Mongolia In Images By Our Guest, Katherine Walker

Taking The Trans-Mongolian – Your Introduction
April 25, 2015
Focus on Mongolia – April News
May 5, 2015
Katherine Walker joined us in Mongolia in 2014 on our 17-day Northern Mountains and Sacred Lakes Mongolia trekking tour which includes a five-day trek in Khovsgol Nuur National Park followed by the Khatgal Naadam. These are her thoughts from her blog – The Travelling Dingleberries! The images are also by Katherine.

Enjoy the trip!

We were able to experience the many wonders of this beautiful country. It truly is something special.  I honestly could not have hoped for a better experience. Our mode of transport was in the Furgon – an old Russian van.

Our driver was the legendary Sandag and our amazing guide was Selenge. Both Mongolian. Accompanying Marty and I were two Aussie blokes from Geelong in Victoria- We spent the first day exploring UB and visiting Zaisan Hill and the Blue Sky Bar for excellent views of the city.

We were off the next day on our 16 day odyssey to Northern Mongolia. We piled into Furgon and spent the next few days cruising through the countryside. I’ve never seen such a landscape like it. We visited the Amarbayasgalant Monastery, stayed the night in a ger, slept in a Soviet-style hotel in Bulgan and dined at a Korean Restaurant. 

For those of you that are unaware, a ger is a traditional style home of a Mongolian family, specifically a nomad family. It is circular in shape and consists of one room only. It is insulated for the very cool -40 degree winter temps and is easy enough to erect and dismantle quickly, making it the ultimate nomad home! They are everywhere in Mongolia. We stopped in at many a ger, all with families that were so welcoming. In Mongolia, anyone is able to stop in to a ger to say hello. The families welcome you with open arms and offer you anything from milk tea, to yogurt curds, to cream on bread, to araig (fermented mares milk), to mutton soup!
Khovsgol National Park was our next destination. It was bloody beautiful.  The water is crazy clear and ridiculously freezing. We spent a few nights here, taking invigorating dips in the lake and enjoying the clever culinary creations of Selenge. It was absolutely no issue being a vegetarian on this tour. She looked after me so well!

Next was our 5 day hike through the mountains. We met Bambakh, Erbald and their 6 accompanying horses who would be so kind as to carry our luggage and food on the hike. This somehow made our job of walking a whole lot easier! Bambakh and Erbald were great company.
We were happy to see Bambakh’s family ger and were greeted with a steaming bowl of milk tea. We spent the evening milking some of the family’s yaks (so much harder than it looks) and enjoyed the company of Bambakh’s 
lovely family.

The next two days were spent at the very interesting Nadaam Festival. Nadaam is a national celebration day for the whole of Mongolia, celebrating their independence. We attended Nadaam in Hatgal and got to experience a rural Nadaam. Wrestling, horse racing and archery are the three ‘manly’ sports you will find at any Mongolian Nadaam. It was very interesting. 

On the night of the first day of Naadam we went back into town for a party at a local hall, Marty and I dressed to the nines in a ‘del’. Bambakh’s sister and her husband insisted we wore their ‘dels’. A ‘del’ is a traditional Mongolian coat. 

We both really didn’t want to leave Hatgal. Bambakh and his family has been so welcoming and the area that they spend their summer is just so picturesque. The end of the journey was coming near. We said our goodbyes and spent the next few days making our way back to UB. The trip was the best decision we could have made. Selenge was the most wonderful guide.  Come to Mongolia. You won’t regret it. It’s bloody amazing.
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