Travel: Mongolia – Part 2

Travel: Mongolia – Part 1

I have been planning to go to Mongolia ever since my late father gave me a movie called  ” The Story of The Weeping Camel.”   After watching the movie, I fell in love with the landscape, the culture and the people of Mongolia. Size wise, Mongolia is a vast and geographically rich country with a population of around 3 million people, of which 2 million approximately reside in the capital Ulaanbaatar.  The rest, of varying backgrounds, such as theTuvas or Kazakhs, are scattered throughout the country. My husband and I planned the trip with Altai Expeditions, which I truly recommend, as they are very well organized and are specialists in the region which we wanted to explore.  All in all, our expedition consisted of us, a translator, a mountaineer, a cook, and a driver.  The region we focused on is in the far west of Mongolia towards the Altai mountain range, bordering China, Russia and Mongolia, and heavily inhabited by Mongolia’s Kazakh population.  The main frontier city is called, Bayan Ulgii, a Kazakh city where we hopped into our unstoppable Russian 4×4 van and drove towards the gates of Tavan Bogd National Park.  Translated as the “Five Peaks” (Tavan Bogd), our aim was to climb Mount Malchin, at 4050 meters in height and to try and climb Mount Khutin, at 4374 meters high and Mongolia’s highest point.  We were successful on the first, but were unable to summit Khutin, instead, we were stuck in a snow blizzard and a whiteout for two days on mountain at the advanced base camp. It was my first attempt in mountaineering / alpining, and it was a hell of an adventure, drastically stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself mentally and physically.  But as it goes, I feel it makes you grow, and on a whole, the idea of this trip is to see some of the magnificent landscapes, mix in some adrenaline and adventure, and learn about others and myself in new places. The idea of driving and stopping in the middle of nowhere to camp for the night is very exciting, and meeting other travelers at base camps and ranger stations exposed us to multiple nationalities and different perspectives on the reason they were there. One thing we all shared was a sense of freedom, and the culmination of the trips trip for me was that it is a once in a lifetime experience and a definite stepping stone to the many adventures to come.  Next stop Patagonia 🙂 Enjoy!