Today we had placed our faith in Baatar our host for another tour. We were essentially getting a lift to a nearby National Park called Terelj but on the way we were going to see another couple of places. Once again we weren’t quite sure what the plan was but we were ready at 9 as he told us.
There was another couple staying at the hostel called Sandro and Tamar from BC Canada who we had met and seemed really nice so we had decided to join up with them on the trip to split the cost. They had a tent and were planning to go off on a four day hike through the wilderness but we at least thought we could join up for the first day.
We had to catch a taxi to the outskirts of town to meet Baatar as there is a policy of odd and even number plates only being allowed to drive in the city on alternate days and he was on an off day.
We were soon whisked off up a hill to see a monument built in honour of the Soviets which also commanded a great view of the city. I wouldn’t say Ulaanbaatar is the most beautiful city and unfortunately the cloud had set in but it was great to see the size of the place and the ger suburbs stretching up into the hills.
When we drove north out of the city we were very quickly in the middle of nowhere whereas the southern side of town seemed to stretch further towards Terelj. I wouldn’t say it was densely populated by any stretch of the imagination but there were more hamlets and buildings along the road.
Second stop was a 40m high statue of Chinggis Khan atop his horse. It was made out of steel and in the sunshine made for a very impressive sight! We climbed up inside and got some great views of the surrounding area. The only strange thing was that it’s built in the middle of nowhere!! It’s only possible to visit on a tour and it’s not on the way to anywhere.
Next stop was our destination Terelj National Park. First impressions were of how different it was to where we had been before in Mongolia. There were much bigger hills covered in trees. It was autumn so the trees had all turned a magnificent yellow and the initial views were superb.
The place itself is fairly busy during the summer as it’s so close to Ulaanbaatar and there was evidence of this with the many tourist camps dotted around the place. We were at the back end of the season though so the place was pretty much deserted.
Baatar was kind enough to drive us to a couple of the more out of the way sights and we got to see a massive rock in the shape of a turtle. This was followed by a walk up to see a temple. The temple was quite pretty set into the end of a valley and on the walk up the path was lined with signs with sayings on. We felt very righteous by the time we got to the top.
While Baatar’s people carrier had got us around most places so far he had to drop us off at a petrol station to get picked up by our hosts for the last leg of the journey. After we had gone down a fairly rough track and forded a couple of rivers we arrived at our ger camp. We had a ger each and they were very homely and set in the bottom of a valley amongst the forest.
It was all very picturesque and the four of us decided to use the last bit of sunshine and go for a walk. Then it was back to the gers to get the fires started and the places warmed up. We had a great evening with Sandro and Tamar playing cards and keeping warm in the tents and just as we were going to bed there was a dusting of snow starting to fall!! T
40m high and built on the spot where he found his lucky whip.
Nothing to be said
At turtle rock in Terelj National Park.
The Buddhist temple and the valley around it were spectacular.
We met this guy at the temple who was pretty blind and was fascinated by my hairy arms!
Our ger camp in the valley at Terelj.
The walk through the fallen leaves and the yellow trees was really very relaxing.