26th September – Mongol Els

28 Sep

Quite a ‘warm’ night and didn’t even have to wipe the condensation off our roof . Looks like it might even rain today. Headed south with the intention of going to some hot springs. Lovely scenery, wooded rolling hills and lots of horses around.



We didn’t see any cars around and the track in places was very rocky. After a while we realised that we were heading the wrong way along an old logging track that got steeper and rougher. We couldn’t get to the right track as it meant going through very boggy land with a stream running through it.  We either had to go a long way back and start again or give it a miss. We decided to head back to Tsetserleg, pick up some groceries and have a coffee in the Fairfield guest house before heading off to Olgii Nuur.

A bit later we were on our way east, the road is supposed to be paved all the way to Ulaanbaatar from here, although there a few diversions onto dirt where there are roadworks.

Not our day for navigation today as, after an hour or two, we suddenly realised that somehow we must have taken a wrong turn. Odd as we can’t really remember passing a juction. Before we knew it, we had arrived at Kharkhorin. The last couple km took a bit longer as we had to follow a herd of goats across the bridge into the town.


Wouldn’t be so bad but it means that we gone way past the lake where we were going to stop for a couple of days. Graham was grumpy as he was looking forward to fishing there. While he was getting over it I headed off into Erdene Zuu Khiid which is the first Buddhist Monastery in Mongolia, situated in a walled compound with 108 stupas spread around its perimeter.


By now the weather had started to change with spits of rain and a cold wind blowing. We decided that we may as well continue on towards UB and get a few things done.

The closer we get to UB the more signs we see for tourists ger camps and minibuses with tourists in. We also passed a french cyclist who was on his way to UB. It had taken him 5 months to get here and was planning to continue to Australia! His eyes were red raw from the dust and his skin was dry and weathered. It was also cold and even without the wind chill it was only 3 degrees. We felt positively lazy in comparison! We wished him luck, wound up the window and guiltily turned the heater up!

Further along the road we came to an area called Mongol Els where there are a series of sand dunes. They appear where you would not expect to see anything like that and, although small, they are interesting to stroll through and make an unusual camp spot. Even better as they are on our way!


As often happens dog or two come up and sit with us through the evening. I think it is just that they want company, but they often stay to guard us overnight.


We heated water for drinks and the hot water bottle on a small camp fire. We still have about 15 litres of our Russian methylated spirites … at this rate it will last right through China as well!


Tomorrow into the big city!


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