21 Observations about Mongolia - tips for the Mongolia traveller
I’ve been back in England for 1.5 months now. What is sticking in my mind about Mongolia? 21 quick fire thoughts for the prospective Mongolia traveller.
There aren’t many people in the rural areas but you’re never far from a settlement of some kind.
Steppe is beautiful but it soon gets tedious to look at.
The weather is weird; snow, rain hailstorms,dust storms, lightning, strong winds and it changes in a moment.
Water sources; rivers, lakes are very clean and the locals drink directly from them particularly in the rural areas that we visited.
There are proper mountains in the north > 3000m bordering Russia and near lake Huvsgul.
The people are thoroughly nonchalent on the one hand and thoroughly curious on the other regarding foreigners- they would make good poker players.
The food is simple, some might say bland; dumplings, soup, pancakes, but good cycling food.
There doesn’t appear to be many police about in small settlements, rather they appear policed by ‘civil authority’.
Lake Huvsgul is a phenomenal place, mesmorising and addictive, it was difficult to leave.
You can eat a range of foods in the capital, Ulaan Baatar. Near the State Department Store is a good Indian Restaurant, Korean and Chinese places.
Don’t expect your GPS to be accurate with regards to the jeep tracks.
Ger dwellers live very simple lifestyles, and live off the the products of their lifestock. We ate fresh butter, yoghurt, and drank fresh milk and ate lots of mutton with thick noodles made from flour.
Mongolia’s environment is generally very unspoilt other than the mines and the growing cities. I hope that it’s wilderness areas can be preserved.
Horses are regularly used for herding lifestock and general transportation in addition to cheap Chinese motorbikes. People learn to ride horses before they can walk, I think.
The Ger dwellers look very healthy from being in close proximity to the elements and hard work. Their eyes are bright and skin healthy.
There are I Heart NYC bags floating around everywhere and used in multiple supermarkets. At one point there must have been an air-drop of them by the Americans or something.
Ulaan Baatar has excellent train connections to Russia and China.
There are a lot of smashed vodka bottles around the road-pass shrines- mind your tyres.
There are some fantastic rivers in Mongolia which would be excellent for river journeys.
Beware of mosquitoes in the summer especially near bodies of water.
It’s a good country for ignoring the Lonely Planet guide book because there is so much freedom to do what you like via wandering and exploring. It seems silly to use the guide book.