Mongolia 1 – Ulaanbaatar

I am sooo happy to write this at the Khuvsgul Lake where it feels like the end of the world among the gers (traditional tents of Mongolia), yaks and wild horse flocks 🙂 There are many things to write about this place but it’s best to start from the beginning of the journey; Ulaanbaatar. I will write about Mongolia as detailed as I can because it’s not easy to find information on the Internet.

serrasagraFirst day in UlaanBataar and first person we saw was Nomin’s sister Zaya with her beautiful smile.💕 Then we met dear Nomin who is the manager of the studio we’d have the workshops and she and her amazing family took us around all day long. 9C8A0250Mongolians are very kind and hospitable people. They won’t feel comfortable if they don’t help you with your ripped backpack, give you food for your next journey and take you not only to the airport but almost to the gate. Mongolian kids are so cute. They don’t cut the kids hair (boys & girls) until they are 3 years old and when they are 3 they cut it all with a ceremony where friends and family are invited. At the end they give each person a lock of hair.

Ulaanbaatar is the capital. The population of the country is 3 million and 1,5 million is living here. It’s a city with many tall buildings, traffic, polluted air and many karaoke bars. Life is difficult in Mongolia because of the weather conditions. They have very harsh winters. 30% of the population lives a nomadic or semi-nomadic life and the horses are still part of the culture. Actually Mongolia has the highest horse ratio; 66 horses per 100 people 🙂 A great majority of the people are Buddhist.

9C8A9975There aren’t many historical places to visit in Ulaanbaatar but there are a few I can recommend. One of them is the Gandantegchinlen Monastery. Here they have the highest standing Buddha statue in the world, 24 meters tall. You need to buy ticket when you enter to support the monastery. It is more expensive if you want to take photos.

serrasagraThere is another Buddha statue in the city; this one is 19 meters. Right next to this statue there are stair going up. If you go up you can see the whole city and the river going through the city but besides the river all you are going to see is the tall buildings. However you may be as lucky as we were and become friends with the eagles 😀

serrasagra.comThere are many unfinished buildings in the city. One of the reasons for it is that they start the constructions but couldn’t finish it because of the financial problems and the second reason is the weather. They have to finish everything in summer time because they cannot do anything because of the cold in winter.

9C8A0629The third place to visit is the Winter Palace of Bogd Khan. Again you need to buy a ticket to visit but this time if you want to take photos the ticket is 25 Mongolian Dollars which is too expensive. Don’t worry. Outside the summer section of the palace there is this beautiful place you see in the photo where you can take as many photos as you can with the regular ticket.

9C8A0120There is also a square in the center with a big Genghis Khan statue. When we went there the ladies and gentlemen you see in the photo were haven taken their photo. Apparently they are getting together for 50 years.

Things work a little slow in Mongolia and it’s not easy to buy tickets online. We were able to buy our tickets Moron from a travel agency in about 45 minutes and with the help of our Mongolian friends. 🙂

It is also not a cheap country. It is cheap in comparison with European countries but not very cheap like the Asian countries. The hotels are usually expensive. We stayed in a hotel 50 US Dollars for a night 4 km from the center and it wasn’t really in great condition.

Sweet ZayaWe are so lucky to get to know the Mongolian yogis during the 2 days in the workshops. They were all amazing. After 3 days in Ulaanbaatar now it’s time for the main reason we got here. To go tho Lake Khuvsgul, to stay with the shamans and join them in their rituals…

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Next Journey to Lake Khuvsgul

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