The 2018 trip to Mongolia is hurriedly coming to a close. We just returned from a 4-day trip to the countryside. We depart tomorrow evening for Florida!
Saturday was spent at Terelj National Park located east of the capital city (Ulanbataar) after touring the Chinggis Khan statue. In Terelj, we visited Turtle Rock and a Buddhist temple followed by climbing the hillside behind our ger camp. The views from atop the mountain were spectacular, serene and offered an opportunity to sit and think about various things in an amazing location.
On Sunday, we made our way to the west of Ulanbataar. Our first stop was a nomadic culture show. This was quite possibly my favorite part of the countryside. We had options of taking a short ride on a horse, camel or yak to the ger camps. Once at the gers, we were taken into various camps to see how they are constructed, how they process animal (yak) milk into various products. The vodka distilled from yak milk was interesting. And despite what Dr. Sander may tell you, the cheese curds are not so bad! We were able to see how they make dried meat and felt. They sang songs for us, took us for a spin on a yak-driven car, and allowed us to play with the lambs. It was certainly a highlight of this countryside trip.
After the nomadic show, we made our was to Khustain National Park. Here we sought out the very rare Przewalski horses which we found in two different locations within the park.
Monday, we made our way further west to the location of the capital of Mongolia around the 13th century (under the reign of Ogedei Kahn)…Kharkhorin. We toured the 2nd of three main Buddhist monasteries which were largely spared destruction by the Soviets during the 1930’s (Ganda being the other one we visited in Ulanbataar). We visited the city (or “sum”) museum.
We made our way back to the capital city today and will spend tomorrow touring the city prior to a late-night departure. Of note, we were very well-fed during our entire stay in Mongolia…I need to go to the gym now!