Mongolia is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts offering unrestricted wide open spaces to explore. You can drive for hours and not see a single person. On the flip side in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, you can driver for hours and only go a few blocks. While the various types of countryside and vastness is an attraction for some, Mongolia isn’t for everyone, if traveling on rough roads for hours in a potentially hot vehicle doesn’t sound like a holiday then you might want to look elsewhere. Personally, I think long drives are part of what make Mongolia special, its something to know that there may not be anyone else around for miles.
Driving Across the Gobi
Sand dunes in the Gobi Desert
Mongolia is what I imagine parts of the United States used to be like before all the States were formed. In Mongolia, I would go on hikes and every time I was about to reach a summit of a hill or mountain I always expected there to be a view of city or town in the distance. Instead, each time I was met with more and more endless landscapes.
Milkyway in the Gobi Desert
After all this talk about wide open spaces, there are people there too. While a good portion of the population lives in Ulaanbaatar, there are still many nomadic families scattered around countryside. Nomadic Mongolian’s live in a Ger (also known as Yurt in other countries). These Gers are able to be dismantled and move to a new location when the weather or landscape no longer provides the needs of their animals.
Home of a nomadic family
Mongolian's on horse back
Wildlife wasn't the focus of this trip, but there were animals everywhere. From enormous eagles (which unfortunately I was unable to capture) to the tiniest of lizards. Then there were the not so wild animals; sheep, goats, horses, yaks and other farm animals. A day wouldn't go by (outside of the city) without seeing multiple herds moving across the landscape.
Horse grazing in Mongolia
Buzzard flying overhead
If you are thinking about going to Mongolia, don't hesitate. Its a wonderful place full of wide open landscapes, wildlife and friendly people. But one warning... For those who sit to do their business, the standards for toilets outside of places that cater to westerners, you should expect outhouses of varying standards.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think.