On the road in Mongolia

By mid day on Monday all my ‘chores” had been done, Dozer was booked on a flight to Bangkok on Monday the 24th September. I was booked for the Tuesday via Seoul and would stay there for 5 days as I had never been to Korea before and Dozer fixed, packed and ready to hit the road.

I had one of the Oasis Guest houses super meals, spaghetti bolognaise and hit the road.  It took me 58 minutes to just get out of Ulaanbaatar this is without a doubt the worst place to ride a bike, it was tedious and I was itching go to just GO. Crawling along in 1st and 2nd gear stopping and starting being stuck behind busses I could not pass as there are many potholes in the road and they swerve to miss them without warning was getting me down and I was just watching the minutes tick past. Then like a flash the traffic cleared I was out of the city and could kick those gears up and hear that familiar GORRRR as Dozer sped up. My heart left, I cannot in words describe the amazing happy free feeling that comes over me when I am alone on the road, just me and my bike. It’s the lightest feeling of freedom I can ever experience and I was at that moment truly happy after been off the road for 6 days.

I had decide dot go down to Karakorum the ancient capital of Mongolia built by Genghis Khan. I had read an amazing trilogy about Genghis and now that I had more time in Mongolia on my own I wanted to do some sightseeing. The best thing about Mongolia is the landscape so travelling the 325km to Karakorum I knew would be a pleasure. It is all tarmac but I was okayish with that even thought I was itching to go off-road, I just wanted to get there since I was FREEEEEEEZING.

I had decided to leave the Oasis at 2pm and ride half way and camp and then ride the rest of the way the next day. However by 5pm the sky was looking ominously dark and threatening to snow if not snow. Hmmmm I love camping and knew that no matter how disappointing it would be camping would not be a good idea. So at 6:30, and just in time, I pulled up outside roadside hotel and stayed the night. Within minutes the skies opened and it bucketed down and was so cold I used the duvets from both beds and knew I had made the right decision. The next day I headed down to Karakorum, and although it was cold the sky was completely clear and Dozer and I decided that tarmac was just too boring so we rode on the little tracks alongside it, just to have some fun. Unless you come to Mongolia you just cannot imagine how vast and beautiful the country is. One can ride for miles without seeing anyone, but then again you are never alone for long as you will often see a Mongolian on his motorbike or horse. You come across cows, sheep and the cutest fluffiest little goats, camels and of course the beautiful Mongolian ponies just roaming free on the steppes, a truly beautiful sight to see. One of my favourite things to see are the birds of prey. I know I have mentioned them before but they bear mentioning again. In one day you can see up to 16 or more birds. Today I counted 8, including two golden eagles sitting in the road. I slammed on breaks and tried to get my camera out but they took off too quickly, hovered overhead and when I rode on flew alongside the bike at eye level for a few seconds before flying off into the distance so stunning.

I knew I would not be camping in Karakorum and found a stunning Ger camp on the other side of the town. It’s about 2km out of town and in a very picturesque area. The place is run by a great Mongolian family, grandmother, mother and 4 daughters two of which who speak English. The food is amazing and the place is really clean, it’s called the Munkh Tenger camp. I have the loveliest ger and am right now sitting inside with the fire in the iron stove cracking away, gers are very very cosy tents. I arrived in the camp at 2pm and after a steaming hot shower and lunch I just spent the afternoon sitting in the sun reading a book and admiring the scenery. This is the life and I have no idea why I or anyone would spend so long in ugly, dirty, crazy Ulaanbaatar when 325km outside of town you can have this.

I have decide to spend 3 nights here and just do day trips to see the ancient capital, the Buddhist monastery and just to ride the lovely hills in this area. That way I could ride Dozer without the cumbersome panniers and just enjoy Mongolia before heading back to Ulaanbaatar to crate Dozer for Bangkok.

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