Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Day 15 - Terelj National Park
You haven't lived if you have not shared a tiny Suzuki microbus with 22 people (4 people per 3 seats) while driving for over an hour over a bumpy dirt road. Still, it's the cheapest and quickest option if you want to go to the Terelj national park near Ulaanbataar. At last I did not have to do this by myself as I had company from a fellow traveller heading the same way.
Once there you will forget everything about the journey in face of the amazing landscape and sky above stretching for as far as you can see. This is part of what people come to see in Mongolia and you will understand why. Being out here in the park, sleeping in a Ger and being able to go hiking for miles and miles in any direction is something you really do have to experience.
We arrived here around lunchtime with the bus and after a bit of a hike got picked up by Bert, owner of the Ecotourism Ger Camp, to bring us to his place and serve home made lunch. At first I was quite happy to walk after the bus ride and would have continued walking but soon realised that being in his 4x4 was the preferable way of crossing the two rivers on the way.
Bert is quite a character and his camp is away from the main tourist camps but you will have to make do without electricity and running water. So it's certainly more basic than some other camps but the home made food is very nice and you can feel like a proper nomad.
After lunch it was time to head out hiking and exploring the area. The views are spectacular and you can get an idea of how vast and mostly empty Mongolia is. You feel like you could just set off and walk in any direction for days.
Dinner time provides the best opportunity to talk with the fellow travellers staying at the camp and share experiences and stories about travels or anything else. There is no bar, live music or other entertainment so a chat with tea/coffee or maybe a beer in a candlelit Ger is all you get here but it's a nice change from hectic life in cities and very enjoyable.
I will be here for the next days so will no only have more time to go hiking and maybe horse riding but also to relax and enjoy the simple life out here.