Our Mongolia adventure was concluded with our trip back to Ulan Bator and to the airport. Besides taking on another passenger back (the granddaughter of the host family) and having a boxed lunch on the side of the road, the drive back was uneventful.
We settled accounts with the lady that booked our tour and got a ride to the airport.
On the way to Chinggis Khaan International Airport we hit some traffic, but the road took us up the mountain overlooking the city. Huge furnaces of coal power plants dominated the skyline around the rural outskirts of the city.
The airport Business Lounge was our last stop before boarding a plane for Beijing. I thought about our crazy trip and everything that we experienced.
- Riding the Trans-Siberian Train section from Beijing to Ulan Bator
- Almost getting robbed at the Black Market
- Seeing Mongolia’s first public Presidential inauguration ceremony
- Climbing a monastery in the mountains of Terelj National Park
- Experiencing Naadam Festival
- Living in a ger with a nomadic family
- Exploring the ancient capital Karakorum
- Trekking the Semi Gobi desert
Mongolia Trip Statistics
- Total Time: 6 days, 5 nights
- Total Cost per person including international travel: ~US$900
- Total Distance Traveled by Car: ~960km
- Different Accommodations Stayed: 2
- Different Types of Transportation Used: 4 (Train, Plane, Car, and Animal)
- Animals Ridden: 2
Mongolia is a vast and beautiful country. The blue sky and bright white clouds over a luscious green landscape often looked surreal. It was much less developed than I expected, including the touristy areas.
The Mongolian people are very proud of their heritage, traditions, and country. I can see how some would find them standoffish, but in general, all the people we met were very friendly and welcoming.
Ulan Bator seemed to be the only real city, while much of the population still lives like nomads.
We saw more cows, horses, goats, sheep, and large birds than we did people once out of the city.
Ger life is not that comfortable if you are use having electricity, running water, and bug free rooms. But the simple and self-sufficient lifestyle is extremely humbling.
There are not too many options for public transportation and distances between sites to visit are very far.
If you enjoy lamb, Mongolia would be a feasting heaven.
Tip: When traveling to Mongolia, don’t prebook a tour online (unless you find a great deal). The quotes we received from companies before arriving in Mongolia were 4 times what we actually paid.
Overall, Mongolia is a great place to travel for those looking for adventure and a corner of the world that still isn’t overdeveloped with tourism! I highly suggest traveling there during the Naadam Festival to really soak in the culture. I was very happy to celebrate my travel to Mongolia as country 50!
And next country 51: North Korea.