A summer in the land of nomads in Mongolia - The360 Travel

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  • Sunday, November 3, 2019

    A summer in the land of nomads in Mongolia

    A summer in the land of nomads in Mongolia

    Mongolia, a vast country in Central Asia, will reward the traveler who is ready to barter his comfort against new experiences and landscapes. From the Gobi desert to the steppes, stopping in the yurt camps, the kingdom of Genghis Khan is not likely to disappoint the fighters.

    Ulaanbaatar: an astonishing capital

    Surrounded by mountains, the capital is home to half of the country's population of 1.5 million people. The Soviet style dominates the architecture of Ulaanbaatar, but some skyscrapers and Buddhist temples break the harsh lines of the communist era. On the top floor of the State Department Store, a shopping center that has become an institution since its opening in 1921, one can see Tserendorj Street, one of the prettiest streets in the city, capped at the end by the Mongolian Circus building.

    Summer is made to play

    In mid-July, for three days, the entire country stops to play. Naadam is a colorful festival full of tradition, a national holiday celebrating the independence of Mongolia from China. Sporting know-how is honored: archers, riders and wrestlers compete in their respective disciplines at the National Sports Stadium in Ulaanbaatar and in the steppes of the country. The Mongols proudly wear their traditional costumes and pose for the tourists gathered on the place Genghis Khan, in the heart of the capital. Celebrations are sprinkled with fermented mare's milk - sensitive stomachs, abstain - and festival-goers are invited to snack with mutton dumplings (buzz) and slippers stuffed with a mixture of meat and fat (khuushuur).

    Prefer the rails to the road network

    Transmongol, connected to the Trans-Siberian, can cross Mongolia from Russia to China, or in the opposite direction. In summer it is recommended to book your tickets, as the queues can stretch for a long time at the station. In exchange for a small fee, the Mongolia Train Tickets company offers to buy them for you and deliver them to your hotel. The cabins contain four rather comfortable berths, and clean sheets are provided. This is an opportunity to take the time to interact with other travelers while observing scroll the vastness of the territory.

    Choose constant displacement

    About 30% of Mongolians are nomadic pastoralists. They walk their herds and yurt, ger in Mongolian, according to the seasons. This self-sufficient way of life, far from the comfort of modernity, loses enthusiasts each year due to the harsh winters in the steppe. In summer, families add huts to their camps to house tourists and share their daily life with them. Horseback riding and camel treks are usually on the program.

    Gobi: follow the guide

    Even for the more adventurous traveler, given the lack of roads and the mobility of nomadic encampments, it will be difficult to venture alone into the Gobi. The landscapes of the vast Mongolian desert are diverse: green valleys, dunes and cliffs intertwine. To navigate through this plurality without any hassle, tourists opt for the tour package. Several agencies offer tours of about a week from Ulaanbaatar, prices range from $ 550 for a person who joins a group to more than $ 11,000 for two people in private. The guides speak good English, which facilitates communication with the hosts.

    The benefits of discomfort

    Unless you choose the most luxurious options, you should expect rudimentary living conditions in ger. Plan to give up washing for several days and sleep on mattresses whose hardness compares well with that of rocks. Vegans, think of bringing vegetable proteins, since meat and dairy products are at the base of the nomadic diet. These constraints are pushing for the moment mass tourism far from Mongolia. You will have the chance to enjoy peacefully the vast expanse that offers the least densely populated country in the world. Even in the middle of the tourist season, you can drive a long time in the desert without ever crossing another vehicle, but by greeting herds of camels.

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