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Last Days in Mongolia – Photos and Blog Dirt-Road biking in Uvs and Bayan-Olgii

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[I got a bit carried away with this blog - about time some may say - but if you just want the photos, skip to the bottom]
After a few days ‘rest’ in Ulaangom where my room was once again invaded by drunk locals, it was time to get back to the dirt roads – life is much simpler there,…

Photos of Biking Across Mongolia

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Having made it to Kharkhorin and had a look round the Erd Zuu monastery, I was looking forward to beginning the off-road adventures through Mongolia. Alas, progress has been made and the tarmac extended for a couple more days’ ride… I lingered longer than anticipated in Tsetserleg as their Naadam festival was just beginning. So I watched the ceremonies and…

Things are Looking Up – Naadam and Road to Kharkhorin – in maps

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Having made the decision not to do a big packrafting trip, the relief was tangible. Finally I felt like I could do things I really wanted to. And I wanted to see some of the Naadam festival celebrations and competitions of archery and horse-racing. Since there were a couple of days before the festivities began, that gave me time for…

The Road to Ulaanbaatar – A Little Less Cycling – in maps

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It’s time for a round-up of the last few weeks… you may have noticed, there hasn’t been an awful lot of cycling. I had great plans, but sometimes they don’t quite work out the way you expected.
The plan. Get to Ulaanbaatar quickly to extend my Mongolian visa and get visa for Kazakhstan for onward travel. Speak to guides about…

Naadam Festival – Horse-Racing

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The second day of Naadam, I took a bus 40km out of UB with Dimitri Kieffer (who is circumnavigating the world by human-power and I’d highly recommend following his journey), who is also in town, to where the horse-racing was taking place. The roads were congested with half the city making the exodus for a family day out.
There was sun, big…

Naadam Festival – Archery and Knuckle-Bone Shooting Photos

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Sticking around Ulaanbaatar means I’ve had the chance to see some of the Naadam Festival. Essentially one big holiday where families gather to watch the wrestling, horse-racing and archery, as well as the less popular knuckle-bone shooting.
The first day I wandered down to the National Stadium where the wrestling was being held. Unable to buy tickets (translate: unwilling to…

Bikepacking to Terelj National Park

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I’m here in Ulaanbaatar for the Naadam Festival and until next week when I can get my Kazakhstan visa. The one guy at the embassy who issues them is on holiday…
So I packed my raft, bivy bag, toothbrush and some food and headed out of Ulaanbaatar on my bike. Destination Terelj NP, some 60km away.
Off the main road…

Gandan Style – Photos of Gandantegchinlen Monastery, Ulaanbaatar

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I’m now in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s thriving capital, where half the country’s population lives.
Finding it too easy to linger here, I have not yet been packrafting, so instead I’ve been seeing some of the sights. And those include Gandantegchinlen Khiid. It was one of the few monasteries that escaped the has destruction of the 1930s under Stalin. Although closed for…

Mongolian Motoring Madness

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Mongolia is a unique country in every aspect; a country often associated with isolation and remoteness, a country with a very extraordinary inimitable stark landscape.
It is not all nomads and yak though; due to the recent discovery of copper and gold deposits it is developing at an extremely fast rate. The country that Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman visited…

A One-Ger-Full Life

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With a perfectly-pitched camp on the banks of the Zavkhan River overlooked by the holy Otgontenger mountain, dinner was underway (tinned sardines despite two hours spent fishing for Taimen giant trout in the river) when we spotted a small army of Mongolians approaching from the South. Sardines off and tea on, the mother and children gathered on a blanket, entertained…

Reaching the Peak

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Location:  47° 54′ 41″ N, 106° 58′ 53″ E, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Distance from Sydney:  10,126km
So we’ve crossed Mongolia.  Like a mountain climber reaching the peak, Mongolia was our half way mark, timewise for me (3 months of a 6 month journey), and also the greatest challenge in terms of remoteness, roads and logistics.  Appropriately, like the top of a…

Enter Mongolia

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Location : 47 44′ 27″N, 96 50′ 17″E (Uliastay, Mongolia)
Distance from Sydney: 10,597km
A mini update, written just after arriving in Mongolia:
I’m meant to be trying to finish off the Russian blog right now, but I want to talk about Mongolia instead. It’s our second night in the country, and first night camping. I don’t know how to…

One Day in Ulaanbaatar

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Our arrival into the Mongolian capital was of stark contrast to our drive from the border with its rolling green hills, peaceful Gers and scenic steppe dotted with grazing animals. The suburban sprawl of the city creeps up the surrounding mountainsides as we approach to see the haphazard concrete urban jungle before us. We were able to get an extremely…

Tough Miles Blog 7: The BAM Road

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Jon here:
 
The BAM road is not just about motorcycling skill, it is a real test of physical and mental endurance. It is impossible to portray how tough this route really is, and once finally over it is far too easy to forget the pain each kilometer can bring. To ride it you need pure grit and determination.
Mongolia…

Tough Miles Blog 6: The Mighty Mongolia.

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Pete here.
The only time we’ve had the shower gel out in the last 8 days is to lubricate the tyres for a set change or puncture repair. I’ve never felt as filthy as I did on that last night before we made it to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia. Everything was covered in sand and mud from numerous falls…

Is it better to travel than arrive…?

Read the original post and follow Mikes Mongolian Madness's overland adventures on their website: Mikes Mongolian Madness.


OK, so we had arrived at our destination – Ulaanbaatar – exotic city of eastern mystery, fabled centre of Gengis Khan’s legendary empire, magical destination on the Silk Road. Well actually it wasn’t founded until around 1639 (well after Genghis’s time), it’s never been on the Silk Road (that runs much further south of the Gobi desert) and, to be…

Faces of Mongolia

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Young Mongolian horseman. He was probably on a horse before he could walk.

Leon charms the locals as the crowd gathers

And you thought we were mad! This guy was cycling from UB to his home in Austria

Andrew asks where the nearest recruiting office is

Sorry, but I'm not sure we will have a uniform big enough for you…

Riding all the the way to Ulaanbataar my body sweats and my a*** is sore…

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Subtle allusion in the title for those of you have read the ‘Why?’ section and they will also get the slight twist on the wording – and you thought this thing was just thrown together!
There was a slightly strange mood as we packed up this morning. We would be hitting UB today (unless the roads suddenly deteriorated – which…

Psssst….wanna buy a used inner tube? Very good, very cheeep.

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Wake as it gets light, untangle myself from sleeping bag liner (ripping it more in the process), peer out of the tent and see if it really is time to get up. Roll around in the confines of the very small one-man tent and drag smelly, dusty riding gear on and emerge blinking into the sunlight to face another day.…

2 Snickers, a can of Coke and a quarter of midget gems please

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Jeff went for Sunday around 17.00 – his was the earliest estimate, mind you he had to go for Sunday really as that was the day we had always been scheduled to arrive. Other guesstimates ranged from late Sunday through to midday on Wednesday! Several people had flights booked out of Ulaanbaatar for early Monday morning, so along with our…

Giant steps are what you take walking on the moon

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Basically there are two most commonly used routes from the western border crossing at Tsagaanuur to Ulaanbaatar – the northern route via Ulaangom and Moron ( ) and the southern route via Khovd, Altai and Bayankhongor. We weren’t going to use either of these, we would forge our way by a more central route which would be much quieter in…

River deep, mountain high…but mostly river deep

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I had woken several times during the night to hear rain battering on the ger (much quieter than a tent – but it does still tend to leak in around the bottom a bit), so it was no great surprise to open the door to a damp and misty Mongolian morning. Whilst we were packing up and sorting stuff out…

The Eagle and the Lamb

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Ger camp near Olgiy

We weren’t all that sure what to expect. Jeff just told us some transport would arrive for us around 11.00 and we would be away for around half a day, involving some horse riding, a traditional Mongolian meal and a visit to an eagle-hunter (that’s someone who hunts with eagles, not a hunter of eagles –…

We’re in!

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So we all lapsed back into RWM (Roadside Waite Mode). We dozed, read, listened to music or chatted with fellow travellers, waiting for the border to open at 09.00.

Waiting at the border

At 08.50 the border personnel started arriving, mostly walking from the barracks a few hundred yards down the road – you must have done something really bad…

Waiting at the border….

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….bollocks!
There was nothing for it but to wait until the border opened on Monday. So we’d better find some food and somewhere to camp. The guards were pretty helpful and pointed us to a shop a few hundred yards down the road. We stocked up on essentials: bread, crisps, chocolate and beer – and set off to find ourselves…

An arse kicking in Mongolia

Total mileage: 23,000m
Location: among millions of people somewhere in N China
Day: about 170? (We really stopped counting a while ago)

We’re in China and it’s a mad race. No time for morning Yoga, a chord on the guitar or the comfortable search for the suitable campsite. It’s a rush. Time is money, every minute has a price, every…