
I traveled for about a month and it was one of the best countries I’ve ever been to.
Don’t even think twice of going or not. The answer is “go!!”