After spending 4 weeks in Russia we were very much looking forward to crossing the border to the next country on our Trans-Siberian route – Mongolia!
We took a bus from our last stop in Russia, Ulan-Ude, directly to Ulaanbaatar. The ride took almost 12 hours but saved us quite some money, was not so tiring as expected and made a great preview of Mongolian nature
After the Russian-Mongolian border the landscape changed dramatically. For a couple of hours we were driving past green hills “covered” by horses, cows, sheep, goats and traditional mongolian nomadic gers (traditional mongolian yurts), still nowadays home to the big part of the country’s population. By the sun-set we made it to Ulaanbaatar (or UB as everyone calls it) and got immediately impressed by some of the city’s contrasts: extremely run-down outskirts resembling more an abandont city after the automic explosion and city center full of neon signs, posh cars and well dressed people. In total we spent 4 full days in the city which was enough to get to know the place pretty good and our first impression was proved a number of times during our stay. Some of the strongest contrasts we remarked:
- many really beautiful young women vs. less than average looking men;
- those beautiful, well-taken care of and dressed up (with mandatory high hills) women walking on pavement that has obviously experienced a series of bomb attacks (or is it just that old?!);
- nice cars and the most selfish drivers we have ever seen (Moscow traffic is works very well compared to this);
- new apartment blocks being built all over the city vs. majority of the city’s population still living in traditional gers outside.
Have a look at the gallery to get the taste of Ulaanbaatar but keep in mind that it has very little to do with the rest of the country. More on Mongolian country side coming shortly