Blue skies over the ancient Mongolian city of Karakorum
Once you get outside of the new capital, Ulan Baator, there aren’t a lot of tourist “sights” in the rest of Mongolia. The ancient city of Karakorum, along with the Buddhist temple not far from there was a joy to walk around.
The wind whistles over the steppes, and the long grasses wave to and fro as if in rhythm. We were a very small group, and other than a few monks, no one else was around so the visions of ancient Mongols riding in on their mounts, descending from [...]
Girls start training at a very early age to become Mongolian acrobats.
Spending the night in a Mongolian ger is exotic enough, but then when our hostess asked us if we would like a traditional throat singer and some young acrobats to come and entertain us, we were thrilled.
These little girls came in and with their shy little smiles began to go through their routine. It was impressive to see all the contortions they could do. They had only been in the training class less than a year, but they kept us entertained for at least a half [...]
When you think of Mongolia, you think of horses, and even taking off from Ulaan Bator on the very first day we ran into plenty of horses and their keepers. In a country with such wide open landscapes, harsh winters, and very few cities, Mongolian horseman are still a common sight driving their herds over rocky hills and valleys.
What’s amazing about Mongolia, is there are very few roads, only dirt tracks for miles and miles and miles. You drive along these fields or dirt tracks and out in the middle of nowhere there are people. There are people going about their everyday life as they have been for centuries. It’s awe-inspiring.
I didn’t think it was too hot of a day but apparently with all that weight and hair and fur, yaks can begin to get heat exhaustion from temperatures over 59 degrees, so yes, he was hot! Taking a nice cool bath was a good idea. There actually was an entire herd in the water a little further up the creek, but he was so handsome with his black and white features.
This photo represents one of the coolest things we did while in Mongolia. Here we were not far from the middle of nothing, and our hostess asks us if we would like to hear a throat singer. Well, yes, but where? No worries, he’ll come to your ger and he’ll bring his nieces who are studying to be acrobats as well. We couldn’t wait. Later that evening, in traipsed the musician (who was multi-talented) and his nieces. They put on an amazing show for the six of us. It was a private show and it was up close and [...]
What a harsh, rough and tumble place Mongolia is. I think you can see all the hardship of living off the land in this man’s face. From the wind and sun wrinkles, to the length and thickness of his wool garb, you can just tell you have to come from hardy stock to make it here. Another wonderful place to visit; take my advice and go into the backlands of Mongolia. That’s where the real people are.
I can’t see Santa making it to some of these out of the way stops, but believe me when I tell [...]
This is a note I wrote for a friend regarding his planned trip to Mongolia. It’s been a year since we went but the info and advice is as valid today as it was then. The trip in question was a nine day steppe, Gobi, wilderness road trip in a 7 seat, 15 year old Russian military van. We booked the trip through Bobbi at the UB guesthouse in Ulaan Baator (UB) via email. She was extremely helpful and tailored our trip to our exact requirements. For instance, we preferred staying in a hotel before and after the trip [...]
Jim and I are an American married couple who have had the opportunity to live all over the world thanks to our work. We are both teachers, and currently we're working in Schweinfurt, Germany where we plan to stay for the next few years. Continue reading... Follow @corinnevail