Travel period: July 31 – August 02, 2018
We had enjoyed lake Khövsgöl a lot but it was time to move ahead to new stories. We picked up Tsetserleg city in Central Mongolia as our new base. Nevertheless, we never reached the city. Elsewhere in the world, all ways lead to Rome. In Mongolia, all ways lead to Ulaanbaatar. First, we hitch-hiked to Moron. We were quite lucky since all cars are usually packed like a hell and carry more passengers than officially allowed. But we enjoyed the comfort of older Lexus derivate from V8 Toyota Landcruiser with the family of three (the little girl was not a big fan of this new company). Safety first, but children in Mongolia never sit in a baby seat, they don’t even use the belt.
Read more: Crystal waters of the Lake Khövsgöl
From Moron, we expected to take a shared car or minivan which is a common way of travel there. No car going to Tsetserleg that day and most probably not even any other day. We were advised to go to Erdenet and take a car from there. Sounded good since we didn’t need to spend 11 hours in the bus to UB and then the same time to Tsetsergleg. At the ticket counter, there were destinations like UB, Erdenet and some other major cities. But they refused to sell us the ticket. Luckily somebody in the queue spoke Russian. The point is that the bus goes only to UB. To Erdenet, there is a shared car that goes when it is full. We got the ticket for the shared car (28,500 MNT pp) with its license plate, however, the car was full already. They told us to use a small bus instead that was supposed to leave at 5 pm. That day we arrived in Moron bus station at 1 pm, the counter opened at 2 pm and bus to UB left at 3 pm. “OK let’s wait”. At 8 pm when the last seat was occupied we realized that even the bus leaves when it is completely full, so we could finally depart. After 7 hours (necessary stop for dinner at midnight!) we arrived in a suburb of an unknown city for us at 3 o’clock in the morning while raining. Decent and inexpensive hotel cross the street saved us for the night. We just had to wake up an old lady at the reception. No mercy 🙂
Erdenet is a quite charmless city with lack of sightseeing. Second biggest in Mongolia, established in 1975 after discovering a huge habitat of copper. Anyway, Russian architecture from the 70s makes it quite interesting for a walk. We had a lunch, first coffee, and cake since we left Prague and find out where is the bus station and place for the shared cars. The next day we tried to deal with drivers to get us to Tsetserleg. No interest at all. They said that maybe tomorrow. Since time means nothing in Mongolia and tomorrow could mean anytime or never we went to the bus and ended up in Ulaanbaatar (15,000 MNT pp). Again. Unfortunately not for last time, as we realized later. And later again.
Read more: Ulaanbaatar and Gorkhi Terejl national park
After spending one night in UB we took a bus to Kharkhorin (17,000 MNT pp) to see its monastery and nature in Orkhon valley. Before every journey with a long-distance bus, a lot of vendors try to sell their stuff (newspapers and magazines, sweets, boiled eggs, etc.). Also toilet culture along the way it’s worth mentioning. You can even bring your new born baby at home by bus.