Rock and Roll In Ondorkhan – On the road update

Full Moons (almost) and Howling Wolves – On the road update
September 22, 2013
Mongolia’s Otgon Tenger Mountain – The Abode of the Gods
October 8, 2013

We’ve been out on our Landscapes of the East itinerary – visiting Dundgobi, Dorngobi, Dornod and Khentii. Mongolians divide their country into three main landscape types – Gobi, Tal Kheriin Bus and Khangai (desert, steppe and mountain) and this itinerary incorporated a taste of all three.

Eastern Mongolia is immense. And diverse. And empty. The vast far stretching landscapes are characterised by flat treeless plains, rolling hills and a significant number of important wetlands – the eastern steppe is also home to one of the world’s last great populations of the White Tailed Mongolian gazelle (Procapra gutturosa). The north-east is dominated by the history of Genghis Khan and the mountain-forest steppe of the Khan Khentii Mountains, stretching to the northern border with Siberia. The Secret History of the Mongols states that Genghis Khan was born in Khentii Province at the headwaters of the Onon and Kherlen rivers, near the border of modern Mongolia and Siberia. According to the legend written in the Secret History the Mongols originated in the mountain forest when a Blue-Grey Wolf mated with a Red Doe.

 Saturday night was spent in Ondorkhan – the provincial capital of Khentii Aimag. Admittedly, it might not be on everyone’s must see list of Mongolia but it provided a room to take shelter from an ever increasing bitter wind as well as a contrast to life out on the open steppe and city life in UB. 

The remote and beautiful Baldan Breevin Khiid in Khentii

We celebrated our last night on the east tour with dinner in the ‘Och’ restauarant (a local recommendation from a delightful lady who wanted to practise her English), finishing off with a couple of hours karaoke. The singing was abysmal (apart from Turuu who always sings well) but for a couple of hours it was ‘rock and roll’ in Ondorkhan – finishing off with a dance on the disco floor of the restaurant (don’t worry, we were the only patrons).

We departed early in the morning for UB, and although we have travelled back on ‘Route One’ (also known as the Millennium Highway, this is Mongolia’s main road connecting east aimags to UB and those in the west) we saw more birds of prey than we did vehicles.

Our home at Toson Hulstai, Dornod

Eastern Mongolia is almost certainly the region of Mongolia least visited by international travellers. The final frontier – it’s a perfect destination for those wanting to gain a genuine insight, travel the road less travelled and in the opposite direction to where most travellers go. It comes highly recommended  whether you choose karaoke or not!

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