Day 18 - Ulan Bator / Mongolia

Bratislava to Beijing
Ulan Bator / Mongolia

Mongolia doesn’t cease to amaze. Here every minute the past intertwines with the future and the present. Local residents do not actually use cash, all payments are made by Bank cards or transfers. And if you want to give a little bit of money to Lama coming from Ulan Bator to Kharkhorin, he will gladly tell you the number of  his account for transfer money. At the same time he will be dressed in a national costume, and behind the shoulder you can see a hanging bag with a laptop.

And if in the city center you can see skyscrapers with expensive shops and luxury hotels, but when you go to the outskirts of the city you’ll get into the quarter where people still live in yurts. After moving to the capital under the program of resettlement of nomadic population, they could not build proper houses on allocated territory, so now they still live in traditional homes just like their ancestors did. But, if you call in, you can see refrigerator, washing machine, TV and the stove for heat.

After driving around the city and making a few shots near the main attractions of the Mongolian capital we head to the statue of Genghis Khan. It is located about fifty kilometers from the city in the area called Congen-Boldog. We were very interested to see the largest of Genghis Khan's monuments in Mongolia. The height of the monument is 40 meters that makes you feel really tiny standing next to it. It is surprising that the monument is popular not only with the tourists, but the locals are obviously visit this place with great pleasure.

After our visit to Genghis Khan, we go to the Chinese border. We decide to try some national cuisine before the long journey, but it isn’t so easy to do. Guides strongly recommended us not to come to the restaurants located on the way, as there's a good chance to get spoiled meat. We need to get back to town, which is not our way at all. We stock up on dry rations, because on the segment of 600 kilometers, from the capital to the border, there are only two small towns and there is a big possibility that we won’t be able to find any working shops there.

With the sunset most local drivers start using high beam. Driving in the dark in Mongolia is not very comfortable. Just a few minutes later your eyes begin to get tired from the bright light and the environment blurs before your eyes. We have to stop constantly to give some rest for the eyes.  At these moments, we once again remember with a kind word the adaptive light of our Volkswagen Touareg. It’s extremely comfortable for us as it smartly illuminates the road and don’t interfere oncoming drivers.